fungal biomimetics

Christian Hamm chamm at
Wed Aug 21 03:41:40 EST 2002

I got the following questions from Julian Vincent via the Plant
discussion group and would like to pass it on to the mycology net:
Is there any information on mineralisation of fungal hyphae?  I'm
interested on two counts:

(a) I'd like to deposit calcium carbonate (or similar) onto the hyphae
which make up the sporophyte of Agaricus.  We know the orientations of
the hyphae and have a pretty good idea of the mechanical properties and
degree of anisotropy.  I now wonder if we could amplify that by
deposting mineral on the surface of the hyphae.  I specifically don't
want just to fill up the space in between the hyphae.  So I'm really
looking for specific binding sites on the cell walls which might attract


(b) I'd also like to bind other chemicals - eg heavy metal oxides and
sulphides - onto the hyphal surface.  Some work was done in Bristol a
few years ago by MH Martin (since retired) in which hyphae were exposed
to a variety of pollutants and the ones which survived were cultured to
give a filter bed with very large specific (absorptive) surface area.
Has anything further been done along these lines?

I suppose, in general, the question is - does the hyphal wall have
(specific) binding sites?


best regards,



Dr. Christian Hamm
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Plankton Biomechanics
Pelagic Ecosystems/Biological Oceanography
Am Handelshafen 12/ Co 9
27570 Bremerhaven/Germany

tel. : +49-471-4831-1832
fax:  +49-471-4831-1425
e-mail: chamm at


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