Kombucha Bacteria Textile

Construction,  sustainability and functionality

I decided to look into the construction and functionality of bacteria based materials. In relation to my human bacteria research i decided to look further into bacteria based textiles and research there properties, functionalities, construction and sustainability further.

 

 Suzanne Lee

BioBomber_jacket1

 

Lee, S, (2012), BioCouture [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.isciencemag.co.uk/features/suzanne-lee/[Accessed 04 January 15].

Jobbins Wells uses the same Technique as Suzanne Lee

Skin-by-Sammy-Jobbins-Wells_dezeen_468_3

Wells, S J, (2014), Bacteria produces Textiles for skin body Adornments [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/12/skin-sammy-jobbins-wells-wearable-objects-bacteria-cellulose/[Accessed 04 January 15].

 

How is it made

“The fibres the material itself and the formation itself is done by a microbe rather than a plant”

Biocouture . (2012). Microbes are “the factories of the future”. [Online Video]. 13 May. Available from:http://vimeo.com/86436024. [Accessed: 01 January 2015].

‘As with all microbial activity the factors which influence the development of micro-organisms on textiles are independent. Essentially they are; temperature,moisture, the chemical and physical nature of the materials and, of course, the micro-organism themselves’ 

BORYO, D.E.A. , 2013. The Effect of Microbes on Textile Material: A Review on the Way-Out So Far. The International Journal Of Engineering And Science , [Online]. 2 (8), pp. 9-13. Available at:http://www.theijes.com/papers/v2-i8/Part.1/B028109013.pdf [Accessed 01 January 2015].

This means that the bacteria in order to grow needs to have certain conditions to do so. Each bacteria is different and therefore has different conditions and variables to grow.

Jobbin Wells and Suzanne Lee

Biocouture Company (founded by Suzanne Lee) have created a ‘recipe’ to grow your own Kombucha which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts (SCOBY).

“The main bacteria, Gluconacetobacter xylinum, produces nanofibrils of cellulose which self-organise in to a nano-structured, textile-like material.”

Bio Couture. 2009. Grow you own material recipe. [ONLINE] Available at: http://biocouture.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Biocouture-Grow-your-own-material-recipe-creative-common-license.pdf. [Accessed 01 January 15].

To create the material, the bacteria requires specific conditions. A solution of glucose and green tea is mixed with water and kept at room temperature for optimum growth.

The tea provides added nutrients for the bacteria and also gives colour to the end material (tea stained colour)

“I discovered that regular, white Japanese Sencha tea allowed for the greatest transparency seen in the structure,” said Jobbins Wells.

Howarth, D, De Zeen Magazine, 2012. Bacteria produces textiles. Bacteria produces textiles for Skin body adornments by Jobbins Wells, [Online]. 1, 1. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/12/skin-sammy-jobbins-wells-wearable-objects-bacteria-cellulose/[Accessed 01 January 2015].

Jobbin Wells started with a small jar, the designer harvested and transferred larger and larger cultures over a few months until she had sheets of material grown in a reptile terrarium enough to create the wearable objects.

A Video produced by Dougal Shaw shows Suzanne Lee developing her own textiles using Using a recipe of green tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast she is able to ‘grow’ a material which she describes as a kind of “vegetable leather”. She desscribes the satges of her bacteria textiles. 

BBC News Technology. (2012). Biocouture: Designer Suzanne Lee on growing your own clothes. [Online Video]. 07 June. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18301669. [Accessed: 01 January 2015].

Suzanne creates the solution and leaves it for a couple of weeks. The living organism that grows ontop of the substance this is the material. The living organism material which she calls a “sheet” grows ontop of the substance and within a few weeks it is thick enough to mould and manipulate into shapes and to make into clothing.

Whilst the material is growing Suzeanne Lee has a sensor which is controlled by a thermostat which regulates the temperature.

BBC News Technology. (2012). Biocouture: Designer Suzanne Lee on growing your own clothes. [Online Video]. 07 June. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18301669. [Accessed: 01 January 2015].

sustainability

The ‘ Natural fibres, being of organic nature, are perishable and their decomposition is a natural phenomenon’ meaning that the sustainability of these fibres is a positive for the environment as the bacteria will eventually decompose the fibres organically which is better as it creates no waste. However this also create time constraints as if this material wanted to be used for anything such as medicines and perhaps clothes it would have to be used before it started to completely decompose.

Burgess, R, 2008. Applied MicroBiology. Applied MicroBiology: Symposium on Microbial Spoilage on Industrial Materials, 17 (2), pp. 1.

Construction

In my second lecture i learnt about bio-materials and an artists named Tomas Libertiny who used a ‘skeleton’ of a vase and he used bees to construct the rest of the vase to create the result of a vase made of  honeycombs. The microorganisms used to create the textiles that i am researching are also bio-materials and perhaps can create a construction using a similar method to Tomas libertiny.

hv_2AP

Libertíny, T, (2007), The Honeycomb Vase [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2007/04/19/studio-libertiny-at-droog/ [Accessed 01 January 15].

This shows a similar construction technique to Suzeanne Lee who describes how the cellulose material is able to fuse to itself as it dries, so holds in place if wrapped round an object. This allows you to mold the material around a structure and allow it to dry in place. This is also sustainable and creates no waste as there is no stitching or any wasted material created. 

‘Natural fibres, being of organic nature, are perishable and their decomposition is a natural phenomenon’ and ‘all unprotected natural fibres will disintegrate.’ So the textile itself will be gone however the form of micro-organisms will carry on growing as it has already been created thanks to the beginning form of the textile.

Jobbins Wells used the Delaunay triangulation algorithm to create the shapes out of her bacteria based materials she also laser-cut the balsa wood frames, ‘using the Grasshopper plug-in for 3D modelling software Rhino.’

 

Bio- response Textiles

  • A pine cone inspired a fabric that becomes more open or closed in response to changes in humidity

17-mmt-icon

unknown, (2009), unknown [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.innovationintextiles.com/pine-cone-effect-to-be-used-in-moisture-management-fabrics/ [Accessed 31 October 14].

 

Similar to this bacteria based textile you could arguably be seen as a bio-response textile. Bacteria changes in different temperatures and conditions:-

Humid conditions the bacteria grows

In freezing temperatures the bacteria goes to sleep and therefore will not grow until it’s warmer

When it is hot on average bacteria dies at temperatures 60C-75C

Function

Jobbin Well’s and Suzanne Lees’s bacteria (made of glucose and tea):-

 

Positives

Jobbin Well’s, Suzanne Lees’s- result is a flexible organic material that contracts and hardens around a physical form as it dries, mimicking skin stretched over bone.

Jobbin Well’s, Suzanne Lees’s- “When wet, the cellulose is incredibly flexible and tensile and it is incredibly difficult to pull material with a thickness of more than two millimetres apart,” said Jobbins Wells.

Jobbin Well’s, Suzanne Lees’s – When dry, the material maintains a large degree of its strength but has a strange, leathery feel, almost like old human skin.” – Fairly strong material like a thin leather.

Howarth, D, De Zeen Magazine, 2012. Bacteria produces textiles. Bacteria produces textiles for Skin body adornments by Jobbins Wells, [Online]. 1, 1. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/12/skin-sammy-jobbins-wells-wearable-objects-bacteria-cellulose/[Accessed 01 January 2015].

Jobbin Well’s, Suzanne Lees’s – You can dye the material as proven by Suzanne Lee’s work. 

BioDenim_jacket

Lee, S, (2012), SUZANNE LEE AND HER CELLULOID CLOTHING [ONLINE]. Available at:http://trendland.com/suzanne-lee-and-her-celluloid-clothing/ [Accessed 01 January 15].

However because it is a cellulose based material it can only be dyed with natural dyes (which i have explained further within my own textile work within my lecture two category). I think that vegetable and fruit dyes would stain/dye this material easily.   

Negatives

Although it offers opportunities for textile production, the material is not without its flaws: “Unfortunately, the material in its current form is not waterproof and does eventually return to a wet state upon sustained contact with moisture,” says Jobbin Wells

Even though these bacteria based material arn’t waterproof, fireproof , stainproof. It is a material that is being developed and could be developed further to have these functions. Perhaps laminating it with a natural fibre untop could make it waterproof? However it would need to be a bio-degrdable fibre to keep the materials main function.

However the main function of this material is that its bio-degradable and therefore will not negatively effect the environment. There is no waste from these materials which is a growing problem within the idustry and adding to environmental pollution.

 

Conclusion

“The wearable object serves to stimulate a conversation, debate and even critique over the future implication of bio-materials in the manufacture of physical objects,” She uses cellulose bacteria and she does make a good point that bacteria based materials if developed further could be showing some implication into the future of bio-materials as the functions and properties that they hold the potential to be useful as well as there ability to organically decompose and therefore no waste or pollution to the environment.

 

Website

Online Images

Lee, S, (2012), BioCouture [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.isciencemag.co.uk/features/suzanne-lee/[Accessed 04 January 15].

Libertíny, T, (2007), The Honeycomb Vase [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2007/04/19/studio-libertiny-at-droog/ [Accessed 01 January 15].

Lee, S, (2012), SUZANNE LEE AND HER CELLULOID CLOTHING [ONLINE]. Available at:http://trendland.com/suzanne-lee-and-her-celluloid-clothing/ [Accessed 01 January 15].

unknown, (2009), unknown [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.innovationintextiles.com/pine-cone-effect-to-be-used-in-moisture-management-fabrics/ [Accessed 31 October 14].

Wells, S J, (2014), Bacteria produces Textiles for skin body Adornments [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/12/skin-sammy-jobbins-wells-wearable-objects-bacteria-cellulose/[Accessed 04 January 15].

Website

Bio Couture. 2009. Grow you own material recipe. [ONLINE] Available at: http://biocouture.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Biocouture-Grow-your-own-material-recipe-creative-common-license.pdf. [Accessed 01 January 15].

Video

BBC News Technology. (2012). Biocouture: Designer Suzanne Lee on growing your own clothes. [Online Video]. 07 June. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18301669. [Accessed: 01 January 2015].

Biocouture . (2012). Microbes are “the factories of the future”. [Online Video]. 13 May. Available from:http://vimeo.com/86436024. [Accessed: 01 January 2015].

Journal

Burgess, R, 2008. Applied MicroBiology. Applied MicroBiology: Symposium on Microbial Spoilage on Industrial Materials, 17 (2), pp. 1.

Online Journal

BORYO, D.E.A. , 2013. The Effect of Microbes on Textile Material: A Review on the Way-Out So Far. The International Journal Of Engineering And Science , [Online]. 2 (8), pp. 9-13. Available at:http://www.theijes.com/papers/v2-i8/Part.1/B028109013.pdf [Accessed 01 January 2015].

Howarth, D, De Zeen Magazine, 2012. Bacteria produces textiles. Bacteria produces textiles for Skin body adornments by Jobbins Wells, [Online]. 1, 1. Available at:http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/12/skin-sammy-jobbins-wells-wearable-objects-bacteria-cellulose/[Accessed 01 January 2015].

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