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EPA Awards $15,000 to University of Delaware to Develop Fashion from Fungi

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David Sternberg (

PHILADELPHIA (March 22, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is awarding a $15,000 grant to the University of Delaware to develop mushroom mycelium based biocomposites for fashion products.

The grant was part of more than $463,000 in funding nationally for 31 Phase I university student teams through the People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program. These teams, made up of college students from across the country, are developing sustainable technologies to solve current environmental and public health challenges.

“This year’s P3 teams are applying their classroom learning to create valuable, cutting-edge technologies,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This next generation of scientists is designing sustainable solutions that will help protect public health and the environment and ensure America continues to lead the world in innovation and science for decades to come.”

Funding for the P3 competition is divided into two phases. Teams selected for Phase I awards receive grants of up to $15,000 to fund the demonstration of their projects, which are then showcased at the National Sustainable Design Expo. The 2018 Expo is scheduled to be held at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, April 7-8. Phase I teams are eligible to compete for Phase II awards of up to $75,000 to further develop and implement their designs. 

The University Delaware research combines the sustainability strategies of local production and the use of bio-based renewable resources to solve environmental problems related to the apparel and footwear industries. The goal of this project is to use locally available, renewable materials including mushroom spawns, mushroom mycelium wastes, chicken feather and other agricultural wastes, as well as post-consumer textile waste, to develop mycelium biocomposites for fashion products.

The research team will partner with Phillips Mushroom Farms (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County (Goodwill Del.) to develop mushroom mycelium based biocomposites which they will use to develop fashion prototypes.

The team will investigate locally grown mushroom species and use chicken feather and cellulose textile waste from Goodwill Del. to provide nutrient sources and structural support for the composite material.

A team of graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies will participate in this project. The knowledge gained from the project will be used to teach students about the importance of using sustainable materials in fashion products. The project findings will also be displayed at University of Delaware campus events.

To learn more about the projects of the 2017 Phase I winners, visit:

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: