BioDyes

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The extracted pigments ready for textile tests

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The naturally pigmented bacteria and source of the BioDyes

 

How often do we think about the origin of the dyes used to colour our clothing. Almost, without exception they are, synthetic, and also the products of unsustainable chemical processes. The is a project with Anna Dumitriu and Sue Craig to explore whether natural and sustainable bacterial pigments can be used to dye textiles. The red pigmented bacterium Serratia marcescens and the purple pigmented bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum are the starting points.

2 thoughts on “BioDyes

  1. Nice! Watch out for the Chromobacterium though, since it is a biosafety level 2 pathogen (even though I’ve seen it sold in kits of pigmented bacteria intended for highschoolers!)

    I hear the Serratia pigment degrades fairly easily – did you find that to be the case with the purified pigment? Or perhaps it’s just the expression of the pigment that is unstable?

    • Thanks for this Patrik. We work with the living Chromobacterium in the lab and only take the extracted pigment out of it. We’re trying to fix the Serratia pigment to stop it fading.

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