Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / US professor tries to make fibre from tea byproduct
US professor tries to make fibre from tea byproduct
28
Apr '16
Courtesy: Iowa State University
Courtesy: Iowa State University
An associate professor at America's Iowa State University is on a mission to produce fibre from a tea byproduct.

Young-A Lee, an associate professor of apparel, merchandising and design at Iowa State, is carrying out her research inside one of the textile and clothing labs in LeBaron Hall.

Each plastic bin in the lab contains a gel-like film consisting of cellulose fibers – a byproduct of kombucha tea – that feeds off a mixture of vinegar and sugar. The film is grown by using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Lee says the properties of this SCOBY film are similar to leather once it's harvested and dried, and can be used to make clothing, shoes or handbags, according to an article on the University's website.

In a chapter of the book “Sustainable Fibres for Fashion Industry,” Lee writes about the results of her case study of cellulosic fibre. The material has been tested for other applications, such as cosmetics, foods and biomedical tissue for wound dressing, but it is relatively new to the apparel industry. The fact that the fibre is 100 per cent biodegradable is a significant benefit for the fashion industry, which by its very nature generates a lot of waste, Lee said.

“Fashion, to most people, is an ephemeral expression of culture, art, and technology manifesting itself in form. Fashion companies keep producing new materials and clothing, from season to season, year to year, to fulfill consumers' desire and needs,” Lee said. “Think about where these items eventually go. They will take tremendous underground spaces of the Earth like other trash.”

The cellulose fibre reduces waste by creating a continuous cycle of reuse or regeneration, what is known as cradle-to-cradle design, Lee said. Even if clothing is recycled or repurposed, it still eventually ends up in the trash. Lee envisions a truly sustainable fabric or material that is biodegradable and goes back into the soil as a nutrient rather than taking up space in a landfill. And using the SCOBY gives new purpose to the tea byproduct, lessening the fashion industry's dependence on nonrenewable materials.

Working with a novel fibre is not without its challenges. Lee and her research team received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop sustainable clothing and shoes from the harvested cellulosic fibre. They've conducted several tests to determine if the SCOBY-based cellulosic fibre is a viable alternative to leather for the fashion industry.

The tests revealed that one of the biggest problems is moisture absorption from the air and the person wearing the vest or shoes. The moisture softens the material and makes it less durable. Researchers also discovered that cold conditions make it brittle.


Must ReadView All

FDI in Vietnamese textile-garment projects on the rise

Apparel/Garments | On 24th Jun 2018

FDI in Vietnamese textile-garment projects on the rise

The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive ...

Courtesy: Alizilla

Apparel/Garments | On 24th Jun 2018

Alibaba Group sets up office in Kuala Lumpur

Strengthening its commitment to Malaysia, Alibaba Group has set up an ...

Bombay Dyeing plans to wind up Indonesian JV

Textiles | On 24th Jun 2018

Bombay Dyeing plans to wind up Indonesian JV

Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing Co Ltd plans to wind up its loss making ...

Interviews View All

Sanjay Desai & Ashish Mulani
True Colors

Digital textile printing will be the technology of the future

Arvind Saraf
Triveni Sarees

e-Commerce is still evolving fast with constant flux and surprises

Jim Desai
Blaiva Fabricaa

Fashion industry likely to remain labour-intensive in coming years

Tejas N Patel, Navin D Patel

Founded in 1999 by Navin Patel in the name of Tejas Fabrics with 100...

Karan Behal

Karan Behal, founder and chief executive of top-selling brand...

Liz Manning

<div><b>Liz Manning</b>, Business Development Manager at Catexel, has...

Steve Cole
Xerium Technologies

Steve Cole of Xerium Technologies discusses the industry. Xerium is the...

Mark Paterson
Technical Absorbents Ltd

Mark Paterson, R&D manager of Technical Absorbents Ltd talks about Super...

Ashok Desai
Bombay Textile Research Association

Bombay Textile Research Association (BTRA) is a leading name in textile...

Pranav Mishra
Huemn

Designers Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty’s Huemn is known for its...

Vaanee Bhatia
Gritstones Clothing

<div>Delhi-based Gritstones Clothing offers quality and exemplary style...

Amiben Shroff
Shrujan

From its modest beginning in the late 1960s, Shrujan has grown into a...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

Leave your Comments


June 2018

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Advanced Search