Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of masses of branching hyphae. These fibres easily bind to other materials, especially those which are organic. The fungus uses mycelium to extract and absorb nutrients from its surroundings by secreting enzymes. It is then able to breakdown the organic polymers (within the surrounding materials) into smaller monomers so it can absorb them more easily. It then becomes a pure white foam-like material which has effective thermal properties, is fire resistant and can be easily customised.
Tŷ Syml has developed a number of processes which allow mycelium to be combined with a variety of different substrates. As part of our business model we have identified by-products from various industries such as wood chips, sawdust and brewers’ spent grain (BSG). By introducing mycelium we are able to transform these substrates into innovative materials within a period of 5 to 10 days. During this time period the two elements (mycelium and substrate) fuse together to form a new material.
The result of this process of combining mycelium with a substrate is the production of new materials that are surprisingly strong and lightweight. They are also 100% natural, can be recycled and are fully compostable.