What if we can fireproof our home with mycelium? Just in the US alone around 358,500 homes experience a structural fire and 3,000 people die each year. We chat with Dr. Tien Huyn, an associate professor in the School of Science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia to envision a world with fire proof mycelium construction.
Dr. Tien Huynh
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Unknown Speaker 0:11 Welcome, welcome. You are listening to the mushroom revival podcast. This is your host Alex dore, and we are absolutely obsessed with the wonderful, wacky, mysterious world of mushrooms and fungi, we bring on guests and experts from all around the globe to geek out with us, and go down this mysterious rabbit hole. And today, we have an amazing guest to talk about myco materials. So how you doing? Yeah, at least very well. And I love your little intro. That's great. Unknown Speaker 0:41 Thank you so much. And you're you're tuning in from Australia. And for people that don't know you and your work? Why don't you say hi, and introduce yourself? What are you up to? Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. Tin horn from RMIT University in Melbourne. And I do a lot of biomaterials. I specialize mostly in plants and some of that distracted distraction on funghi got in the way of growing plants. And that's how I got started. Unknown Speaker 1:08 Cool. Awesome. And what are you? What are you up to now in in relation to myco materials. Unknown Speaker 1:17 So well, a long time ago. So more than 10 years ago, we Unknown Speaker 1:22 were we went on a trip to Asia, looking at environmental sustainability. And we saw the amount of waste that was produced just in the ag in big agricultural industries like coffee and cacao. And Asia, as you know, is a big producer of rice. And we saw all the rice health, which is the shell that covers the rice. And that will be thrown out and Bert, I thought surely there's a better way to use this. So we were growing some funky for mycorrhizal associations to improve our orchids. And so we thought we'd put the funghi together with the rice holes to bind it. And along the way, we also saw right glassfibre, which is the broken glass that comes from the beer bottles in all the broken glass that we throw out. Unknown Speaker 2:10 We thought well, okay, this could be something we could put together. And we start experimenting, seeing what it does, and one of the students. So I had an engineering student who was really keen on building materials. And we started testing it for a whole range of things. And one of the things that came back really beneficial was fire resistant bricks. Because the glass obviously has silica, which is doesn't burn very doesn't burn. And the rice house also have silica, which also doesn't burn. So in the family, we used to bind them together, we produce these amazing bricks that just didn't burn. And when it did, it burnt very cleanly. And it was so much better than existing things like extruded polystyrene, or even particle boards that we have in our cladding in our home. And we found it was just a really good replacement. Unknown Speaker 3:04 And then from there, we started pitching to industry. And Unknown Speaker 3:08 there was quite a lot of interest in we've got a few publications that we can show you share with you and your audience about that. But we just we found that well, these bricks, they're quite bulky, you know, to handle that they're, they're like bricks. And to build a house, you need hundreds of 1000s or maybe 10s of 1000s of bricks to build a four bedroom home, for instance. So the production process would be quite difficult because you need to have a whole heap of them. And then, and that's for one order. Unknown Speaker 3:40 See if you can imagine bricks themselves are really hard to source where we are. So they've got to be made periodically. And every time it changes, you'll find the same batch. Unknown Speaker 3:51 So we thought, well, maybe we can improve on this to make it more versatile. And so we've come up with different versions of these viruses and stuff. And we change a few input to make it even better. And we came up with the flavor, which is like fungal leather. Unknown Speaker 4:08 That's what we made up the name. And it was a lot more lighter. And it's flexible. So it wasn't that bulky breed that we originally had. And we're really excited about it because we can see the versatility of it. Because instead of having the brakes, we can actually add it in with cladding to allow for the fire to burn less or even if it doesn't catch. Unknown Speaker 4:28 And that way allows participants so people in the home can have time to escape because most of the mortality that comes from building fires is the smoke inhalation. You know having that burn that actually Unknown Speaker 4:42 ruins your senses for you to actually find out your orientation to find out where to go. Unknown Speaker 4:47 And then we evolved even further because we've got our leather Yeah, it's okay, but maybe we can do better. And we're, we've started actually making our fourth version now. So if you think of Unknown Speaker 4:59 different versions Unknown Speaker 5:00 We'll come to the fourth version. So the third version was a wallpaper. So we're able to make it really? Unknown Speaker 5:07 Yes. So it was really great because the wallpaper means that we can actually paint it on kind of like, cool instead of building it into material, which means it's at an early stage in the building process. So instead, it's only for new houses being built. So we have a wallpaper, that means you can actually add it to existing houses. So it makes it much easier to use. And we've had a lot of interest with that. So we've had companies come approach us to try and put this in to do prototypes and then upscale it. Unknown Speaker 5:37 And that's essentially where we're at. We've got a fourth version, but we won't talk about it today, because we haven't published it yet. But I think it'll be okay. Yeah. It's just the evolution that makes it fantastic. And we're just fascinated with these deals, because they, they never say no to us. Right? Well, I'm excited to hear one day about vie for and yet, the wallpaper that's, that's really ingenious that I feel like it solves the problem with Unknown Speaker 6:06 less of the problem that you're dealing with it which is, which is pretty much every myco material person or, you know, any, any person trying to try and to have some sort of sustainable solution is like, Okay, how do we scale this thing? You know, it works on a bench scale, but how do we commercially make this viable? And I think that's a, it's a really good solution of, Unknown Speaker 6:31 you can still, you can still solve the issue of fires, but then you have a fraction of the biomass so that I think that's really, really smart. And you know, we were chatting a little bit before this, about your discovery of what species to use. And I think you said you started with like, 50 different species, and then you nail that down to three. Can you talk about that process? And what species you you ended up with? Absolutely. Because most the audience will probably know, we have probably more than 100 100,000 species, we know are funky. But that's a very underestimate of what's actually out there, we actually suspected more than 2 million species of fungus that we know, and less even less of that classified in terms of what they do. So initially, we were asking the question, which funghi do we use, there's just the millions up there and, you know, hundreds of 1000s that are there. And one of the key criteria wanted to do was make this an easy process and a safe process for everyone involved, including the producers or the front end, and the final end users or the back end. Unknown Speaker 7:41 So we get a lot of questions from people asking, Well, what happens if you have your break at the end, and it still spores, if it's a pathogenic fungus, it could be pretty bad, or like you said spores in general, very bad for allergies and breathing in, especially when fires happen. So we looked at more funghi that had very hardened growth bracket family. And when they have the sores are usually hidden, for instance, but we Unknown Speaker 8:08 one of the things that we looked at was beneficial fungus, and we focused on the edible mushrooms. So the mushrooms that we have, and the key component of this was actually making it more sustainable looking at industries that mass produced these mushrooms, so we can leave the mushrooms for us to eat, but use the root light structure, which is the mycelium of the the whole fungus. And that way, we're not competing with food security. And like you said, we started with almost 100 species, and we limited it down to 50. And then we limited that down to even more to about three. And the main criteria that we looked at was how fast does it go? How densely does it grow, because that helps with the manufacturing process, because if it grows too slow, that's money, profits loss by having, you know, time for it to grow. Unknown Speaker 9:02 And for letting nature do its natural thing to produce the things that we want, because we've got such a diversity of family to choose from. A lot of them are non toxic. So it could be simple and slow and beneficial funky like mushrooms that we eat. Unknown Speaker 9:18 So from there, we looked at a lot of the industries and we selected three, and then medicinal mushrooms and they're not just button mushrooms that you ate, which is still nutritious, but these ones are known in a lot of Asian cultures to be very beneficial for things like brain health, Unknown Speaker 9:34 cardiovascular health, and even other benefits. Like for instance, we weren't talking about that immuno health or for instance, better boosting for your immune system and who doesn't need that with COVID around and flus and colds. So we selected things like oyster mushrooms ganoderma and Turkey Tail. So there's quite a lot of different family that we looked at. And this is where I think it's really Unknown Speaker 10:00 fascinating people with this product, I think we're able to actually inform people in terms of the mushrooms that we're familiar with that there's a lot more out there. Unknown Speaker 10:11 Yeah, that three, you know, amazing species of mushroom. So I think I think you picked pick some good ones. Unknown Speaker 10:21 And do you? Do you bake the wallpaper to a certain temperature to kill the fungus to render it inactive? Yes. So what are the experiments was to optimize the property, because if you break it too much, or for too long, so too high temperatures have to login gums very brittle. So there's a balance between flexibility and brittleness. So we get a whole range of tests not only for the leather, but the bricks as well as the wallpaper. So they're still malleable, but it's. Unknown Speaker 10:56 So essentially what baking does is it kills the fungus that doesn't grow anymore into shape we don't want it to be. And that also allows for us to do a final coating to make it water resistant, for instance. And more Unknown Speaker 11:10 or usable, because it's some of the mushrooms that can look pretty unsightly. Although I personally don't mind the the different colors that come through. I think it adds to its uniqueness. But a lot of industry was coming back to us saying oh, we weren't just white wallpaper things, right. Unknown Speaker 11:27 A lot of that news coming out like kind of a brownish like Unknown Speaker 11:33 like leathery color, tan colors. And if you look at, for instance, the oyster mushrooms, we use type oyster mushrooms, and they came really white one side, but they came a different color on the side that we're growing them with the nutrients. Interesting. Yeah. So it was quite fascinating in terms of athletics, so we had to actually start looking at or which way can we grow them. So that that comes through naturally. So we don't have to add things to it like coloring and things to add. Yeah. Which will, would probably negatively hurt the fire resistant, right? If you're adding all these colors, Unknown Speaker 12:16 I guess, depending on what you're using, but yeah, so we were our focus was really three main things. One was its functionality Unknown Speaker 12:25 to two was its Unknown Speaker 12:27 cost effectiveness. And three was sustainability. Actually two was sustainability, because that was really important to us not competing with other things. And we achieved it. So we were really pleased with it, especially when we compared to what's existing out there. To for instance, with the bricks we had it was more than 31 times cheaper than anything we've currently used in industry and for industry to see that and especially for homeowners. I mean, do you have a home Alex that what what's what's building like over in America? Unknown Speaker 13:00 Is it expensive? Okay, well, depends on where you live. I'm in Austin, I do have a home. Austin's getting pretty expensive. Unknown Speaker 13:12 But other places not so much. Unknown Speaker 13:15 But if you're living in like New York City, or LA, Los Angeles, pretty pricey, for sure. But if you're living in the middle of you know, the middle of nowhere, you can you can get some, you know, good places, and then quality of building is all over the place. Like everywhere, you know, it's Unknown Speaker 13:35 a can range for sure. But even then, a house is pretty expensive compared to everything else. And that's you. Yeah, so totally bag of apples. Yeah. So we're talking about industries that make a huge contribution to people's incomes and whether their wealth really, and as we become more urbanized, and we're a little more like New York, for instance, very densely wing, high rises, so you're stuck pretty close to each other. The fire resistance material in your homes, makes a difference. I've seen a lot of instances around the world, the Grenville tower fires, this huge fatalities, that better cladding. Unknown Speaker 14:19 And it wouldn't burn so hot and have all these views. It could have saved lives. And I think we're at that stage. I mean, the building industry hasn't changed for hundreds of years. Unknown Speaker 14:31 If we have a material that can make it give you an extra, let's say 15 minutes without smoke inhalation to escape in the heat. And we've actually got really good videos of how it absorbs the heat so that the front Unknown Speaker 14:46 I'll explain a little bit how it works. So what it does is it burns the front side and it creates a child which acts like a shield or the underneath virgin layers. And we see that it actually Unknown Speaker 15:00 doesn't penetrate through that top millimeter, that hurts. So not only does it is a fire resistant, but absorbs the heat. Unknown Speaker 15:09 And what that means is if you live in a apartment in New York, for instance, and you're on the 15th level or something, it means as the fire burns up and through it, it doesn't burn through, because it's getting protected by the charging process. So it means that it will take longer. I mean, we've tested it over a minute. And even with our new material, it actually self extinguishes itself. Unknown Speaker 15:38 So it needs a carbon source to go through. But because it's actually having that cheering layer, there's nothing to burn, which is quite exciting. Really, I think it's time for a change in the building industry. Now that we have these materials, we need to actually start pushing or lobbying for changes because it will keep happening, I think, especially your winter now, we're coming to summer in summer bushfires in winter, you've got candles and electrical faults. So every all through the year, we've got all these fire hazards, and we surround ourselves in our homes and offices with so much ignition source. And I was talking to an Eevee. So a electrical vehicle manufacturer and they said, Well, you know, when you're charging things up, they all say to turn off ignition points and stuff. And now we're driving around and all these electrical Unknown Speaker 16:32 vehicles that it catches, and you're really stuck in there. Unknown Speaker 16:39 Because it's all electrical. So if wiring goes wrong, what happens. So I think there's going to be a real need for a lot more safety type of materials, especially for fire. We've tested other things as well. But the five things didn't. It's got to do with lives. Unknown Speaker 16:58 I mean, as we I don't know if you heard about it, being in Australia, but Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands was totally devastated by by fires recently, and Unknown Speaker 17:12 it's estimated, you know, around 1000 people were killed. Unknown Speaker 17:17 And I feel like something like this could have definitely saved a lot of people's lives. Just even even just slowing it down. Right, the speed at which that fire was going. It was just so quick. And I had actually a friend in emergency services, who was his job was, you know, to help find missing people or go through the rubbish and identify people and rough. I mean, it's he, yeah, it was really traumatizing to do that. I mean, it was a huge disaster. And then, you know, Calgary, Canada had this huge fires. And I mean, we're seeing I have a ton of friends in in the west coast in California and stuff and they're moving out just because there's so many wildfires now and, and even in Oregon, and just it's it's becoming so normalized that, yeah, you're right. It's about time that we take it seriously and find solutions that are more natural that Unknown Speaker 18:21 you know, and then and then one big thing as well as is after these fires, there's there's a lot of toxic waste from all the things that are burning. And some of the the, the new the common synthetic construction materials that are used now or the polystyrene, the particle boards, whatever, and I'm sure whatever traditional wallpaper is made out of. But yeah, we can limit, you know, Unknown Speaker 18:50 if we can limit that as well of how many toxic things are burning as well. That will go a long way. Yeah, well, I'll give you some stats, because I've had to talk to people about why this is important. I mean, it sounds obvious. But until you get the numbers and you see the real lives, like you said people going through and finding courses is terrible. Unknown Speaker 19:14 So in America, I think the recent studies were found that when you get over 350,000 house fires a year. Unknown Speaker 19:23 A lot, is a lot. Unknown Speaker 19:27 And we're not talking about little shacks. Tell me we're talking about and these aren't including residential Unknown Speaker 19:34 apartments, because they're considered one building one building. Yeah, that's like hundreds of Unknown Speaker 19:41 different homes. Right, right. And you get hundreds of deaths, billions in damages because houses are their most expensive asset. And most of it comes 38% comes from electrical faults. 32 So it's a third of cooking out Unknown Speaker 20:00 have read the kitchens, very dangerous, and alter our homes we use these we do have flame retardants, things that reduce fires, but they initially we had halogenated ones, that they're very toxic when they burn. And like you said, the runoff that comes from that is not only after the devastation of the pie is it goes into our waterways and kills aquatic life and causes all sorts of effects to us as we breathe it. So even if you escaped the fire, you're smoking, you're breathing, eating or smoking, you're breathing in a lot of toxins that cause huge effects are not only your endocrine system, neurological, reproductive, immune, and cardiovascular system, that's your whole body being affected just from breathing in, let alone the cleanup afterwards, of aquatic life or terrestrial life, when it goes into runoff. Unknown Speaker 20:55 We also have non halogenated. Unknown Speaker 20:58 fiery flame retardants. Again, they're still quite toxic when they burn. And like you said, particle boards, you know, cladding, all those things that we have, you know, homes, we're surrounded by these. So when it burns, that's all breathe in, if we get escaped, and that's why the inhalation causes a lot of issues with breathing. Unknown Speaker 21:19 Because not only is the fire itself, the smoke itself, but you got all these chemicals and toxins, Unknown Speaker 21:26 causing issues with your breathing, then the after effects of it accumulates as it accumulates in your body as well. Unknown Speaker 21:35 So, look, I think we're both on the same page. And I think that's why there's been really interesting Unknown Speaker 21:41 adopters of this in terms of it's a great idea, when can we buy it? Because this is where we're now facing that that bottleneck to produce enough. So we can stop producing people can buy. Before we get into that, because I'm curious about how, how to scale this. Ideally, I don't know exactly what stage you're at, but say I buy some wallpaper from my home? And Unknown Speaker 22:12 how are you imagining it? Or what Unknown Speaker 22:16 is it? Like how big of a role are we talking? Are they coming in like squares that you paste to the wall? Unknown Speaker 22:27 And how thick is it? And how does it feel? Like does it feel like leather on your wall? Or is it squishy at all or? No? No, it's just like paper? Yeah. Oh, wait, do I have time to pause to bring it and show you? Yeah, I'll see it. I mean, all the listeners aren't gonna see it. But I want to orally describe what you're showing me. Unknown Speaker 22:52 Okay, okay. All right. So I see a big brick. Unknown Speaker 22:58 So this is one of the bricks that we got from the mushroom industry. This was a reishi. So mushrooms grow on top. And the bottom is all the mycelium. Right? So our initial stuff was we got something like this, as well as making our own, cut them down into bricks, because bricks is only about a quarter of it. But the weight is like a third of the mean. I'm not a big person. But it's actually really quite lightweight cut for a brick I got, I'd have two hands for a proper brick. But this is like about four bricks altogether. And it's quite strong. And it's been in my room for about 15 years. And there's no coating or anything this is the raw material doesn't break down. And we've, we've got some collaborators who have grown them as close wetland pots, and it doesn't break down even in water. But that depends on the material that you put it with. Because we've got others that we had, we grew up for sustainable packaging. And when we finished it, we put it into our orchids and just watered it in and it broke down really easily. So the magic of it is what fungus you grow with it helps it to actually resist the moisture retention or you know, all that sort of breakdown sustainability. Yeah, reishi is no joke. They it's very hard when Yeah. And then we had. So this is like the brick like structure. Unknown Speaker 24:25 Yeah, so it looks white. And we've started to coat it. So there's a few I don't know if you can see the coloring but it's got coat, resin, natural product and natural resin that we could be coating with to see if we can have a nicer shinier aesthetic to it as well as a more Unknown Speaker 24:43 Corky type, texture. So yeah, it's like this and it's again very strong. And this has also been my room since before COVID. And you can put it into whatever mode you want or you can cut it down. So it's actually quite easy to work with as a man Unknown Speaker 25:00 material because it's, you can just cut it easily or grow it up, whichever way you want. And the waxy coating is that specifically for the wallpaper, just in general, just trying things out for another product. Yes, so well. So this one was really to look at, how can we make it stronger and more water resistant to be as an outside material rather than an inside material. So if we wanted to put in the roof, for instance, for acoustics, because we also did experiments on sound absorbing. So we also had interlocking sound absorbing type material that we wanted to put into, like, our music rooms, or, well, we actually talked to the aviation and automotive industry, because they want to align their Unknown Speaker 25:47 carbon structures around the injection points around the turbines, for instance, with a fire resistant material. Unknown Speaker 25:54 So we wanted to actually see if we can coat it to protect it a little bit more. But along the way, we also saw the aesthetics improvement on the material, because some of the fungi, they're quite well, these ones are white, so they're, they're nice, but the others, they'll go brown after a time. So people don't really like the brown apparently. I mean, I think it gives character but Unknown Speaker 26:18 the beauty industry wants you to have unique uniform whitish, so if you want to change your current anti anti nature, well, you got no perfect, perfect white boxes, you know, you can't have you there. Anything that resembled dirt or Barker. Fungus, yeah. So we've also got materials that you can create molds put things in. So this is what it kind of looks like and see this. So you can have a bottle in there and a little Unknown Speaker 26:46 spoon thing. And you can see it just looks like a normal box, you know, like a polystyrene thing. And then we started producing things onto material that were lightweight to start shaping it. Unknown Speaker 27:01 So we had things like this, which is like a Unknown Speaker 27:05 paper honeycomb thing. And you see the fungus growing on top of it, and it grows to the shape that you want it to. So you can actually been then it will grow. This is bendable. And what's what's the purpose of the honeycomb just for the just to create the unique shape for it to grow over a four hour acoustic testing. So it's actually to create the air space for the vibration to be absorbed. Nice. And also if it's for aviation, you might want to have with other materials that are used for lightweightness in strain. And the funghi don't really have that much strength on their own. They do if you have pure hyphae. But we want to Jasher use existing materials that might be used in industry that they think are essential and add to it. So if that's like that fire resistance on that side, but you still got the inherit material that you want the property for. So for instance, we looked at Unknown Speaker 28:05 this one's of aluminium, for instance. Unknown Speaker 28:09 We also grew on top of that. Oh, sweet. Yeah. And it's a really lightweight, I mean, this is less than two grams, maybe. Unknown Speaker 28:20 And if you can imagine them here that looks really thin. By me. It's very thin, but it's actually quite a thick layer also funghi growing on top, let me see here. So it goes through and it can go through as well. Unknown Speaker 28:32 And they're going, oh, yeah, they're coming through the honeycomb. Yeah. So it actually creates like a really great fire resistant layer, but you still have the property that you want other materials. Unknown Speaker 28:46 So that's more the Advanced Composites that we want to create for aviation, especially having materials that are still essential for the plane movement, for instance, or conductivity. So we didn't want to take that away from it. But add that layer of safety to it. And then everyone listening, you're like What the hell, she's Unknown Speaker 29:08 like trying to visualize my T shirt. I might clip this and post the video portion to our social so everyone can can can see what you're showing by Yes, sorry. Yeah, it's really cool. And some pictures because the thing is, and I tell most people that are most people come to me the feedback has been, it looks so different from photos, you don't actually understand the importance and the applications of it until you touch it. Unknown Speaker 29:35 But anyway, I will pretend to say maybe this is like a real aversion podcast, but the leather we've got is here so you can kind of see that's just pure funky. Nice. Yeah. And you know, it reminds me of Do you know those? Those like wafer cookies? Unknown Speaker 29:54 Yes. What are those people like that? Unknown Speaker 29:57 Yeah, wife a wife is right like Unknown Speaker 30:00 And Unknown Speaker 30:01 then they have like Unknown Speaker 30:03 that like, sweet filling in the in the middle. It's like, I think a wife is that you go to church and you have those little wafer things. You know that too. Yeah, I'm thinking of maybe like a Danish tree or something like that. But yeah, it's a wafer was from oyster mushrooms. So it's actually white all throughout. Can you can you see that? With a little bit of? Yeah, creamy color thing, which is very attractive, I think. Because you could use this as, you know, on a wall. See my water background? Yeah. Yeah, so So same color. Yeah, if you have sheets of these, we can grow them, you know, up to like, a three size or depending on what Unknown Speaker 30:46 box you have. Unknown Speaker 30:48 But we're also looking at 3d printing to get these printed out into interlocking sheets. And it's got a lot of strength in terms of it holds itself up. But it's still flexible. Unknown Speaker 31:01 So it's, Unknown Speaker 31:03 it's quite good compared to a bulky proceeding. And then we've got our latest version, Unknown Speaker 31:09 which is the paper life. So it looks like that, but it's actually one millimeter thick. And you can see if I drop it your reishi float like paper. Yeah, it looks super nice. Yeah, like that. It's like, crispy. We're not crispy, cuz we, it can if you bake it longer and stuff, but it's actually it's actually really, but it's still super flexible. Yeah. Yes, it's an it's so light. It's like you might look like into see it? Yeah, that's like a leaf. Yeah. Have you looked into curtains at all? I know. Probably light passes pretty well through that. But potentially, depending on what your fungus is. Unknown Speaker 31:54 We have a ladder or something? Yes, you could put them into curtains or even in clothing and chairs like upholstery. Unknown Speaker 32:03 But I think Unknown Speaker 32:05 as a scientist, I think the best way to use a sensor is align the electrical points. Right? So for instance, our computers, you know, the electrical part, because that's where we get third of our fires from electrical Unknown Speaker 32:20 points or sparks that happen. And it just catches, especially when charging things or when there's a surcharge of power. So instead of lighting the whole house, which you need heats up, why don't you catch it the source? Right. And that way, it's actually more commercially feasible. Unknown Speaker 32:40 But it comes down to the builders to make sure around that area. I'm pointing to my PowerPoint over there. Unknown Speaker 32:49 You know, if we line that area there and protected, that way it stops the spread from going anywhere. And potentially kitchens to you know. Unknown Speaker 33:00 Yeah, just figuring out where Unknown Speaker 33:03 where the source of most fires are then go there. We know it's electrical and cooking. Unknown Speaker 33:10 Yeah, there's some other things like candles, especially in winter, or an unattended, open flames. Unknown Speaker 33:18 You know, especially as you have, I think there's a few insurance companies that look at when you have a candle, even though it's in Unknown Speaker 33:28 candle holder, the flames are still on top. And if you have a window open or something, or curtains that float really burn quickly. That's what catches and doesn't even need to touch you just go close to Unknown Speaker 33:41 it's funny. I have a candle literally burning, right, the sun is going really fast where I'm at, and it's getting pretty dark in this room and have no lights on. So I just flicked on a candle, but it's Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know what I mean? Like, you can feel the heat in where the heat is, that's where it could actually burns. It's not just where you can see the fire. And a lot of fires that we know they it's not so much containing it. It's all the sparks that come up. That could go meters away. And so this is where I think there's an opportunity for our session, get it at the ignition sources before it actually gets out. And that would be much more feasible instead of building a whole house of fire resistance stuff. So we've got Yeah, we've got quite a lot of materials that we've got prototypes that have been really impressive for for industry to have a look at and to touch because I think when you tell people you've got these, these materials, like a leather thing, until they touch and feel it they don't understand how it can actually be told it resembles what they used to. Unknown Speaker 34:48 So what what are your biggest barriers Unknown Speaker 34:52 in scaling this is it funding? Is it more research? Is it Unknown Speaker 35:00 Um, Unknown Speaker 35:01 you know, figuring out what what is the best product and industry to pick? Unknown Speaker 35:07 You know, you're talking about like aerospace applications, or like sound engineering and, you know, wallpaper than, you know, there's it sounds like there's a million things you could do with this. Is it really that of like picking? What is the most bang for your buck? And what, you know, what would you say is like the biggest hurdles for you, all of that and more. Unknown Speaker 35:35 For this project, I haven't actually had any funding for it, I think some of my collaborators have for the scholarships or the students, we certainly do need a lot more funding to go into it. Because at the moment, even though we've done the test show, there's fire resistance, we need to still add more to get up to industry standards, and to actually convince industry that this is something worthwhile pursuing. So we've had a few talks with government bodies, because until there's legislation as a requirement that has to be done, building is not going to change. Because I went to a few other major construction companies in Asia Unknown Speaker 36:16 and in Australia, as well. And they loved it. They came, they said, Look, we'll go and talk to our contract. It's been our builders and see what they think if they could use it. Unknown Speaker 36:26 And they came back with me, to me within the week, and they said, Unknown Speaker 36:31 they like what they're doing. And if there's no need to change, I mean, sure, it sounds like but they're trained to work with boring polystyrene. And what is this fungus thing? Who knows what fungus is, you know, builders. It's, it's totally foreign. And they're not so well. It's a living material, but we've killed it. Unknown Speaker 36:54 And that just blows your mind. And then it's like, oh, I should probably not talk too much the science stuff. And so for me as a non builder, it's been a bit Unknown Speaker 37:05 of a learning process in terms of game. Yeah, same terminology as builders, because one of them came back to me and said, well, concrete doesn't burn. I said, but you're building your whole house with concrete, are you and it's really heavy. And what happens with concrete cancer, when, with weathering, it cracks, and you have to build on new thing, the CIP but we really like concrete, it's easy to do. Unknown Speaker 37:30 So what do you say to that? Unknown Speaker 37:32 So there's a lot of challenges with well, not only the, in the, the people who are going to be working with these things, but there's no incentive. Unknown Speaker 37:43 Totally, yeah, it I mean, it almost seems like Unknown Speaker 37:47 one it is important to, you know, talk with builders to see, you know, I'm sure, there is something that they're like, yeah, actually, this isn't the best material or, you know, or actually, you know, when we're building this, we could do this better or whatever. And, but also, it seems like, it needs to be Unknown Speaker 38:13 like regulatory, you know, like, like mandatory on a on a Unknown Speaker 38:20 Do you states, what do you what, how do you break up regions in Australia? Well, we have states, yes, yeah. But like, by state, or, yeah, this is the thing, and every country has its own regulations, because we've talked a lot with a few people in the UK, because they're very keen, because they've just had a change in their regulation to get rid of cladding, because of the fires that happen. And so the government's starting to now look at what they can do. But it's not to build or add things to existing homes and make them on fire resistant, and it just becomes like, oh, too much. We, you know, we need to break this down and start working on what to do, we don't have any materials. And so yes, you do, Unknown Speaker 39:03 you know, give us some funding to create my fourth prototype. And that one will be easy to just apply. So you don't need to have a certificate of building a degree in building two uses, it will just come easily for you to roll on like the wallpaper or it shouldn't be hard. And this is where we're trying to make it as easy as possible for the builders to use. So they can start putting it into the Unknown Speaker 39:32 the jobs there the contrast. And this is where the problem is because I'm not a builder. And a lot of the people that I've had to contact I've had to go out on my own and approach them. So we I went to a lot of construction places which they see me coming it's like you lost Unknown Speaker 39:51 because yeah, science then is like oh, we don't know what you're talking about. We know concrete we know, cladding, fungi. Unknown Speaker 40:00 Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep keep walking lady. Unknown Speaker 40:05 Because it's like, what, what qualifications do you have, again, are you in building and it's just becomes very awkward. But that's where I think it needs. I mean, even talking to government, I don't know how America is, but it's very popularity based. Unknown Speaker 40:22 Total in terms of you know, they do the things that are they invest in things that are going to give the general public more voting. Unknown Speaker 40:33 And so building if people don't know about, and this is where I find it really important for the communication side, and it's very good for the podcast new approaching me, because the more people know about it, we as the end consumers, I mean, I'd love to have this in my home. Unknown Speaker 40:48 And I'm going to start lying now that I've taught my students make me a few sheets, and start lining my own things up, just so I know that I'm safe, and I'm sleeping. Unknown Speaker 40:58 And, but that's because I know about it. And the more people know about it, we as consumers can demand for better. Unknown Speaker 41:06 I think it has to start both from a bottom up and the top down. Because, yeah, as a researcher, it's in the labs. It's really we're very excited. But making it into something you can buy off the shelf and to yourself for builders to do it into our homes at the beginning. We're not there yet. Unknown Speaker 41:29 Yeah, yeah, I didn't even think about Unknown Speaker 41:32 all those hurdles and and even potentially, like going to insurance companies and working out something like if you have this in your home, you get a better rate or something like that. Unknown Speaker 41:43 There's so many angles to go about it at and it just seems Yeah, like heavy lifting. And educating people about mushrooms and fungi. Period is heavy lifting, but trying to disrupt a Unknown Speaker 42:02 dinosaur industry that, you know is Unknown Speaker 42:06 if it ain't broke, don't fix it kind of mentality. It that's really hard. So, best of luck. Unknown Speaker 42:16 My problem is because I love doing the science. And that's why I was saying, I need someone else to do this. The talking to the industry, and let me do the things. I'm really good at, Tony. Because it just becomes like you said, it's just there's just so many hurdles. And especially as a pioneer coming up with a material that we haven't seen before. Unknown Speaker 42:41 There's just so many hurdles to make it adopted. Have you watched it's a newer movie, but have you watched the movie Blackberry? No. Should I watch an old BlackBerry phone? Like the old phones? Yes, yeah, you should watch it. Unknown Speaker 42:59 Because a lot of the basis of that kinda, it's like a it's based on true events. But it's not like a traditional documentary. You know, it's like a, it's a movie. Unknown Speaker 43:12 But a very well, a group of super techie guys made the BlackBerry and but they didn't. They're not marketers. And then this guy came along who's like a master marketer and sales guy. Yeah. And they teamed up. And so it was like the scientists and the sales and marketing guy and this and that's what led to their success. That's happy. Yeah, anyways, a good movie regardless, but that that was like a good point of Yeah, you got to, you got to find you got to know your strengths and weaknesses. And then delegate for sure. Yes. So Alex, spread the word out any Americans who want to work with me to make this into a real thing? I'm very happy to to four Australians. Yeah, we we have listeners from all over the globe, wherever you are. Yeah, yes, hit her up. So and this is why we really wanted to talk about it, instead of having as a research thing that sits on my desk, we want to let people know, so that we can start working towards a better, you know, building Unknown Speaker 44:17 fire resistant type material, everywhere, because this is going to be we want it to be everywhere. And not just for one, you know, Western countries, for instance. Unknown Speaker 44:29 You know, we have amazing stats for developed countries, but there's a lot more fires in underdeveloped countries as well. These don't get reported and we've seen deaths, you know, especially in main cities. Unknown Speaker 44:42 And I think in this would be a really great industry opportunity. Unknown Speaker 44:48 Yeah, I agree. If you could, Unknown Speaker 44:53 if you could rewind time, and Unknown Speaker 44:58 if you could start over from Unknown Speaker 45:00 Day one, knowing everything that you do now, Unknown Speaker 45:03 what would you do differently? If anything at all? Unknown Speaker 45:08 Oh, no, I see that as something that's Unknown Speaker 45:12 not a great way to look at it because we get to go we have has been a really, we've done thorough research in terms of looking at what's out there. Because if we didn't have that we wouldn't have limited down to three family that are really good for different properties, the different processing a lot of the students, if we if to answer that question, I would have chosen the students that know now what they know, because the process of growing. Unknown Speaker 45:36 A lot of them came from engineering backgrounds. Yep. So they know nothing about biologic biology. Yeah. Nothing about family. So to train them up to that stage takes years. So because you know, we're going to grow mushrooms. Yeah. It's very prone to contamination. Oh, so grown more contamination than mushrooms is, imagine an engineering student who works with metals or hard materials, and then telling them you gotta grow these things now. And they're not green gardening people. So they've got no idea. This is like a living thing. You got to feed it, you gotta look after it. You got to know what contamination. Good workout what either. Yeah, the things so training them up to if I had to start again, I'd get the ones I already know. But the problem with our biology students is they don't know how to test it Unknown Speaker 46:31 properly, and design it in a way that can actually be done, so that we can get them the properties we want out of it. So it's really hard finding a student has both knowledge bases. Yeah. And reducing that contamination. Because we had, there was a time when we had some, because I work with pathogenic fungi as well. Unknown Speaker 46:53 And the students, so we try and separate them in rooms. Because you know, you go in the same place, plant pathogenic human pathogenic human pathogens. Oh, fun. Yes. So Unknown Speaker 47:06 yeah, don't don't swap those. Yeah, no, I think it was it got legs, and it just crossed the road, the hallway. And the student that was growing the acoustic tiles. He had this huge contamination. And he said, it's contaminated what I do. I said, What throw it outside again. And he didn't like that at all. It said it engineering, we don't do that. We try and fix it. Don't you have like antibiotics or antifungal? And I said, No, it takes only a couple of weeks to grow. So just start again. And then I said, Look, what you want to do is test which inputs are the agricultural waste that were used, which one was contaminated, because it could come from your feed, it could come from your materials union sterilize enough, it could be this could be that. And so we had to start again with tell students, which one would produce the best thing to reduce their contamination. But it's been a real learning process for a lot of these engineering students, because Unknown Speaker 48:00 I think they also appreciate living organisms much more after. Yeah. And you were just awarded the highly esteemed superstars of STEM Award, a program which recognizes the top 30 female scientists excelling in their field in science and technology, Australia, which is amazing. Congratulations. Thank you. And we have a bunch of aspiring girls and women listeners that not only want to pursue mycology, but but career in STEM as well. What advice would you would you give them Unknown Speaker 48:41 just go for it? Unknown Speaker 48:43 You know, because even though there's challenges, when you actually achieve something great, you just feel like that was worth it. Unknown Speaker 48:53 Yeah, and I look, there have been a lot of challenges, especially get into my station, I've seen a lot of other people have gotten Unknown Speaker 49:00 there much faster than I have. But I think it actually builds a lot of resilience. And I tell a lot of people now where these experiences actually add to it's like the family, it's your color as to who you are, and especially we're coming out of COVID A lot of students who've had a very smooth run all their lives, and they come across difficulties that don't have the mechanisms and the skills to deal with it. Unknown Speaker 49:28 So for young girls, you're going to come a lot of come across a lot of hurdles, you'd come across people much louder and much more brilliant than you are. But that's what they say because they've had the opportunity. Unknown Speaker 49:41 But as girls, I think we do have a lot of challenges like we sacrifice. I mean, for me anyway, a sacrifice of family. You know, for parents, you know, there's a lot of pressure to do certain things as a female. Unknown Speaker 49:56 But in the end, all those pressures and Unknown Speaker 50:00 Challenges actually may give you skills to deal with real problems. Unknown Speaker 50:06 And it makes you so resilient that whenever you get knocked down, you come right back up. And it's actually a blessing to have that skill. Unknown Speaker 50:15 I yeah, I love that outlook. That's, that's great. And great advice as well. Unknown Speaker 50:23 I'm, I'm, Unknown Speaker 50:25 I might know the answer and slash. There are some things that you don't want to reveal yet. So we'll see how you answer this question. But if you had if you had unlimited resources, time team and a trained team Unknown Speaker 50:43 what would you do? And why? Unknown Speaker 50:46 And pro marketer, all the sales team, everybody, the whole whole, you had everything at your fingertips, anything you wanted? Well, if I had all that, I hope this product or a fourth version product will be in the market by the end of the year. Unknown Speaker 51:04 Love it. Great thing. It's doable. But there's a lot of things that stop that from happening. But I think I mean, I think if there's enough demand, and I believe in the masses of the people, Unknown Speaker 51:18 because we are the end consumers. This is our home. This is where we spend most of our time. And who wouldn't want it safer home? Who wouldn't want to drive a safer car? Unknown Speaker 51:29 Who wouldn't want to travel overseas to see your loved ones in a safe way? Unknown Speaker 51:35 I think if I had all the resources, I'd make that tomorrow. Unknown Speaker 51:39 I think it's really funny. Although I care deeply about fire safety, I also just purely want fungal wallpaper, just to purely have Unknown Speaker 51:52 just to know I have a house like made out of mushrooms. Just that fact alone is cool enough. And I yeah, I feel like the days where I I take too much of a microdose I would just be like feeling my walls. Unknown Speaker 52:08 Dry i The it's it's totally I understand. Because it's very addictive. These funghi working with them. I am fascinated with the way they feel. And they don't smell at all. So when I see them, I think are there could be like normal wallpaper, you wouldn't even tell the difference. Right? And I mean, I have these things on my coffee table just as conversation starters. You know, people come and visit me say Yeah, and I put my little, you know, cup on top. And it's like a coast. It's just, you know, people think, Oh, is that just a choke coaster? And it's just like normal? Someone say no, but it's not. And we can produce so many more things of these things. It's just Unknown Speaker 52:53 you think of when I explained it to non scientific people, it gives me real buzz when I convert someone over to the dark side, so to speak, you know, fungal person, because Unknown Speaker 53:05 there's people who love mushrooms, and there's people who don't. Unknown Speaker 53:09 And when I convert a non mushroom person into the field of funghi I feel a real great sense of achievement. Oh, it's a great feeling. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because a lot of good challenge. Bad. Yeah, a lot of people think mushrooms are only soggy. Unknown Speaker 53:28 But Unknown Speaker 53:30 But, but mushrooms, only one type of several million species. Unknown Speaker 53:37 You know, and, like God, we've got one of these things where we have these Lion's Mane, which is very creamy flavor to it. So when I give people coffee, I have a lion's mane frother. Nice. Cool. And then I tell them after they've drank it, especially non mushroom believers, and they're like, Oh, you're so you better with our minds. Unknown Speaker 54:00 But that couldn't tell if you didn't tell them. Unknown Speaker 54:03 Right? Yeah, totally. I mean, even, you know, if you really know how to cook mushrooms, and you have like a chicken in the woods or something like that, it is really hard to tell the difference. Or you have like, you know, a really meaty mushroom and you cook it right with the good with the right amount of seasoning. And you know, you're really good chef. It's hard to tell the difference. You know, like, if you close your eyes and did a blind test, you would not be able to tell. And most of it is also I mean, people don't know how to cook mushrooms and it breaks my heart every single time. And even I'll go to restaurants and I typically avoid mushrooms off a menu of restaurants when I eat out. And it's really funny. I'll be out with like friends or family and they're like, Oh, look at this mushroom dish. And I'm like, Nope, I'm not ordering it. Only because it's sad like most people even chefs don't know Unknown Speaker 55:00 had to cook mushrooms. Because it's such a foreign thing. And luckily, it is starting to pick up. I think it was great having fantastic fungi on Netflix. And, you know, I think with COVID We're definitely starting to see a revival with fungi in a renaissance time of just people getting not only interested in in mushrooms and fungi, but just reconnecting back to nature. And I think Unknown Speaker 55:28 it's it's important, especially in such a climate, weird time. It's vital that we connect back to nature, we learn from nature, we form relationship with nature, make some really cool things with nature, like you're doing, solve some of our world's biggest problems. And Unknown Speaker 55:49 for that, I'm excited. And I thank you for doing the work that you're doing. And utilizing fungi to solve some of our world's biggest problems, save lives, save houses, save a lot of precious things. So thank you. You're welcome. Thank you, listeners. Hopefully you enjoy your mushroom much more next time you have one. Unknown Speaker 56:11 And where can people follow your work, I can post it up. So I'm at RMIT University if you type in my name, TN one. So that's Dr. T, and one at RMIT. You'll find heaps of stuff online about me because I'm very vocal about the things we do because I do believe in the power of the masses. As a scientist, I don't want my work to just stay in the laboratory, I want it to be something that we as end consumers can use for a safer, cleaner, better environment. Unknown Speaker 56:41 So connect with me if you and I'll send some stuff for Alex to post on your podcast. So you can find me easier and then read the stuff that we've been doing and get involved in demand for better. Unknown Speaker 56:52 Sweet. Love it. Thank you for tuning in from Australia and joining us for this this episode. This is great. Unknown Speaker 57:02 I love we've been doing this podcast for I don't know, three, four years, something like that. And I feel like every episode, I'm blown away by people doing new things that I've never heard of. And it's really cool. It just seems like fungi is endless. I'm I'm constantly humbled and blown away at all the endless possibilities. And so Unknown Speaker 57:25 if you're listening, if you want to get into this field, just do it. This great. Unknown Speaker 57:33 Sir available. So we'd love some American young girls who are interested in making this as a next thing, whether it's a whether it's fashion, or for better Unknown Speaker 57:42 agricultural products, we're doing that as well using 3d printing. So get in touch, or have your company let me know because we'd be keen to talk to you. Love it. And thank you everyone for for tuning in and tuning in for another episode. Wherever you are tuning in from from around the world. Unknown Speaker 58:02 We couldn't do it without you. You're literally the entire holding up force of this this podcast. So I appreciate every single one of you. If you want to support the show, we don't have a Patreon or any way that you can directly donate. But leaving review goes a long way. telling your friends telling your family something you learned in this episode or another episode, just spreading the word in general about mushrooms, fungi, this podcast ways that people can convert over to the mushroom side. And another way you can support the show is going to mushroom revival.com. We have a whole line of of organic functional mushroom products from capsules, tinctures, powders, gummies lots of really fun stuff there. And if you want to try them, we have a discount code, VIP coupon code just for listeners. So no nowhere else can people find this code. But the code is pod treat. That is P O D treat for a surprise coupon code. We change it all the time. So try it out. If you want to win some goodies, some free ones, we have a giveaway in the in the link Unknown Speaker 59:19 in the bio so you can click that and try to win some goodies we pick a new winner every month. Unknown Speaker 59:26 There's also a bunch of free resources we're gonna post some papers that 10 cents and Unknown Speaker 59:33 I also have my new book on there. So free ebooks with a bunch of recipes and stuff like that. So tons and tons of goodies for y'all and I hope everyone has a beautiful rest of your day or night. And as always much love me the spores be with you Transcribed by https://otter.ai