Biotech Updates

GE Bacterium Produces Plastic-Free Vegan Leather With Self-Dyeing Properties

April 10, 2024

Scientists used genetic engineering on bacterium to produce leather that is animal- and plastic-free. This sustainable leather also has self-dyeing properties.

Bacterial cellulose (BC) is a promising alternative to leather due to its biodegradability, material properties, and low infrastructure needs. However, in order for BC to be sustainable, producers also need to find safer alternative methods to dye textiles.

To help with this problem, researchers from Imperial College London used genetic engineering to produce a bacterial strain of Komagataeibacter rhaeticus that grows self-pigmenting bacterial cellulose. This new type of leather was successfully used to make shoe and wallet prototypes. Their research highlights that the combination of genetic engineering and techniques of textile biofabrication may produce a new type of textile.

For more information, read the article on Nature Biotechnology.

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