Today there are several kinds of organic materials that are being developed in search of options to replace petroleum-derived plastic. MycoBond is an example of this innovative type of product. Developed by the New York-based company Ecovative, MycoBond is considered to be a natural polymer. With characteristics similar to those of plastic, it is grown from low-value agricultural byproducts like oat or cornflower seeds, which are inoculated with mushroom roots, known as mycelia. These cells produce enzymes that decompose the residues, generating a matrix of microscopic fibers that under high temperatures create an adhesive material which is used to make the new polymer. The last step of the process is dehydrating the material and applying a heat treatment process to stop the growth of the mycelium cells.
The resulting composite is recyclable and biodegradable, has no spores and offers very good hygrothermal properties. It can be used as packaging material (replacing expanded polystyrene), and in the building industry, as natural adhesive, as insulation, structural insulating panels (SIPs), and to manufacture acoustical tiles.