Innovation @ E2Expo

Genetically engineered microbes for polyester textile recycling

Updated : December 2020


  • Entrepreneurs
  • Financial investors
  • Marketing or sales professionals
  • Production professionals
  • Researchers or innovators
  • Synthetic fiber professionals
  • Textile and fashion designers

Genetically modified microbes for synthetic fibre recycling

Reusing waste and limiting the introduction of virgin materials has great economic and environmental value. This fact holds good especially for synthetic textiles as they involve use of nonrenewable resources and do not degrade. Further, the existing recycling options have challenges with cost, efficiency and capacity. Ambercycle uses genetically engineered microbes to digest waste polyester textiles and transform them into material that can be used as new fibers. The company has developed the proof of concept for its biological process and has started to test different waste fabrics to determine efficacy of the process.

Read more: Ambercycle


Polyester textile recycling

Textile waste management

Synthetic fibre recycling

Genetically engineered microbes for textile recycling

Micro plastics pollution reduction

Read More

  1. Ambercycle
  2. Ambercycle - using microbes to eat plastics




| United States

Year Established


Highlights and sustainability benefits

The technology helps in protecting marine environment from microplastics of waste polyester textiles. It also helps textile waste management companies efficiently manage the waste through alternative methods such as recycling while also significantly reducing the need for fossil fuels to manufacture new textiles.


The company has won Launch2020 award as the top fabric innovator. It has also connected to major industry players and secured an investment of half a million dollars. It has also received grants from the Lemelson Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, and Y combinator to develop its R&D.

About the Work

The process involves collecting waste textiles from textile waste management companies, converting them to polyester pellets, spinning the pellets into yarn and supplying them to apparel manufacturing companies.

About the Innovator

The company was founded by Akshay Sethi and Moby Ahmed, chemists at UC Davis University, who made a breakthrough discovery that allows new garments to be made entirely from used textiles, eliminating the use of new natural resources. They founded Ambercycle in 2015 to commercialize the technology that enables molecular separation of different fibers, such as cotton and polyester so that they can be spun into new yarns.

Discussion topics

Genetically engineered microbes for synthetic fibre recycling


Types of microbes suitable for polyester recycling


Economics of microbial textile recycling technologies




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