Environment Pollution Control Water Pollution Control

How synthetic biology is dyeing the future of fashion

Water Pollution Control


Insights on how three innovative startups are using synthetic biology to make the dyeing process in the fashion industry more sustainable.

Perspectives and insights

  • 20% of all freshwater pollution worldwide is from the textile industry, mainly from textile dyeing
  • Companies like Tinctorium, PILI, and Colorifix are turning to synthetic biology to make bio-based, sustainable dyes.
  • Tinctorium uses indigo's chemical precursor along with enzymes to eliminate chemicals needed to make indigo water soluble.
  • PILI's technology leverages biological enzymes to convert carbon from renewable sources into molecules used to produce textile dyes, thus eliminating the harmful wastes in the traditional dye production process.
  • Colorifix uses the cells of microbes and other organisms themselves to both produce and deposit the pigment into the fiber, thus eliminating the need for water, energy and chemicals needed to accomplish the same in a traditional dyeing process.
  • Some of these innovations, such as the leucoindigo from Tinctorium, can even be dropped into existing dyeing facilities, without the need for new machines or equipment.