A newly manufactured dye is all set to revolutionize the textile industry, and also change the views about a plant which usually has only negative connotations.

In the process of making tobacco for cigarettes' only the leaves are used. The remaining tobacco plant is normally discarded as waste. A new ground breaking technology uses tobacco plant as a renewable resource. Dyes extracted from the plant fibre are being used for creating hues on textiles which are not just cost effective but are also non-toxic.

Plant fibres have been used for making textiles from which a wide range of fabrics are manufactured. Various plants such as hemp, jute, ramie etc are used for extracting fibres and making textile. One plant which was not utilized in this way is the tobacco plant which belongs to the genus Nicotiana. Many species of tobacco plants fall within the category of genus Nicotiana which is generally referred to as tobacco plants. Tobacco plants are mainly grown for its leaves. Their leaves are used for smoking, snuff, and chewing. They are also used as organic pesticides and also in some medicines.

Fibres extracted from the tobacco plant are used for making dyes. A hot liquid solution is used on the tobacco plant causing a chemical reaction to produce the tobacco plant fibre. The equipment used for extracting this dye requires less water than the other conventional dyes. Percolating the hot solution on the tobacco plant produces steam, which is directed back to the treating system. The liquid that is collected inside the treating system, and the pulp produced inside the treating system is utilized as a natural dye for textiles.

It also does not require purifications of toxic water as is by the conventional dyeing processes. Tobacco plants are used in the application process which minimizes waste reduction. The process of dye extraction successfully provides around 30 vibrant shades.

Apart from extracting dyes from the plant, fibres extracted from the tobacco plant can also be blended with other fibres such as wool, silk, cotton, etc. Fibres extracted from the tobacco plant are used for making coverings, clothing, bags, and many more applications. The fibre can also be blended with other natural fibres such as plant fibres, animal fur or even synthetic, derived from petroleum.

Global market for eco friendly dyes:

Global market for textile dyes was USD 4.3 billion in 2009, a 35% increase over 2008. It is further predicted by industry analysts to reach USD 5.5 billion by 2015. By 2017, the market is expected to reach USD 5.9 billion. Growth for the dyes market will be fuelled by the demand for eco friendly dyes and a revival of the post recession period. Growing customer perceptions customer spending, population growth and technological innovations will propel the market further. Eco friendly dyes and chemicals are likely to witness continued growth for the coming years ahead.

US and EU will see a shift in their operating bases to the Asian markets. Less manufacturing costs, availability of trained, cheap, and abundant labor, and inexpensive raw materials in Asian countries such as China and India will result in and increasing growth of production activity in the two countries. The period of open economy has caused drastic changes in China with an increasing demand for textile and textile based products.

Ecological concerns are gaining more attention in the textile business, and dyes industry is undergoing a transformation in its product mix. The industry had seen various dyes banned across the globe in the recent years due to environmental concerns. The process of extracting tobacco dyes is still at a nascent stage. It should be adapted to grow organic tobacco plants for useful textile applications. Eco friendly products are a key growth driver in the textile segment. This method would be a forward thinking on sustainable production process.


  1. "Textiles and process for making textiles and dyes from tobacco plants', Suzanne M. DeVall, freshpatents.com.
  2. Habitmagazine.com
  3. Companiesandmarkets.com