The covalent grafting of alkyl gallates on wool through a laccase catalysed reaction in 80/20 (v/v, %)aqueous–ethanol mixture provided in a one-step process a multifunctional textile material with antioxidant, antibacterial and water repellent properties. Gallic acid and its alkyl esters ethyl, propyl, octyl and
dodecyl gallate have been enzymatically grafted on wool fibres in order to study the effect of alkyl chain length on wool functional modification. The capacity of laccase to oxidise these phenolic compounds in an aqueous–organic medium has been verified by electrochemical techniques. The increase of CH2, CH3 groups in the FTIR spectra, together with the XPS analysis of the enzymatically modified fabrics confirmed
the covalent grafting of ester gallates on wool. The result obtained in this work for antibacterial, water repellent as well as antioxidant properties show that the length of the alkyl chain of gallates molecule
play an important role on wool functionalisation.
Electronic version of an article published as "Enzyme and microbial technology", 08 Desembre 2009, p. 1-5
Wool fibres have been modified with nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) to improve their performance at use. This water insoluble bi-functional phenolic compound has been grafted on wool through a laccase enzyme catalyzed reaction in an aqueous-ethanol mixture. The capacity of laccase to oxidise NDGA in this aqueous-organic medium has been studied electrochemicaly. The increase of CH2, CH3 and aromatic groups signal in the DRIFT spectra, together with SEM images of the enzymatically-modified fabrics confirmed the covalent grafting of NDGA on wool. This one step enzymatic process for grafting of NDGA improved the physical and mechanical properties of wool fabrics such as shrink resistance, crease recovery and tensile strength. Furthermore, the NDGA imparted to the textile material strong antioxidant activity and UV-protection.
A bioprocess for machine washable wool, combining the advantages of both protease and transglutaminase in a simultaneous enzymatic treatment has been developed. This process reduced the felting tendency of woven wool fabrics by 9% at the expense of only 2% weight and tensile strength loss. In contrast to previously described protease-based processes for shrink resistant wool, the anti-felting properties achieved in the simultaneous enzymatic treatment produced insignificant fibre damage, confirmed also by scanning electron images of the fabrics.