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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cellulose-Mycelia foam : novel bio-composite material Ahmadi, Hoda


Demand for sustainable products is growing faster than ever before. Because of this, the development of novel sustainable materials is crucial to leverage our environmental resources and to ensure future growth of Canada's economy. In this study, we propose a technology to develop the use of fungal mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus, through a porous scaffold of cellulose-based foam. A methodology for producing cellulose-mycelia foam (CMF) has been developed by mixing a surfactant with pulp suspension of 1% consistency and Pleurotus djamor spawn, mixing at high velocity to entrain air, filtering the suspension, and then holding at incubation conditions suitable for mycelium growth. During the incubation period, temperature (20-25 °C), pH (5-8), humidity (80-100%), ventilation and exposure to light were controlled. Simplicity of production, biodegradability, and 3-D porous structure of the product position this biocomposite as a green alternative to polymeric foams. The structure of the CMF was characterized through fluorescent microscopy during the incubation period. The effect of mycelial growth on the mechanical behavior of the CMF including compressibility, thermal decomposition, dry and wet strength was investigated during 25 days of mycelial growth. The results indicated that all tested mechanical properties improved after 25 days of mycelial growth. The second set of experiments was run to specify the application of the CMF in a hydraulic filtration system. The pressure drop, permeability, and filtration efficiency of the product were studied. The experimental results showed that the permeability of the CMF decreases by an increase in mycelial growth. The hydraulic filtration efficiency of the product improved from 74% for cellulosic foam to 99.9% for 25 days CMF for removing 20 µm and larger particles. Bioremediation tests also were performed to evaluate the detoxification capability of mycelia in the CMF. Detoxification tests demonstrated that the living mycelia are able to detoxify potassium hydroxide from waste alkaline batteries.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International