Durable green fabrics from agri-wastes, chicken feather in offing

January 17th, 2009 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 17 (IANS) How would you like to snuggle up in a warm, cozy pullover made of chicken feathers or jeans fashioned from wheat - fabrics that are green and eco-friendly?Researchers are optimistic that new advances are paving the way for materials from agri-waste or byproducts to hit stores as alternatives to the 38 million tonnes of synthetic fabrics produced worldwide each year.

They reviewed research on the development of these next generation eco-friendly fibres, which will give a conventional feel, in the journal Biomacromolecules.

In the study, Andrew Poole, Jeffrey Church and Mickey Huson noted that scientists first produced commercial fabrics made of nontraditional materials - including milk proteins, peanuts, and corn - almost 50 years ago.

Although these so-called “regenerated” fabrics had the look and feel of conventional protein-based fabrics such as wool and silk, they tended to perform poorly when wet.

This problem, combined with the advent of petroleum-based synthetic fibers, caused the production of these unusual fabrics to stop, the researchers say.

Amid concerns about the environment and consumer demand for eco-friendly products, renewable fabrics made from nontraditional agricultural materials are now poised to make a comeback, the scientists said, according to an American Chemical Society release.

Promising fabric sources include agricultural proteins, such as keratin from scrap chicken feathers and gluten from wheat, they say.

These study was published in Biomacromolecules.

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