Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are experimenting with growing plant tissue endowed with wood characteristics in the lab. The idea is that, if the concept could ever be scaled up, only the usable components of wood would have to be grown, in controllable conditions. In an article describing the process, Wired Magazine says researchers extract live cells from a specific type of tree, then grow a culture reinforced with polymer lignin for rigidity. The culture gel is 3D-printed into desired shapes. If successful, eventually they could be grown into fully formed shapes such as boards or even furniture.
Photo Courtesy Ashely Beckwith