Sun, Nov 10, 2019 - Page 9 News List

Time for fungus? Indonesian watchmaker turns to mushroom leather
環保當道 「菇菇」皮革做錶帶

A worker prepares mycelium leather to be used for wristwatches at a workshop in Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia, on Oct. 14.
在印尼西爪哇省的萬隆市,一名工人在工作室中準備菌絲體皮革,用來作為製作腕錶的材料,攝於十月十四日。

Photo: Reuters
照片:路透

A watchmaker in Indonesia’s Bandung city thinks the next step in sustainability is a wristwatch with a strap made out of the complex root structure of a mushroom. Mycelium leather, as the material is known, is fibrous and tough yet pliable and waterproof, and has been touted as an environmentally-friendly alternative to synthetic products or natural leather made from animal hide.

Erlambang Ajidarma, head of research at Mycotech, the start-up supplying the mycelium leather to make the wrist straps, said his team was inspired by tempeh, a traditional Indonesian savory dish made by fermenting soybeans with fungus. “Finally we found one mushroom with a mycelium that can be made into binding material,” said Ajidarma, after testing several different types of mushrooms since 2016.

Now, the company grows the fungus on sawdust and then harvests the leather. After scraping off the sawdust, it is dried and then cut to various sizes, depending on the use. The process is tedious, taking around three weeks to make 10 square meters of material. But Ajidarma thinks it’s worth it.

It costs less to make mycelium leather than to make petroleum-based synthetic leathers, he says, and the mycelium manufacturing process produces a fraction of the carbon dioxide emitted by the cows killed to make real leather. Ajidarma’s team also uses dyes extracted from leaves, roots and food waste to color the mycelium leather, which they say absorbs dye faster than leather made from animal hide.

Watchmaking company Pala Nusantara cuts and sews the leather into the straps for its watches, which are made with a wooden bezel. The watches, priced between 900,000 and 1.3 million rupiah (US$64 and US$93), are mostly sold online, said Andang Maulana Syamsuri, managing director of Pala Nusantara. And at least one potential customer is interested. “I would be very interested in a watch made of natural material and plants because I’ve been allergic to a few that I bought in the past,” said a customer at a watch shop in Jakarta.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. mycelium n.

菌絲體

(jun4 si1 ti3)

2. fibrous adj.

以纖維構成的

(yi3 xian1 wei2 gou4 cheng2 de5)

3. pliable adj.

容易彎折的、柔韌的

(rong2 yi4 wan1 zhe2 de5, rou2 ren4 de5)

4. synthetic adj.

合成的

(he2 cheng2 de5)

5. hide n.

獸皮

(shou4 pi2)

6. carbon dioxide phr.

二氧化碳

(er4 yang3 hua4 tan4)


(Reuters)

印尼萬隆市的一名製錶師認為,利用某種蕈類複雜的根部結構製作錶帶,做成的腕錶是邁向永續發展的下一步。此材料被稱為「菌絲體皮革」,以纖維構成,而且耐用,同時容易彎折,還能防水,近來被譽為環境友善的替代材料,以取代合成皮或是動物獸皮製成的真皮。

Mycotech是一間供應菌絲體皮革以製作錶帶的新創公司,該公司的研究部門主管艾爾蘭邦‧阿吉達瑪表示,他的團隊是從傳統的印尼美味菜餚「丹貝」──利用真菌發酵的大豆製品──獲得啟發。阿吉達瑪表示,他們從二○一六年以來測試了好幾種不同蕈類,「我們終於找到一種菇類的菌絲體可以被做成接合用材料。」

今日,該公司在鋸木屑上種植這類真菌,再收成皮革。先將鋸木屑刮除後,真菌還要進行烘乾,再根據用途切割成不同大小。整個過程相當繁瑣,大概要三星期才能做出一塊十公尺見方的材料,但是阿吉達瑪認為辛苦是值得的。

他指出,製作菌絲體皮革的成本比以石油為原料的合成皮來得便宜,而且製造菌絲體的過程只會產生少許二氧化碳,遠比因為需要真皮而遭到殺害的牛隻少。阿吉達瑪的團隊也利用樹葉、樹根,以及廚餘中萃取出的染料為菌絲體皮革上色。他們表示,這種環保材質吸收染料的速度比動物皮更快。

製錶公司Pala Nusantara先對皮革進行切割,再將其縫製成錶帶,搭配木製邊框的手錶。該公司的常務董事安當‧毛拉納‧席厄姆蘇里表示,這些手錶訂價在九十萬到一百三十萬印尼盾(約為六十四美元到九十三美元,即新台幣一千九百元到兩千八百元)之間,大多數都在網路上販售。目前,起碼有一名潛在消費者對此有興趣。雅加達某間錶店裡的一位顧客表示:「我會對自然材料和植物製造的手錶相當有興趣,因為我以前買的幾支手錶都會讓我過敏。」

(台北時報章厚明譯)

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