Dyed leaves fed to silkworms prompt coloured silk fibre

Dyed leaves fed to silkworms prompt coloured silk fibre

Researcher in India have developed an eco-friendly method to help silkworms pin fluorescent, coloured silk by feeding them with dyed mulberry leaves

Around 5000 years silkworms have been spinning white silk fibres. Current dyeing practices lead to wastewater containing potentially harmful toxins. This is why scientists are experimenting with a greener dyeing method.

The Indian National Chemical Laboratory in Pune claim that dyeing textile fabrics is one of today’s most polluting industries, therefore researches are developing less toxic methods, among the feeding of dyed leaves to silkworms. So far, the method was only tested with one type of dye being price worthy, namely azo dyes. They dipped or sprayed the mulberry leaves with the dyestuff. Of the seven tested, three were incorporated into the silk and none affected the worm’s growth, however it is not reported if the silkworm survived the procedure. One might argue that most silkworms have to die anyway, when the cocoon is processed.


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