As the regulated quota system comes to an end in 2004 and the free globalize market takes over, the priorities of textile manufacturers as well as consumer all over the globe are undergoing dramatic change. In this global competition quality and eco - friendliness of process and productplays key role. In this paper a brief introduction of research in various fields of biotechnology to achieve the quality product through eco friendly processes is given. Advances in the field of fibre production and modification, use of different enzymes in the textile processing, and waste management using the biotechnology is also discussed.


Textile industries are facing a challenging condition in the field of quality and productivity, due to the globalization of the world market. The highly competitive atmosphere and as the ecological parameters becoming more stringent, it becomes the prime concern of the textile processor to be conscious about quality and ecology. Again the guidelines for the textile processing industries by the pollution control boards create concern over the environment-friendliness of the processes. This in turn makes it essential for innovations and changes in the processes. As a result, the research and development strategies of the textile processors will be highly focused and the challenges will force many changes in the textile industry. Biotechnology is one such field that is changing the conventional processing to eco friendly processing of the textiles.

Biotechnology is the application of living organisms and their components to industrial products and processes. In 1981, the European federation of Biotechnology defined biotechnology as integrated use of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and chemical engineering in order to achieve the technological application of the capacities of microbes and cultured tissue cells. Defining the scope of biotechnology is not easy because it overlaps with so many industries such as the chemical industry or food industry being the majors, but biotechnology has found many applications in textile industry also, especially textile processing and effluent management. Consciousness and expectations for better quality fabric and awareness about environmental issues are two important drivers for textile industry to adopt biotechnology in its various areas.


The major areas of application of biotechnology in textile industry are given below:
Improvement of plant varieties used in the production of textile fibres and in fibre properties

●   Improvement of fibres derived from animals and health care of the animals

●   Novel fibres from biopolymers and genetically modified microorganisms

●   Replacement of harsh and energy demanding chemical treatments by enzymes in textile processing

●   Environment friendly routes to textile auxiliaries such as dyestuffs

●   Novel uses for enzymes in textile finishing

●   Development of low energy enzyme based detergents

●   New diagnostic tools for detection of adulteration and Quality Control of textiles

●   Waste management1, 2

3. Improvements in Natural fibres:

Biotechnology can play a crucial role in production of natural fibres with highly improved and modified properties besides providing opportunities for development of absolutely new polymeric material. The natural fibres under study are cotton, wool and silk.