Production of leather-like material from fungi


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Traditional leather and its substitutes are usually obtained from animals and synthetic polymers. Leather can be considered a by-product of cattle production, in which both livestock farming and leather production processes are considered ethically questionable and environmentally friendly (eg deforestation for grazing, greenhouse gas emissions, tanning processes Use of hazardous substances in). The production of synthetic leather materials from plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) also depends on chemicals derived from fossil fuels.


“This is where leather-like materials from fungi come into play, which are normally CO2 Is neutral as well as biodegradable at the end of its lifespan, ”says Alexander Bismarck from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna, who is an additional professor at Imperial College London.

Leather substitutes can be produced from fungi by uprooting low-cost agricultural and forestry by-products (eg, sawdust). These fungi serve as a feedstock for the growth of mycelium, which constitutes a large proportion of elongated tubular structures and represents the vegetative growth of filamentous fungi. Within a few weeks, the fungal biomass can be harvested and treated physically and chemically (eg, cross-linking). “As a result, these sheets of fungal biomass look like leather and exhibit comparable material and tactile properties,” says Alexander Bismarck, head of the department. The first biotech companies are already marketing materials derived from fungi.

Leather substitute materials derived from fungi typically contain fully biodegradable chitin (which acts as a stabilizer in the material) and other polysaccharides such as glucan. In their own study, Alexander Bismarck and Michele Jones (now affiliated with the University of Vienna Technology) had already conducted research using fungal species, such as the white button mushroom A. bisporus and bracket fungus D. To manufacture constructions such as Confragosa, paper and foam. Materials for applications, such as insulation.

There is great potential as a leather alternative

In this review article, scientists investigated the stability of bovine and synthetic leather and presented an overview of the first development and commercialization of leather substitutes derived from fungi. According to the authors, one of the biggest challenges in producing fungi-derived leather-like materials is still to obtain homogenous and coherent mycelium mats, “exhibiting uniform growth and consistent thickness, color, and mechanical properties.”

To date, the production of these materials is mainly inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit. Fungi as a raw material for leather substitutes provide a cost-effective, socially and environmentally sound alternative to bovine and synthetic leather and is of particular interest to sustainability-conscious consumers and companies, as well as the vegetarian community Are, researchers wrote. According to him, “substantial advances in this technology and a growing number of companies producing fungi-biomass-based leather alternatives suggest that this new material will play a considerable role in the future of ethical and environmentally responsible clothing.”


Fungus Alternative Leather


more information:
Fungi using materials like leather, biofuels Stability of nature, DOI: 10.1038 / s41893-020-00606-1, www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00606-1

Provided by the University of Vienna

Quotes: Production of leather-like material from fungi (2020, 7 September) until 8 September 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-09-leather-like-materials-fungi.html

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