The Netherlands was supposed to be the last European leg of my journey. I was planning to meet with microbiologist Professor Han Wösten at the University of Utrecht, who leads the mycelium research group. Unfortunately, because of a spike of Covid-19 cases across Europe, I had to return home. Instead, we had a Zoom conversation.
Mycelium is a fungus that can be grown as a replacement for plastic and polystyrene. It is bio-engineered from agricultural waste or artificial materials bound together with the roots of a mushroom. These materials are grown into a desirable shape and can be manipulated into different firmness. Their applications include industrial products, from textile, acoustic noise cancelling panels, to architectural construction materials. We exchanged many fascinating ideas. I am still hoping to visit him in his laboratory next summer.