Ingredient template

Below is the template for documenting and researching an ingredient. An example of one that is filled in (for glycerine) can be found here

[Ingredient name]

[Ingredient name (alternative names 1, 2)]

E.g. glycerol, glycerine, propanetriol

What is it and how is it produced or sourced?

[Free text]

What are its possible functions in biofabricating?

e.g. plasticizer, filler, colorant, PH modifier, mordant, solvent, release agent, curing agent, softener, and so on

*example: dried and ground egg shells can be used as filler in bioplastics, to add strength and reduce shrinkage. *

[Free text]

Processing information

  • Dissolves in: [free text, e.g. cold/warm/hot water, alcohol]
  • PH value: [number 1-14]
  • Safety: [free text]

Selecting the right type

How do you know if you are getting the right type (in nature/at the shop)? Or can you use any? For example, carbonate and bicarbonate soda are significantly different, but you may find it is referred to as "soda"

[Free text]

Local abundance

Where are you located?

[City, Country]

Can this ingredient be found in nature there?


If not, please describe or list local suppliers and price

This ingredient is best purchased....[INSERT SUPPLIER INFO]

and costs about [NUMBER] in [CURRENCY] per [NUMBER][UNIT].

If store-bought, find out where the ingredient was produced. How far is the production source from where you are?

Select one:

  • Less than 500 km (locally abundant)
  • More than 500 km
  • More than 2000 km


Type and amount of energy used to produce this ingredient, e.g. does it require a lot of water, heat, chemicals?

[Free text]

*Note: The concept of eco-compatibility is taken from: Lerma, Beatrice (2010). Materials ecoefficiency and perception. Proceedings: CESB 2010 Prague - Central Europe towards Sustainable Building 'From Theory to Practice': pp. 1-8.


Is this ingredient toxic to humans/animals?

[Yes/No/Not sure]

[Please provide additional details]

Distance from origin to site of use

In which region(s) of the world is this produced? Is it related to specific natural contexts or industries (e.g. near sea or rivers, in hot humid climates).

[Free text]

Shelf life

Look up shelf life & expiry date, but also use of senses to check: can you see when it’s off, can you smell it?

[Free text]


Is it made without the use of any animal products?

Yes/No/Not sure

Is this a by-product is it found in a waste stream?

Is this ingredient a by-product or does it come from waste streams
Yes/No/Not sure

[Describe in which contexts this resource can be found in abundance]


Can this resource be naturally replenished on a human timescale?

Yes/No/Not sure

What do you know about how long it takes for this ingredient regrow?Which plants/micro organisms grow this ingredient? How long does it take them to regenerate? Under which conditions?

[Describe how long it takes to regrow]

Cultural & historical information

Historically, what were the uses of this ingredient? In which contexts were these uses discovered? When? By whom? How did it travel to other places?

[Free text]


Describe how this ingredient has been or might be contested. What are the issues and concerns? Are there dilemmas to consider? Which arguments are put forward?

may be cultural, health-wise, ecological, social, cultural, political, economical arguments

[Free text]


Please provide information to the references used

  • Title by [name], [publication channel], [date]: link