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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Materials and Nanochemistry forum => Topic started by: shroomydan on March 25, 2010, 03:01:31 PM

Title: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: shroomydan on March 25, 2010, 03:01:31 PM
First post  :D

I'm hoping somebody can help me find a material that can be used to preserve mushrooms in a lifelike state.

My vision is to encase mushroom specimens in clear plastic cubes for use in classrooms and natural history museums. I want the specimens to look just like live mushrooms growing in the woods.

Mushrooms are about 90% water, so the first step will be to thoroughly dry the specimens.

Drying causes mushrooms to shrink and become wrinkled, so the second required step would be to 'rehydrate' the specimens with a preserving liquid that will puff them back up. The ideal material for this step will readily wick into the mushroom tissue and subsequently harden, preserving the shape and color of the specimen. I don't know if such a material exists, so this is where I could use some help.

Finally, the preserved specimens can be placed in Lucite or a similar material to protect them forever.

I'll be most grateful for any ideas on a material that could satisfy the requirements of step 2. Today I've been thinking about something based on cyanoacrylate, but that is just a random thought.

Thank you for having a look. All responses are appreciated.

Dan Molter
Title: Re: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: Borek on March 25, 2010, 09:58:35 PM
I think the idea of drying/rehydrating is wrong, as some of the changes happening during drying are irrerevrsible. It will be probably better to find a bath that will replace water.

There are liquids (used by funeral companies) used for conservation of bodies. That would be my starting point.
Title: Re: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: shroomydan on March 26, 2010, 04:36:03 AM
Thank you for your comment Borek.

I'm open to the prospect of embalming the mushrooms instead of drying them, if a suitable chemical or mix of chemicals can be found. Ideally I'd like to use a chemical that will solidify a little. I'm concerned that something like formaldehyde would leave the mushrooms looking wet and soggy inside the lucite. Something that goes completely hard or rubbery upon curing would be preferable. If such a chemical is available, I'm very interested in testing it.

The other method I'm considering is to flash freeze the mushrooms and then freeze-dry them in an attempt to prevent the normal shrinking and degradation that comes with dessication. I don't know if this will work, but if it does, the freeze dried specimens could then be treated with some kind of clear lacquer or encased directly in a material that will absorb into the tissue before setting. There are quite a few alternatives to classic Lucite, and one of them might readily absorb into freeze-dried mushroom tissue. Again I don't know.

I know quite a bit about fungi, but very little about chemicals and plastics.

Any further suggestion are greatly appreciated.


Title: Re: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: billnotgatez on March 27, 2010, 03:20:16 AM
do you want to do something like this
Title: Re: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: jbullman on November 05, 2011, 01:51:10 PM
I'm very interested in exactly the same thing - did you ever get anywhere with creating lifelike mushroom specimens?
Title: Re: Ageless mushroom in a lucite cube
Post by: Pulverulescent on November 29, 2011, 06:42:32 AM
 Fixation  ( by immersion in formalin (dilute) might be worth checking out.