SciFest National Final 2023

Stand 9

Growing the Future: Investigating the Growth of Mycelium Packaging using Button Mushrooms.

Student Fatima Karimi
School Tullamore College, Riverside, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Teacher Elaine Howlin
Venue TUS Athlone

The rampant and unchecked proliferation of plastic packaging has reached alarming proportions in recent years. Plastic packaging, designed for its durability, has paradoxically become an enduring global menace. My project aims to produce sustainable biocompatible packaging using agricultural waste and locally sourced mushrooms. Mycelium is a root-like structure of mushrooms and other fungi, consisting of a network of branching, thread-like structures called hyphae. Mycelium can be grown on a variety of agricultural waste products, such as straw, sawdust, and corn stalks, and can be molded into various shapes to create packaging.

My project uses Agaricus bisporus, commonly known as button or portobello mushrooms, which is the most cultivated and consumed mushroom in Ireland with particular attention to portobello mushrooms which are very often a waste product of the button mushroom industry. The straw or other agricultural waste acts as a substrate for the mycelium to grow. Not only does the process of producing packaging from mycelium turn waste into value, but it also absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere making it carbon neutral. In addition, mycelium is non-toxic and biocompatible, making it suitable for use in food packaging and medical applications. Despite all the benefits of this sustainable packaging, the process of growing mycelium is very slow, therefore my project has focused on increasing the rate of growth of mycelium to make the process of making biocompatible packing from mycelium a viable process.


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SciFest National Final 2023
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