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Biotechnology in the textile/clothing industry – a review

Rowe, Helen D. (1999) Biotechnology in the textile/clothing industry – a review. Journal of consumer studies and home economics, 23 (1). pp. 53-61. ISSN 0309-3891

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This paper focuses on the use of biotechnology in the textile/clothing industry by identifying where and how such processes are already established and considers the latest developments, either in the research stage or in the early stages of commercialization. It has been found that biotechnology systems are already well known to those involved in fabric preparation, particularly as regards desizing. Enzymes used in detergent formulations have also been successfully used for the past 30–40 years. Most recent commercial advances have been in fabric finishing processes where handle modifications to cotton fabrics in particular are fast becoming established. Cutting-edge research falls in the areas of fibre modification and the generation of new fibres from natural sources, such as natural polyester from bacteria. The isolation of DNA from the shaft of hair fibres and the encoding of detectable specific antigens to designer labels is providing new ways of helping to combat fraud and counterfeit in the fashion trade. The treatment of textile effluent continues to be a major problem to the industry, but here, biotechnological developments in other industries are helping to provide some answers.

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