Applications of Enzymes in Textile Industries

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Applications of enzymes in textile Industries: 

As we know enzymes are actively used in the textile industry for desizing, boiling, bleaching, and finishing fabrics. Substances are biocatalysts that speed up processes. One of the main advantages of enzymes is environmental safety: unlike most chemical reagents, they do not pollute the environment and quickly decompose in natural conditions. The addition of textile enzymes in a small amount makes it possible to soften the requirements for processing fabrics, reduce the consumption of energy resources, and water, and at the same time maintain high product quality.

Applications of Enzymes in Textile Industries:

1. Desizing of fabrics:

  • In the process of desizing, remnants of sizing are removed from the fibers of the fabrics – a solution applied before weaving to strengthen the warp threads. 
  • Most types of textiles are sized with compositions of starch and its derivatives. 
  • The solutions also include auxiliary substances that fix the impregnation in the fibers: lubricants, viscosity regulators, antioxidants, etc. 
  • Additives improve the quality of sizing but make the sizing resistant to chemicals used to wash textiles. 
  • Enzymes allow you to gently hydrolyze the impregnation without using aggressive acids.

2. Fabric decoction:

  • Decoction is used in the preparation of cotton textiles to remove cellulose impurities and impregnations that are used in weaving. 
  • The treatment also improves the wetting and sorption capacity of the fibers. 
  • Standard decoction involves the use of hot alkaline solutions that destroy protein and pectin impurities on the surface of the fabric. 
  • The use of enzymes makes it possible to soften the processing conditions and preserve the properties of cotton fiber as much as possible.

2. Bleaching:

  • The bleaching process increases the degree of whiteness and improves the capillarity of cotton textiles. 
  • During processing, natural dyes are destroyed, which gives the fabric a creamy color and is resistant to hot alkaline decoction. 
  • For bleaching, oxidizing agents are used, which are dangerous both for the fibers and for the environment. 
  • Process parameters are tightly controlled. The introduction of enzymes makes it possible to reduce the concentration of harmful salts in wastewater.

4. Biopolishing:

  • Enzymes are extensively used in biopolishing. Biopolishing is a process that improves fabric quality by mainly reducing the fuzziness and pilling properties of cellulosic fiber. 
  • It eliminates the microfibrils of cotton through the action of cellulase enzyme. 
  • The biopolishing treatment brings the fabric a cleaner surface, a cooler feel, luster, and a softer feel.

Enzymes Used in Textiles:

α-Amylases: Preparations based on α-amylase make up a large proportion of the total volume of enzymes for the textile industry. Substances accelerate the hydrolysis of starch and glycogen, quickly reduce the viscosity of the solution, and break down the substrate molecules into a mixture of highly soluble oligosaccharides in water. Enzymes are active in neutral and slightly acidic environments. Most α-amylases are characterized by high stability in salt solutions at temperatures up to 70-90˚С. The preparations are used to remove starch, which is applied to the threads to increase the strength before weaving.

Pectinases: Enzymes break down pectins. Pectinase causes the destruction of insoluble compounds by destroying the bonds between pectin and the cell wall. The pollutant becomes soluble. It reacts with a complex of enzymes and hydrolyzes to simple substances that are washed out with water. Most bacterial pectinases are active at temperatures from +35 ˚С to +65 ˚С. The preparations are used for the preliminary cleaning of tissues instead of the standard alkaline decoction. Textile wettability is improved, and weight loss is reduced.

Cellulases: Enzymes cause degradation and deep saccharification of cellulose-containing substrates. Under the influence of cellulases, complex substances are hydrolyzed to glucose.

Catalase: Enzymes are used to remove trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide after bleaching. Catalase takes care of cotton, and linen fabrics, and preserves the structure of the fibers.

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