Researchers develop self-healing concrete powered by fungus

January 19, 2018 by  
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Scientists at Binghamton University have developed the first application of fungi in self-healing concrete. In a paper recently published in the journal Construction and Building Materials , Binghamton University assistant professor Congrui Jin and her team outline the ways in which a special species of fungi,  Trichoderma reesei , may act as a sealing agent when mixed with concrete . “This idea was originally inspired by the miraculous ability of the human body to heal itself of cuts, bruises and broken bones,” said Jin in an interview at Binghampton . “For the damaged skins and tissues, the host will take in nutrients that can produce new substitutes to heal the damaged parts.” Jin and her team’s focus on concrete could not be more topical. In the United States , a crisis fueled by historic underinvestment in infrastructure has resulted in increasingly dangerous roads, bridges, and highways. While Washington struggles to fund the federal government and state governments lack the resources to tackle this multi-trillion dollar problem, citizens still want something to be done before a major collapse occurs. “Without proper treatment, cracks tend to progress further and eventually require costly repair,” said Jin . “If micro-cracks expand and reach the steel reinforcement, not only the concrete will be attacked, but also the reinforcement will be corroded, as it is exposed to water, oxygen, possibly CO2 and chlorides, leading to structural failure.” Related: How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study If concrete were easier to repair, the cost of infrastructure maintenance would likely decrease. This is where T. reesei steps in. The fungus is mixed with concrete and lies dormant until the first crack in newly laid concrete appears. As water and oxygen permeate the crack, fungal spores will germinate, expand, and create calcium carbonate to fill the crack. While the technology is still in its early phase, its successful small-scale application demonstrates that fungal self-healing concrete may fit right in someday soon. Jin said , “In my opinion, further investigation in alternative microorganisms such as fungi and yeasts for the application of self-healing concrete becomes of great potential importance”. Via Binghamton University Images via Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University and Congrui Jin/Binghamton University

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How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study

December 19, 2017 by  
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It turns out mushrooms aren’t just great to eat, but played an essential role in creating an atmosphere suitable for animal life, according to a new study. The earliest plants to dwell on land did not have well developed roots or vascular systems. Fungi, among the earliest colonizers of land, helped facilitate the transfer of phosphorus from rocky soil to the primitive plants , which required the mineral to photosynthesize. “The results of including data on fungal interactions present a significant advance in our understanding of Earth’s early development,” said Benjamin Mills, co-author of a report on the research published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B . “Our work clearly shows the importance of fungi in the creation of an oxygenated atmosphere.” The recent research shines a light on a process that remains mysterious, even in modern times. “Photosynthesis by land plants is ultimately responsible for about half of the oxygen generation on Earth, and requires phosphorus, but we currently have a poor understanding of how the global supply of this nutrient to plants works,” said Mills. Without fungi helping them acquire their necessary phosphorus, the earliest land plants would not have been able to survive. The oldest fossil of a land-living organism is of a fungi species, one of many which moved on land and helped to break down the rocky mantle into soil, enabling plants with roots to more easily extract their minerals . Related: Paris has a new underground – a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies To test fungi’s symbiotic relationship with early plants, a research team at the University of Leeds incorporated computer modeling and laboratory experiments which involved ancient species of fungus that still endure today. The researchers observed the differing rates at which different species of fungi exchanged phosphorus and carbon, which indicated how quickly plants might have produced oxygen. “We used a computer model to simulate what might have happened to the climate throughout the Palaeozoic era if the different types of early plant-fungal symbioses were included in the global phosphorus and carbon cycles,” said Katie Field, study co-author and plant biologist. “We found the effect was potentially dramatic, with the differences in plant-fungal carbon-for-nutrient exchange greatly altering Earth’s climate through plant-powered drawdown of CO2 for photosynthesis , substantially changing the timing of the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere.” Via Science Alert Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

December 31, 2016 by  
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From foraging for mushrooms (and avoiding the poisonous ones) to eating your banana peels instead of throwing them away and touring NYC’s first micro apartment buildings , we had loads of fun bringing you all sorts of videos this year. Check out our top 5 videos of the year below and vote for your favorite. [poll id=118]

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The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

Look like trees have their own living Internet

April 15, 2016 by  
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Back in 1999, scientists at Switzerland’s University of Basel began an experiment to see how trees would handle the large amounts of carbon dioxide we’re releasing into the air. In so doing, they stumbled onto the unexpected discovery that trees exchange carbon with one another, even when they’re not directly connected. This “ wood-wide web ” could totally alter the way we understand forest interactions. Read the rest of Look like trees have their own living Internet

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Look like trees have their own living Internet

The mysterious phenomenon of “hair ice” finally solved by scientists

August 13, 2015 by  
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For nearly a century, scientists have been baffled by the phenomenon known as hair ice – hair-like ice formations found in the forest during certain times of the year. Now, scientists have discovered that the answer to the mystery may be found in the humble fungus. Though most of us don’t realize it, fungi are pretty incredible organisms. The majority of carbon sequestration in northern forests is facilitated by fungi , clean-burning biofuel can be created by fungi, and fungi can be used to remove toxins such as BPA out of the environment.  Not impressed? Fungi also play an essential role in building the environment, as scientists recently determined after finding that the beautiful and rare “hair ice” are the handy work of fungi. Read the rest of The mysterious phenomenon of “hair ice” finally solved by scientists

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The mysterious phenomenon of “hair ice” finally solved by scientists

The world’s oldest polychrome book was so fragile nobody could open it – until now

August 13, 2015 by  
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Stunning modular Open/Private Apartment in Poland boasts a mini cinema

August 13, 2015 by  
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Surprising Photos Reveal the Enchanting World of Fungi

May 20, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Surprising Photos Reveal the Enchanting World of Fungi Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , Botanical , eco-photographer , fungi , fungi species around the world , magic mushrooms , mushroom photos , mushrooms , Photography , photos of fungi , Steve Axford

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Surprising Photos Reveal the Enchanting World of Fungi

Watch This Cheeky Video of the California State Bear’s Energy Saving Tips

May 20, 2014 by  
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The California State Bear has left his usual spot on the flag to teach us how to conserve our energy, water, and other precious resources in this new video . A recent national study says the effects of climate change are already being felt throughout the nation, and California specifically is a prime example as the state faces a near-record drought and a hotter-than-expected summer. In the video, the California State Bear demonstrates some of the energy-saving techniques he’s learned from  EnergyUpgradeCA.org ; tips we can all learn from and integrate into our daily lives. With the looming deadline to meet energy goals, we can all do our part to try and fight climate change today and protect the state for generations to come. WATCH THE VIDEO > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bear video , California , California Bear , california bear video , california energy saving , California State , California State Bear , conservation , Drought , eco bear , energy bear , energy bear radio , energy conservation , energy saving , environmental conservation

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Watch This Cheeky Video of the California State Bear’s Energy Saving Tips

Rose-Like Nano Coating Could Keep Airborne Viruses Out of Planes

October 1, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock In another awesome project inspired by nature , scientists developed a new type of nano coating that makes a surface stay wet or keep it completely dry, and it never needs to be cleaned. Researchers at the University of Sydney created this newly discovered material by using raspberry-shaped nanoparticles that mimic the surface structure of a rose. Depending on the arrangement of these bundled particles, the surface can either repel water or soak it up like a sponge, and one of its many applications includes using it in airplanes to keep airborne viruses at bay. Read the rest of Rose-Like Nano Coating Could Keep Airborne Viruses Out of Planes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: airplane , biomimicry , dirt repelant , does not need to be cleaned , fungi , medical technology , Medicine , microscopic , miniature , mold , nanoparticles , News , operation , rain , reduce mold in bathroom , repels water , research , School of Chemistry , science , stain resistant , stainless , surgery , things inspired by nature , University of Sidney , water resistant , waterproof        

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Rose-Like Nano Coating Could Keep Airborne Viruses Out of Planes

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