Cibinong, BRIN Public Relations. Mushrooms can Save the World. The statement by Paul Stamets, an American mycologist, was quoted by Adi Reza Nugroho of PT. Miko Bahtera Nusantara (MYCL) in the closing part of his presentation. His innovation of leather products from mushrooms has successfully passed the Research-Based Start-up Company Funding (PPBR) competition Batch I held by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN). Adi has succeeded in ‘turning’ mushrooms to fashion products.

Adi’s proposal entitled Environmentally Friendly Misella Mushroom Leather from Agricultural Waste in collaboration between MYCL and BRIN’s Biomaterials Research Center was one of nine (9) proposals that have successfully become PPBR recipients. BRIN announced this in a Webinar on Research and Innovation Facilitation and Funding (WALIDASI) BRIN #1 Start Up Edition held Thursday (17/2).

“It turns out that apart from being edible, mushrooms can be turned to building materials and transformed to become global fashion products. It is highly possible that this potential may bring Indonesia to become a global sustainable leather leader by utilizing mushroom waste originating from Indonesia’s endemic mushrooms,” said Adi.

Starting from a creative idea initiated by Adi and his team, they turned mushrooms to building materials with composites which produced paper-like waste. After reprocessing, this waste becomes more flexible and resembles leather. Thanks to the creativity of a designer, the leather was transformed to fashion products and finally led MYCL to success. “MYCL collaborated with six global fashion brands, participated in the Paris Fashion Week and successfully booked sales agreements with a total value of over 10 million US dollars,” he said proudly.

However, a problem arose not long after. MYCL was overwhelmed with so many requests for leather from several fashion industries. Adi’s quick move in collaboration with BRIN’s Biomaterials Research Center assisted by Dede Heri Yuli Yanto, a researcher at BRIN’s Biomaterials Research Center, turned to become a smart choice. This collaboration speeds up the innovation, production capacity and skillability of MYCL leather products.

The collaboration between MCYL and BRIN which was initiated in 2019 turns out to bring fortune for MYCL. First, MYCL can access the mushroom collection stored in BRIN’s research facilities. After conducting mushroom screening for two (2) years, MYCL finally found a type of fungus that grew twice as fast as the previous fungus.

Second, MCYL gets transfer of technology. Several technologies owned by BRIN can be implemented to optimize MYCL products by utilizing laccase enzymes.

And third, equally important, MYCL can access experts in the field of mushrooms and cellulosic materials at BRIN, so that they can produce quality products.

In the future, Adi does not intend to make MYCL a manufacturing company, but rather a knowledge-based company. This allows MYCL to replicate production under a licensing scheme or joint venture with other parties, perform business scale-up and continue focusing on creating other new innovations.

Moreover, since 2015, MYCL has consistently improved the company’s value chain by empowering more than 500 women farmers and setting up environmentally friendly companies. Adi hopes that the MYCL and BRIN collaboration can run smoothly, as many fashion industries have been standing in line to get leather products from this mushroom. (sa/ ed: drs)