Mycelium-based composites result from the growth of filamentous fungi on organic materials such as agricultural waste streams. These novel biomaterials represent a promising alternative for product design and manufacturing both in terms of sustainable manufacturing processes and circular lifespan. This study shows that their morphology, density, tensile and flexural strength, as well as their moisture- and water-uptake properties can be tuned by varying type of substrate (straw, sawdust, cotton), fungal species (Pleurotus ostreatus vs. Trametes multicolor) and processing technique (no pressing or cold or heat pressing). The fungal species impacts colonization level and the thickness of the air-exposed mycelium called fungal skin. Colonization level and skin thickness as well as the type of substrate determine the stiffness and water resistance of the materials. Moreover, it is shown that heat pressing improves homogeneity, strength and stiffness of the materials shifting their performance from foam-like to cork- and wood-like. Together, these results demonstrate that by changing the fabrication process, differences in performance of mycelium materials can be achieved. This highlights the possibility to produce a range of mycelium-based composites. In fact, it is the first time mycelium composites have been described with natural material properties.
- Pleurotus ostreatus
- Trametes multicolor