Progressive times call for sustainable innovations with consumers advocating for natural, ethical, and alternative technologies. As consumer awareness evolves, environmental and traceability concerns spearhead new product development in not only personal care but also every societal facet. Many convenient technologies destroy the environment, but nature offers solutions for versatile and biodegradable alternatives. In nature, mycelium is the final decomposer, working to make components available for reuse in the ecosystem, a true circle of life. Grown in house, cultured mycelium eliminates traditional harvesting while protecting natural ecosystems. Mycelium Mushroom Shielding Technology optimizes sustainable mycelium technology to shield and strengthen hair. The renewable nature of mushrooms and mycelium prompt their incorporation into beauty applications for a biotechnological revolution.
Fungi are at the forefront of an environmental and medicinal movement, making them essential for the future of the planet as well as health and innate immunity. Growing awareness of health boosting superfoods has contributed to research in mycology, or the study of fungi. Consumers are typically familiar with mushrooms, or the fruiting body of fungi, due to their popularity throughout the nutritional realm. Hailed as healthy for the planet, mushrooms maintain a low carbon footprint and a sustainable life cycle for more than just the beauty industry. Advances in science and technology pave the way for innovative biotechnology such as the use of fungal mycelium.
Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, co-exist in nature’s complex communities forming symbiotic relationships with various botanicals and ecosystems. A neurological network in nature, mycelium depicts a ‘wood wide web’, establishing connections between plants for nutrient transfers and increased defensive responses. Plants utilizing a mycelium network, experience increased disease resistance and habitat protection. Expansive benefits of mycelium encourage its use in mycorestoration projects to filter water, co-cultivate food crops, denature toxic wastes, and control insect populations. Ecological rehabilitation with mycelium is one of nature’s oldest methods to manage plant stress, disease, natural disasters, and organic decomposition. Human activity and intervention damage habitats, reduce biodiversity, and deplete natural resources. Current research, such as applications conducted by Paul Stametes, a world-renowned mycologist, and Ecovative Design, a biotech company, are harnessing the power of mycelium for environmental, medicinal, and technological purposes.
Mycelium is forming an influential network in architecture, agriculture, food, fashion, and medical technology. The emergence of nature’s sustainable infrastructure, mycelium-harnessed technology is achieving scaffolding for skin substitutes and organ replacements, as well as environmental remediation, and alternatives to Styrofoam and plastics. From plant-based meats to reliable building materials, mycelium could curb our reliance on plastics, fuel, and excessive energy use. Fungal fashion is one industry example incorporating the benefits of mycelium and mushrooms to reduce the carbon footprint commonly associated with the textile industry. With minimal waste and energy cost, mycelium offers an answer to sustainability concerns. Harnessing the innovative potential of mycelium, is the beginning of a fungi revolution for the beauty industry.
Mycelium are gaining momentum as a fungal biotechnology for advances in building materials, wound scaffolding, as well as alternatives to Styrofoam and plastics. Engineering advances utilize mycelium components for adhesive properties as this vegetative fungus tissue naturally binds together different components such as wood, soil, and other loose particles. Mycelium grow due to a symbiotic relationship with the materials that feed it, ultimately creating a network of branching fibers and hyphae. These networks extend for excessive lengths such as the mycelium network in the Oregon Blue Mountains that occupies 10km2. The diet of mycelium influence the concentrations of polysaccharides, lipids, proteins, chitin, and enzymes present in the fibrous structures. As mycelium progress through an environment, whether in nature or through a predetermined engineering design, enzymes are released to degrade food particles. Food for mycelium can include plant components to toxic waste and pollutants. As materials are degraded, mycelium physically bind together leftover particles creating stable forms and structures. This ability is transforming the innovation of alternative building materials for wood, concrete, and plastic as well as bioremediation programs including preventing soil erosion. As mycelium spreads, the fungal hyphae physically bind soil particles together reducing erosion and offering a stable network.
Polysaccharides contribute to the fungi’s adhesive capability and prompt the concept of nature’s glue. Mycelial biomass create and optimize polysaccharide materials to bind physical particles together. Various plants naturally contain polysaccharides that assist with energy production or structural benefits. Mycelium polysaccharides enhance adhesive bonding as well as improve structural elasticity and strength of the materials they bond. Harnessing commonalities of nature employs mycelium technology to transform hair care. Lentinus Edodes (Shiitake) mycelium polysaccharides to shield hair strands from thermal damage, while masking visible damage from chemical processes such as bleach. The adhesive properties of mycelium encourage the ability to attach or fuse to the hair strand and seal the cuticle. Raised hair cuticles result in loss of moisture and opportunities for additional damage to the hair strand. For hair protection, smooths the hair cuticles while improving physical and mechanical properties of the hair strand including strength and elasticity. Mycelium technology provides a protective shield, forming a barrier against external aggressors such as pollution and thermal damage while enhancing the visual aesthetic of the overall hair.
Utilizing nature’s sustainable infrastructure, Mycelium Mushroom Shielding Technology optimizes attributes of mycelium to shield hair strands from damaging effects of heat and visible damage from chemical processes such as bleaching. Improving strength and elasticity, encourages smooth, healthy hair with an environmental conscience. Mycelium shielding technology offers damage control and masking for optimal hair care protection from environmental aggressors or everyday stressors.
An ex-vivo Hair Pollution Protection Assay assessed the ability of Mycelium Mushroom Shielding Technology to shield the hair from oxidative effects of air pollution. Environmental aggressions such as pollutants resulting from automobile exhaust gas, industrial emissions, and even contaminants from household chores such as cooking and cleaning can have a detrimental effect on hair. Exposure to environmental pollution can result in dry, brittle hair with decreased strength and elasticity.