Saturday, November 27, 2021

A New Indigo Dye

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Water, Pollution, Health

Ed Hessler 

One of the most common dyes, Indigo, "is usually make from petroleum-derived aniline in a high temperature process that involves formaldehyde and cyanide. Globally, around 20% of industrial water pollution comes from fabric dyeing,"writes James Mitchell Crow in a short essay in the British journal Nature series "Where I Work," about Tammy Hsu who intends to produce fabric dyes with much lower environmental (and human health) impacts (added) . The process makes use of microbial fermentation.

Hsu holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (indigo synthesis through bioengineering  Escherichia coli bacteria to do what happens indigo plants do). Dr. Hsu is now the chief scientific officer and co-founder with Michelle Zhu, of Huee in Berkeley, CA.

The profile includes a picture of Hsu in front of Huee's fermentation station and a brief description of this work. "We (Hsu and Zhu) have demonstrated," Crow notes, "that we can make a high-quality product, and are now working with dye mills to see what quality of we can obtain. Depending on the launch schedule of the denim brands, we hope to see products dyed with our indigo on the market within a year."

Why indigo? Hsu had a short answer: "because it is iconic."

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