Making mushroom papers with CFS lecturers

Making mushroom papers with CFS lecturers

Few people know that wonderful craft papers can be made from fungi species. In the e-KLESF 2021 workshop titled “Wonder of Taxonomy: Making Mushroom Paper”, UTAR Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS) of Sungai Long Campus academics Nabilah binti Abdul Aleem Sidek and Ting Jen Ching taught participants how to use mushrooms to make attractive and usable papers. 

Nabilah (left) and Ting during the workshop

The workshop was held via Zoom and Facebook Live on 27 October 2021. The objective of the workshop was to instil the concept of recycling among participants as the same technique can be used on other recyclable, plant-based resources. It also aimed to appreciate the biodiversity of life and promote interest in biology. 

Before getting into the main topic, Nabilah introduced the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the participants. “Out of these 17 SDGs, our experiment today is in line with Goal 12—Responsible Consumption and Production. We recycle materials to produce papers and produce new things at the same time,” she said. 

Nabilah explaining the characteristics of the mushroom that can be used to make papers

Nabilah listing out the materials and equipment needed to make the mushroom paper

She mentioned that only certain types of mushrooms can be used to create papers. “The mushroom that is suitable to make paper must be tough and inedible. The one normally used is in the category called wood decay fungus,” she said. She explained that the reason these mushrooms are tough is because of the presence of a molecule called chitin—a fibrous substance that consists of polysaccharides. She also explained that conventional paper is made of cellulose, which can be found in the cell wall of most plants; while the mushroom paper is made using chitin. In order to give the participants a better idea, she played videos to show the procedure of making mushroom papers. 

On the other hand, Ting demonstrated a step-by-step paper making technique using bracket fungi. Instead of cellulose, the chitin fibres found in bracket fungi were used to make the paper. A quiz was also conducted before the end of the workshop. 

Ting demonstrating the creative work of transforming mushrooms into papers

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