Assuming a civilization had access to medieval tech, how likely would it be to grow large sheets of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colonies of Bacteria and Yeast,) in order to make a faux leather, by modifying the natural bogs?

For the sake of things while this is fantasy setting I would like to avoid the realm of magic and let's say the bog is a bog more or less how they normally come. But if it seems in the realm of possibility I am completely fine with new crops needed or new variants of a scoby to make it possible.

How much sugar would have to be dumped in to feed it? Would it be a plausible cheaper than leather alternative in said era? Does scoby leather have any noticeable differences that make it better or worse? And to what degree would the area need to changed in order for the bog ecosystem to not upset the scoby making process?


If you need sugar to feed the bog, forget about it.

During the middle ages sugar was as expensive as imported spices

The volume of imports increased in the later medieval centuries as indicated by the increasing references to sugar consumption in late medieval Western writings. But cane sugar remained an expensive import. Its price per pound in 14th and 15th century England was about equally as high as imported spices from tropical Asia such as mace (nutmeg), ginger, cloves, and pepper, which had to be transported across the Indian Ocean in that era.

If you have to use sugar to feed the bog, your leather will end being more expensive than natural one.

Even if you want to use other sugary alternatives, they are less convenient than natural leather: from a cow you can also get meat, from a modified bog, well, nothing else...

  • $\begingroup$ that was one of the bigger issues I was concerned about which is why I was open to one that might not need the sugar or a new crop that would have to exist for such an ordeal. but yeah I figured it would end up being waaaaay too pricey and more pricey than real means not in the slightest possible without a local sugar crop or different scoby than the kombucha style. $\endgroup$ – SIK Mephisto Dec 17 '20 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes I think we forget about price of modern cheap commodities in questions "how to make money in medieval time". $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Dec 17 '20 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ Sugar was a bit scarce in Europe, when the only source of sugar was Sugarcane (which does not grow in europe except the very tip of Spain!). In was not until the invention of Sugar Beet that Europe had their own source of sugar. Note invention, not discovery. Sugar beet was MADE by design, following state-sponsored research and breeding projects. Some as recently as by Napoleon. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Dec 17 '20 at 17:00

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