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Tracksuits showcase lab-grown dyes

Ancient bacteria around geysers and silk production waste are the source of new pigments.

2nd December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  New York City


In the first commercially-available application of the technology, Pangaia Lab is introducing limited-edition tracksuits coloured with bioengineered dyes from Colorifix.

Colorifix identifies naturally occurring pigments and uses DNA sequence data to identify their genetic codes. Through synthetic biology, it builds and inserts the DNA code into a microbe that can be used to not only produce the pigment, but also transfer and fix the colour onto fabric.

The technology turns natural pigments into colourful industrial dyes at scale with zero petrochemicals and none of the hazardous substances necessary in conventional dyeing. Compared to the conventional dyeing step for cotton, the Colorifix technology reduces water consumption by at least 49%, electricity by 35%, and CO2 emissions by 31%.

The Pangaia tracksuits are dyed with two naturally occurring pigments – blue and pink. The blue is produced by ancient bacteria in and around colourful geysers and the pink is found in silk production waste.

“Pangaia is committed to using the most advanced technologies which work to augment natural processes and the Colorifix approach manifests the true potential of biotechnology to bring positive change to the fashion industry,” said Dr Amanda Parkes, Pangaia’s chief innovation officer. “Harnessing the power of microorganisms to create natural dyes is only the beginning of how biofabrication can fundamentally transform manufacturing.”

“We are really excited for the release of this capsule collection,” said  Dr Orr Yarkoni, Colorifix CEO and co-founder. “It shows that brands like Pangaia understand the power of biology in shaping the future of industry and we are thrilled to be working with a leader in this space.”

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