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Biological Textile

Jun 03, 2024
Biological Textile

Biotextile is the idea of producing textile products from cells by growing them in a laboratory environment. Its unlimited raw materials and the fact that it does not harm living things make it a unique idea.

Biocouture is the tech start-up company of Suzanne Lee, who was the first person to develop this idea. This company, which tested many organisms, managed to develop a skin-like structure with bacterial cellulose.

Production of bacterial cellulose is simple. A parent culture of bacteria and yeast is added to a sweetened green tea solution, and the resulting fermentation causes the bacteria to produce a layer of cellulose on the surface of the liquid. “Everything was grown and colored in a vat of liquid as opposed to a cotton field,” Lee says of the shirts, jackets and kimonos BioCouture produces.

 

Cotton is a natural product, but it uses a lot of water to grow and process it. Therefore, although it is a natural product, its use has huge negative effects on our environment. Man-made, synthetic fabrics like polyester come from fossil fuels and are one of the biggest sources of microplastic pollution. Their production and non-degradation mean that their environmental impact is significant and negative.

 

These facts are what drives the biocouture movement. What if instead of using large fields for cotton or mineral petrochemicals, we could grow our fabrics in a small vat? What if almost no processing was required – no bleaching, chemical treatment or washing? What if they could be produced where they are needed without having to be transported halfway around the world? What if, after we finished the clothes, we could turn them into 100% non-toxic organic material that we could add to our vegetable patch?

 

It's not just the clothing industry that's looking to single-celled organisms as its future.

Packaging manufacturers are experimenting with fungi to grow biodegradable substitutes for products such as bubble wrap and polystyrene.

The food industry started with Quorn, a fungus that can be grown in a vat to produce a meat substitute. Startups are now looking at other single-celled organisms to grow 'steaks in a petri dish' or 'bacon in a jar'. Significant advances are being made, and commercially available lab-grown meat is not far off.

 

This technology has the potential to greatly improve our excessive use of land and water and slow the degradation of the few remaining wild places on our planet. Producing food, clothing and packaging this way has a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional livestock farming methods.

In the words of Vincent Van Gogh, "Great things are achieved by putting together a series of small things"!

 

Production of Biological Textiles

The fabric is created with the basic recipe of a yeast mixture that spins cellulose threads when contacted with green tea and sugar. Once produced, cellulose is pressed into sheets and molded into garments. Although still experimental, this is not a new concept as non-synthetic fabrics such as cotton must be grown at some stage.

Posted by Abiteks

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