Think about all the things we do with plants: there’s such a huge diversity of them–from peas to trees–that we eat them, we use them to making clothing, to construct our homes, to make medicines, and more.
Well, now consider that there are more species of fungi than there are of plants, and that fungi are actually more closely related to animals than we animals are to plants. In fact, there many, many times more species of fungi than plants. And our knowledge of a huge portion of fungal species is pretty much nonexistent.
You may know that mushrooms are fungi or that some medicines, like penicillin, are created from fungi. But just as plants are extremely diverse, fungi are even more so. Companies like Ecovative are just starting to peer into what we can do with fungi to help right some of the environmental wrongs humanity’s been committing.
In this episode we do back-to-back interviews with two impressive folks from this cool company. We chat with their CEO, Eben Bayer, and their research scientist and project lead Jessie Bie-Kaplan, who each offer different perspectives–one from the business side and one from the science side. These folks are making amazing and versatile materials they say could just solve serious environmental problems.
Resources discussed in the show:
- Eben’s inspiring TED talk.
- Business Insider on Ecovative’s work to grow real meat without animals (clean meat).
- Bolt Threads’ mycelial leather, made in partnership with Ecovative.
- BBC article on mycelium, including fungal species that can break down plastic.
- BBC documentary on mycelium, including an interview with Eben (also on Netflix).
- Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets
- How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan