- A biotech company in New York is designing a plant-based packing product that could change Styrofoam.
- The material is made from mycelium, which is basically the root structure of mushrooms.
- On top of packaging material, mycelium is likewise being utilized to make protein-rich meat replacements and vegan leather.
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That pillowy white thing you’re taking a look at isn’t a huge marshmallow. It’s more like a huge fungi.
It’s the design of a biotech business that utilizes mushrooms to make environment-friendly packaging products, leather, and even bacon.
Mycelium, as it’s called, is generally the root structure of mushrooms.
Mycelium is distinct since it’s simple to both grow and form into various types.
At Ecovative Style in Green Island, New York, engineers, biologists, and designers are gathering its prospective to decrease plastic usage and feed the world.
Their first item, a packaging material made from mycelium and farming waste, is a lot like Styrofoam, and can be used to package anything from a computer system to a candle light.
The difference is that Mushroom Product packaging just takes 30 days to compost. Styrofoam fills an approximated 30%of our garbage dumps and takes at least 500 years to biodegrade.
Their second item, MycoFlex, is a foamy structure of pure mycelium. It can change polyurethane items like makeup sponges or be pounded down to create a leatherlike textile.
The 3rd product, Atlast, is a meatless option to chicken, steak, bacon, scallops, clams– you name it.
Growing all 3 of these items is surprisingly environmentally friendly
Eben Bayer, Cofounder and CEO of Ecovative: “In addition to utilizing less water, the procedure takes place much faster.
Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre founded Ecovative Design in2007 Their concept to establish mycelium into an option to Styrofoam was motivated by Eben’s youth on a farm in Vermont, where among his tasks was to shovel wood chips into a heating system to boil maple syrup.
Bayer: “In the spring, fungi would grow, and they ‘d turn the wood chips into these big clumps, which were a big discomfort in my butt since they obstructed the tractor pail. Therefore I ‘d understood that mycelium could be actually tenacious and strong.”
The process for creating Mushroom Packaging isn’t too far off from those fungis in the woodpile. Agricultural waste items like wood chips, corn husks, or hemp are mixed with mycelium in a mold, watered, and bred for 9 days.
The process for growing mushroom leather or alternative meat items is a bit different because here, the mycelium grows up and out of the agricultural waste.
The mix is put in what Ecovative calls vertical farms– development chambers that simulate the conditions of the soil, fooling the mycelium.
Andy Bass, director of marketing at Ecovative: “What it’s truly trying to do is grow up and punch out through the earth to form a mushroom, however we keep the environment such that it simply grows and grows into this large marshmallow-like structure.
Consumers are hungry for items like mushroom bacon. Last year, United States retail sales of plant-based meat were up almost 10%, while standard meat sales grew by only 2%.
Ecovative calls mycelium a “super ingredient.” It’s high in fiber and has the same protein material as a slice of bacon.
And it can be grown at the competitive cost of $1 per pound.
Ecovative states that mycelium’s biggest possible depend on its texture. It can simulate entire cuts of meat, as opposed to most other plant-based meats that are available in the form of minced patties or sausages.
Business have actually kept in mind. Ecovative has partnered with food developer Mattson to bring whole-cut plant-based meat to consumers.
Bayer: “I firmly think that the best technology on planet Earth is nature, which if we harness natural innovation, we can live better lives with much better food and much better products at no cost to the world. And I think we’re now starting to do that, however we’re simply scratching the surface area.”