Australian company develops microbial fiber materials
Waste Reduction

With practices of corporate sustainability becoming more widespread, manufacturing industries worldwide are seeking to adopt eco-friendly alternatives to raw materials. In this regard, a growing number of companies have discovered the surprising usefulness of microbes. In fashion design, Aniela Hoitink from the Netherlands produced a dress made of mushroom derived textiles. In interior design, Montalti from Italy also utilized mycelium to produce chairs. The latest to join the fold is an Australian biotech firm known as Nanollose, which used industrial and agricultural wastes to produce microbial cellulose – a green alternative to current textiles, and a huge boon for the fashion industry.

As “traditional” cellulosic materials including wood, cotton, and flax are all plant based, large scale agricultural plots not only require a significant investment on the part of growers, but also places significant pressure on the environment. Even worse, synthetic fibers such as nylon are highly polluting to produce and difficult to degrade. With the newest "plant-free" innovation however, Nanollose fibers are naturally fermented from recycled organic wastes as byproducts of agriculture and industry, and do not require significant consumption of natural resources. Benign and non-infectious bacteria are first used to convert agricultural wastes into microbial cellulose, which are then converted into sustainable rayon fibers. Nanolluse offers an eco-friendly alternative to traditional textiles, suitable for apparel or furniture, as their product not only reduces wastes but is also far more biodegradable. Nanollose is currently experimenting with Indonesian coconut byproducts and expects to enter mass production of their new textiles soon.

On sustainable development, Nanollose CEO Allfie Germano states: “The entire industry is experiencing a green wind of change that is customer-driven, and many global players are stepping up their search for sustainable, long-term fiber alternatives, and we believe we have a solution.”