Mycocycle Uses Mushrooms To Upcycle ELT Rubber and Construction Waste

Joanne Rodriguez Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Mycocycle, grows fungus on trash to turn it into something better. “We train mushrooms to eat trash and create renewable, bio-based raw materials” she told TechCrunch.

The company has turned to a group of fungi known as white-rot mushrooms. In nature, fungi tend to thrive on things like dead leaves and wood, but Mycocycle’s mushrooms have been chosen for their ability to break down materials produced using oil and gas.

CM Shredders

When the fungi get to work, they decompose the waste organic matter by suffusing it with their root-like hyphae. Though the hyphae appear similar to the roots of plants, they aren’t made of cellulose like a plant’s fibers. Instead, they’re made of chitin, the same stuff that insects use to build their exoskeletons. As those hyphae come into contact with carbon-based molecules, they break them down, using the food source to grow and extend their reach.

Rodriguez said that Mycocycle’s fungi can work on a wide range of waste, including paper, rubber and nylon.

Mycocycle, which Rodriguez founded in 2018, is currently working to refine its process for recycling crumb rubber, produced from scrap tires.

To continue its R&D and commercialization efforts, the company raised a $3.6 million seed extension, according to TechCrunch startup and technology news.  The round was led by Closed Loop Partners and included investments from the Illinois Invent Fund, the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good and U.S. Venture.

The crumb rubber processing part of the business is perhaps the most promising, she said.

One of the strategic investors in this round is looking specifically at this rubber market at scale for the exact reason that we’ve recycled tires the same way for 40 years,” she said. “They see the risk, and they see the opportunity.”

Source: techcrunch

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