Developing the Next Generation of Sustainable Biomaterials

October
,
2019

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...

Author Bios: 

Jeroen F. Visjager

Jeroen F. Visjager, PhD, is an associate director with Bolt Threads. He leads a multidisciplinary materials team focused on process development, optimization, and scaleup of natively inspired bio-derived materials with sustainability, performance, and market advantages. He received his MS in chemical engineering and PhD in material science from the Eindhoven Univ. of Technology and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, respectively.Read more

Ritu Bansal-Mutalik

Ritu Bansal-Mutalik, PhD, is the former technical director of Bolt Threads. She led a cross-­functional team of process engineers, scientists, and researchers toward meeting downstream processing challenges for development, scaleup, and commercialization of both Microsilk fibers and Mylo material. Her main focus was on making these products and processes as economical, sustainable, and robust as possible. She has an interdisciplinary background with an MS and PhD in chemical engineering (with a focus on bioprocess technology and downstream processing of proteins) from the Institute of...Read more

Alex Patist

Alex has over 20 years of experience in directing new product, process development, and scale-up in the food, nutraceutical, biochemical & biofuels industries. Since 2017, he took on the role of VP of Process Development at Bolt Threads, managing fermentation, recovery, fibers and Mylo(TM) development, scale-up and tech transfer.Read more

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