MATER Project

MATER: Myco-Advanced leaTher matERials

Project Title

Myco-Advanced leaTher matERials




Università degli Studi di Pavia [Project Coordinator]; Politecnico di Milano [Partner]; MOGU S.r.l. [Partner]

UniPV Funding

€ 640.146,35

Overall Funding

€ 1.001.521,49

Funding Agency

Cariplo Foundation


Avviso congiunto Materiali avanzati – 2018


2019 – 2021

Short Description

Thanks to the continuous R&D activities, University of Pavia, in collaboration with MOGU S.r.l. has accumulated significant technical and market-related know-how, bringing the MOGU brand to the attention of both industrial and public stakeholders. In particular, they have discovered a way to turn fungal mycelium into natural alternatives to a range of traditional materials and products, such as traditional textiles, animal leather, synthetics (i.e. plastics), etc.

This technology is the result of 5+ years of developments in the fields of design, biotechnology and materials science, allowing to grow functional materials directly from residual substrates resulting from agricultural and/or industrial processes. Such technology has the potential of radically changing the current sustainability standards of a wide range of industries (e.g. fashion/textile/leather) and to improve the profitability of the related value chains.

The process involves growing and utilising specifically selected fungal strains and proprietary growing methods and techniques, for converting nutrient-rich substrates into 100% natural, renewable materials with leather-like properties. These products are both cost-competitive and performance-competitive, when compared to existing solutions currently available in the market (both bio and oil-based).

These advanced myco-materials are 100% renewable, recyclable and compostable, since they are the result of natural processes which fully rely on growth and cultivation.

MOGU S.r.l. is now focusing on the development of different product categories, including applications for the fashion, footwear, automotive, green-building and bio-design markets.

The aim of the present project will be to quantify characteristics of the prototype according to EU standards and certifications. We will simultaneously work on improving the efficiency of the growing process as well as the quality of the final products, collaborating with competent actors in the field. While refining the fungal leather-like products, we will start designing and implementing a pilot facility. Pilot production will start in 2019, mainly serving top quality manufacturers of premium footwear. Production costs will be affected in every single stage, decreasing incrementally. We will scale to commercial volumes in 2020; that will allow us expanding beyond footwear to larger leather goods markets.