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Biohm is a multi-award-winning research and development led, bio-manufacturing company. We allow nature to lead innovation, to revolutionise construction and create a healthier, more sustainable, built-environment.

Myco-rona: Coordinating a mycology lab during a global pandemic.

What happens when you work in a mycology lab and a global pandemic forces you to stop working... What happens, when all of a sudden, you can’t get access to chemicals and equipment because every man, and their dog, are stocking up to protect themselves from a highly infectious virus... Well, you’ve got to get creative!

At our mycology lab, situated in the Open Cell complex in West London, we have had a fair few challenges since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Alcohol, hand sanitiser, disposable gloves, filter masks (and even toilet roll) are all key supplies to provide a sterile working environment in order to protect our pure cultures of mycelium. Supplies became unavailable almost overnight, as the general public began panic buying PPE. Meanwhile, we were planning for a lockdown scenario as best we could, setting up responsible procedures to work on our mycelium cultures remotely or separately, putting many in stasis. Despite these measures, like many when the outbreak first hit, we didn’t expect such a lengthy period of lockdown. We had enough PPE to be safe for a few months however, eventually we started to experience shortages in our own supplies.

Mycelium growth experiments, from our lab.

Luckily for us, the team is made up of people who thrive in adverse situations; we devised new protocols, which meant less supplies were needed, whilst still maintaining the high standards of quality that all our research and development requires. We were also able to use this situation to crash test the usefulness of machines and systems, removing any redundancies and streamlining our working schedule. Rapidly, we adapted to the situation, and as strange as it was to work remotely, we are now back to working efficiently and effectively, whilst in isolation! As dramatic and devastating as the COVID-19 crisis has been, it was the perfect stage to prove to ourselves and prove to each other that we could weather even some of the most unusual and impactful storms. After all this, we sure will value the ability to work alongside our fellow mushroom and bio-design colleagues once again.

Stay safe and healthy.

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