Leather and synthetic leather production have a large negative environmental impact due to resource-intensive processes and hazardous chemicals used during production. VTT’s research team demonstrated that VTT’s technology enables the continuous manufacturing of mycelium leather sheets by the meter. The approach is applicable to industrial roll-to-roll production. The first product applications for the material could be accessories, footwear, and garments, for example.
“The material has a leathery look and feel and can be as strong as animal leather. It also offers the possibility to be colored and patterned, and it does not contain any backing or supporting materials,” describes VTT’s Senior Scientist Géza Szilvay.
Fungal mycelium is a bio-based raw material that can be sustainably processed into leather-like materials. Until now, increasing the production volume with current methods has been challenging due to mycelium cultivation taking place in a planar two-dimensional form limited in size. “Our process makes it possible to overcome these size limitations,” says VTT’s Research Scientist Manuel Arias Barrantes.