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A leather alternative made from fungal cells

Bolt Threads Research and Development has developed "Mylo Unleather"- a leather alternative made from mycelium.

But what is mycelium?

Mycelium consists of hyphae, i.e. thread-like cells of a fungus, comparable to the roots of a tree. What we see and know of fungi are only the fruiting bodies that protrude from the soil. The main part of the fungus is made up of these hyphae, which form a large, underground network.

But how does it become a leather-like material?

The cells are fed with sawdust or other organic materials and laid out on mats where they grow into a foam-like layer under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Finally, they are harvested and the layer is processed into cork-like, thin and flexible boards. These sheets are then tanned and dyed using tanning processes from traditional leather processing.

"Mylo Unleather" thus does not require any petroleum-based additives at all and is completely plant-based. This makes the material particularly interesting for use in a natural material cycle and thus for the circular economy.

Mycelium is a very promising material that has much more potential than "just" an alternative to polystyrene packaging. We will definitely keep an eye on this material.



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