In a bid to accelerate the transition to microbial color printing in the textile sector, the UK biotechnology company Colorifix and Central Saint Martins Faculty of Art and Design (CSM) at the University of the Arts London (UAL) have teamed together on a new Ph.D. research project.
The news was disclosed via a post on LinkedIn by Carole Collet, a professor affiliated with the institution where she serves as the co-director of the Living Systems Lab Research Group at CSM.
Ruth Lloyd, a designer and Ph.D. candidate at Central Saint Martins, is the project’s leader. Lloyd is a textile designer with extensive training in and understanding of textile printing.
CSM researchers Carole Collet and Alice Taylor, as well as Jim Ajioka, chief science officer at Colorifix, will supervise the Ph.D. candidate during her research project.
Ruth Lloyd was a designer in residence at Colorifix from 2021 to 2022, and she will explore how to develop “a scalable bio-based coloring framework for the dyeing industry”, for her Ph.D. projects.
The textile industry is one of the global industries that use the most water, “more than 5 trillion liters per year approximately”, the post by researcher Collet reads.
Additionally, a large number of “highly toxic chemicals are used in its dyeing processes”, about 70 different chemicals.
Colorifix uses simple sugars and plant by-products to replace the chemicals used in petrochemical dying processes. In addition to eliminating toxic chemicals that are currently used in the industry, this method enables the company to reduce the water consumption and energy used in textile dyeing.
Commenting on the project, researcher Carole Collet said “We are delighted to activate our formal collaboration with Colorifix via this pioneering PhD project and are looking forward to working with leaders in bacterial biotechnologies to develop new knowledge for regenerative fashion systems.”
Besides that, Professor Jim Ajioka, chief science officer at Colorifix Ltd, added, “Collaborative PhD projects like ours with Central Saint Martins will become an increasingly important component of research at the intersection of science and design, especially for industrial adoption of bio-based products and processes.”