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This machine turns your plastic bags into edible mushrooms


Sick of eating the same old meals? Then welcome to the restaurant of the future, where oyster mushrooms made from plastic bags are served up with seaweed and caviar. For dessert? Well, it’s mushrooms again, this time accompanied by peaches and yoghurt and, yes, made from plastic bags.

The Fungi Mu​tarium concept comes from two Vienna-based designers and a team of microbiologists from the Netherlands’ University of Utrecht, who’ve created a machine capable of breaking down thin plastic and replacing it with an edible fungi. Yummy.

The plastic is first sterilised under a UV light, where it’s plastic qualities begin to be broken down. It’s then moved into small pods made of a seaweed gelatin mixed with starch and sugar. Finally, liquified fungi is dropped into the pods and allowed to develop until it overgrows its containers and, eventually, completely decomposes the original plastic. Simple, right? Here’s the machine in action;

The whole process is said to take several months, so don’t expect to find this in your local fast food joint any time soon. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the Fungi Mutarium is a research project seeking to develop alternative methods of food production.

That isn’t to say the mushrooms aren’t worth a try, although the secret to culinary success is all in the serving. Speaking to Motherboard, Designer Katharina Unger described the taste: “It starts off being very neutral, but it can also get a bit nutty and spicy in taste. It really depends on the strain, actually.”

The team has also designed a selection of specific Fungi Cutlery for the optimum eating experience, which it plans to Kickstart early in 2015. So, those plastic bags you’ve been storing up in a cupboard – maybe don’t recycle them just yet.

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