Exploring Solutions to Fast Fashion: Development of Sustainable Fabrics Made from Bacterial Cellulose Grown in a Novel Seaweed-Based Medium
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This research project explores innovative solutions to address two environmental concerns: the detrimental impact of fast fashion on the environment and the widespread macroalgae bloom. The proposed approach involves the fabrication of sustainable and biodegradable textile-like materials using bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) derived from Sargassum seaweed extracts, a novel application. Fast fashion's adverse effects, stemming from the production of disposable synthetic garments, and the environmental issues caused by accumulating Sargassum seaweed are both addressed in this research. Additionally, the project seeks to reduce the production costs of BNC by using Sargassum extracts as an alternative to sugar and green tea, which are typically used as edible precursors. This approach not only helps mitigate the use of edible resources but also aligns with efforts to alleviate global food crises. The study's main objectives encompass the fabrication and characterization of BNC and BNC composite materials using traditional and Sargassum-based methods, with a focus on their material properties. Through this research, FTIR analysis validated the successful synthesis of bacterial cellulose using distinct growing media. SEM analysis further affirmed the production of bacterial cellulose fibers characterized by nanometric dimensions (< 100 nm). However, the traditional method utilizing sugar and green tea yielded bacterial cellulose at a rate five times greater than that achieved by employing growing media containing sargassum, likely due to the presence of phenolic compounds in the seaweed extract. Further investigations are required to confirm the impact of these compounds on bacterial cellulose production. Additionally, the study highlights the delicacy of composite fabrics fabricated in situ. Overall, this research offers valuable insights into sustainable textile development and presents a potential solution to pressing environmental challenges.