NDSU Genetic Engineering Corps (GEC)
We are NDSU's Genetic Engineering Corps, or GEC.
We are working to develop natural dyes for textiles using engineered proteins produced in bacteria. Currently, most textile dyeing relies on the use of azo dyes. These dyes can be carcinogenic, photosynthesis reducing agents, and contain heavy metals. They are also highly stable which makes them long lasting in an aquatic ecosystem. We want to replace this with a non-toxic, protein based dye that will denature in an aquatic environment. Many bacteria already produce natural pigments in a wide variety of colors that could be used in the dyeing process. In our product, Dyenamix, we have created a naturally occurring pigment with a cellulose binding domain to allow for increased pigment retention in cotton fabrics. This process included creating multiple constructs to find optimal protein orientation. Our product will be able to replace the harmful synthetic dyes by offering a sustainable, environmentally safe alternative.