Phys.org notes that natural alternatives already exist, such as polylactic acid commonly used in biodegradable bags, Tencel and Lyocell made from wood, and materials made from animal protein. However, newer materials made from mushroom alternatives are also on the horizon.
Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads are collaborating on Mylo, a range of accessories made from mushroom leather, and MycoWorks has grown a new type of leather from mycelium and farm waste.
Leather alternative MuSkin is made from the fungus Phellinus ellipsoideus while Ecovative, already an established player in bioplastic, is adding vegan leather research using mycelium as feedstock.
“Fungi are naturally abundant in nature, quick to grow (on a range of waste materials) and their growth uses a lot less water than traditional textile manufacture,” the publication notes. “In theory, a fungal product is also completely biodegradable, can be strong, can be colorful, water repellent, can be edible, and can have medicinal properties.”