Team:NWU-CHINA-A/Proof Of Concept

响应式导航 响应式导航


In ancient time, Tyrian Purple was extracted from sea snails: the snails were harvested and crushed for maceration, then they were dipped in potash controlled by urine and continuously mixed for further oxidation[1]. However, the traditional extraction of Tyrian Purple is a complex process with low yield, especially considering the number of snails euthanized. Compared with the traditional method, we obtained a considerable amount of Tyrian Purple using the two-cell reaction system. The produced 6-Br-Indol was intercalated into the cell membrane and often accumulated in the cells, since 6,6'-dibromoindigo compounds are hydrophobic and no known indigoid-secreting transporters have been found in E.coli[[2], we decided to use E. coli containing dye for staining directly.

First, we dyed different materialswith our dye to identify the material that works best, according to the following methods:


Distilled water 30 ml; tetrahydrofuran 4.5 ml; NaOH 0.3 g; Na2S2O4 0.3 g and produced 6BrIG cell dye. The above reagents were prepared by heating with stirring on the 75–80 °C hot plate for 15 min. After the heating, NH4Cl 0.3 g was added to the dyeing solution and subsequent heating was repeated at 75–80 °C. The fabrics (multifabric strips such as wool, silk, cotton, linen, bast fibre and leaf fibre, poly cotton, polyester, triacetate, nylon) were soaked into the solution for 15 min. After the dyeing procedure, the fabrics were dried under room temperature. Further repeated steps of washing with water and drying at room temperature were proceeded three times

The dying results.(The left side is after staining and the right side is before staining.)

At the same time, we also treated the dyed fabrics with strong acid, strong alkali and high temperature, and found that except for a slight fading of the fabric after high temperature treatment, our dyes still maintain their original color even under extreme conditions except. It proves that fabrics dyed with cell dyes are unfading.

(L: Before strong acid treatment R: Before strong alkali treatment)

L: In strong acid treatment R: In strong alkali treatment (The left side ph=2 and the right side ph=13 )

L: After strong acid treatment R: After strong alkali treatment

L: Before heating R: After heating ( 98℃, 15min )

Furthermore, we compared dyeing efficiency of the cell dye with the chemical dye. The result suggesting that both the color features and dyeing efficiency are similar. And cell dyeing is even better.

Compared with chemical dye, the cost of biosynthetic dyes has been decreased by nearly 1,600 times year-on-year, saving a lot of costs for the production of dyes, which make it possible for biosynthetic dyes to enter the market.

Among all the fabrics examined, silk and wool were dyed more effectively. At the same time, we can also com.

Tyrian Purple dye with traditional cultural products such as shadow puppets, and combine advanced technology and traditional craftsmanship while reducing costs, so that traditional Chinese culture can go abroad and into the world.

As collaboration, We mailed the Tyrian purple to HUST-China and performed hair dye experiments.

(L:dyed at a higher temperature; M: dyed at a moderate temperature; R:control.)

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection has always been a serious issue. The main problems with serious pollution in the textile industry include water consumption, chemical dye pollution, textile waste and so on. According to the report of Business of Fashion, "it takes 20000 litre of water to produce a kilogram of cotton thread, and these cotton threads are only enough to produce a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. At the same time, 8000 chemicals are involved in various garment manufacturing processes, including dyeing, washing and decoration."

Through consulting a large amount of data[3~5], we found that printing and dyeing companies discharge a large amount of heavy metals into the water during the production process. Moreover, organic matter such as aniline, phenol and petroleum solvents can be detected in dyeing sludge, which will seriously pollute the environment. What’s worse, in the entire processing of textile materials, in addition to a large amount of wastewater, there will also be a lot of noise, exhaust gas, and solid waste.

(L:dyed at a higher temperature; M: dyed at a moderate temperature; R:control.)

However, Bacterial staining is to use bacteria directly to color clothing and other items. After dyeing successfully , these bacteria will be killed by a short-term high temperature. In the whole process, chemical dyes containing heavy metal are not used, and the heating temperature is lower than that of traditional dyeing. Therefore, not only can the pollution caused by the discharge of heavy metals and organic matter be reduced, but also the water consumption for dyeing can be greatly decreased, which makes great contributions to building a harmonious earth between man and nature.


Based on the four system above and the exploration of dyeing, we have fully proved the feasibility of our project.


[1] Gaboriaud-Kolar, N., Nam, S. & Skaltsounis, A.-L. in Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products Vol. 99 (eds. Kinghorn, A. D., Falk, H. & Kobayashi, J.) 69–145 (Springer, 2014).

[2] Han, G. H., Gim, G. H., Kim, W ., Seo, S. I. & Kim, S. W . Enhanced indirubin production in recombinant Escherichia coli harboring a flavin-containing monooxygenase gene by cysteine supplementation. J. Biotechnol. 164, 179–187 (2012).

[3] 王玉婷,赵泽华,王逸,华晶,张大鹏,张后虎,焦少俊.我国典型印染行业废水处理污泥污染特征研究[J].生态与农村环境学报,2020,36(12):1598-1604.

[4] 刘晓剑,常丽春,林秀军,朱民,王树林.纺织染整污染防治最佳可行技术评估[J].环境工程,2014,32(01):153-157.

[5] 高庆国.典型印染行业废水污染特征及处理工艺应用[J].河南科技,2016(17):134-136.

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Northwest University 2021 iGEM Team