“Dyeing Green” Traditional Textile Industry with Biological Enzymes

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

At the Jiangsu Textile and Apparel Expo held recently, batches of new textile fabrics and textile products developed with modern biotechnology and bio-based raw materials that are eco-friendly, biodegradable and recycled have become the highlights of the exhibition. These new products represent a new trend in the development of the textile industry.

At present, textile materials developed with high-efficiency textile new technologies and new processes are continuously available, and biotechnology is also playing an increasingly important role in the production of new textile materials. The application of biotechnology in the research and development and production of new textile materials is promoting the transformation and upgrading of the textile industry and embarking on the road of green and sustainable development.

Promote biotechnology to solve the problem of high energy consumption and low output in the textile industry

Hong Xiao, dean of Changzhou Textile and Garment Vocational and Technical College and vice chairman of Changzhou Textile Engineering Society, said that the high energy consumption and serious pollution of the textile industry are mainly reflected in the dyeing and finishing process. The dyeing and finishing of textiles has so far mainly used traditional chemical methods to process natural fibers, chemical fibers and their blended and interwoven products. The chemical processing technology is mature, the treatment effect is good, and the fabric has strong adaptability, but there are a series of disadvantages such as consuming a lot of water resources, producing a large amount of sewage, damaging the quality of textiles, and increasing the residue of harmful and toxic substances on textiles. These disadvantages seriously restrict the health of my country’s textile industry. , rapid and continuous development.

The use of biological enzymes in textile processing, the production of textiles with new bio-based fibers, and the printing and dyeing of textiles with natural pigments… Nowadays, the application of textile biotechnology in the textile industry is becoming more and more extensive, and it has become a domestic and foreign transformation of the traditional textile industry and the promotion of textile production. important support for industrial development. According to Hong Xiao, these technologies all use bio-based raw materials, which are easy to biodegrade and cause little or no pollution to the environment.

Overcome the disadvantages of production Biological enzymes play an important role in the textile field

As an energy-saving, emission-reduction, and environment-friendly auxiliaries, biological enzyme preparations are playing an increasingly important role in textile printing and dyeing. At present, biological enzymes are used in fiber modification, silk degumming, raw hemp degumming, dyeing and finishing process desizing, scouring and cleaning processing, and textile printing and dyeing wastewater treatment in the textile field.

What are the benefits of using biological enzymes in the textile industry? Associate Professor Cao Hongmei, deputy dean of the Textile College of Changzhou Textile and Garment Vocational and Technical College, gave reporters a few examples.

The traditional alkali desizing and scouring processes use a large amount of chemicals such as strong alkali and surfactants. After treatment, a large amount of water needs to be used to clean the cloth surface. It has become the largest source of pollution in the printing and dyeing industry, seriously polluting the ecological environment. The enzymatic dyeing and finishing pretreatment technology for cotton fabrics avoids the extensive use of chemicals such as caustic soda and surfactants, and uses amylase, pectinase, etc. to decompose and remove starch pulp, pectin and other fibers artificially applied and inherent in fibers. Non-cellulose impurities can improve the wettability of fabrics, ensure the smooth progress of subsequent printing and dyeing processes, and have significant effects on energy conservation, emission reduction, and environmental protection and pollution reduction.

Traditional hemp degumming adopts high temperature, high pressure and strong alkali chemical process, which has long process, large fiber damage, large energy consumption, large waste water environmental pollution and high treatment cost. Hemp biological degumming technology can effectively remove pectin, hemicellulose, lignin and other impurities in hemp under normal pressure by using high-efficiency composite enzymes, which has the advantages of greatly shortened process, small fiber damage, reduced chemical consumption, less pollution, and energy consumption. Low, no need for a lot of washing and so on.

The traditional chemical shrinkage prevention method is mainly the chlorination method, but the chlorination method

During treatment, available chlorine (such as chlorine gas, etc.) will react with amino acid residues in wool to generate various absorbable organic halides. These halides have carcinogenic and mutagenic effects and are extremely harmful to various organisms. The wool bio-shrinkage-resistant technology mainly uses keratin-degrading enzymes to catalyze the destruction of the characteristic scale structure of wool, avoiding the chlorination treatment that pollutes the environment, and at the same time greatly eliminating the steps of neutralization and water washing in the chlorination method.

Cao Hongmei told reporters that replacing traditional chemical processing of textiles with textile biotechnology can not only greatly reduce the consumption of water resources, but also significantly reduce the use of chemicals from the source and reduce the generation of difficult-to-degrade pollutants; at the same time, due to the technological process It can also greatly reduce the consumption of electricity, coal and gas.

In addition, Hong Xiao said that the use of biotechnology not only effectively improves the existing shortcomings of textile production, but also develops new fibers suitable for textile production according to needs, and expands the field of textile raw materials. For example, Chinese scientists can implant the genes that can control the fineness of wool into sheep, so as to obtain fine, long and soft wool, providing high-quality raw materials for the production of high-grade light and thin wool fabrics.

Improve the ability of innovation and enhance the international competitiveness of my country’s textiles

At the beginning of this century, my country began to attach importance to the research and development and promotion of textile biotechnology. A group of universities, enzyme preparation enterprises and textile printing and dyeing enterprises have carried out a lot of work in the creation of domestically produced textile enzyme preparations and the development of textile application processes, and achieved a number of innovative results. . For example, Jiangnan University has successfully developed new enzymes for dyeing and finishing, such as alkaline pectin lyase, catalase, high-activity cutinase, and PVA degrading enzyme produced by bacteria, to realize the “one-step transmembrane” of alkaline pectin lyase and cutinase. “Efficient fermentation, the expression amount has reached the international leading level, the results have broken the monopoly of foreign enzyme preparation companies, and promoted the market application of domestic textile enzymes. In terms of biopolishing of cellulose fiber products, Kangdeen Biotechnology Co., Ltd. has reduced the market price of neutral cellulase from 200 yuan per kilogram to 15 yuan per kilogram through high-efficiency expression production technology, breaking the foreign monopoly. In recent years, the fermentation activity and substrate specificity of keratin-degrading enzymes for wool shrinkage prevention in my country have also been significantly improved.

However, due to the late start, my country has relatively little research on industrial enzyme R&D technologies such as textile-specific enzyme gene mining, directed evolution, high-throughput screening, molecular transformation, and high-efficiency and low-cost fermentation. There is a certain gap with foreign advanced levels in terms of high performance, flexible formulation, low production cost, and optimization of application processes.

Precisely designing and developing high-performance and low-cost textile enzyme preparations on demand, improving the production and application technology level of my country’s enzyme preparations and realizing industrialization promotion, improving the processing quality of textile products, and reducing the pollution caused by textile processing to the environment are the key factors of my country’s textile industry. The important way and urgent requirement for green development is also the direction that textile biotechnology needs to continue to develop.

Hong Xiao suggested that it is necessary to increase the research and development of key areas such as high-performance, functional, and differentiated fiber materials, new textile dyeing and finishing technologies, and high-performance industrial textiles, improve technological originality, and accelerate the industrialization and promotion of scientific and technological achievements. Application, solve the problem of environmental pollution caused by the textile industry, and comprehensively improve the added value and international competitiveness of textile products.