Plastic-eating mushrooms are the new superheroes in combating the growing waste crisis

September 26, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London says that fungi are capable of expediting the breakdown of plastic waste. The aspergillus tubingensis fungus was featured in the  State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report , which also documented that fungi are optimal in producing sustainable building materials and capable of removing pollutants from soil and wastewater. Whereas plastic generally takes years to degrade, the mushroom, first discovered growing in a Pakistani dump in 2017, could make it possible to break down the pollutants in weeks. The 2018 report is the first release of its kind, marking its debut with the monumental discovery that mushrooms could provide a solution to the growing plastic waste crisis. The global concern has spurred research and innovation in the design and tech industries, but U.K. botanists say that nature might have already provided an answer by arming itself with a biological defense against the plastic plague with which it is overwhelmed. Related: Scientists reveal new technique to make biofuel from mushroom waste Because its properties catalyze the deterioration of plastic molecules, the report announced that aspergillus tubingensis “has potential to be developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste .” According to the scientists, the mushroom has the ability to grow directly on the surface of plastics, where it breaks down the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules. Armed with a unique enzyme that is secreted by the sprout, aspergillus tubingensis is one of the most interesting fungi featured in the team’s research paper. The report also confirmed that white rot varieties of fungus like pleurotus ostratus and trametes versicolor have a beneficial effect on soil and wastewater, removing pesticides, dyes and explosive remnants. The trichoderma species has been identified as a stimulant for producing biofuels through its conversion of agricultural waste into ethanol sugars. Fungal mycelium is also notable, especially for designers and architects interested in finding sustainable replacements for polystyrene foam, leather and several building materials. Tom Prescott, senior researcher at Kew Gardens,  told Dezeen , “The State of the World’s Fungi report has been a fascinating look into the fungal kingdom, revealing how little we know and the huge potential for fungi in areas as diverse as biofuels, pharmaceuticals and novel materials.” The State of the World’s Fungi report documents more than 2,000 new species found in 2017, identifying useful characteristics for both natural and industrial purposes as well as citing the obstacles they encounter as a result of climate change . More than 100 scientists from 18 countries collaborated on the study and cataloged the new mushrooms for the Kew Gardens “fungarium,” which houses over 1.25 million dried specimens of fungi from all over the planet. + State of the World’s Fungi 2018   Via Dezeen Image via Pree Bissessur

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Plastic-eating mushrooms are the new superheroes in combating the growing waste crisis

7 bee hotels for our favorite pollinators

November 8, 2016 by  
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Giant K-abeilles Hotel for Bees pavilion by AtelierD offered resting place for bees and humans For the 2012 Muttersholtz Archi Festival, AtelierD designed the K-abeilles Hotel for Bees. Shaped like a huge honeycomb , the wood pavilion was comprised of hexagonal components, some open and some packed with natural materials where bees could nest. Humans could sit inside the pavilion on hexagonal seats, close enough to marvel at and appreciate the bustling bees. Related: Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time Tea company Taylors of Harrogate creates The Grand Beedapest Hotel inspired by Wes Anderson UK tea company Taylors of Harrogate , whose blends depend on fruits pollinated by bees, decided to raise awareness about bee population decline with an adorable luxury bee hotel. They teamed up with Kew Gardens to create the Grand Beedapest Hotel , evocative of the magnificent hotel in Wes Anderson’s most recent film. Details like a peppermint leaf swimming pool and lemongrass ginger bar added to the quirky charm of the bee hotel. PopTarts Works designers utilize laser cut, recycled cardboard to make Beehive Hotel for an entire bee colony The designers of PopTarts Works decided to create their Beehive Hotel to help out the bees of Toronto . Using recycled corrugated cardboard , they made a five-foot-high habitat that resembles wild hives. They installed the hotel and bees speedily began to nest inside. The Beehive Hotel has enough room for a whole mason bee colony, whose members can pollinate as much as 2,000 flowers every day. University student Tom Back created Thrive Hive to imitate bees’ natural habitats While a student at Kingston University , Tom Back of Thumb Designs created his Thrive Hive out of straw and wood. The hive design was meant to more closely match natural habitats of bees than box homes do, and woven straw insulation ensured the bees inside would flourish even in severe weather . His concept is one that has potential for urban areas as it could be used on a balcony or in a small backyard. Back showed his design at the London Design Festival . University at Buffalo architecture students get in on the bee-saving action with steel cylindrical Elevator B bee skyscraper When a bee colony was found dwelling in an old grain mill, University at Buffalo architecture students decided to design them a better home. Courtney Creenan, Scott Selin, Lisa Stern, Daniel Nead, and Kyle Mastalinski created Elevator B , a towering 22-foot-tall bee apartment made with steel , cypress, and glass . The bee skyscraper mimics the silos where the bee colony once lived, and is equipped with insulation to offer the bees space to reside in the city even during cold winters. Tomoko Azumi upcycles UK auction house waste catalogues into colorful Bee Hive UK auction house Phillips de Pury & Company asked creatives from around the world to transform waste packaging and catalogs into habitats for bees, bats , or birds. Tomoko Azumi of tna design studio responded by upcycling the papers into a modern, colorful Bee Hive . 13 other architects, designers, and artists also utilized Phillips de Pury & Company waste materials to create funky homes for pollinators, and the auction house sold the creative designs to raise money for Adventure Ecology, founded by David de Rothschild. MIT Media Lab creates controlled Synthetic Apiary to keep bees safe from pesticides, drought, climate change Even MIT is trying to make a difference for bees. The MIT Media Lab and Mediated Matter created the indoor Synthetic Apiary , where researchers can control conditions to keep bees safe year-round from pesticides, drought , and climate change . While they’re still testing the design, they did record the first ever birth of a bee in an artificial environment . Images via ©Stephane Spach, screenshot , PopTarts Works , Thumb Designs , Hive City , Tomoko Azumi , and Mediated Matter/MIT

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7 bee hotels for our favorite pollinators

East London’s Phytology Medicinal Garden Offers Tours, Talks, Music and Food This Weekend

May 14, 2014 by  
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Londoners interested in urban food production and medicinal plants should head over to Nomad’s medicinal field in Bethnal Green this weekend. An exciting series of talks from Phytology collaborators will share knowledge and experiences gleaned from the project since Inhabitat first visited the site in 2013 . Speakers include Kew Gardens ethnobotanist Peter Giovannini and sustainable plants specialist Monique Simmonds plus Nomad director Michael Smythe, herbalist Melissa Ronaldson and illustrator Talya Baldwin . The program of events allows visitors to see, touch and taste produce from the garden and includes a campfire concert by folk performers Nest Collective . Click here to snap up a ticket before they’re gone! +Phytology Via Siobhan Davies Images by Michael Smythe and Heloise Tsang Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: kew gardens , London , medicinal garden , medicinal plants , nomad , Phytology

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East London’s Phytology Medicinal Garden Offers Tours, Talks, Music and Food This Weekend

DIY Modular Concrete Planters Let You Create Living Walls in Your Space

May 14, 2014 by  
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If you’re looking for planters above and beyond the normal terra cotta options, then these might just be perfect for you. Easy to make, these modular concrete planters from A Piece of Rainbow are inspired by geometric designs, concrete as a creative material, and the tapestry of living walls. Each planter module is created from the shape of an equilateral triangle; the magical geometry which allows a group of modules to form endless possibilities of new shapes and patterns. The planters are unique, easy to make, and allow everyone to create their own mini stackable vertical gardens or large living walls . Follow this step-by-step tutorial with downloadable template to make a few of these, and bring more nature into your home in a modern and stylish way! + A Piece of Rainbow The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green wall” , “rainbow” , A Piece of Rainbow , concrete garden , Concrete planter , modular garden , modular planters , planter , planters | , vertical garden , wall planter

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DIY Modular Concrete Planters Let You Create Living Walls in Your Space

London’s Energy-Efficient Jodrell Laboratory Houses the World’s Largest Fungi Collection

November 4, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of London’s Energy-Efficient Jodrell Laboratory Houses the World’s Largest Fungi Collection Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , Botanical , BREEAM excellent , brise soleil , cross-flow ventilation , Daylighting , energy efficient lighting , fungi , green interiors , green lighting , helix dna structure , kew gardens , London , mushrooms , natural light , skylight , timber , u-values , Wilkinson Eyre

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London’s Energy-Efficient Jodrell Laboratory Houses the World’s Largest Fungi Collection

Álvaro Siza’s Renovated Carlos Ramos Pavilion is a Contemplative Studio for Architecture Students

November 4, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of Álvaro Siza’s Renovated Carlos Ramos Pavilion is a Contemplative Studio for Architecture Students Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alvaro siza , architecture faculty porto , architecture studio design , carlos ramos pavilion , porto design , portuguese architechture , Serpentine Pavilion

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Álvaro Siza’s Renovated Carlos Ramos Pavilion is a Contemplative Studio for Architecture Students

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