This Mushroom Leather Is Being Made into Hermès Handbags

Mon, 28 Mar 2022 06:00:00 GMT
Scientific American - Technology

A bioreactor-made material is being marketed as an animal-friendly leather alternative that also...

The biotechnology industry is expanding into the fashion industry, with investors backing leather substitutes made from mushrooms, animal cells or recombinant collagen produced in yeast.

Many of the bio-based materials have the same properties and aesthetics as leather, allowing designers to substitute them for animal leather.

"Animal leather is the original performance material. It is something that has a very rare combination of hand feel, warmth, breathability, aesthetic and durability. And when you combine all of these properties, you create this emotional response that leather gives us. It's very powerful and it's very valuable. So the bar is very high," he says.

They aim for biotech leather to beat the performance of plant-based leather alternatives, such as those made from cactus, pineapple, seaweed and apple peels.

In addition to the realistic feel and quality of the material, biotech leather companies also face the challenge of producing their textiles at scale, at a price that competes with animal leather.

Finishing the building of a pilot plant Bolt Threads Mycelium-based leather alternative Mycelial cells are fed sawdust and organic material in a tray while controlling the humidity, temperature and other variables.

125 million financing round on January 13; will build commercial production plant within a year Hide Biotech Proteins extracted from fish waste for leather alternative Isolated proteins from scales, bones and other fish waste are engineered with enzymes, chemicals and dyes to create a leather alternative.

Partnership with Nike Bucha Bio Nanocellulose-based biocomposite for leather alternative and other materials Bacterial microorganisms such as Gluconacetobacter xylinus are fermented to produce nanocellulose, which is formulated with plant-based components into various biocomposite materials.

Beyond the challenges of scaling and performance, leather-substitute companies will also have to contend with the animal leather industry, which has fiercely fought against the use of the term "Leather" for anything that doesn't come from an animal.

"We can say it's 'inspired by leather,'" says Ding at Hide Biotech, "But we avoid calling the material 'leather' because I think it will trigger the leather industry." Indeed, several European countries have regulated the use of words for hide or leather for non-animal textiles, in response to the animal industry's demands.

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