Author: Martin Fenske

Materials and Additives


Experimenting corner with first parts of scobies, in bacteria enriched liquid

8 g green tea with 80 g sugar per liter


Experiments to grow onto, into and around other materials




  • No. 1 – Twine
    5 days of growth




  • No. 2 – Synthetic sponge
    12 days of growth





  • No. 4 – Cork
    12 days of growth, no more considerable growth after 7 days





  • No. 8 – cotton fabric
    12 days of growth




  • No. 9 – Cardboard
    12 days of growth



Experiments to grow with additives


  • No. 7 – coal powder
    12 days of growth




  • No. 5. red food colouring
    12 days of growth








After 7 days there was for most of the experiments no more considerable growth. Probably because the nutrients in the liquid were exhausted at that point.




Material experiments


Exerpts of some material experiments:

Right after the growing process, the cellulose consists of several layers which are not always fully connected with each other. This gets clear in the process of bathing the BC in sodium hydroxite. The gas that is released in the reaction between boiling water and sodium hydroxite causes some bubbles to blow up in the cellulose. In the drying process the layers connect strongly. The previous not-connectedness can be used to fill the spaces between layers for example with particles. I made this piece of cellulose magnetic by bathing it in a soulution with iron particles when it was still undried.



When dried on a particular surface, the cellulose takes the shape of that surface. This is one way to create three dimensional shapes from cellulose.




If a almost dried sheet of BC is attached to itself, the layers create a lasting connection. Even if the BC is dried already, it sticks strongly after being weted and attached.  This way you can for example create tobacco rolling papers without extra gluing surface or create any kind of shape.


The material folded and connected. It works well as a container for water even though it slightly dwells itself.

Change of growing medium

I started to change the growing medium and recognized that the bacteria is not dependend on green tea or white sugar but just on any kind of source of sugar which can by fructose, lactose or glucose as well. So i made small scale growing trials of putting the bacteria into water with different materials.

The acetobacter xylinum bacteria produced cellulose from:
Glycerol, dates, carots and carot peels, beetroot, potatoe peels, coffee powder, paper waste, mixed kitchen waste.


the less color and suspended matters the growing medium has the more transparent the cellulose gets.


growing with carrot pieces




Growing with kitchen waste:
This brought in the perspective of being able to grow the bacterial cellulose not from consumable things like tea and sugar but from kitchen waste we would normally throw away.


Experiments on growing with vegetables had shown that there is a high risk of gettig mold when the growing material floats on the water surface.

Therefore i build a quick mockup with a wirefrime to keep the carrot peels from floating.

    after 4 days of growth!




Perspective – Cellulose growing households and communities

growing kits designed to enable food waste based growing
open source exchange on unfolding moulds for growing shapes for different purposes
mold making service in grower communities

for example: developing cellulose products to decrease plastic use and therefore plastic trash, e.g. grow flower growing pots

Splitting your bio food waste into sugar potent waste and other waste, generate compostable bags, compost effectively and naturally.