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Mycelium Leather Breakthrough: Spora's First Patent

Updated: May 13

Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, Spora has made significant strides in addressing climate change, animal abuse, and humanitarian issues through its recent research and development. The company is at the forefront of creating bio-textile products, including a “vegan leather” made from mushroom mycelium, which serves as a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional leather. This pioneering material not only reduces environmental footprint but also aligns with the growing global demand for cruelty-free and eco-friendly products.



Since its inception in 2017, Spora has embarked on a visionary quest to revolutionize the world of sustainable materials through a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach centered around fungal mycelium. This ambitious vision, underpinned by a fusion of cutting-edge technologies spanning biotechnology, nanotechnology, applied mycology, Omics sciences, bioinformatics, materials sciences, synthetic biology, and genome editing systems, is rooted in a commitment to biodiversity. Spora has a Fungal Biotech Lab and a Biofabric with a capacity of 250,000 ft2 of mycelium fabric, driven by 60 collaborators and a 15 scientists strong R&D team. Their goal is to unearth unique fungal strains that offer novel characteristics and phenotypic attributes, paving the way for the development of the next generation of mycelium fabrics.


A Landmark Achievement: Spora's Mother Patent


After an arduous journey, Spora achieved a significant milestone on January 2, 2024, with the submission of its first patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Titled "MYCOTEXTILES INCLUDING ACTIVATED SCAFFOLDS AND NANO-PARTICLE CROSS-LINKERS AND METHODS OF MAKING THEM" (No.US-2023-0356501-Al), this patent will not only safeguard Spora's intellectual property but also solidifies its position as a pioneering nano-biotechnology platform on the global stage. By securing this patent, Spora will gain the freedom to produce its fungal materials worldwide without encroaching on the intellectual property of others in the industry. Moreover, the patent's comprehensive scope covers the entire production process, from pre-fermentation to post-fermentation, empowering Spora to establish end-to-end operations for mycelium-based textiles.


Innovative Breakthroughs: Redefining Post-Fermentation Processes


Central to Spora's patented technology is a groundbreaking approach to post-fermentation processes. For the first time, Spora's mother patent introduces the use of ceramic nanoparticles functionalized with proteins to facilitate the cross-linking of chitin/chitosan motifs within fungal mycelium cell walls. This sustainable alternative to traditional chemical treatments significantly enhances the mechanical properties of biomaterials in just 20 minutes at room temperature, without resorting to toxic or polluting substances.



FIG. 1. Shows a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrograph of synthesized SiO2 nanoparticles (left) and a graph illustrating the size distribution of SiO2 nanoparticles (right).



FIG. 2. Shows a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrograph of functionalized nanoparticles embedded in fungal mycelium (left) and an example of an EDS spectrum showing the presence of silicon in the sample (right).


Looking Ahead: Spora's Intellectual Property Roadmap


With its first patent serving as a springboard, Spora is poised to embark on an ambitious trajectory in the realm of intellectual property. The company's Intellectual Property Strategic Plan outlines the projection of 11 patents by 2025, with three application patents already filed with the USPTO, PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), and the European Union. These patents are designed to secure intellectual property rights associated with scaling production, the design of genetically enhanced fungal strains, and the introduction of a groundbreaking collection of biomaterials.

 

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