JEONJU, Nov. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Mushrooms, usually associated with dining, are now being transformed into a type of leather used to make clothing and accessories.
On Thursday, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) announced the development of technology for creating leather using mushrooms and revealed plans to commercialize this innovative process.
Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, is characterized by thin, thread-like structures that offer abundant potential as an industrial material. The RDA cultivated mycelium from the Lingzi mushroom, known for its fast and uniform growth, on a cotton textile layered with sawdust.
Subsequently, the RDA successfully produced leather fabric by processing the fully grown mycelium. According to tests conducted by the Korea Apparel Testing & Research Institute, the tensile cutting load and tear load of this mushroom leather, created in collaboration with agricultural farms and processing companies, surpass conventional clothing leathers by 1.7 and 3.5 times, respectively.
Even in terms of wear resistance, indicating how well the fabric can endure friction, the newly-developed mushroom leather demonstrated superiority compared to existing leathers.
Mushroom leather has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and water usage by more than 90 percent. It’s also an eco-friendly choice as it involves no chemical usage.
The RDA has completed the patent registration for this technology and plans to release a variety of leather products, such as handbags and accessories, through consultations with specialized leather companies.
Chang Kab-yeol, head of the mushroom department at the National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science, which operates under the RDA, stated, “We will promote cooperation with agricultural farms and private companies to enable mushroom mycelium to be developed into various products, including packaging materials, shock-absorbing materials, and building materials.”
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)