Lies Mertens — vegan collection

Meet the people behind mycanova®

meet the people

Meet the people behind MycaNova, a Belgian upcycled mycelium, made with the root-like system of mushrooms.

MycaNova® is a product of Citribel, a Belgian company specialised in the production of citric acid. Citribel uses sugar molasses, a residual product from the nearby sugar factory in Tienen, and ferments it into citric acid, during which mycelium is formed. Until a few years ago, mycelium was considered a waste product. Today, it is dried and ground into powder which, combined with binding agents and backing materials, becomes a vegan leather alternative.

A lot of steps are needed in the process, and so are a lot of people. We wanted to show you the people behind MycaNova.

Steff — Research & Innovation Manager

Steff, doctor in chemical engineering science, is the scientific backbone of the team. He scrutinises all actions, statements and ideas to ensure MycaNova's solid scientific foundation. Combined with his passion for innovation, he is the engine of MycaNova's continuous improvement towards cleaner and better materials.

Lasha — Operator filler / extractor

Lasha's function consists of filling the room with aluminium stacks of sugar molasses and removing the fermented material. During this process, the stacks are picked up with a forklift and the bio-acid is poured into the fermentation room. Lasha then drives to the washing installation to pour the mycelium into the container and wash out the aluminium plates. He ensures that the plates are thoroughly washed to get a good yield and that no foreign material gets into the mycelium.

Sylvia — General Manager & Sales

Sylvia holds dual roles as a director of Citribel and the general manager of MycaNova. She fosters multicultural partnerships among suppliers, advisors, customers, researchers, and team members.

Christophe — Process Operator

As a Process Operator, Christophe has three jobs:

1. CSB: preparing the substrate and washing the mycelium.
2. Temperature control: Monitoring the cooling and heating of the fermentation rooms and adjusting if necessary.
3. Sampling: littering the rooms after filling and taking samples in the fermentation rooms to monitor the fermentation progress and adjust if necessary.

In all three jobs, he ensures that the growth of the mycelium is as good as possible.

Jasper — Product Manager & LCA

Jasper holds a PhD in applied biology and is uniquely qualified to transform innovative concepts into successful commercial ventures. In addition, he has a strong drive to upcycle industrial waste streams into high-value products, which is a constant source of inspiration for the team.

As a team leader, Stanny monitors all functions to guarantee everything is done as prescribed. He ensures that all tasks are perfectly written down in work instructions and provides training. In addition, he monitors the proper production and treatment of MycaNova's mycelium.

Discover more about MycaNova here

In collaboration with MycaNova®

Supported by Stad Antwerpen