Sustainable Denim: microbial indigo

Indigo, the dye used to stain jeans blue, was traditionally extracted from plants of the genus Indigofera. Today, however, the several thousand tons of indigo used  each year is synthetic and produced by industrial processes with obvious consequences for the environment. This is a project which seeks to develop a sustainable form of indigo using the bacterium Vogesella indigofera. This rare blue naturally pigmented bacterium was originally isolated from a pond that had been used as a dump for highly toxic chemical waste and I find it intriguing that something so beautiful could arise from such a polluted environment.

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