Biotechnologist Jess Chiang is using native fungi to create alternatives to plastic packaging, The Spinoff reveals. And she’s eager to discover how else they can improve our lives. Biotechnology startup BioFab, based in Auckland, is working toward commercialising what it calls “mushroom packaging”, a biocomposite made of mycelia and hemp hurds, a byproduct of the fibre hemp industry. Fungi are being touted as the green material of the future, potentially capable of cleaning up oil spills or even helping defend against infectious diseases.