Characterization of Novel Biopolymer Blend Mycocel from Plant Cellulose and Fungal Fibers
In this study unique blended biopolymer mycocel from naturally derived biomass was developed. Softwood Kraft (KF) or hemp (HF) cellulose fibers were mixed with fungal fibers (FF) in different ratios and the obtained materials were characterized regarding microstructure, air permeability, mechanical properties, and virus filtration efficiency. The fibers from screened Basidiomycota fungi Ganoderma applanatum (Ga), Fomes fomentarius (Ff), Agaricus bisporus (Ab), and Trametes versicolor (Tv) were applicable for blending with cellulose fibers. Fungi with trimitic hyphal system (Ga, Ff) in combinations with KF formed a microporous membrane with increased air permeability (&gt;8820 mL/min) and limited mechanical strength (tensile index 9–14 Nm/g). HF combination with trimitic fungal hyphae formed a dense fibrillary net with low air permeability (77–115 mL/min) and higher strength 31–36 Nm/g. The hyphal bundles of monomitic fibers of Tv mycelium and Ab stipes made a tight structure with KF with increased strength (26–43 Nm/g) and limited air permeability (14–1630 mL/min). The blends KF FF (Ga) and KF FF (Tv) revealed relatively high virus filtration capacity: the log10 virus titer reduction values (LRV) corresponded to 4.54 LRV and 2.12 LRV, respectively. Mycocel biopolymers are biodegradable and have potential to be used in water microfiltration, food packaging, and virus filtration membranes.