Saturday, May 27, 2017

Week of May 22 to May 26

     This has been the third week of Genius Hour and I ran into a few snags. Two out of my three original Petri dishes became contaminated with green mold and I had to throw them away. The third dish is still growing very well and appears have a lot of mycelium. I also started growing another five plates which should help to make up for the two contaminated dishes. I also found of that extracting the mycelium is extremely, extremely difficult to extract intact. as I did a test run on a contaminated dish. I looked at some mycelium under a microscope and found the reason for the difficulty in extracting is that the mycelium is very, very, very small and thus fragile. I am trying to come up with some ideas to see if I can successfully extract the mycelium but as of now I only have one idea that will hopefully work. For now, all I can do is wait for the mycelium to grow and hope that I can extract some mycelium or else the end result of my experiment will end in failure.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week of May 15 to May 19

This was the first full week dedicated to Genius hour and I feel pretty good about it. I made three agar plates and bought some oyster mushrooms from Shaws. I also added the oyster mushrooms to the agar plates to work on growing the mycelium that I need. On Friday I quickly checked on my plates and saw a little bit of growth of all three plates which is a promising sign. I also did a little more background research into the structure of mushrooms to see what makes them flame retardant. I also tested how well oyster mushrooms are at resisting fire and found that oyster mushrooms are indeed fire resistant, now I just have to hope dried mycelium is too. This upcoming week I plan on attempting to start making the mycelium string if I can grow enough mycelium and continuing background research as much as possible to try and understand why mushrooms are fire resistant.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week of May 8 to May 12

     This week we finally took the AP test which I felt pretty good about, and we also started thinking about genius hour projects. I am planning on trying to turn mycelium into a a form of usable string/yarn. Getting to this idea was a very complicated thought process.
     I saw that WPI researchers managed to grow human heart cells on a decellularized spinach leaf and wanted to do something similar so I thought about growing animal cells on decellularized fungus. This made me remember that people have made fireproof bricks out of fungus, and focusing on the idea that the bricks were fireproof I thought about applying this property of fungus to making clothes. Doing some more research into this I found that mushroom clothing has been made once before; however, the fungus was grown on the mold of a human, not made from yarn. Growing the clothing on a mold seems impracticable to me as the clothing would be shaped to the mold and wouldn't be able to fit anyone who chooses wore the mushroom clothing. After seeing this I decided to try and attempt to make yarn out of mycelium to improve upon the other mushroom clothing that I had researched.
     This weekend I did some tests and found that mushrooms either do not burn or burn very poorly depending of the type of mushroom. I also found that looking for mycelium in the woods is very difficult and that I will likely need to grow it myself which will be the most difficult part as I will need enough mycelium to turn into a relatively decent amount of string. Other than figuring out a way to grow enough mycelium I am looking forward the next month of genius hour.