Developing the Next Generation of Sustainable Biomaterials | AIChE

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Developing the Next Generation of Sustainable Biomaterials

SBE Special Section

Inspired by nature, one company is using advanced biotechnology techniques to develop new textiles and materials that raise the bar for sustainability.

Silk and leather are valuable materials with a multibillion-dollar global market. Their production is part science and technology and part art, with roots dating back thousands of years. Today, technological and scientific insights are allowing engineers and scientists to produce these materials while keeping in mind the critical sustainability needs of our world.

Biotechnology company Bolt Threads has developed two platforms for making silk and leather sustainably. This article describes the production of its MICROSILK, a high-performance fiber produced via fermentation and traditional textile production techniques. It then describes the company’s platform for manufacturing MYLO material, which looks, feels, and behaves like handcrafted leather, but is made from mycelia, the root structure of mushrooms...

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