Exceptional possibilities for exploitation of mushrooms are already well known; from their nutritional and therapeutic values to the elimination of toxins from the soil and water. But imaginative people have discovered another possibility of their use; mushrooms can be used to produce MuSkin, so-called vegan skin which mimics skin texture from animals.
MuSkin is a skin that is made from a mushroom Phellinus ellipsoideus cap fibers called mycelium. Once extracted, those fibers are treated with non-toxic ingredients, unlike the skin of animals, and therefore it is safer for direct contact with human skin. Studies have shown that MuSkin stops developing and replicating bacteria, it's more airy and has a great ability to quickly absorb and release moisture. It is naturally water-resistant but can be treated with ecological wax. In few studies MuSkin showed better properties than leather made from animal skin.
Because it is made completely ecologically, it can be used to manufacture all the products that come into contact with the skin, because it doesn’t trigger allergic reactions. It is biodegradable material which is very important for protecting environment. All of these features make this material perfect for everyday items.
In this video Philip Ross (CTO of MycoWorks) explain process of creating myceluim, amazing qualities of mycelium and present few MuSkin products:
We live in world where most of people love leather. The problem is there is more and more people, so we need more and more leather. Because all that leather is coming from animals, conclusion is we must produce more animals so we can satisfy demand. But there are few problems there:
- First of all demand for leather is 7% higher every year and cow population grow is 3%.
- Because demand for animals products is higher every year, most of animal farming must be on massive scale and that mean non ecological friendly.
- In that system of massive animal production, there is no room for ethical behaviour.
That are some of the reasons products like MuSkin are so important.
It is important to note that production of MuSkin is very efficient. It only takes 2 weeks to produce same sheet of MuSkin leather compared to leather sheet from cow for which it takes 3 years to grow up to maturity. For massive production of MuSkin we can use same type of facilities in which we grow mushrooms for eating. Process of growing MuSkin has low water and energy requirements. At end mycelium is biodegradable, so as a waste it's wouldn't be polluting the environment.
One of leading companies in research mycelium is MycoWorks. From their website:
We are working together to solve today’s greatest challenges with products made from mycelium, a rapidly renewable natural resource. Our discoveries are foundational to the field of mycotecture and draw from over 20 years of research into designing and engineering mycelium materials. Along with our visionary partners and customers, MycoWorks is building a better world with nature’s best tools.
Here is presentation from Sophia Wang (CEO of MycoWorks) about this great technology:
Like always, nature are showing us way to go. One day we will realize all solutions for hunger, diseases and all other problems, we can find in nature. Step by step we will find out more and more plants that can help us in way we couldn't imagine before. Who would say we can have so much benefit from mushrooms?!...You thought you only can eat it, didn't you? Yes, I thought that also.
Examples like mycelium are just fraction of what nature can offer us. Unfortunately, we lost connection to nature and because all knowledge about amazing benefits we can have from it. Just look at most known example in recent years: hemp. That plant with so much great properties was demonized intentionally and because of it we didn't use it. But we are coming back big time in last few decades. Even pharmaceutical lobbies are trying their best to hide the truth, there is more and more revelations about plants that have amazing properties and they can't stop it in the end.
Nature is perpetuum mobile...let's learn from it!