What is it about?

Microfibres (diameter <5 mm) and textile dyes released from textile industries are ubiquitous, cause environmental pollution, and harm aquatic flora, fauna, animals and human life. Therefore, enzymatic abatement of microfibre pollution and textile dye detoxification is essential. Microbial enzymes for such application present major challenges of scale and affordability to clean up large scale pollution. Therefore, enzymes required for the biodegradation of microfibres and indigo dye were expressed in transplastomic tobacco plants through chloroplast genetic engineering.

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Why is it important?

Microfibre release in the atmospheric and aquatic environment has deleterious effects on the ecosystem. Microfibre exposure leads to delayed recovery of lungs for people with pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, chronic asthma and children. Also being minute in size, microfibres can penetrate placenta which can lead to severe reproductive damage to developing organs and organelles. This risk is higher in darker denim clothes as compared to light blue denim clothes. Enzymes expressed in plants have several benefits over microbial enzymes viz; affordability in terms of cost economics, room temperature storage, no need of fermentation and purification and no requirement of cold transport chain. Similarly, this technology is more economically feasible and ecofriendly as compared to other available technologies for microfiber degradation and textile dye degradation.


I am very happy to author this article where we tried to resolve a global problem with the novel chloroplast engineering Technology platform pioneered by Dr. Henry Daniell. I hope with this article, we will be able to create the awareness in day-to-day lives and sensitize everyone about the issues which we do not pay much attention to. It is possible to separately collect this waste and treat it eco-friendly way to create value added products as well as to control the microfiber pollution caused by electric household dryers. I hope this article will be helpful to create more awareness globally about tackling these problems on large scale.

geetanjali Wakade
University of Pennsylvania

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Abatement of microfibre pollution and detoxification of textile dye – Indigo by engineered plant enzymes, Plant Biotechnology Journal, October 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13942.
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