Novel chemo-enzymatic fibre functionalisation for advanced material solutions

Jaakko Pere, Anna Suurnäkki, Päivi Saastamoinen, Hannu Mikkonen, Ann-Christine Ritschkoff, Johanna Buchert

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


    Enzymes are bio-catalysts with several advantages, such as a high specificity of action and ability to work under mild reaction conditions (e.g. pH, temperature, time). The use of enzymes in the processing of fibres and textiles is an environmentally friendly method and is widely recognized in several industrial applications. Today commercial textile applications for enzymes are mainly based on hydrolases, e.g. desizing of fabric with amylases, treatment of bleaching waste water with catalase, biofinishing of cellulolytic textile materials and denim finishing with cellulases to mention a few. Lately, oxidative enzymes have also been interest for different applications. Positive results have been obtained by using oxidoreductases, in delignification of fibres and decolorization of dye house effluents. We have developed novel technology for chemo-enzymatic functionalisation of both natural and man-made fibres by applying oxidative enzymes, like laccases or tyrosinases. Surface modification of natural fibres containing reactive lignin can be modified by laccase induced radicalisation and coupling reactions resulting to foreign properties to those of the unmodified surface. Respectively, same type of technology can successfully be utilised in modification of synthetic polymers, like polyolefins and polyesters, by combining low-energy activation of target material with enzymatic coupling reaction. The modified fibres or fabrics can be exploited in versatile ways for composites, technical textiles, fabrics or non-wovens to achieve improved functionality, durability and user-friendliness. Within composites improved adhesion between reinforcing fibres and matrix polymer has been obtained by functionalisation of fibres with hydrophobic component prior to compounding. In this paper a summary of the new technology is introduced together with practical examples and assessment of its industrial applicability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event6th International Conference on Textile and Polymer Biotechnology, INTB - Ghent, Belgium
    Duration: 23 Sept 200925 Sept 2009


    Conference6th International Conference on Textile and Polymer Biotechnology, INTB
    Abbreviated titleINTB


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