Need Writing Help?
Register Now. Enzymes are living biological substances that can help speed up any chemical reaction without itself being reduced.
But, they work better under certain temperature and pH value. Therefore, these are also called as biological catalysts. Since textiles industry uses many such chemical reactions, enzymes today are a vital part of the textile production system.
Enzymes in Industry
Applications like pectinases, lipases, proteases, catalases, and xylanases are used in textile processing. It also helps in speeding up the process. As today there are lots of restrictions on the industries in order to maintain the environment, usage of enzymes appears to be an excellent alternative to reduce the pollution to some extent.
Some of the enzymes used in textile industry are catalase, laccase, amylases etc. Because of the above mentioned advantages enzymes are very widely used in the textile industry today.
Therefore, there is a requirement of availability of sufficient availability of such enzymes. Commercially there are three major sources of enzymes animal tissue, plants, and microbes. But since the natural occurrence of enzymes are limited they are commercially produced by providing the desired temperature and optimizing the growth conditions.
This process is called fermentation. In textile production, enzyme application is mainly used in preparatory finishing where amylases is used in de-sizing process and in the finishing area celluloses are used for softening, bio-stoning and reducing of pilling propensity for cotton goods.
Questions & Answers
Some of the applications which use enzymes in the textile processing are fading of denim and non-denim, bio-scouring, bio-polishing, wool finishing, peroxide removal, decolorizing dyestuff etc. Scouring means removing waxes or other impurities on the fiber gives a fabric a high and even wet ability so that it can be bleached and dyed successfully.
Earlier highly alkaline chemicals like caustic soda was used for scouring which definitely cleans the fiber but also attacks the cellulose which results in poor quality and strength of the fabric. It also releases lots of toxins in the waste water which are very hazardous.
By using enzymatic — scouring, the fabrics strength and weight remains intact and there are no health hazards too.
The fabric gives better wetting and penetration properties, making the subsequent bleach process easy and giving much better dye.
For bleaching surfactants that are environmentally friendly are used.
Enzymes used for bleach clean-up ensure that residual hydrogen peroxide from the bleaching process is removed efficiently — a small dose of catalase breaks hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen resulting in cleaner waste water and reduced water consumption.
Bio-finishing means removing fiber fuzz and pills from fabric surface. This is also called bio-polishing. Enzymatic bio-finishing yields a cleaner surface, softer hand feel, reduces pilling and increases luster of the fabric or garment.