An Argentinian biotech startup is betting on mushrooms as the source for new biomaterials. Biotechnology is deemed as a solution for the creation of biomaterials that can drastically reduce environmental impact.
Based in Cosquín, Córdoba, Bionatur-All has spent the past five years doing research and development on the use of mushrooms for biodegradable products. Their products are a compostable alternative to EPS and single-use plastics, and can be customized into different shapes and sizes.
Mushpack is a packaging made from the inoculation of mycelium with feedstock residues, such as hay or sawdust. When mixed with mycelium, the result is a light, resistant, isolating, semi-flexible and long-lasting material. It can be used for packaging and can degrade in 90 to 100 days. This replaces approximately 10.000 pieces of EPS, and reduces tonnes of CO2 per tonne of Mushpack produced.
“We want to provide the packaging and container industry with biomaterials that answer to the market’s growing demands for solutions that are respectful to the environment. Creating at the same time regional value and contributing to an orderly transition of the sector towards more sustainable solutions” explained María de los Ángeles Cano, chemical technician and head of the project in an interview with Agrofy News.
Cano claims the initiative is feasible short-term and low cost because they use local feedstock residues. Although mushroom based materials already exist around the globe, these sorts of productions are new in Argentina. Cano says their lab is “homemade and doesn’t have the latest technology”.
Bionatur-All is also working on biotextiles and developing mushroom “leather”. Still in its research phase, the goal is to achieve a less expensive, biodegradable and eco-friendly option. So far the result is soft, flexible and durable material.
Cano believes that by showing “how and why we do what we do” she’ll transmit the consciousness to understand another perspective of the productive sector. “I hope Argentina can access the technology, which is plenty, and that many people will do this. I hope there will be several of us”.