Updated: May 26, 2020
This is one of the few mycologists in Morocco - a specialist in the studies of fungi. They study mushrooms and everything connected with them.
Why is that important? Well, fungi play a great role in our ecosystem - they decompose organic matter and play a key role in the global carbon cycle and recycling nutrients. They are used in food production, in medicine. As a bonus, they know which fungi are dangerous, and which are not (keeping in mind that half of all types are harmful).
We visited Fouad Chougred’s lab in Rabat to learn more about his studies and were impressed from the start, since the card he gave us said that he is a mushroom designer!
Apart from doing countless of tests in his lab, he is also designing lamp-covers, vases and ashtrays and a number of other household objects!
The trick is that such lamps and vases are alive - it is in fact mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus. Through the mycelium the fungus absorbs nutrients and decomposes organic matter, which keeps it alive.
If you spray some water on the vase, you will get edible mushrooms in a weeks time. And such a vase can last for more than a couple of years, for sure.
We were also amazed by the concept of the bio-ashtrays! Normally, the cigarette filter takes up to 10 years to decompose, while this ashtray will simply devour it and decompose in a weeks time! That’s what we call bio-ashtrays!
That is why we can safely say that mycology is not about reading boring books and watching mushrooms grow - it is a great lot of fun!
Nowadays Fouad is focusing attention on creating durable wall bricks from mycelium, so that people would be able to literally grow a house. Such experiments take time, since the blocks lose their strength over time and decompose, yet we sincerely hope that soon such ideas will become a reality.