Event Title

Alternatives to Animal Leather for Fashion Industry Using Bacterial Cellulose Sheets

Session Number

Project ID: ENVR 02

Advisor(s)

Dr. Angela Ahrendt, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Discipline

Environmental Science

Start Date

20-4-2022 9:10 AM

End Date

20-4-2022 9:25 AM

Abstract

Leather production from bacterial cellulose (BC) is one of the many vegan leather options explored through scientific research in response to the animal welfare in, and the environmental impact of, the fashion industry. This study attempted to replicate BC production using Komagataeibacter hansenii and Komagataeibacter xylinus. Groups of BC were then impregnated with differing amounts of Downy softener and either dodecanol or stearic acid to lend them flexible and hydrophobic qualities that mimic those of animal leather. The chemicals used are inexpensive alternatives to chemicals found in other papers. Dodecanol and stearic acid were studied specifically as potential substitutes for perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrophobic and lipophobic compounds with negative environmental side effects. Due to supply chain back-up, both bacterial strains were activated, but only k.hansenii has been incubated to produce BC, although it did not form an interlaced, patty-like structure. Instead, only bits of BC were formed on the surface of the growth media. K. xylinus BC is now being incubated; this should provide better results as it is the bacteria used in the replicated study. If successful, this study will provide alternative impregnation chemicals that are both cheaper and more environmentally friendly, minimizing the effects of BC leather production.

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Apr 20th, 9:10 AM Apr 20th, 9:25 AM

Alternatives to Animal Leather for Fashion Industry Using Bacterial Cellulose Sheets

Leather production from bacterial cellulose (BC) is one of the many vegan leather options explored through scientific research in response to the animal welfare in, and the environmental impact of, the fashion industry. This study attempted to replicate BC production using Komagataeibacter hansenii and Komagataeibacter xylinus. Groups of BC were then impregnated with differing amounts of Downy softener and either dodecanol or stearic acid to lend them flexible and hydrophobic qualities that mimic those of animal leather. The chemicals used are inexpensive alternatives to chemicals found in other papers. Dodecanol and stearic acid were studied specifically as potential substitutes for perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrophobic and lipophobic compounds with negative environmental side effects. Due to supply chain back-up, both bacterial strains were activated, but only k.hansenii has been incubated to produce BC, although it did not form an interlaced, patty-like structure. Instead, only bits of BC were formed on the surface of the growth media. K. xylinus BC is now being incubated; this should provide better results as it is the bacteria used in the replicated study. If successful, this study will provide alternative impregnation chemicals that are both cheaper and more environmentally friendly, minimizing the effects of BC leather production.