Fungi have an underground vegetative part, forming a fairly dense filamentous network, the mycelium.
The American start-up MycoWorks, founded in 2013, considers mushrooms as a material. In October 2016, it developed a process for making "leather" from mushrooms. This method of production is not very polluting, but above all it offers an alternative to the use of animal skins.
To produce it, you need to grow mycelium in a mould with a substrate and organic waste as food. The mycelium will gradually become denser and take the shape of the mould. To obtain the final result, the product is dried and then put in an oven to eliminate all the micro-organisms.
This environmentally friendly, biodegradable, low carbon footprint leather is promising, especially since the production obtained from mycelium is obviously much faster (and less deadly 🙂 than that with a cow (for example). For the same size, production takes a few weeks with mushrooms versus 3 years with an animal.
March 2021: Hermès unveiled its new Victoria bag, made of canvas, calf leather and Sylvania, a mycelium leather alter developed with the Fine Mycelium technology produced by MycoWorks!
Press release : https://www.mycoworks.com/introducing-sylvania-by-hermes