Enzymes in Textile Industry
Enzymes are being used increasingly in textile processing, mainly in the finishing of fabrics and garments. Some of the more important applications are desizing and jeans finishing.
In the case of fabrics made from cotton or blends of cotton and synthetic fibres, the warp (longitudinal) threads are coated with an adhesive substance known as 'size'. This is to prevent the threads breaking during weaving. The most important size is starch and starch derivatives. After weaving, the size must be removed again in order to prepare the fabric for finishing (bleaching, dyeing, printing etc.). This process (desizing) may be carried out by treating the fabric with strong chemicals such as acids, bases or oxidising agents. However, starch-splitting enzymes (alpha-amylases) have been preferred for many years due to their high efficiency and specific action. Amylases bring about complete removal of the size without any harmful effects on the fabric.
Many 'casual' garments are subjected to a wash treatment to give them a slightly worn look. A prime example is the stone washing of denim jeans. In the traditional stonewashing process, the blue denim was faded by the abrasive action of pumice stones on the garment surface. Nowadays, denim finishers are using a special cellulase to accelerate abrasion. The cellulase works by loosening the indigo dye on the denim in a process known as 'bio-stoning'.
Megazyme provides a range of dyed cross-linked substrates for the measurement of amylase and endo-cellulase. These substrates are dyed and crosslinked amylose and HE cellulose, respectively, and are supplied in tablet form as Amylazyme and Cellazyme C. The Cellazyme C tablets find widespread use in standardising enzyme formulations and in Quality Assurance of final products.
Textile and Fabric Analysis Products: