Frequently Asked Questions
Is mycelium safe to use?
Mycelium is safe to use. It is mainly composed of natural polymers as chitin, cellulose, proteins, etc, so it is a natural polymeric composite fibrous material. But we definitely do not recommend eating the substrate.
Is mycelium waterproof?
No, the material will lose rigidity and will become susceptible to degradation when repeatedly exposing it to water. It does repulse water for some time and it even floats! Of course, it not raining all the time. In between showers the material will passively dry and maintain some rigidity. But in the long run, it will lose.
We are working on the development of a bio-based coating that makes our material 100% waterproof.
I want to use my mycelium cool box to keep my food cooled. But are your materials suitable for food or beverage containers?
Our materials are not certified for direct food contact. The materials are water permeable and are not recommended for applications such as disposable cups.
Can mycelium be stored in wet areas?
It is better not to store mycelium in wet areas, because when the mycelium gets wet it will lose its strength. So, the material itself should be kept dry. Furthermore, other fungi might exist in wet areas which consider mycelium as nutrition. One way to protect it is by using a coating. On demand only, Grown.bio offers the coating of product for its customers
How can I change colour of mycelium?
There are two ways: use a biobased paint or a milk paint. We recommend using a milk paint. If you want the mycelium to do the work, you just need more time. That is a tricky process because growing the substrate too long means that you may see mushrooms coming out, which will weaken the base structure. We usually extend by one week to create darker, greyish but sometimes also brown or orange colours.
So, how long does the final mycelium material last?
It strongly depends on the environment in which you place your product. If you keep it in an inside environment, its lifespan can be a couple of years. Only when it comes into direct contact with soil or water it will start to degrade. Do not expose to high humidity.
I am looking for a sustainable packaging alternative for my product. Is my business product suitable for MycoComposite™?
Every case is different, but we are happy to explore possible packaging solutions for your product. Reach out to use and we can discuss how suitable your product is.
At GROWN bio, we focus upon sustainable packaging solutions for people that are looking for circular alternatives. We grow packaging for bottles, electronics, cosmetic products or any other shape that needs to be packed. Check out this page to find out more about mycelium packaging!
What are the properties of your MycoComposite™?
We have summarized the properties in a spec sheet for you.
I want to experiment with my product once I received it. How can I adapt my products post-production ?
The possibilities are endless! You can for example cut the material with a saw, drill holes in it or cover it in laminated wood. We recommend natural, biobased sealants as the purpose of the material is to not add toxins to the environment. The material can be sanded and finished with beeswax, milk paint, water-based polyurethane, and more.
How should I get started with my GIY Kit ?
We have created an instruction video for you as well as an instruction manual for the Grow-It-Yourself Kit and an instruction manual for the GIY Packaging Kit. Do you still have doubts or questions after looking at the instructions and FAQ’s? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
I received my substrate, but how should I store it?
Mycelium grows in ambient temperatures. Before using the substrate, you want to slow down the growing process. Place the substrate in the refrigerator (1 – 7°C) and best use it within five days. Don’t place your substrate in the freezer.
Ooh No! I wasn’t able to use my GIY substrate within five days, do I need to throw it away ?
No, you don’t have to! We encourage you to do a little experiment and still use your substrate. If it’s very difficult to break up the substrate in small particles, it might be that the mycelium already started doing its job by gluing the particles together. Don’t worry, just add a little bit of water to prepare it for production.
My Grow-It-Yourself Kit is based on hemp waste. But hemp, isn’t that the stuff that contains the drug THC?
The answer is unequivocally NO… Some of you might feel sorry about that 🙂 But the hemp waste we use, is industrial hemp that does not contain THC. The only organism that grows in the kit is the mycelium.
What is sculpting mix?
This sculpting mix helps you shape the substrate. It changes the substrate in a more clayish texture which helps to create new shapes.
How to use the sculpting mix?
1. Loosen your GIY substrate in a sterile environment
2. Add 30 g for every kg substrate used (measure precisely)
3. Add the sculpting mix
4. Mix thoroughly
5. Put the substrate in the shape you want
The sculpting mix has to be added when working the substrate, not after drying.
For more detailed instructions, check our instruction manual.
How can I create that nice soft skin?
You can do that by taking the shape out of the mould after 4 days, and placing it in a closed environment to grow 2 more days.
Can I add other substances (eg. new substrates, odours, colours)?
Yes, you can. However, we cannot guarantee it will work. Make sure you work sterile, and do not mix the added substrate too much.
I am not quite sure where to place my mycelium during the growing phase. Does the mycelium need to grow in the dark?
No, this is not required. Mycelium grows just fine in a dark place, and some daylight does not matter. Do not place the mycelium in direct sunlight, this will heat the substrate and it could dry out faster.
Can mushrooms grow out of the substrate? This seems like a nice extra feature for my product?
It’s possible but it’ll weaken the structure of your product. If this is not an issue for the purpose you have in mind for your product, feel free to experiment and extend the growing period. When the substrate starts to turn brown-ish, it means mushrooms are on their way!
Please keep in mind that if you need your product to be strong, you have to stop the growing process in time.
If I had a piece of wood in the substrate to fix the part of to the wall, should I add something else (eg. glue or resin)?
When adding wood in the middle of your substrate, it is not necessary to add glue or resin. The mycelium will bind naturally to the wood, which you can attach to the wall afterwards.
Consider the weight of the mycelium composite. If it is too heavy and the wood too small, it might break.
Can I prevent or stop contamination?
If you see a green/blue-ish spot, you have spotted contamination. If you’ve spotted this in your still closed GIY substrate, contact us.
Contamination can also occur after you’ve filled your mould or while drying. First, make sure to work sterile. Contamination can occur while filling your mould due to your working surface/hands/mould not being clean enough. Second, a few precautions can be taken to prevent contamination during the drying process. Especially thicker shapes (more than 2.5cm) and products that have been taken out of the mould but are still alive/wet are susceptible to contamination. See below for the guidelines we recommend for drying:
- For products with a thickness > 2.5 cm:
Place the product in the oven at +/- 40° C for 3-4 hours with the door a bit open so the moisture can escape.
Bake off at 80°C for 2 hours.
- For products with a thickness < 2.5 cm:
Place the product in the oven at 80° C for 2-3 hours.
A contaminated product can be thrown away.
What is the substrate material used in the GIY Kits ?
Our GIY Kits consist of hemp and mycelium. The hemp consists of hemp waste particles of 5 to 15 mm inoculated with mycelium.
My GIY mycelium substrate arrived with some water inside of the bag. Can I still use it?
Yes! The water is a result of the drop in temperature. We keep the substrate in a very cold environment, which is not conserved during the shipping. Therefore, some water is released.
My GIY substrate is white and compact upon arrival. Can I still use it?
Yes, you can! During shipping, the mycelium is exposed to warmer temperatures and therefore starts its growth. The white is the mycelium that is doing its job. When the shipping takes longer, the mycelium will grow, and thus more white parts will be in the bag of substrate. The process even speeds up when it’s warmer outside. But in the plastic bag, the material will stay moist, and alive.
Make sure to properly break down the substrate in small chunks to avoid air cavities when filling your mould. This will make the white colour disappear, but the mycelium will still be there! Do you want to know if it is moist enough? Make a small ball in your hand, and if it doesn’t fall apart the moist level is good. If not, add a little water.
How long does the GIY substrate last?
You can keep the substrate refrigerated for a maximum of five days. During its storage, it loses moisture and can therefore dry out. Make sure you use it when it is still nice and ‘fresh’.
On the GIY instruction sheet, it says to use ethanol. Are there alternatives which I can use instead?
Instead of ethanol, also iso-propyl alcohol (IPA) can be used. Also, detergent, normally used for dishes, utensils, cups, etc, can be used for cleaning moulds, hands, mixing bowl, etc. Rinse thoroughly so no soap is left behind
Can I use any type of flour (eg. plain, self-raising or rice flour)?
You can use any type of flour. It just functions as a ‘kickstarter’ for the growth of the mycelium.
Can I just use my normal oven?
Yes, when baking your product, you can use your own oven.
For products with a thickness > 2.5 cm:
- Place the product in the oven at +/- 40° C for 3-4 hours with the door a bit open so the moisture can escape.
- Bake off at 80°C for 2 hours.
For products with a thickness < 2.5 cm:
- Place the product in the oven at 80° C for 2-3 hours.
Is the humidity level in the room important during the growing process?
In our factory we have incubators to control the humidity level. However, when growing the mycelium yourself, just make sure you cover the mold filled with the substrate to keep the moisture of the substrate in the mold. You do not want the moisture to evaporate, or your product will dry out.
According to the instructions, I have to mix the substrate once all ingredients have been added. When is the substrate properly mixed?
Make sure to keep mixing until all flour is evenly distributed, meaning no chunks of flour in your substrate. Also, try to avoid chunks of substrate by breaking them apart in small particles with your (clean) hands or tools.
Can I hang the panels?
Yes! Make sure you have several points to attach and maybe a piece of wood attached to the panel, instead of adding screws directly into the panels. The material might still be fragile, and therefore normal screws might damage the material. Be careful and use screws with a large cap into the material.
Can I modify/saw the panels?
Yes, to a certain extent. You can cut the panels. Take into account that the cut parts will be fibrous, as this is the inside of the mycelium composite. To avoid any loss of fibres or strength, you could add a bio-based coating.
Can I sand the panels?
No, this is not possible. Sanding the panels will result in the loss of the mycelium skin surrounding the panel.
Delivery & Refunds
Do you still ship to the UK and how does COVID influence the shipments to the UK?
Yes, we still ship to the UK. However, due to both COVID and Brexit, some of our shipments to the UK are delayed or missing. Luckily, we noticed that the number of issues is decreasing.
With regret we have to inform you that our shipper UPS, just like all other shippers, has made a waiver for any claims during this COVID pandemic.
Unlike UPS we will support you in case your packages get lost, but unfortunately, we cannot cover all costs. If your product gets lost during shipment, or if the substrate of your GIY-kit has become obsolete, we will give a 50% discount on the product price of your next order.
When will my order be shipped?
All orders are sent on the next Monday. So, all orders placed and paid before Sunday 23:59 will be shipped the next Monday. This also applies for Express shipments.
What happens to my order if I am not at home during the delivery?
If you use a private address for shipping address and you’re not at home when UPS delivers, it most likely will be dropped at a UPS Access Point, so keep an eye on your email.
Can I ship my order to a country outside of the EU?
Yes, it is possible to ship your order to a non-EU country. As it is not possible to finalize such an order directly via the website, we ask you to send us an email with the products you want to order and the shipping address. We create a “Special product” for you, and you can finalize the order.
Do note that we cannot guarantee that your product arrives and that UPS, our shipper, currently does not accept claims due to COVID. Furthermore, we ask for an additional €25,- admin fee.
Feel free to send us an email with additional questions about this!
When will my order be delivered?
We cannot give a fixed delivery date. Our experience is that 90% arrives within 3-5 days and Express shipments within 1-2 days.
Will my order be shipped carbon neutral?
Yes, we ship all our orders carbon neutral via UPS.