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Environmentally friendly processes for fabrics preprocessing

Development of biotechnological processes for textile processing to dramatically reduce consumption of resources and environmental pollution without incurring expensive investments.

New materials (enzymes) and technologies for textile bio-pre-processing are prospective from the point of view of energy savings as well as significant decreases in dangerous emissions to the environment. Low energy consumption is connected to the fact that effective textile processing is only possible at temperatures much lower than those of traditional technologies. The waste enzymes are easily disposed of and do not cause problems like colouration, pH change, toxicity or low biodegradation of the effluents. Especially in the conventional pre-treatment of cellulosic textiles, scouring, bleaching and rinsing are highly energy and water intensive. These processes also consume and release environmentally hostile chemicals, such as heavy oxidising agents and alkali. Desired effectiveness cannot be guaranteed either. These reasons are the rationale for the proposed project, in which novel enzymatic processes will be developed to be applied in the pre-treatment stage of textile processing. The developed processing sequence will comprise the following steps: - Scouring with the use of pectinases and lipases and mixtures thereof -a mild and environmentally friendly process- as a substitute to the energy and caustic consuming conventional method. - Biobleaching with lactases and oxidoreductases and mixtures thereof. Enzymatic reactions will be carried out in mild conditions close to ambient temperature and neutral pH, contrary to the conventional processes which require extreme temperature and pH conditions. - Removing residual oxidising agent (hydrogen peroxide) with the use of catalases. The enzymes will degrade residual peroxide into water and oxygen, thereby reducing the final rinsing steps resulting in lower water and energy consumption and a reduction of process duration. Subsequently, using optimally combined enzymes and process conditions, a one-step process (pre-treatment in one bath) will be explored. The enzymatic materials which will be investigated comprise: - Cellulases- for pre-dyeing treatment as well as auxiliaries necessary to treat coloured textiles for obtaining different end effects like the 'second hand look'. - Lipases and Pectinases- for compositions with wide applications in scouring technologies used in cotton and flax materials processing. - Oxidases- for bleaching auxiliaries. - Proteases- for enzymatic materials that can be used in wool and silk processing. Keywords: textiles, enzymes, pre-treatment.
Acronym: 
BIOPROCESSING
Project ID: 
2 884
Start date: 
23-04-2002
Project Duration: 
42months
Project costs: 
1 200 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Textiles Technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.