Fungkee | Fungal Supercoating

What if we can use a fungus to coat biomaterials of the future?

A research to develop a commercial, 100% natural fungal derived coating for [bio]materials.

Fungkee is a conceptual brand identity for future biomaterials.

Fungi can be used to add a wide spectrum of properties to biomaterials, including water repellency, colour and fragrance, which improve the quality of products made by microbes. 

Our cellulose-based bioleather is produced by bacteria and could replace animal leather in the fashion industry. Currently, the bioleather is not water repellent and the colour is unstable which ultimately leads to premature degradation. 

Therefore, in this collaborative project with Radboudumc, we are developing a water repellent fungal coating to improve the functional design of bioleather. To avoid the use of synthetics and to obtain a 100% natural coating, we focus on exploring beneficial attributes of a fungus isolated from a human patient. Although harmful for this patient, the fungus is better known as an edible mushroom.

Fungkee Supercoating represents an example of a chemical-free coating that will draw attention in the fashion industry, that even potentially dangerous fungi may have useful properties, such as to make bioleather more durable and more aesthetic. 

The development of this coating will facilitate the transition from synthetic to eco-friendly biomaterials. Reducing the carbon footprint of the (fashion) industry will make our blue planet a better place.

Background

The Fungal Supercoating is a project developed after winning the Bio Art & Design Award 2019 together with my partner, cell biologist Aneta Schaap-Oziemlak (Bio-Inspired Think Tank) we applied and got successfully matched to the Radboudumc/Canisius Wilhelmina Ziekenhuis. Together with Professor Paul Verweij and Sybren de Hoog from the Center of Expertise in Mycology we worked for 6 months towards a liquid coating.

Fungkee Supercoating now on show at MU Artspace, Eindhoven.

Polarities presents the three winning projects of the Bio Art & Design Award 2019, developed in collaboration with leading Dutch researchers in the life sciences. They are shown alongside recent works of international artists and designers whose course isn’t set by a compass of contradictions. Follow the call of the lost Kaua’i ‘?‘? bird, feel the shifting of the Earth’s magnetic field and contribute to the quest for female sperm. Change is inevitable, but don’t worry too much: we are all ecological anyhow.

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Special thanks to:

Bio Art & Design Award 2019ZonMWBio Art LaboratoriesRadboud UMC, MU Artspace, Ethos Design, Lisa Jongejans, Simone van den Brink