Bacterial dyes for textile fabric dyeing - Innovation @ E2Expo
Updated : 25-Oct-2020
The Vienna Textile Lab is a biotechnology company which works on fabricating natural dyes from microorganisms such as bacteria. They fabricate organic dyes from bacteria that are naturally occurring to provide a sustainable alternative to the use of the conventional synthetic colours. The natural and organic dye sourcing process is resource-efficient and the dye emits less carbon.
Natural dyes are easier to remove from textile industry wastewater compared to synthetic ones. They are more safe to the consumer and environment. Bacteria can also be stored in the form of tubes in laboratories and then multiplied at any time, which does not require any agricultural surface or expensive equipment. The process does not release CO2. The dyes can be applied to all types of natural and synthetic fabrics as well as fibres and yarns and different colour shades are possible. They also exhibit similar properties as that of synthetic dyes.
The company won awards in Climate Launchpad competition 2017 in Cyprus and BOKU Start-up Prize from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in 2019. It is also a part of TCBL network, a Horizon 2020 funded organisation.
Most bacteria do not produce dyes. The functions of these dyes vary from one species to another and are mainly involved in development, reproduction and protection against external stress.These bacteria are stored under controlled laboratory conditions and the dyes are extracted using proprietary technologies.
The company was founded by Karin Fleck who has studied technical chemistry at TU Wien in Austria. For many years she had various managerial positions at several energy companies such as Vattenfall Energy Trading in The Netherlands and in Germany. During a meeting with the founder of Textile Lab Amsterdam, she got inspired about the use of bacteria for textile dyes. She then started working towards founding of the company as well as the technology development with the support from a textile firm using natural dyes in Vienna, a bacteriographer and Institute of Applied Synthesis Chemistry at TU Wien. The company plans to expand its manufacturing to industrial scale by 2025.