TopLab* started to host a mushroom cultivation and mycofabrication courses from Spring 2019 within “Mind the Fungi” , a Citizen Science project of Art Laboratory Berlin and the TU Berlin Institute for Biotechnology. The Mind the Fungi project is focused on studying the characteristics of mushrooms of the Berlin area.
Mushrooms are studied and used to produce food, construction materials , furniture , textiles , packaging materials , dyeing pigments , chemicals , artworks and are studied as medicinal substances producers . The variety in use cases makes of mycology a field of studies with the potential of proposing extraordinary ideas, and which will eventually disrupt different aspects of agro-industrial processes and eventually of our lives.
Goal of the course is to empower participants to take part in this process, by teaching them the fundamentals to cultivate mushrooms at home, and produce biomaterials for practical applications or artistic purposes. Once trained, we encourage participants to keep experimenting and co-designing ideas on their own and propose them to a critical and inquiring society.
In the project Mind the Fungi we use the interdisciplinary concept from STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Art) to expand scientific research with artistic and design-based research. The Institute of Biotechnology works with Berlin citizens, artists and designers to develop new ideas and technologies for mushroom and lichen-based materials of the future. The Artists in Residence programme brings art and design into the project as a constructive source of ideas, multipliers and communicators of scientific issues, and supports the process of sharing research processes and findings with the public.
With the expertise of applied and molecular microbiology in the field of fungal biotechnology (Prof. Meyer), bioprocess engineering (Prof. Neubauer) and art and science communication (Art Laboratory Berlin) the aim of the project is also to establish a new, innovative and interdisciplinary field of research at the TU Berlin, which dares right from the beginning to build a bridge in the growing Citizen Science Community in order to integrate their expertise at an early stage.
Please find the resources here to create your own Home Laboratory (PDF).
Mind the Fungi | Lab Protocols (PDF):
- Prepare soya-agar medium Petri dishes
- Isolate a new strain from supermarket mushrooms
- Preparation of grain spawn
- Preparation of a bag with solid substrates and inoculation with grain spawn for fructification
- Fabrication of a solid object made of mycelium
Prof Dr.-Ing. Vera Meyer, Head of chair at TU Berlin, Department of Applied Molecular Microbiology (AMM)
Dipl. Ing. Bertram Schmidt, Research assistant at TU Berlin, AMM
Dipl. Ing. Carsten Pohl, Research assistant at TU Berlin, AMM
Christian de Lutz, Curator, Researcher & Co-Director of Art Laboratory Berlin
Regine Rapp M.A., Curator, Researcher & Co-Director of Art Laboratory Berlin
Dr. Flavia Barragan, Chemist & Co-founder of TopLab
M.Sc. Alessandro Volpato, Biologist & Co-founder of TopLab
Tuce Erel, curator & cultural worker, Top Transdisciplinary Project Space member
* TopLab is a DIY-Biolab located as an infrastructure at >top Transdisciplinary Project Space.
 Riika Raisanen (6 April 2009), “Dyes from lichens and mushrooms”, in Thomas Bechtold and Rita Mussak (ed.), Handbook of Natural Colorants, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 183–200, ISBN 978-0-470-74496-3, retrieved 23 September 2016
Mind the Fungi Mycofabrication Course at TopLab, Berlin. October-November, 2019. Photographed by Bon Alog.