Enzymes are biocatalysts that are obtained through biochemical reactions or naturally from microorganisms, animal tissues and sometimes from plant resources. Enzymes are heavily used for decades in food & beverage industry to manufacture items like cheese, beer, wine, and more. Now-a-days, in order to reduce environmental pollution during textile processing, enzymes are used by textile manufacturers in various textile processes such as de-sizing, scouring, bleaching, dyeing and finishing. Enzymes are non-toxic, biodegradable, and environment friendly, thereby are used as substitute of harmful chemicals such as such as oxidizing agents, acids, and bases.
Moreover, enzymes are highly specific and efficient. They can be operated under a milder condition. Also, they can be used in catalytic concentrations at low temperatures & at pH-values equivalent to neutral. The use of enzymes speeds up the process time, results in energy and water savings, increases process integration, and improve product quality. The commonly used enzymes in the fabric industry are catalase, amylases, and laccase. These enzymes are used to diminish the starch, reduce excess hydrogen peroxide, bleach textiles and degrade lignin. Enzymes enhance the preparation of cotton by reducing impurities, weaving, minimizing pulls in fabric. Use of amylases for denim finishing and use of lactases to extract the color from textile bleaching and textile waste matter are the two most recent technological developments in enzyme application.
In enzymatic de-sizing, amylases are used to remove starch-based size in order to enhance wet processing in the textile industry. Enzymatic scouring, at the same time, is the process in which non-cellulosic material present on the surface of the cotton are removed. In case of enzymatic bleaching, the use of hydrogen peroxide is replaced by an enzymatic bleaching system that lead to better product quality due to less fiber damage. Then the finishing process i.e. bio-polishing is done to enhance the fabric quality by decreasing fuzziness and pilling characteristics of cellulosic fiber.
The use of enzymes in the textile industry is rapidly growing, owing to its beneficial characteristics, especially eco-friendliness and non-toxic qualities. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global textile enzyme market size is anticipated to reach $1.2 billion with a considerable CAGR from 2021 to 2030. Rise in population around the world is increasing textile production, which in turn, is driving the growth of the global textile enzyme market.
However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the growth of the global textile enzyme market, owing to the implementation of global lockdown which led to temporary closure of textile manufacturing facilities. The pandemic further led to travel restrictions and transport limitations, due to which the whole supply chain were disrupted. Unavailability of raw materials and low labor force caused major challenges for manufacturers. These factors hampered the global textile enzyme market to an extent.
Nevertheless, the Asia-Pacific region is currently holding the highest market share, owing to surge in investment in the textile industry in China and India. These emerging economies are encouraging low pollution fabric processing technologies, which in turn, is boosting the growth of the market in more than one way.
The application of enzymes is no more limited to natural fiber. A variety of enzymes can be used to modify the surfaces of synthetic textiles like polyester. Several researches are going on finding the potentiality of carboxylic ester hydrolases such as lipases and cutinases for functionalization of polyester. Lipases can be produced from different sources like fungal, bacterial, & animal pancreases and can be used as a crude mixture with other hydrolases or purified. Cutinases, on the other hand, are extracellular esterase that are usually produced by pathogenic fungi and a few bacteria.
Recently, a pioneer in the development of enzymatic solutions, named Carbios, dedicated to the end-of-life of plastic and textile polymers with its world’s first enzyme-based processes, which have the potential to contribute to the plastic’s industry sustainability. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced the signing of a huge amount loan agreement encouraged by the European Commission InnovFin Energy Demonstration Program with an aim to support high potential innovative projects and the development of sustainable technologies by companies.
Furthermore, Novozymes, the world leader in biological solutions, lately launched a natural & biodegradable laundry detergent that can break down the dirt layers and can release dirt & odor that might be trapped. Also, it can prevent dirt from latching on to fabrics. This way, it keeps clothes hygienically clean, and are less prone to yellowing.
With this drift on board, the usage of textile enzymes for implementation of the green technology is all set to meet up the challenge of fourth industrial revolution. It is worth stating that the global textile market is expected to grow at a steady pace and gain exponential growth & global recognition in the near future.
About the Author
Suchita Gupta is an explorer, musician and content writer. While pursuing MBA, she found that nothing satisfies her more than writing on miscellaneous domains. She is a writer by day, and a reader by night. Besides, she can be found entertaining her audience on social media platforms. Find her on LinkedIn & Instagram.