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.