Mushrooms are widely used in many industries, from the food industry to the pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, biodegradable products such as clothing and dishes have been of interest to many companies in a wide range of industries. A few companies use fungi as a material for vegan leather production.
Currently, two types of fungal material are used to create the leather – amadou, a fungal material obtained from inedible wood-decaying fomes fomentarius fungi. These mushrooms are grown in recycled sawdust. This type of leather is produced by Amadou Leather company, which supplies the clothing, furniture, and automotive industries.
Another type of material is the fibrous part of the fungus called mycelium, which is grown on agricultural waste products such as corn and hemp fiber. US-based MycoWorks company produces vegan leather from mycelium.
Traditional leather processing uses chromium and many other chemicals that are harmful to both humans and the environment. There is no need to use chemical dyes to produce leather from mycelium or amadou because mushrooms grow in various colors.
Amadou leather can absorb moisture from the skin, is breathable and water-repellent just like traditional animal skin. As the name suggests, no animal materials are used in the manufacture of this alternative leather. The product can therefore be called “animal-free”.
One of the biggest advantages is that the fungi leather is 100% biodegradable. The same cannot be said of synthetic vegan leather, which is made of polyurethane (PE), where the decomposition period is about 100 years, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which decomposes for hundreds of years.
The mushroom needs only two weeks to reach the desired size for harvest, while the cattle grow for two years.
There are more interesting compostable products on the market. Young designers designed a biodegradable T-shirt made of natural materials. A pioneer from Ukraine is successful with eco-friendly coffee ground eyewear.
Source and credit: https://en.reset.org/blog/fungi-power-mushrooms-replacing-leather-eco-friendly-fashion-11122018?page=1, https://www.instagram.com/mycoworks/