Sustainability is a growing trend in the fashion industry, with the understanding that the use of biobased materials can help brands and companies reduce their carbon footprint and diversify their supply chains. Engineering biology brings the potential to use different feedstocks (including end-of-life material) to biofabricate valuable materials for the textile industry as dyes, polyesters, among other materials. [Please see Biofabricate, 20211Biofabricate. (2021). Understanding “Bio” Material Innovations Report. Biofabricate and Fashion for Good 2021.pdf | Powered by Box. View Publication. as a valuable resource.]
A number of biotechnology companies are producing biomaterials and using bioprocessing for the textile industry, including Bolt Threads, Huue, and Spiber; these include mycelium-based leather like fabrics, biosynthetic indigo dye for denim, and engineered microbial fermentation of silk proteins, respectively. This bioproduction is primarily limited by the ability to scale, diversifying the feedstocks and organisms that contribute to production, and ensuring that the products and byproducts of the process are not harmful to the biological components inside and outside the system. Like with other biomaterials, physical properties of the precursors and products also need to be carefully tuned.
Breakthrough Capabilities & Milestones
Industrial-scale production of sustainable textile dyes and pigments.
Discover and develop microbial metabolites and plant biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) to widen the range of biopigments.
Engineer microbes to produce dyes with comparable or better color stability and brightness than synthetic dyes.
Enable commercial-scale production of sustainable biobased textile dyes.
Introduce color by engineering physical attributes into biomaterials (i.e., fabrics that can change color in response or on demand).
Commercial-scale production of sustainable biofabricated textiles.
Enable the sustainable biosynthesis of biopolymer alternatives to synthetic fibers (e.g., polyester, nylon, and acrylic).
Enable industrial-scale, sustainable fermentation or growth and processing of currently available biomaterials (e.g., mycelium, hemp, lyocell) at scale.
Enable industrial-scale production of biosynthetic spider silk fibers to make textile fabrics.
Design of new protein-, carbohydrate-, or lipid-based and hybrid materials that outperform synthetic fibers.
- Biofabricate. (2021). Understanding “Bio” Material Innovations Report. Biofabricate and Fashion for Good 2021.pdf | Powered by Box. https://app.box.com/s/amjq9anszv8hvwdexoxg6wubes4aaxqa