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Sustainable Fungal Textiles: A novel approach for reuse of food waste

There is huge demand after sustainable textiles. This is due to the shortage of cotton and the environmental concerns of petrochemical based textiles, e.g. release of micro-plastics in the production process and during washing. This project aims to create a sustainable strategy for re-using bread waste for production of a new generation of sustainable textiles as a replacement for cotton and synthetic textiles.

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On the other hand, bread waste is a very large fraction of food wastes in Swedish supermarkets which significantly contributes to the environmental footprint. This project introduces a new approach to address both problems by exploring the potential of filamentous fungi, grown of bread waste, for production of a new generation of sustainable textiles.

In other words, the project contributes to the re-use of the food waste in the society through production of textiles. The fungal textiles are good candidates to reduce the pollutions generated by the textile industry.

We aim at implementation of the production process to the existing infrastructure in the textile and paper industries to speed up the uptake of the fungal textiles in the society. Yarns and Non-woven fabrics will be prepared from the fungal cell wall fibers using wet spinning and wet laid process, respectively. We will avoid usage of toxic chemicals that normally are done within the textile industry.

The fungal cultivation conditions, as well as the textile production process will be optimized to enhance the characteristics of the fungal textiles. The potential of the fungal textiles for apparel, home textile, and medical textile applications will be investigated. As a byproduct of the fermentation process, fungal proteins will also be produced that can potentially be used for food or feed applications.