Mycelium for professionals

Frequently Asked Questions - Mycelium and mushroom applications

Bio control & biostimulants

Both biocontrol and biostimulants are natural products that have a positive effect on plant cultivation.

Biocontrol is the use of living organisms or natural substances to prevent or reduce damage caused by pests (pests, weeds and pathogens).

There are 4 categories based on:

  • 1 macro-organisms (insects, nematodes)
  • 2 micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria or fungi)
  • 3 chemical mediators (pheromones)
  • 4 natural substances of mineral, plant or animal origin.

Biostimulants are substances or micro-organisms applied to the plant and that stimulates the plant nutrition process independently of the nutrients they contain, with the sole purpose of improving one or more plant characteristics (nutrient use efficiency, abiotic* stress tolerance and crop quality).

Since they do not provide significant amounts of nutrients, they are considered complementary to fertilisers and soil improvers which they do not replace.

Biostimulants do not act on plant defence mechanisms against a specific aggressor or disease. Instead, in combination with fertilisers and amendments, they contribute to better nutrition and plant vigour.

*Abiotic: all the physico-chemical factors that influence the cultivated ecosystem (water, temperature, state of the soil, etc.)


We will add more questions soon. Thank you for your patience.

Food and Feed

Yes, we have an extensive strain collection.

We have identified a number of strains that can be used for said applications. If you’re interested to develop a product, get in touch with our R&D department.

We can definitely play a role.

We have worked on meat substitutes in the past, more specifically on the production of so-called “edible spawn”: an edible fungus on an edible carrier.

These are complicated projects, as they are considered Novel Foods.

If you want to take this a step further, get in touch with our R&D department.


Mycomaterials are mycelium-based materials.

With mycomaterials, we can create objects which are either completely or partially comprised of fungal mycelium. We make them by growing filamentous fungi on organic materials such as agricultural waste streams. When they are a mix of mycelium + substrate, they are called a biocomposite. When they are just the mycelium fraction, they are called pure mycomaterials.

They are considered “novel biomaterials” and they represent a promising ecological alternative for product design and manufacturing. The ecological benefit is attributed to both sustainable manufacturing processes and circular lifespan.

There are roughly 3 different types of mycomaterials:

  • molded mycomaterials = biocomposites grown in a mold and dried to ‘freeze’ the object into a specific shape e.g. insulation panels, design objects, sound panels
  • pressed mycomaterials = biocomposites grown in beds and pressed into a specific shape e.g. building panels, bricks, car parts
  • pure mycomaterials = grown on top of molds or beds or in liquid form and harvested pure from the substrate e.g. mycelium leather, mycelium bacon

Important notes:

  • We conduct research and we grow inoculum to produce mycomaterials. We do not produce large amounts of mycomaterial objects ourselves.
  • We are a professional company, we produce large quantities of products. We are not interested to research small volumes or unique objects.

Probably not.

It is indeed our business model to transform concepts into products. But we get too many requests in order to accomodate everybody.

Over the past years, we have worked on acoustic panels, a lamp, a boat and some chairs. Do you really want to push your concept inthe next project of our R&D department? Then get in touch with us through the R&D contact form and tell us all about your crazy idea.

Important notes:

  • We conduct research and we grow inoculum to produce mycomaterials. We do not produce large amounts of mycomaterial objects ourselves.
  • We are a professional company, we produce large quantities of products. We are not interested to research small volumes or unique objects.

Indeed they can.

Molded mycomaterials are shaped and grown in a certain mold until they are fully mature. Then, they are unmolded and dried. This drying step kills the mycelium and as a result, the mycelium can do no more harm. It is safe to use to package any product.

This type of “packaging” is very lightweight, strong, durable and fire retardant.

This is a simple question. Sorry to break it to you, but the answer is not. Check out this blog post from 2019.

Without doubt, there is an ecological benefit. Mycomaterials are more environmentally friendly to produce than polystyrene or polyurethane and when they reach their end of life, they can be fully recycled by nature itself. But there are negative aspects too.

In future, the production system for mycomaterials can and will be optimized. The production process will become less energy intensive if we can use exhausted mushroom substrates for example, or if we can produce in countries where sun-drying is possible, or if we can produce with very fast-growing species.

We recommend to choose one of the 5 following strains :

  • M2191 Pleurotus ostreatus
  • M9726 Ganoderma lucidum
  • M9740 Fomes fomentarius
  • M9901 Pycnoporus sanguineus
  • M9911 Trametes versicolor.

The end result depends highly of the methology and the substrate which is used. All strains are fast growing and have a thick mycelium.

M9726 Ganoderma lucidum is our bestseller. It has the sturdiest, thickest one with a silky surface. Definitely the winner for vegan leather.

M9901 Pycnoporus sanguineus is a tropical species, hence it requires higher temperatures for fast growth (25–28°C), but the mycelium can have a nice orange/red colour.

M9740 is the slowest of the pack, but the finish is amazing and silky to the touch.

Our most important observation is that the cultivation is similar to the production of mushroom substrates.

We’ve run trials on hemp hurds, chopped straw, miscantus and sawdust mixtures, among others. We found that additional enrichment of the substrate (malt extract, flour) tended to increase contamination rates as the substrate became more favourable for non-ligninolytic fungi.

We have a wide range of ligninolytic fungi strains available, that all have different characteristics in regard to material properties and optimal growing conditions.

Common choices for this would be:
Pleurotus ostreatus (2191) – Faster growth, good flexibility, but lower overall biocomposite strength
Ganoderma lucidium (9726) – Most common strain used in commercial and research mycomaterials so far
Pycnoporus sanguineus (9901) – Reliable, interesting colour
Trametes versicolor (9911) – Reliable, strong white network
Fomes fomentarius (9740) – Slower, but but denser outer layer like a velvet finishing

These strains tend to produce fairly dense, though lightweight biocomposites, with acceptable growth times, and are the ones we would recommend for further investigation.
If you want to investigate a narrower taxonomic range, usually we have a range of strains within the same species, or genus.

There are other strains with interesting properties we could recommend that grow very fast, or preferentially degrade lignin over cellulose to a higher degree than other species, but they tend to come with a trade off between growth speed and the robustness of the final material.

For mother material, in a research setting, we would recommend inoculating with grain spawn. It is reliable, and can be quite simple.
The ideal grain differs between strains, and ideal bag size really depends on your set up and inoculation rate.

No. That is not a good idea.

There are a few examples of fungi in the same substrate simultaneously that can coexist, but usually they will simply compete for the same food source.

Excellent. The world needs people to take this to the next level.

There are hardly any success stories yet. But don’t be disheartened: this is a very new type of industry and you can be a pioneer! We can teach you the basics of mycomaterial production. If you wish to learn more, please check our mycomaterial courses here.

Yes, we can teach you the basics.

If you wish to learn about mycomaterials, please check our mycomaterial courses here.

Warning: if you are looking for a key-to-door solution to produce mycelium leather, we will not help you. This type of technology takes many years to develop. Fair competition is essential. We would never give away such an innovative technology for free. That would be very disloyal to any company who has invested time and effort into this.

Difficult to answer.

The idea of patents is to give the developer a head start in establishing the market before others freely copy the idea.

There are almost 30 patents filed by Ecovative that are somehow related to the production of mycomaterials. It is definitely important to look into if you are intending to continue with mycomaterials professionally.

But if you just want to try things out for yourself, there are no limitations and you can order spawn from us.

Some of these patents, such as WO2018014004A1, make perfect sense. Growing mycomaterial biocomposites is indeed a new technology.

Many of the patents however make very little sense. The growth of mycelium through a filter in order to make separation and harvesting easier was invented some 70 years ago. Patent US20170049059A1 actually patents the production of substrates, which was invented between 90 and 110 years ago.

Patents such as these are worrying documents, but we strongly doubt whether all of them would hold in court. As far as we can see, the technology used to produce mushroom substrate or mycomaterials substrate is practically the same. That basic technology was invented and refined over more than 100 years of research worldwide.

Hopefully this answers your question.

Other applications of filamentous fungi

Technically we can, but we don’t.

We are specialised in filamentous fungi only.

Yes, we can.

We have 6 mobile fermentation tanks of 300 liters and an unlimited amount of 1-liter containers.

We have been producing liquid inoculum since the 1990’s, but there are hardly any users in Europe. Liquid inoculum has advantages and disadvantages, just like any other recipe.

You can find our liquid products in our webshop.

No, we don’t.

But we do have a collection of hallucinogenic species of which we can produce spawn upon request. Especially the last years, interest has been increasingly raised to use hallucinogenic mushrooms for therapeutic applications.

We are indeed involved in research around psylocybin and its potential use in psychiatric treatments. Examples of species we have in our collection are Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe mexicana. If you are interested to know more, please contact us.

No, you can not.

Spores are not used in spawn production, except for

  • breeding purposes to grow single spore isolates.
  • production of highly degenerative species such as Cordyceps militaris


Spores have major disadvantages:

  • Their small size makes them difficult to handle
  • They need a long time to germinate
  • Their genetic characteristics are different from those of their parents, so they are completely unpredictable in terms of fruiting results

Our recommendation is to start with 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation inoculum of a proven strain.


Still not convinced? Then consider the following thought. Using spores to make your own spawn would be like planting a random apple seed and hoping the tree will yield great apples. What are the chances? One in a thousand? Are you willing to take that chance?

Yes, we do.

A commonly used species is Xylaria polymorpha.

We do not have any experience yet with making spalted wood, but we would advise to use spawn or spawn plugs of the Xylaria polymorpha and infect a log. Infecting the log, respect the rules that apply for all freshly cut logs: they should be free of the trees’ natural defence against fungi, which wears off over time. In deciduous trees, this is more or less 3 weeks. In conifers, the resins cause delays up to a few months. In tropical wood, it may take up to one year before it can be used.

Xylaria plugs are not a standard product, so extra costs will apply.