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Transcalar Design: An Approach to Biodesign in the Built Environment


Abstract and Figures

Biodesign holds the potential for radically increased sustainability of the built environment and our material culture, but comes with new challenges. One of these is the bridging of the vast differences of scale between microbiological processes and architecture. We propose that a transcalar design approach, which weaves together nonlinear dependencies using computational design tools and design methodologies, is the key to successful implementations. Such design processes are explored through a case study, the design of the Protomycokion column, which serves to illustrate how design methodologies particularly through the use of a demonstrator artefact, can serve to navigate the multiple scales, disciplines, and experiments necessary to enga ge the complexities of biodesign. Transcalar design processes embrace the adaptability, variability and interdependence of biological organisms and utilise them for achieving increased performativity.
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Transcalar Design: An Approach to Biodesign in the Built Environment
Ana Goidea1
Dimitrios Floudas2
David Andréen1
1 Lund University, Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, bioDigital Matter | Sweden
2 Lund University, Department of Biology, Microbial Ecology Group| Sweden
Corresponding author:
Biodesign, Transcalar, Transdisciplinary, Architecture, 3d printing, Biomaterials
Biodesign holds the potential for radically increased sustainability of the built environment and our material culture, but comes
with new challenges. One of these is the bridging of the vast differences of scale between microbiological processes and
architecture. We propose that a transcalar design approach, which weaves together nonlinear dependencies using computational
design tools and design methodologies, is the key to successful implementations. Such design processes are explored through a
case study, the design of the Protomycokion column, which serves to illustrate how design methodologies particularly through
the use of a demonstrator artefact, can serve to navigate the multiple scales, disciplines, and experiments necessary to enga ge
the complexities of biodesign. Transcalar design processes embrace the adaptability, variability and interdependence of biological
organisms and utilise them for achieving increased performativity.
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
Biodesign is designing with, as or for living matter. In this paper we have employed the definition of biodesign of Myers and
Antonelli [1] within the more specific context of biofabrication: it is the incorporation of living organisms as essential components
[]. It goes beyond mimicry to integration, dissolving boundaries and synthesizing new hybrid typologies.”
Biology is the most powerful manufacturing technology we know. By harnessing properties inherent in biology such as circulari ty,
adaptability and self-organization, the field may hold significant potential for improving the sustainability of our material culture.
Of particular interest to us is the construction industry, where some of the biggest sources of pollution and resource consumption
are found. Sustainability problems arise in linear consumption chains which rely on non-renewable resources. Employing
biological growth in the manufacture of new material systems can allow for significant reduction of the negative ecological
footprint of the built environment.
Selecting biological processes that take place at molecular level and applying them to the scale of buildings and cities can be the
key to replacing mineral extraction and centralised, energy intensive production with local circularity but it comes with a host
of new challenges. One of the most pressing is bridging the two fields' vastly different scales.
Although architectural materials account for small scale behaviours, they are traditionally employed as bulk materials with little
spatial differentiation and homogenous behaviours. This is contrary to the biological world, where material differentiation and
variability is continuous across scales [2]. The specificity, heterogeneity and dynamic nature of such systems is fundamental not
only for the performative or functional output, but for the very formation and generation of structures [3] and therefore needs
to be considered in biodesign.
This paper explores how these scales, the biomolecular to the architectural, can be bridged in a continuous and interrelated
manner. We do this by outlining a methodology for the design and fabrication with living matter. The methodology was developed
and implemented in the project Pulp Faction, which employs 3d printing with fungal lignocellulosic biocomposites in the makin g
of an architectural scale building component, named Protomycokion. The processes used in this project are here studied and
described from the perspective of transcalar design, and their general applicability and implications are discussed.
In the biofabrication methodology of the Pulp Faction project we employ several terms. Substrate is the mix of components,
before the inoculation. This acts as a scaffolding onto which the living cells do their biotransformation though some materia l
remains in its original form at the end of the process, forming an in-situ biocomposite. Pulp is the substrate that has been
inoculated with the living agent.
The term transcalar refers to processes and structures that range across multiple interconnected scales. This is a term that has
been used more extensively in the field of global studies. Jan Aart Scholte distinguishes between multilevel and transcalar:
Multilevel concerns each level separately whereas transcalar places the emphasis on the interrelation between th e various scales
or levels. “In contrast, a transscalar approach explains politics by treating spatial scales as overlapping, interrelated and mutually
constitutive.” [4].
By this definition transcalar processes are nonlinear: it is not ideal to consider any singular scale in isolation without taking its
interactions into account. Manuel de Landa describes nonlinear processes in a multitude of contexts: sociological, geological and
not least biological. He states that such systems require new methodologies, particularly because nonlinear equations (and by
extension, systems) are very difficult to solve analytically. They exhibit emergent properties: “ of the combina tion as
a whole which are more than the sum of its individual parts. These emerg ent (or ‘synergistic’) properties belong to the interaction
between parts, so it follows that a top-down analytical approach [...] is bound to miss precisely those properties[5].
In order to manage the transcalar and nonlinear aspects of biodesign, we have relied on a research-by-design methodology with
an emphasis on transdisciplinarity.
Architecture presents a wicked problem - no solution can be derived from an exhaustive list of problem specifications. Such
problems are not suitable for exclusively reductionist experimentation, which is further reinforced by the introduction of li ving
matter that has its own agency. According to Sharma, experimental reductionism in combination with “the global perspective of
systems-level experiments, [allows one to] link the fine and the coarse, the local and the global, and the bottom -up and top-down
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
Research-by-design methodology emphasises the importance of making and the material practice, with physical prototyping to
investigate the problem and probe the solution space. This implies a series of material experimentations and prototyp ing growing
in scope and resulting in a demonstrator [7], here Protomycokion. The prototypes explored sets of parameters that concern
different aspects of the biofabrication (such as substrate composition, printing parameters, fungal species, methods of
inoculation, growth time etc) through iterative testing in order to establish a workable design path.
The demonstrator is a synthesis of the spectrum of prototypes, bringing the divergent investigations into one concluding cont ext:
“Rather than presenting an array of possible solutions, the demonstrator necessitates the prioritisation of one solution space
over another in decision-making.” [8]. As in a wicked problem the “information needed [to] understand the problem depends on
one’s idea for solving it” [9]. Following this, the solutions presented here are not fully quantitatively optimized, but they represent
a solution for this specific context.
As biodesign spans across a wide range of length-scales, we have emphasized two important perspectives of scale in this context:
1. Addressing all scales with the specificities and transformations that take place at each level.
2. Linking the process of design across scales - how behaviours at one level effect and constrain across scalar boundaries.
The Pulp Faction project led to the development of a design and fabrication protocol that targets a number of variable and specific
scales ranging from nanometres to meters. We developed a strategy of design that works at the level of each of these scales,
connecting them in a reciprocal way. Although material scales are continuous and span several domains, we have for the sake of
clarity chosen to present the scales in a linear manner starting from the smallest. In the following sections we outline the
transformations that take place at five different scales and present an interpretation of the architectural implications.
3.1 Nano
At the molecular level, transformations are of a chemical nature. The fungus grows on and inside the material, which results in
the biotransformation of part of the original material into a living tissue. Elements of this transformation involve the partial
consumption of cellulose and lignin and the gradual build-up of chitin, proteins, and other various carbohydrates in structured
matrices. Through biofabrication, we employed the biochemical fungal factory to transform the existing material at the molecular
level into compounds that can give properties that did not exist in the substrate.
An additional transformation takes place through the metabolism of organic carbon found into the material, which is transformed
into the leaving tissue of the fungal species consisting largely of protein, chitin, and extracellular polymeric substances ( EPS). One
component of this biotransformation process that is of particular interest is the production of EPS, which is common when
microorganisms colonize surfaces (fig. 1). Their composition varies with nutrient condition, type of organism, growth stage, and
other environmental factors [11]. EPS substances have different roles [12], but one of the most relevant in this project is that
they anchor the hyphae to the substrate. Through adhesion and aggregation, they effectively act as a glue between these. The
EPS start to be layered at nano and micro scales and they grow to the millimetre scale when matured. The conditions in which
these are produced have design implications for several scales above, as they are influenced by these.
A further aspect of the molecular transformations is the productio n of hydrophobins, which are small proteins that increase the
hydrophobicity of the mycelium [13]. We expect that the production of hydrophobins, which are a common element of fungal
mycelium along with chitin which is itself hydrophobic, led to an overall hydrophobicity of the final biomaterial.
Fig. 1. SEM microscopy of pre-formed biofilms of P. Ostreatus [10]. a) Compact 7 days old fungal biofilm showing
hyphae cemented together with EPS matrix. b) Fractured layer of EPS covering the surface of the fungal mat.
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
3.2 Micro
At the micro scale, we looked at the transformations through the biological lens. Filamentous fungi like the one used in Pulp
Faction produce cylindrical cells of a few micrometres’ length, termed hyphae. The hyphae exhibit uniform growth and
interconnect to form a complex, highly organized network of filaments that becomes the mycelium. The mycelium can cover large
areas and volumes of substrate, to the extent that the total length of hyphae included in 1 gram of soil can measure up to 600
km of total length [14]. In this project, the nanoscale processes described above result in the partial biotransformation of the pulp
into living mycelium. Here the role of the mycelium is to surround and bind together wood, cellulose, and clay particles into a
matrix that consists of living cells and abiotic material. This is the next level of transformation where the more amorphous (lignin)
and fibrous (cellulose) structures of wood are interconnected with the network of the fungal mycelium. At the same time, the
mycelium acts as an extensive natural network of highways through which the fungus translocates nutrients across the construct
to further colonize and biotransform the material (fig. 2). The microorganism freely determines the distribution of nutrients across
the pulp; interestingly this results in a relatively uniform type of growth across the material, at least at the milli and meso scales.
Fig. 2. Microscopic imaging of growing hyphae with transport of particles. Photo by author.
A high ratio of fungal cells to the substrate is desired for a higher degree of biotransformation of the pulp. This happens naturally
over time, as the substrate becomes colonized. To accelerate the growth time, the strategy employed at this scale was to blend
the inoculum. A fungus that has grown in the petri dish for 5 days is blended with sterilized water, and this liquid inoculum is
added to the substrate. The blending process cuts the mycelium into numerous fragments and their addition into the pulp results
in the simultaneous development of many colonies, which eventually merge across the material. This results in a significant
reduction of the time required for growth and more homogeneous age of the mycelium.
3.3 Milli
This level is concerned with the larger material scale, where mechanical transformation can be observed. The main parts of the
process at this scale were the composition of the substrate and the extrusion of the pulp.
The composition of the material is a crucial aspect of the research. There are several factors that influence the results in several
ways: the water content, fibre size, and additives. Different scales have contradicting requirements regarding water content. For
the stability of the component a drier extruded material is desired. Additionally, the higher the water content, the higher the
resulting volumetric shrinkage and distortion [15], so this is another reason for lowering the water content in the pulp. However,
a higher water content is necessary for a fast and homogenous colonization of the substrate by the fungus. A successful
percentage that satisfies both conditions has been found at 59.4 percent of the total weight (wt%).
The fibre sources are wood fragments and paper pulp. Several sources have been tested and evaluated, with the emphasis on
finding a working solution rather than the best possible composition. Besides water, the lignocellulosic fibres were at the highest
percentage in the composition at 21.7 wt%. Out of these, cellulose fibres are at 5.4 wt%. The size of the wood particles is of high
importance, as larger particles improve the mechanical performance of the end result (under a threshold of 5 mm [16]) and
increase fungal growth [17]. However, large wood particles impede the extrusion as they cause frequent clogging. Therefore, the
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
largest fibres that successfully printed without clogging have been employed. Filtering the wood particles with a sieve of mesh
size 2 mm has produced the most stable results.
Besides water and lignocellulosic fibres, additives have been necessary due to the requirements of the 3d printing process.
Xanthan is a polysaccharide produced by the bacterial species Xanthomonas campestris. It has been employed as a stabiliser to
prevent water and fibres from separating in the process of extrusion, at 2.6 wt%. Clay powder as inorganic matter is a secondary
additive to the substrate. Mixed with water it results in a highly extrudable material, so when combined with the rest of the
substrate it acts as a support material. Additionally, this reduced the amount of water necessary to achieve a continuous
extrusion, which is desirable. However, it is desired to be kept minimal, as it does not contribute to conversion into fungal biomass.
A percentage of 16.3 wt% (considerably less by volume) was found to be suitable for our process.
The inoculated substrate was extruded on a layer-by-layer basis, similar to FDM (fused deposition modelling) and LDM (liquid
deposition modelling) 3d printing methods. However, unlike FDM (which relies on the thermoplasticity of plastics for the binding
of deposited layers) and LDM (which relies on the evaporation of water or chemical reactions to achieve rigidity [15]), there were
no chemical or thermo-setting agents in the pulp. The binding took place post-extrusion in the growth stage, when the hyphae
grow and fuse the layers together (fig. 3). This printing method is termed bioFDM (bio-fused deposition modelling).
Fig. 3. Extrusion of pulp (left), and hyphae growing on printed surface (right). Photo by author.
The dimensioning of the printing nozzle is also at this scale, and it has repercussions for the lower and higher scales. A wider
nozzle provides increased stability of the printed component, as well a s since it deposits more material at once, it reduces the
total printing time of the final column. However, it also reduces the surface to volume ratio - which as described below is not
desirable as it lowers the total growth of the fungus. The dimensions that have been employed are similar to the project reference
of the fungal combs (Termitomyces and termite symbiosis, [18]), where the expectation is that the fungal hyphae grow throughout
the bulk of the pulp. Final nozzle size employed was 3.2 mm diameter.
Several properties that were defined at smaller scales could be observed here: hydrophobicity, dispersion in water, humidity
absorption, tension, and compression strength.
3.4 Meso
This is the scale of the 3d printed component (fig. 4), where the demands and constraints of the organism, the printing process,
and structural integrity of the component itself as well as the larger macro scale all come into play. Each component was designed
to connect to an adjacent one, following the overall computed struct ure.
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
The design was managed through computational models which can negotiate these disparate needs. The surface area to volume
ratio (SA:V) was increased by a reaction-diffusion model. The SA:V in the 3d printed component algorithmically generated became
0.509, compared to 0.046 for the same size component if simplified for the casting process. This enhanced oxygen access, which
maximized hyphae growth [18]. This led to more EPS production, which induced the desired chemical and physical properties of
the resulting biocomposite.
The bioFDM process relies on stabilizing the component during the growth stage and finalizing the rigidity at the desiccation stage
- therefore in the printing stage it is weak. This limits the total height that the component could be printed at. A scaffolding
system, either independent, robotic or 3d printed, could be used to overcome this limitation partly or fully.
However, geometry plays an important role at this scale. Curved and folded geometries are structurally more rigid compared to
flat surfaces; by employing a complex algorithm the stability was improved. A computation script was further employed to add
connections between neighbouring channels in the extrusion toolpath. This introduced more lateral connections, which provided
supports during printing and therefore reduced the weakness in the printing and growth stage. Moreover, these lateral supports
strengthened the geometry in the desiccation stage, reducing global component distortions.
3.5 Macro
The macro scale is the demonstrator, where the output is experienced as architecture relating to the scale of the human body.
To achieve the full extent of the macro scale, a two-step printing process was implemented. The building element was subdivided
into smaller components (see above meso scale), that were individually printed, grown and dried. When the individual
components had achieved their full strength, they were assembled and bonded together, enabling the larger ( macro) scale.
The bonding at this second stage utilised the same process as the first stage of printing, with living pulp being applied to each
joint. When placed in a controlled high humidity environment, the mycelium in this joint has grown into the dried components
effectively bonding them together.
As the pulp dried it contracted, resulting in a shrinkage of the final component. This was limited in the horizontal plane th rough
the fabrication process, which resulted in a mostly vertical shrinkage. This was found to be approximately 20% and it was
accounted for in the design process.
At this scale, the characteristics and behaviours of the smaller scales (nano, milli, meso) come into effect as carriers or enablers
of architectural performance. The hyphae network covering the surface of the components not only binds and strengthens it but
imparts hydrophobicity that reduces the risk of liquid water ingress. Because of the microscopic properties and arrangement of
the fibres, water vapor can still be absorbed by or released from the material, enabling it to function as an effective humid ity
The arrangement at the milli scale of the printed material, which was formed in response to the fungus’ physiological
requirements and fabrication process, also assists in these functions. Thus, a clear transcalar function appears. The high surface
area and vertically connected voids facilitate the exchange of moisture, air and heat between the column and the surrounding
(human inhabited) spaces or rooms. These voids also provide a pathway for liquid water runoff, and permit for controlled and
Fig. 4. Printed subcomponent. Photo by author.
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
efficient drying of the structure. In their ultimate form, these interconnected and defined channels can perform important roles
in managing the internal climate, effectively forming a building-scale vascular system.
The variable material appearance, influenced by a myriad of parameters and microscopic behaviours, transformed at the macro
scale (fig. 5). Viewed together as a whole, the variation of texture and colour is perceived as unified. This effect was reinforced
by the algorithmic design, which never repeats itself yet follows a clearly distinguishable pattern.
Central to the transcalar approach described and discussed in this paper is the interdependence of variable scales, systems a nd
materials which results in nonlinear interactions and rapidly increasing complexity. These conditions, which are the norm in
biological systems, place a hard limit on traditional engineering approaches due to exponential increase in formal and functi onal
complexity [19]. Bentley suggests that nature and biological processes rely on a fundamentally different “design” logic, which can
influence and transform into new methodologies that make it possible to break through this “complexity ceiling''.
Contrary to top-down engineering, the “blueprint” of an organism found in its DNA does not encode a particular shape or form.
Rather, the gene sequences (genotype) encode a series of processes starting with the assembly and folding of proteins. These
processes, when executed in a variable context, lead to the emergence of performative and locally adapted forms (phenotypes).
The move to computational or algorithmic design enables a similar approach in architecture. Instead of drawing form, architects
can define - through computer code - a series of processes that only have meaning when placed in a context. In responding to
this context, the resulting form becomes locally adapted at multiple scales and can exhibit in principle unlimited variability while
maintaining consistency to internal and external logics. Such locally operating algorithms can suggest and negotiate high levels of
complexity and interdependence [20].
Therefore, the use of computational models and digital fabrication tools has been central in this process. Data -driven design can
span multiple scales and reach high resolutions without relying on repetition and homogeneity of forms and material as is the
norm in industrial mass-production. By encoding algorithmic behaviours into the making process and allowing these t o interact
with the biological processes themselves, a combination of specificity and large scale can be achieved. In this way biologica l
growth can be guided through digital tools. Emerging computational models enable new modes of creation that allow for a
plurality of scales, languages and priorities to coexist, relate, and negotiate within a single model: design intent, fungal needs,
fabrication parameters, structural constraints, human requirements.
The design of Protomycokion relies on a series of algorithmic processes that make the transcalar relations possible. The critical
aspect of digital fabrication is the ability to combine high specificity and articulation with large volumes, which is needed for
advancing the field of biodesign, increasing its capacity to make a profound change to resource use and manufacturing in
architecture. As Gorochowski states [21], “Being able to scale our ability to harness biology will be crucial for addressing the many
Ana Goidea | Dimitrios Floudas | David Andréen
grand challenges we face, such as shifts toward sustainable manufacturing, clean energy production, and new forms of advanced
medicine. CAD applied to synthetic biology is likely to play a key role in realizing these ambitions”.
One of the most exciting aspects of using biofabrication in construction is the vast potential for adaptation and variability. With
regards to mycelium biocomposites, different fungal strains will lead to different outcomes both in terms of fabrication proc ess
and the performance of the architectural object. From a biological point of view, growth speed under a broad range of conditions,
branching patterns, genetic stability, competitiveness, and lack of spores and toxin production are important factors over th e
selection of a fungal strain. From an architectural point of view, factors such as tensile and compressive strength, heat
conductivity, hydrophobicity, appearance and durability will all come into play and are influenced by the biological characte ristics
of different fungal strains, as well as biofabrication conditions. Depending on the intended application, these will be of varying
importance and different strains or even combinations of strains may be relevant for different projects.
In different environments, various raw materials are likely to be available and sustainable. In Pulp Faction, forestry by-products
were used, but in different contexts agricultural waste, recycled urban waste, or even on -site grown plant materials could be
relevant. By adjusting the strain of fungus used, these could potentially all be suitable raw materials which means that the process
is not per se reliant on centralised infrastructures or monocultures. This is a critical aspect for the overall sustainabilit y of the
biofabrication) paradigm. If biofabrication is scaled up to be employed in the construction industry and follows previous industrial
logics, problems will arise with regards to biodiversity, transportation and other issues. The ability to use locally sourced and
highly varied raw material through the transformative power of microorganisms is a key component in battling these challenges.
Therefore, it is unsuitable to develop a single form, product, or process through which to implement biodesign and biofabrication.
As has been described in the paper, the variables operating at all the different scales within the process are highly interdependent.
The fungal strain used is not an independent factor, but influences and is influenced by the raw materials, the extrusion process
and post treatment, and what architectural role and context the output has.
This is the core of the transcalar approach - the interdependence of the involved scales represents both the challenge and the
potential of biodesign. Computer models based on algorithmic and self-organizing logics can regulate and negotiate such
nonlinear processes and are critical for a successful and sustainable implementation of a biodesign construction paradigm.
The project output - the column Protomycokion and the processes through which it was designed and fabricated - serves as a
proof-of-concept for the use of biofabrication in combination with 3d printing to create architectural scale artefacts. It
demonstrates that these can achieve properties that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible. Doing so introduces a vas t
range of scalar interdependencies that result in a nonlinear and complex design process.
This transcalar process can be managed using computational design tools. These algorithmic approaches allow every scale to be
individually addressed through its own internal logic, while the consequences at connected scales can be tracked and considered.
In addition to the computational tools themselves, the research-by-design approach proved to be a powerful tool to address
these interdependencies, and particularly the use of a physical design prototype facilitated the transdisciplinary workflows.
The design-centred methodology with a transcalar focus enables a rapid and agile exploration of complex and interdependent
systems. This needs to be complemented with experiments undertaken in a more conventional reductionist manner. The design
approach, and particularly the demonstrator, should be coupled in an iterative manner with these experiments, and serves
multiple functions: it allows rapid establishment of parameters and design species, it links disciplines and facilitates interaction
between them, it communicates design and scientific intent and most of all it manifests transcalar effects of decisions made at
reductionist level.
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This commentary on the special issue ‘Advocacy Groups in Global Governance: Global and Domestic Opportunity Structures’ makes four main points. First, one can reflect critically on the framing concepts of ‘advocacy groups,’ ‘global governance,’ and ‘opportunity structures.’ Second, research on civil society and global governance needs to give serious attention to national as well as global dynamics. Third, studies need fully to examine the interrelation of national and global spheres in world politics; the two are not ontologically discrete. Fourth, it is important to dissect both the national and the global, particularly in order to expose the social stratifications that shape these arenas.
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The current physical goods economy produces materials by extracting finite valuable resources without taking their end of the life and environmental impact into account. Mycelium-based materials offer an alternative fabrication paradigm, based on the growth of materials rather than on extraction. Agricultural residue fibres are inoculated with fungal mycelium, which form an interwoven three-dimensional filamentous network binding the feedstock into a lightweight material. The mycelium-based material is heat-killed after the growing process. In this paper, we investigate the production process, the mechanical, physical and chemical properties of mycelium-based composites made with different types of lignocellulosic reinforcement fibres combined with a white rot fungus, Trametes versicolor. This is the first study reporting the dry density, the Young's modulus, the compressive stiffness, the stress-strain curves, the thermal conductivity, the water absorption rate and a FTIR analyse of mycelium-based composites by making use of a fully disclosed protocol with T. versicolor and five different type of fibres (hemp, flax, flax waste, softwood, straw) and fibre processings (loose, chopped, dust, pre-compressed and tow). The thermal conductivity and water absorption coefficient of the mycelium composites with flax, hemp, and straw have an overall good insulation behaviour in all the aspects compared to conventional materials such as rock wool, glass wool and extruded polystyrene. The conducted tests reveal that the mechanical performance of the mycelium-based composites depends more on the fibre processing (loose, chopped, pre-compressed, and tow), and size than on the chemical composition of the fibres. These experimental results show that mycelium-composites can fulfil the requirements of thermal insulation and have the potential to replace fosile-based composites. The methology used to evaluate the suitability and selection of organic waste-streams proved to be effective for the mycelium-material manufacturing applications.
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Abstract Hydrophobins are highly surface-active proteins that have versatile potential as agents for interface engineering. Due to the large and growing number of unique hydrophobin sequences identified, there is growing potential to engineer variants for particular applications using protein engineering and other approaches. Recent applications and advancements in hydrophobin technologies and production strategies are reviewed. The application space of hydrophobins is large and growing, including hydrophobic drug solubilization and delivery, protein purification tags, tools for protein and cell immobilization, antimicrobial coatings, biosensors, biomineralization templates and emulsifying agents. While there is significant promise for their use in a wide range of applications, developing new production strategies is a key need to improve on low recombinant yields to enable their use in broader applications; further optimization of expression systems and yields remains a challenge in order to use designed hydrophobin in commercial applications.
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A wide range of microorganisms produce extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), highly hydrated polymers that are mainly composed of polysaccharides, proteins, and DNA. EPS are fundamental for microbial life and provide an ideal environment for chemical reactions, nutrient entrapment, and protection against environmental stresses such as salinity and drought. Microbial EPS can enhance the aggregation of soil particles and benefit plants by maintaining the moisture of the environment and trapping nutrients. In addition, EPS have unique characteristics, such as biocompatibility, gelling, and thickening capabilities, with industrial applications. However, despite decades of research on the industrial potential of EPS, only a few polymers are widely used in different areas, especially in agriculture. This review provides an overview of current knowledge on the ecological functions of microbial EPSs and their application in agricultural soils to improve soil particle aggregation, an important factor for soil structure, health, and fertility.
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Liquid Deposition Modeling is introduced as a promising technology for 3D printing of wood. Specimens were printed using different paste-like suspensions made from ground beech sawdust and methylcellulose dissolved in water. The wood content could be increased up to 89% in dry mass. Physical properties were influenced by binder/water ratio and wood particle size. Shrinkage due to drying was 17.3–20.0%. Density values (r12) lay between 0.33 and 0.48 g/cm³. Bending strength and modulus of elasticity ranged from 2.3 to 7.4 and from 284.8 to 733.1 N/mm², respectively. Density, MOR and MOE increased with increasing viscosity of dissolved methylcellulose and decreased with increasing particle size.
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This paper examines the role of the prototyping in digital architecture. During the past decade, a new research field has emerged exploring the digital technology’s impact on the way we think, design and build our environment. In this practice the prototype, the pavilion, installation or demonstrator, has become a shared research tool. This paper asks how this practice has formed by tracing the different roles of the prototype from ideation and design, to analysis and evaluation. Taking point of departure in CITA’s own prototyping practice, we explore the relationships between physical and digital prototyping as a particular means of validation and verification. Here, a breadth of physical prototypes take on varying roles, in turn informing, testing and proving the research enquiry. The paper addresses how we can differentiate between these modes of prototyping and how.
White-rot fungi are efficient degraders of lignin whose extracellular enzymes have a potential to degrade organopollutants. In natural conditions these fungi enter into interactions with other organisms, which may affect their biodegradation capacity. The aim was to investigate the ability of Pleurotus ostreatus to form stable biofilms and to test the capacity of the fungus to degrade Remazol Brilliant Blue R in mixed cultures with bacteria. Bacterial counts were determined to see the behavior of the bacterium in the mixed culture with the fungus. In axenic conditions, the homogenized fungal mycelium was able to form an active biofilm which quickly degraded the dye. The addition of Pseudomonas fluorescens or Bacillus licheniformis bacteria at 10⁶ CFU·mL− 1 did not affect the decolorization rate by 7-d-old fungal biofilms where the decolorization rate reached 90%. In contrast, when fragments of the fungal mycelium were used for inoculation to pre-formed biofilm of P. fluorescens, the biofilm was allowed to develop for one week's time, no decolorization of RBBR was observed and low activities of MnP and laccase were detected. The use of agar disks covered with fungal mycelium for the inoculation to pre-formed biofilm of P. fluorescens resulted in a fully developed biofilm that decolorized RBBR with similar efficiency as the pure P. ostreatus. The difference between the agar-disk- and homogenized-mycelium inoculated fungal biofilms was corroborated by the measurement of total fungal biofilm biomass that was 6-fold lower in the latter biofilm. Capability of the fungus to overcome the competition of the bacterial biofilm thus depended on the type of fungal growth centres, where intact hyphae were superior to the fragments of mycelium. A similar effect was not observed with the biofilms of B. licheniformis where the bacterial growth was less massive. The ability of P. ostreatus biofilms to resist massive bacterial stress was demonstrated.