Showing lots of fibre

A breakthrough in the commercial production of bacterial cellulose nanofibres for engineering materials from fruit waste

Nanofibres of pure cellulose can be made from bacteria that live on food waste and extrude them as mats. The fibres are very stiff and, although nobody seems to have measured the strengths of individual fibres, they are likely to be very sturdy.

Researchers around the world have, for more than a century, been studying bacteria that produce cellulose. However, development has now reached the point where first products are being produced commercially and a major breakthrough has just been achieved in producing the material in a useful form on an industrial scale, at much lower cost.

First mainstream engineering industrial applications are likely to be in filtration, closely followed by composites, but potential applications are being studied in industries ranging from wound care to cosmetics.

Tom Shelley

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