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Wheat straw transformation with Acetobacter to produce bacterial cellulose, Miriam Ribul, 2019

An interdisciplinary biotechnology, materials science and design collaboration to produce novel flexible composites for textile applications.

At a glance

  • The research uses agricultural by-products as a sustainable feedstock for biomaterial development.
  • The project will use lignin to alter the surface properties of the bacterial cellulose.
  • We will assess novel flexible biomaterials for high-performance textile applications.

Key details

More information

The research will explore the use of straw extracts to modify the surface properties of bacterial cellulose and enable the direct synthesis of durable materials for textiles. Bacterial cellulose has been suggested as a sustainable alternative for the biomanufacturing of textiles, but it lacks the durability and hydrophobicity that are needed in apparel applications. The project will investigate the use of lignin and hemicellulose, underutilised component of wheat straw, to modify the surface of the bacterial cellulose for the production of novel high-performance composites in textile applications. The team will produce bacterial cellulose composites using lignin nanoparticles and wheat straw hemicellulose in situ or ex situ in order to improve textile characteristics and compare this to chemical modifications.

The Proof of Concept (PoC) project is led by Professor Simon McQueen-Mason at the University of York. The project involves the University of York where Dr Alexandra Lanot will produce the bacterial cellulose composites. Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso at the University of Leeds will analyse the structure of the composites and Professor Ningtao Mao will test their mechanical properties. Dr Miriam Ribul at the Royal College of Art will evaluate the manufacturing processes for textile applications and engage with designers. The research will form part of the Sustainable Future Materials theme of the Materials Science Research Centre to design and develop textiles from crop residues and biowaste.

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Wheat straw transformation with Acetobacter to produce bacterial cellulose, Miriam Ribul, 2019

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