Bacterial cellulose grown from kombucha: Assessment of textile performance properties using fashion apparel tests

Jane Wood, Joanna Verran, James Redfern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bacterial cellulose (BC) has been suggested as a sustainable alternative textile for apparel. Previous studies have evaluated the production of BC sheets and the suitability of these to form garment shapes. The laboratory measured physical performance characteristics of BC from an apparel perspective remain relatively unexplored. The aim of this study was to produce reproducible sheets of BC, enabling the evaluation of the performance of the BC in an apparel textile testing context, and comparison to other textile materials. Grown in sterile black tea with glucose, the BC presented as a mesh of non-woven nanofibers, and thus comparison was made with three non-woven fabrics. It has also been suggested that BC could be used as ‘vegetable’ leather; therefore, performance comparisons were conducted with animal skins. Utilizing British, European and International standard test methods, the selected fabrics were evaluated for their performance in tensile, elongation, moisture vapor permeability and abrasion tests, relevant for an apparel end-use. Tensile strength testing revealed that BC is weaker than its animal counterparts but does display similar physical characteristics at the point of failure; however, it displayed a higher tensile strength than the non-woven fabrics chosen for comparison. BC was the least breathable and most moisture-retentive of all the fabrics tested, raising questions regarding its suitability and comfort for apparel applications in its untreated state. However, BC displayed superior performance when tested for resistance to abrasion, suggesting it could be best utilized in the form of encapsulated patches in items subjected to this type of damage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTextile Research Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Bacterial cellulose
  • apparel
  • fashion
  • performance
  • sustainability
  • textiles

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  • Hands on Biofilm!

    Jane Wood (Co-Organiser), James Redfern (Co-Organiser) & Joanna Verran (Co-Organiser)

    28 Oct 2022

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch

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