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Enzyme generated surface patterning

*Protease is a highly specific enzyme that is capable of breaking down wool fibres into very small fragment proteins or peptides. To date there has been considerable interest in the application of protease to achieve a variety of functional finishing effects on wool. However, techniques developed within this project explore undeveloped opportunities for using protease as a creative design tool to achieve decorative textile surface effects.


Enzyme generated surface patterning is a novel approach, which employs protease* in combination with traditional mechanical resists to selectively modify wool blended fabrics to impart decorative surface effects. Controlled protease application enables degradation and removal of the wool fibre component from wool blends resulting in novel fading and differential fabric relief.

The achieved effects are similar to current textile processes such as discharge printing and devoré. The activity of protease is highly specific, therefore it causes no damage to the non-wool components. The process also permits the replacement of harsh chemicals with the use of small doses of bio-degradable enzymes.

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