Mushroom Leather Gives Vegans So Much Pleasure
"There's nothing like the smell of a new car, luxuriously appointed in rich, leather-like mushroom fabric. And not just cars. Faux leather made using spores from mushrooms could one day replace animal-based fabric in furniture, clothes, or pretty much anything else you'd cover in leather or sheet plastic, says Phill Ross, the chief technology officer for a startup called MycoWorks.
The fungus grows exponentially, Ross says, creating a cowhide-size sheet of leather in two weeks vs. two years to raise a cow and produce an animal hide, all without food, waste, CO2 footprint — not to mention the life of a cow.
The result is slightly odd-looking sheet of material that's very strong, breathable, water wicking, and a natural antibiotic. The fungus "has a wide range of antimicrobial biochemical that it synthesize and exudes in order to defend itself against the hungry hordes" in a forest, Ross says. Specifically, the material is generated from the vegetative rootlike part called the mycelium."
- National Geographic Science, Premiere Issue, Dec 2017/Jan 2018