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Students extract natural dyes from Palash flower
22
Jul '10
With an increase in awareness in the consumers of the developed economies, they have become more demanding in the kind of clothing they purchase from the retailers. More and more consumers from these countries are demanding eco-friendly and sustainable clothing for themselves and more so for their children.

These demands have set the ball rolling among the retailers who also are requesting their manufacturing partners to use eco-friendly raw materials in the manufacturing process of textiles. One of these is the dyes and chemicals which are used in the processing and dyeing of fabrics.

Two students from the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT), Durgapur under the guidance of their Professor have developed a dye from 'Flame of Forest Flower' also known as Palash flower, which is found abundantly in the state of West Bengal.

The two students, Indresh Kumar and Suyash Gupta under the expert guidance of their mentor, Papita Saha have conducted experiments in their laboratory and have been able to get successful results in extracting dyes from the Palash flower. Apart from being eco-friendly, it has no side-effects on sensitive skins.

To know more about this wonderful development, Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively with Ms Papita Saha, Assistant Professor in the Biotechnology Department of NIT. We began by asking her the reason for finding an alternative preparation of dye, using a flower?

He said, “The harmful effects of synthetic dye & chemicals used at the time of dyeing have forced us to be concerned about the alternative preparation of dye using natural sources. From archeological evidence, it is seen that in India & the Middle-east that, dyeing has been carried out for over 5,000 years, which were obtained from animal, vegetable or mineral origin.

“The greatest source of this dye was mainly from the plant kingdom; mainly roots, bark, leave and wood. The discovery methods of synthesizing alizanin and indigo spelt the death knell of the indigenous industry. Due to the ease of application, bright shades were obtained and during colonial rule, hand-weavers started to opt for synthetic dyes without a clear understanding of the using of these.

“It is now suspected that many of the synthetic dyes are carcinogenic in nature and can create havoc in life systems. It's ironic that Europe, which initiated the advent of synthetic dyes, in the first place, woke up to the dangers of these agents. These natural dyes are non-carcinogenic in nature and so do not affect human body or environment.

“Herbal dyes which are produced from floral extracts are economical and solve the above problems. These herbal dyes are not toxic, are not allergic to human health, easily available and more economical. Some natural sources of dyes produce truly exquisite shades and are economical to purchase than chemical dyes.

“In India, especially in West Bengal, a huge amount of flowers are wasted everyday. A survey report reveals that among India, West Bengal is in 4th position after Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu in cultivation of flowers. The survey report also reveals that almost 40 percent flowers are unsold of total flower production and wasted which are thrown in water bodies like lakes and rivers which create water pollution”.

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