Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Glucose facilitates the use of natural indigo

08.01.2009
Research Scientist Anne Vuorema of MTT Agrifood Research Finland proves in her doctoral dissertation that glucose can serve as a reducing agent of indigo. This finding is significant for devising more ecological dyeing practices for the textile industry.

Indigo is a vat dye and it needs to be reduced to its water-soluble leuco-form before dyeing. This allows the actual dye to pass on to textile fibres. Glucose is known to be a good reducing agent, and Vuorema’s work demonstrates that it also works with indigo.

Glucose dyeing seems to suit plant-derived fibres, such as cotton and flax, which withstand a high pH (11–12). However, at this stage it cannot be recommended for animal fibres, such as wool and silk (which can only withstand a pH of up to 9).

A specialised field with few experts

Anne Vuorema’s field of study is not widely known, and there are perhaps only 20 researchers worldwide whose work focuses on plant-derived indigo. Vuorema and MTT launched the indigo research as part of the EU Spindigo project in 2001–2004. The project prompted questions which Vuorema attempted to answer in her dissertation.

Vuorema works as an external researcher for MTT Plant Production Research. The Finnish Cultural Foundation granted a scholarship for her doctoral dissertation in three years. In 2007, the Academy of Finland funded her research at the University of Bath in England. This is where she has conducted most of her electrochemical research.

Vuorema conducted her research at the University of Bath and the University of Reading in 2004–2006. Professor Philip John at the University of Reading was the leader of the Spindigo project and he also supervised Vuorema’s research in Reading.

Anne Vuorema’s research provides answers that enable researchers to improve the extraction of indigo from the leaves of dyer’s woad (Isatis tinctoria L.). Her work enhances the energy efficiency of dyeing and can potentially promote the profitable use of plant-derived indigo.

Dyer’s woad is the best known of all indigo-producing plants in Europe. Plant-derived indigo was commonly produced until the early 20th century when synthetic indigo replaced it. The blue dye used in jeans, for instance, is nowadays synthetically produced from oil, in a process which wastes non-renewable natural resources and burdens the environment with synthetic chemicals.

Electrochemical reduction enables a clean process

In her dissertation research, Anne Vuorema developed a new electrochemical method for determining the purity of indigo. She reduced plant-derived indigo using glucose and measured the indigo concentration in the mixture using a new method. This is a great improvement in determining the purity of plant-derived indigo.

The method can also be applied to assess the purity of other similar chemicals.
“The degree of purity of plant-derived indigo is fairly low. Crude indigo has a dye content of less than 50%, while synthetic indigo has a dye content of over 95%. The impurities and means to reduce them are not yet well known,” Vuorema explains.
Businesses look for guaranteed standard quality of dye. At the same time, ecologically geared companies are looking for increasingly natural methods for dyeing fabrics, among other things.

“Plant-derived indigo is a marginal, alternative product, and it does not currently compete with synthetic indigo,” Vuorema says.

Vuorema also investigated indirect electrochemical reduction. She discovered that 1.8-dihydroxyanthraquinone was an efficient catalyst for glucose-induced reduction. Electrochemical reduction can only be introduced by major companies as it requires investment in special equipment.

“We still need to achieve a lower pH in glucose reduction and solve the matter of impurities,” Vuorema muses.

Ulla Jauhiainen | alfa
Further information:
http://oa.doria.fi/handle/10024/42825
http://www.mtt.fi

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>