Method of making mycelium-leather


#1

This is a follow-up protocol to make mycelium sheets more flexible together with @Gammarra. We did those experiments at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels in the context of my PhD research.

  • You need 1/2 to 1 agar plate of mycelium (e.g. species Trametes Versicolor, Schizophyllum commune, Pleurotus ostreatus).
  • Remove all the agar to keep pure mycelium
  • Inoculate the pure mycelium in a sterilised liquid nutrient-rich medium

For example:
Malt extract 3g
Yeast extract 3g
Peptone 5g
Glucose 10g
Distilled water: 1000ml
Sterilise the medium by autoclaving at 121°C for 15 minutes

  • Let it grow in static position in a container of the desired size
  • Incubation at 23-28°C for 5-10 days
  • The mycelium will grow at the surface of the liquid and fill the size of the container.
  • Add more nutrient medium under the sheet of mycelium with a syringe after 5-10 days.
  • Incubate again for 5-10 days. The growth time depends on the dimensions of the container.
  • Harvest the mycelium sheet
  • Dry it at 70-130C for several hours. This step can also be skipped. So, first plasticise the mycelium-sheet while the organism is still alive and the sheet still humid. The mycelium sheet can also be heat-pressed.
  • Let the mycelium-sheet soak in a plasticiser (glycerol, choline chloride:ethylene glycol, …) for several hours (24-48h).
  • Rinse the sheet of mycelium abundantly to make sure all the plasticiser is removed.
  • Dry it again at 70-130C for several hours

Instead of using a liquid growth medium, it can also be grown on lignocellulose fibres.
The fibres can also be mixed with the liquid medium.

A short video of the results was posted a few weeks ago on my instagram account. It is shown that the mycelium has leather-like properties, and is much more flexibel.

Feel free to supplement this post with more experiments and methods!


Creative Commons License

Lab protocol by Elise Elsacker, Under supervision of Prof. Lars De Laet and Prof. Eveline Peeters / Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Department of Architectural Engineering and Bioengineering Sciences.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Hi there!
#2

Ah, ok, it linked to a video and it’s not possible to share video’s directly on this forum. I’ll try to find an alternative.

In meanwhile, can you share the paper you’re referring to?
I think I know which one, by Haneef? If so, they don’t really produce “leather”. It’s actually the post-treatment with the plasticiser that renders the material flexible rather than the mycelium species or feedstock.

Yes, I tried many different types of protocol and fibres (cotton, bamboo, flax, hemp, etc…).


#3

Hi Elise!

This is great info, thank you!
I plan to start a mini project in March that will take up 40-50hours of my work time over 4 months
I plan to test a few combinations of strains, liquid mediums/substrates, natural additives and post-treatment manipulations.
The objective is to achieve a thin, skin-like mycelium leather that works well in tension and is somewhat elastic.

I am currently devising a simple plan and don’t know if my expectations are too high (most likely, yes, they are :smiley:), but will keep active here anyways.

Cheers,
Pete


#4

Hi Elise,

We would like to try this out, but we have a question. Can we use Enoki 1L rogge ( https://www.homegreen.nl/paddenstoelen-broed/broed-1-liter-rogge/enoki-1-liter-rogge ) instead of the agar plate with the mycelium already added? We would like to make our own sheets with the Enoki by adding this to the rest of the ingredients.

sincerely
The biolab students of HKU


#5

Hi @sophie1,

I’ve never tested Enoki before, so I don’t know if it will give the same results. You can definitely use spawn or inoculated substrate instead of the agar plate.
After having done some more tests it seems Ganoderma Lucidium is really interesting for leather.

Good luck and keep us posted with your results!


#6

@Elise Where are your results ? Finally you agree to switch to ganoderma


#7

Video of mycelium-leather grown on solid substrate after drying and plasticising: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m1s1mvc3c1crvpk/IMG_2834.MOV?dl=0


#8

@sophie1,

How does it goes? Do you already have some results with Enoki?

Curious to hear more :wink:


#9

The method described above is very similar to what was just published in the kickstarter campaign by Mycotech:

Ecovative is doing it differently, I don’t know how. They grow big white foams and compress those into sheets:


#10

Looks great! Would be awesome to know the tensile strength and flexural properties of these grows!