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Biomimetic Mycology Biocomposites



The most recent progress in biocomposite textile and leather alternatives is using fungi to cultivate laminate materials, which are compostable and offer lower environmental impact. Until now, the majority of mycological materials created, which are derived from fungi, have been for applications which require rigidity, compressive strength and toughness as defining characteristics. The latest developments in the field of fungi-based materials is the focus on creating replacements for current polymer and composite materials, which are resourcedemanding and have complex processing needs, such as laminate fabrics in the textile and tanning industry. By creating biomimetic analogues to replace materials that have unfavorable environmental impacts, fungi-based substances can be used to develop materials that can offer the sustainability and disposal phase impact reduction that is desirable from bio-based composite materials. With increasing needs for materials which have less environmental impact, mycological materials can offer many advantages, including faster processing and manufacturing than animal-based materials. Due to fungi being able to digest a wide variety of organic substances, from agricultural wastes to crude oil-based synthetic materials, mycological materials have the potential to be an alternative to animalbased hides such as bovine leather and crude-oil based polymeric textiles. Innovations in the field of fungi-based textiles have shown fungi can be grown in layers to form composite laminates, in a matrix of reinforcing fibrous structures made from chitin, which can mimic other natural materials such as animal hides. Similar microstructures of a cellular material with fibrous regions were identified from scanning electron microscopy images, which may explain how mycological materials can form similar textures, morphologies and material properties to animal-based leather, despite being made from the significantly different protein structures of fungi.

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