Functional Textiles — An Alternative To Antibiotics

By Lina Färm. Translation by Eva Medin.

The conventional textile industry devours natural resources in the form of water, energy, and chemicals. A more resource-efficient way to produce textiles is with ink jet printing. Tuser Biswas, who recently defended his doctoral thesis in Textile Material Technology at the University of Borås, seeks to develop methods for functional textiles. He has shown that it is possible to print enzymes on textiles. These are proteins that function as catalysts in the body, as they set chemical processes in motion without themselves changing. They could, for example, be used in medical textiles with antimicrobial properties or to measure biological or chemical reactions.

“Ever since the industrial revolution, our society has used an abundance of synthetic and harsh chemicals. Our research works to replace these chemicals with environmentally friendly and bio-based materials,” Biswas said.

Promising Results With Enzymes On Textiles

Developing a good enzyme ink was not entirely easy and it took a number of attempts before he finally, to his great joy, had successful results. Tuser Biswas explained that the most important result is to show how a printed enzyme could bind another enzyme to the surface of a fabric. Although the activity of the enzymes decreased by 20 to 30 percent after printing, the results are still promising for future applications. At the same time, the work has provided new knowledge about many fundamental questions about printing biomaterials on fabric.

“Before starting the project, we found several related studies that focused on producing a finished product,” Biswas said. “But we wanted to study the fundamental challenges of this subject, and now we know how to make it work.”

He is now seeking funding to continue researching the subject and has so far received a grant from the Sjuhärad Savings Bank Foundation. During a Days of Knowledge event in April, he spoke about his research to representatives from the City of Borås and business, the Sjuhärad Savings Bank Foundation, and the University of Borås.

Medical Textiles Instead Of Antibiotics

Biswas hopes that continued research in textile technology can provide alternatives to using antibiotics. With increasing antibiotic resistance, it is an important issue not only locally but worldwide.

“Instead of treating the patient with a course of antibiotics, one can act preventively and more effectively by damaging the bacteria on the surface where they start to grow,” Biswas said. “In a wound dressing, for example. Nanoparticle-based antimicrobials can reduce growth effectively. It is possible as nanoparticles can interact better with the bacterial membrane and reach the target more easily than conventional antimicrobials.”

“Overall, I have enjoyed my time as a student at the University of Borås,” Biswas noted. “I have met many friendly people and learned about many new cultures. I also faced challenges with my residence permit, but received a lot of help from my manager, supervisor, and other colleagues.”

View the video

June 22, 2023

Source: University of Borås/Tuser Biswas