The complex structure of Fomes fomentarius represents an architectural design for high-performance ultralightweight materials

Robert Pylkkänen, Daniel Werner, Ajit Bishoyi, Dominik Weil, Ernesto Scoppola, Wolfgang Wagermaier, Adil Safeer, Salima Bahri, Marc Baldus, Arja Paananen, Merja Penttilä, Géza R. Szilvay, Pezhman Mohammadi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

High strength, hardness, and fracture toughness are mechanical properties that are not commonly associated with the fleshy body of a fungus. Here, we show with detailed structural, chemical, and mechanical characterization that Fomes fomentarius is an exception, and its architectural design is a source of inspiration for an emerging class of ultralightweight high-performance materials. Our findings reveal that F. fomentarius is a functionally graded material with three distinct layers that undergo multiscale hierarchical self-assembly. Mycelium is the primary component in all layers. However, in each layer, mycelium exhibits a very distinct microstructure with unique preferential orientation, aspect ratio, density, and branch length. We also show that an extracellular matrix acts as a reinforcing adhesive that differs in each layer in terms of quantity, polymeric content, and interconnectivity. These findings demonstrate how the synergistic interplay of the aforementioned features results in distinct mechanical properties for each layer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereade5417
Number of pages13
JournalScience Advances
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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