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The Future is Fungal

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Photograph of Vanessa Toholka, Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles

Vanessa Toholka, Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles at the Wheeler Centre

Mushrooms, it seems, have some uncanny properties. Fungi are more closely related to humans than plants, and if we can work with our fungal cousins, we might find a way to reduce waste – and perhaps even salvage our planet.

Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles are two ‘bio-neers’ whose work is at the forefront of the new mushroom movement. McIntyre is co-founder and chief scientist at the New York-based biofabrication company, Ecovative, where he’s developing fungal mycelium products to replace plastics, wood, leather and even bricks. Pickles is an ecologist at the University of Reading and part of a pioneering research team that is unlocking the secrets of the mysterious symbiotic system known as mycorrhiza. He has found that trees can communicate, thanks to underground mushroom networks, which connect trees at their roots.

At the Wheeler Centre, Vanessa Toholka joins McIntyre and Pickles to discuss the implications of their discoveries and inventions, as they make the case for a fungal future.

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