Adding lavender and rose waste to enhance mycelium composite

This research study explores the potential of adding waste biomass streams from rose and lavender essential oil production to enhance the properties of mycelium biocomposite material and increase the material’s potential sustainability by adding an additional waste product that would otherwise be incinerated or transported to a landfill site where the environmental damage would be greater.

UTF & Biomyc
21 Oct, 2021
The Brief

University of Food Technologies, Plovdiv, and Biomyc  explore the effects of adding waste biomass leftover form rose and lavender essential oil production on mycelium composite material.

Research the visual, aromatic and physico-mechanical properties of the biocomposite with additives to determine its feasability for product development.

Our Idea

Add a pleasant aromatic smell to the mycelium biocomposite material and explore how the anti-bacterial properties of the rose and lavender biomass impact the composite and its physicomechanical characteristics.

Explore additional waste streams that could be added to the material to ensure increased sustainability and circular production that incorporates waste biomass.

What we did

Our Services

Comprehensive research on scientific papers coverng the implementation of ligno-cellulose waste biomass on mycelium composites was conducted before the start of the project.

The size, location, and current uses/ disposal methods of the waste streams that result from lavender and rose were analyzed to ensure the scalability of the potential solution.

The methods of substrate preparation, testing, and analysis were determined and executed.

The results were gathered and analyzed to form a conclusion based on the viability of the research.

  • Research & development
  • Project Management
Project Backgroung

Roses and lavender are plant species, which have been highly appreciated for centuries, and because of their diverse biologically active substance content, they have an industrial impact on essential oil production worldwide. Bulgaria and Turkey have long traditions in rose oil production and dominate the world market, followed by Iran, Morocco, France, Italy, India, and China. Bulgarian production satisfies 40% of the global demand for rose oil. In recent years a drastic increase in lavender cultivation and lavender oil yield is being observed in Bulgaria, which defines its leading position as a lavender oil producer.


The most common methods for the production of essential oils are water-steam distillation, steam distillation, and solvent (non-polar solvents and liquefied gases) extraction of raw plant materials.


Due to the relatively low concentration of essential oils in the crops, large amounts of plant material are treated and, respectively, a huge quantity of solid residual biomass is generated. More than 20,000 t of steam distilled lavender straw(SDLS), about 29,000 t of steam distilled rose flowers (SDRF), and hexane extracted rose flowers (HERF) are generated each year only in Bulgaria. Generally, rose flower and lavender straw by-products are considered waste material and still, most of them are incinerated for energy recovery or discarded near the distilleries, which poses an environmental hazard. This waste biomass is referred to as lignocellulose waste, because of its high content of lignocellulose and hemicellulose compounds, pecticcarbohydrates, and polyphenols. The valuable biological content of HERF and SDLS can be used in innovative “self-growing” technologies for obtaining value-added materials with sustainable social and economic impact.


Project Resume

In this study, the potential of rose flowers and lavender straw waste biomass was studied as feeding lignocellulose substrates with the objective of exploring the effects on mycelium-based bio-composites. The chemical characterization and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy established that the composition of steam distilled lavender straw (SDLS) and hexane extracted rose flowers (HERF) was a serious prerequisite supporting the self-growth of mycelium bio-materials with improved antibacterial and aromatic properties. 

The basic physicomechanical properties of the developed biocomposites were determined. The apparent density of the mycelium HERF-based-composites (462 kg/m3) was higher than that of the SDLS-based bio-composite (347 kg/m3) and both were much denser than expanded polystyrene (EPS), lighter than medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB) and similar to hempcrete. The preliminary testing of their compressive behavior revealed that the compressive resistance of SDLS-based bio-composite was 718 kPa, while for HERF-based bio-composite it was 1029 kPa and both values are similar to the compressive strength of hempcrete with similar apparent density. Water absorbance analysis showed, that both mycelium HERF- and SDLS-based bio-composites were hydrophilic and further investigations are needed to limit the hydrophilicity of the lignocellulose fibers, tune the density, and to improve compressive resistance. 

The following methods were used to gather and analyze data:

  • Chemical Characterization of the Substrate
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Basic Physical and Mechanical Characterization
Lavander Waste - Scanning Electron Microscopy Image of External Surface Layer
Lavander Waste - Scanning Electron Microscopy Image of External Surface Layer
Lavander Waste - Scanning Electron Microscopy Image of Internal Cross Section
Lavander Waste - Scanning Electron Microscopy Image of Internal Cross Section
The Solution


The chemical characteristics of rose and lavender waste biomass showed the potential to stimulate mycelium growth of the basidiomycete isolate and to support the self-growth of mycelium bio-materials with improved aroma and bactericidal properties.

The use of rose and lavender waste biomass as a feedstock for new mycelium-based bio-composite production could be accepted as an innovation because at present there are no reports on the usage of these by-products for mycelium-based bio-composite formation.

The chemical composition of the SDLS and HERF is a serious prerequisite for the development of mycelium-based bio-composites with improved antibacterial and aromatic properties.

This is the first study reporting that waste hexane extracted rose flowers and steam distilled lavender straws showed real potential to be utilized as a feedstock for new mycelium-based bio-composites development.

The visual observation and SEM images of the surface and cross-section of the mycelium HERF/SDLS-based bio-composites both showed adequately developed aerial mycelium layer, fibrous internal macroporous structure, and proper integrity. Basic physical and mechanical characterization of the obtained mycelium HERF/SDLS-based bio-composites revealed the promising potential and after additional optimization, they could be suggested for non-structural or semi-structural applications and interior design.

“ Eco-innovation is fundamentally the art of understanding nature and its principles. Applying them when incorporating natural waste streams back into the consumer use cycle leads to sustainable development & scientific advancement. ”

Prof. Albert Krastanov
Co-founder at Biomyc

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