Clothing to crow about: Chicken feather suits and dresses

January 12, 2009
Scientists are reporting advances in making eco-friendly fabrics from renewable materials, such as chicken feathers. Credit: American Chemical Society

In the future, you may snuggle up in warm, cozy sweats made of chicken feathers or jeans made of wheat, enjoying comfortable, durable new fabrics that are "green" and environmentally friendly. Researchers in Australia are reporting that new advances are paving the way for such exotic new materials — made from agricultural waste or byproducts — to hit store shelves as environmentally-friendly alternatives to the estimated 38 million tons of synthetic fabrics produced worldwide each year.

They review research on the development of these next generation eco-friendly fibers, which will produce fabrics with a conventional feel, in the November 26, 2008 issue of ACS' Biomacromolecules.

In the article, Andrew Poole, Jeffrey Church and Mickey Huson note that scientists first produced commercial fabrics made of nontraditional materials — including milk proteins, peanuts, and corn — almost 50 years ago. Although these so-called "regenerated" fabrics had the look and feel of conventional protein-based fabrics such as wool and silk, they tended to perform poorly when wet. This problem, combined with the advent of petroleum-based synthetic fibers, caused the production of these unusual fabrics to stop, the researchers say.

Amid concerns about the environment and consumer demand for eco-friendly products, renewable fabrics made from nontraditional agricultural materials are now poised to make a comeback, the scientists say. Promising fabric sources include agricultural proteins, such as keratin from scrap chicken feathers and gluten from wheat, they say. The scientists describe advances in nanotechnology and chemical cross-linking that can improve the strength and biodegradability of these fabrics, paving the way for commercial production of eco-friendly clothing, furniture upholstery and other products.

Article: "Environmentally Sustainable Fibers from Regenerated Protein"

Source: ACS

Explore further: Assessing cotton fiber quality from a tiny sample

Related Stories

Assessing cotton fiber quality from a tiny sample

October 27, 2014

At a time when there is an uptick in U.S. cotton exports, it's not surprising that the Agricultural Research Service's Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), located in New Orleans, Louisiana, upgraded its cotton textile ...

New fibers and membranes for high-tech products

November 22, 2010

Nothing escapes the attention of research and development scientists, and now is the turn of industrial garments and household textiles! Manufacturers can now take advantage of new raw materials, fibers and membranes, not ...

Simplest cotton genome offers clues for fiber improvements

December 19, 2012

An international consortium of researchers published a high-quality draft assembly of the simplest cotton genome in the Dec. 20, 2012 issue of Nature. In the study, researchers traced the evolution of cotton and fiber development ...

New treatments could reduce odors in cotton fabric

May 11, 2012

Socks, T-shirts and other garments could become less hospitable to odor-causing bacteria, thanks to new antimicrobial treatments being investigated by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in New Orleans, La.

Recommended for you

Don't forget plankton in climate change models, says study

November 26, 2015

A new study from the University of Exeter, published in the journal Ecology Letters, found that phytoplankton - microscopic water-borne plants - can rapidly evolve tolerance to elevated water temperatures. Globally, phytoplankton ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.