Fungal mycelium classified in different material families based on glycerol treatment

Freek V. W. Appels, Jeroen G. van den Brandhof, Jan Dijksterhuis, Gijs W. de Kort, Han A. B. Wosten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Appels et al. showcase that treatment with glycerol impacts mycelium-material properties, resulting in mycelium sheets with stiffer and more elastic properties, similar to industrial polymers and elastomers. They further classify the mycelium produced in different material families, which could be greener alternatives to non-sustainable raw materials.

Fungal mycelium is an emerging bio-based material. Here, mycelium films are produced from liquid shaken cultures that have a Young's modulus of 0.47 GPa, an ultimate tensile strength of 5.0 MPa and a strain at failure of 1.5%. Treating the mycelial films with 0-32% glycerol impacts the material properties. The largest effect is observed after treatment with 32% glycerol decreasing the Young's modulus and the ultimate tensile strength to 0.003 GPa and 1.8 MPa, respectively, whereas strain at failure increases to 29.6%. Moreover, glycerol treatment makes the surface of mycelium films hydrophilic and the hyphal matrix absorbing less water. Results show that mycelium films treated with 8% and 16-32% glycerol classify as polymer- and elastomer-like materials, respectively, while non-treated films and films treated with 1-4% glycerol classify as natural material. Thus, mycelium materials can cover a diversity of material families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number334
Number of pages5
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020



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