How Bacteria Is Helping Clean Up Textile Waste

You might not think that pickle-spoiling bacteria has anything to do with the fashion industry. It seems almost a ludicrous comparison, right?

Well, this particular type of bacteria (as seen in the picture above) has a double life. Scientists have recently discovered that when it’s not out there spoiling pickles for the likes of you and me, this Lactobacilli organism can be used to help transform dye from textile factories.

See, textile manufacturers rinse dyes out with water. Many of these dyes aren’t treated by water treatment facilities. So, they get released into the environment.

But scientists in the Food Research Unit in Raleigh, North Carolina, have discovered that Lactobacilli can transform Azo dyes (the dye that gives us warm reds, yellows and oranges), which are non-toxic but can be mutagenic, into less harmful substances.

What does all this mean?

It means that, if this continues to be the case, Lactobacilli could be a wonderful additivity to waste water treatment facilities, especially those that treat water from textile industries. No longer would Azo dyes be released to wreak their mutogenic havoc on local watersheds. Lactobacilli could attack and transform these dyes into a safe, non-toxic substance.


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