The current global requirement for textile fibres is imposing a massive negative impact on the Earth’s environment. With the rapid reductions of the world’s arable land and fresh water for irrigation, current global production of cotton is unsustainable. A new inexpensive and sustainable natural textile fibre is desperately required. We believe microbial cellulose may be that natural fibre. While its chemical structure is very similar to cotton, microbial cellulose is produced from a sustainable bioprocess that utilizes the ability of Acetobacter xylinum, a non-hazardous bacterium, to produce nanocellulose microfibers that come together to form a very dense, tightly packed fabric. Because a fermentation process manufactures microbial cellulose it can be made on an industrial scale without the environmental impacts and expensive inputs and processing of cotton. Moreover it can be “grown into shape” enabling one-piece seamless garments with no stitching, a valuable innovation to the fashion industry.
In the wet state, microbial nanocellulose possesses several unique properties such as high purity and density, shape retention, high water binding capacity, enhanced tensile strength and a large surface area. However in the dry state, its structure collapses becoming brittle with loss of tensile strength. The brittleness of this nanocellulose is a barrier to its use as a fabric.
Our project aims to overcome this problem by modifying the structure of the nanocellulose either by physical or chemical treatments. It is envisioned that our novel modified fibre, which we name Nanollose™, will combine the environmental and production benefits of microbial cellulose while displaying properties desirable to the fashion industry.
Nanollose: changing the way we produce and wear textile products.