Continuing the discussion from [Wikithon] Intro to Intellectual Property (IP):
I found a German patent that expired from 1993 describing more or less mycelium-materials:
They used other words for basically the same because the glue is phenol oxidizing enzymes, and there is one sentence in the patent describing “phenol oxidizing enzymes, for example, from cultures of white rot fungi”
Or this paper from 1989 explains the proces with Trametes Versicolor
Here are the conclusions of this paper (since it’s behind a paywall).
Fungal phenoloxidase enzymes produced on waste lignin containing effluents were suitable biocomponents in cold-setting and thermosetting lignin-based adhesives. The phenoloxidase-lignin bio-adhesive will be suitable as thermosetting glue in particleboard production if the water resistance of the boards can be increased. Results in this area have already been obtained. The properties of lignin-phenoloxidase-bonded particleboards revealed several advantages compared to synthetic resins:
- The lignin phenoloxidase adhesive implies the total utilization of waste lignin, directly as one component of the adhesive and indirectly as nutrient of the phenoloxidase-producing fungus.
- The production of enzyme-lignin-bonded particleboard is much less hazardous than the production of isocyanate-bonded particle- board, for example.
- The bio-adhesive consists of renewable raw material, so the production does not depend on the oil market.
- The phenoloxidase-lignin-bonded particleboards are free of any emission.
- The phenoloxidase-lignin adhesive is not only applicable as thermosetting adhesive but also as a cold-curing system.
I even found earlier sources of “myco wood” in the paper Investigation into the biotechnological modification of wood and its application in the wood‐based material industry
As early as 1949, LUTHARDT in co-operation with the Technical University of Dresden has developed a procedure for the modification of beech wood (Fagus silvatica) by mycological delignification. The aim was the improvement of the mechanical working properties of the material. An inoculum of white-rot fungi Pleurotus ostreatus or Trametes versicolor was used as a paste on the front surfaces of 0.4-1.2-m long pieces of round timber. The incubation of wood took place under nonsterile conditions over 3 to 5 months. During this time, the density of wood was reduced as a function of the time to 0.45 to 0.13 g/cm3. Because of this decrease in density and hardness, the “myco wood” was applicable to the pencil production, to the manufacturing of wood forms in the glass industry and to the model construction. In addition, it was also used as a cheap substitute for cedar wood.
Source: LUTHARDT W.: Myko-Holz-Herstellung, Eigenschaften und Venvendung In:Holzzerstörung durch Pilze. Internationales Symposium Eberswalde, 1962. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1962.
Obviously, this is prior-art to the Ecovative patents, “their invention” already existed!