Textile industry weighs heavy on the environment. 99 % of the pigments currently used in textiles are fossil-based synthetic dyes.
To address this problem, the Biocolour consortium funded by the Academy of Finland, is looking for answers from nature, synthesising natural pigments in robust host organisms.
Natural dyes produced by plants, insects, fungi - such as mushrooms - and even snails, have been used for thousands of years. But collecting the dyes from nature, is not very practical or scalable. Nor do we have enough arable land to cultivate pigment producing plants to meet the entire global demand. However, biotechnology can overcome these bottlenecks. Using microbes, instead of plants or forest mushrooms, pigments can be produced in bioreactors without using arable land, all year around.
This video is part of the Synbio Powerhouse annual seminar : Why the Bioeconomy needs Synthetic Biology.