Venture back company Bolt Threads is creating high performance fabrics using strong, sustainable materials inspired (and created) by nature.
To create a sustainable, high-performance textile, Bolt Threads studied spiders to understand how they spin their strong silk proteins. With chemists and researchers on board the company imitates the natural silk proteins by bioengineering genes into yeast. The liquid proteins are extracted and spun into fiber that can then be knitted into a durable, sustainable textile. There are no actual spiders involved in making the material, the proteins are simply grown through fermentation of sugar, yeast and water and combined with a genetically modified yeast. This is biomimicry at its finest.
Mylo is a synthetic leather-like material grown from mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms. Bolt Threads has created an environment where the mycelium cells can grow into this leather-like material within days. The dimensional material gets pressed and dyed to create a true leather-feel material that avoids all of the material waste associated with animal hide leather. The opportunities for material made from mycelium goes beyond leather and has been explored by other scientists and designer for various applications such as architectural structures and lightweight, sustainable packaging.