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How bacteria is bringing eco-friendly color to clothing

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:34s - Published < > Embed
How bacteria is bringing eco-friendly color to clothing

How bacteria is bringing eco-friendly color to clothing

A British biotech company is developing a method of dyeing clothes that taps into the bright colours of birds and butterflies and uses micro-organisms to recreate them on garments, cutting down on the use of water and heavy chemicals in the process.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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How bacteria is bringing eco-friendly color to clothing

A British biotech company is using microbes to create eco-friendly clothing dye.

Colorifix taps into the bright colors exhibited by birds and butterflies.

And then uses micro-organisms to recreate them on garments.

Cutting down on the use of water and heavy chemicals in the process.

The company has also attracted backing from Swedish fashion giant, H&M.

Chief Scientific Officer Jim Ajioka explains how the coloring system works.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JIM AJIOKA, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, COLORIFIX SAYING: "When you look at even microbes as a subclass of all living organisms, they make some spectacularly beautiful colors.

OK.

Blues, reds, yellows, greens.

And so we're taking some of those and putting them into a specific microorganism that's safe to use and being able to take that microorganism that will then deposit and fix the pigment onto the fabric." Put simply - the company harvests the genes that create a color in nature and transfers them into micro-organisms. These can then be used as a vehicle to get the genes onto fabric in an extraction process - in which bacteria are eliminated.

The whole system is aimed at fashion-conscious young customers.

Who are also concerned about the impact on the environment caused by the rapid turnover of clothes in their wardrobe.

Dyeing with synthetic pigments tends to involve large concentrations of hazardous substances.

But Colorifix says its method doesn't use any - and that it cuts water use by almost 90%, The company plans to launch industrial scale trials in partnerships with apparel groups.

If successful, they hope to start selling 5ml batches of micro-organisms commercially in 2020.




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