Growing leather using bacteria instead of cows
edited May 2017 in Genetic and biology based mods
So this is a project we've been working on over at Scihouse for a while now. Leather is inherently bad for the environment, both because of the tanning process that's used in most of the world, and because of the source of the starting material (cows). So we've been workin on growin a leather like material that is extremely strong from bacteria. Specifically, Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that's fizzy and I find it really tasty. Part of it's life cycle is it grows a thick layer of polymers on the surface of the liquid as it grows. This slimy sheet is normally just thrown out, but with a few very simple treatments, it's really easy to turn it into a material that looks and feels just like real leather. Check out our first video on how to do it:
I'm just wondering how long has this technique / technology been around? Because I recall someone mentioning "hope that one day this gets less costly" and they were saying "on a mass production context". I was about to say that "if this is new then there needs time to develop means of mass production, no matter how cheap."
Ha, ya. Making a nice raincoat and having a celeb show it off woud certainly draw a crowd.
I feel like there are some ideas in my brain concerning kombucha stacked into a "laminate" and other methods of combining different grades of the "kombucha leather" but I'll have to make my own and see what it's like before the ideas get too carried away. In particular, I'm attracted to how transparent the material can be and novel ways to create decorative leather in a way you just can't do with the real deal.
As one wo follows a vegan diet and fucking *loves* leather this falls right in that Venn sweet spot. :3
With our recipe it doesn't seem to, but we'll see how it holds up over time
Edit: wait, if I stick something into the tea will SCOBY grow all around the bit that is in the tea?
Also, now about using it like a semipermiable membrane? If you grew it around a piece of mesh fabric, you could easily suspend it. If you had a container and used one as a kind of false bottom, I bet it'd make a great filter. How effective? Idk.. but wouldn't it be amazing if you could remove salts and particles from sea water? I don't think it'd work but it would certainly function to remove particles like a prefilter.. and it's obviously cheap to make and biodegradable.
I like the idea of using it to grow plants. I think hydrogen peroxide at a low concentration could kill off the organisms. You could give it a good flush and then put seeds inside.
Lots of fun stuff.