PILI dyes - fungus dyes and pigments made by fermentation
Fungus dyes and pigments made by fermentation. PILI dyes do not contain PCA (para-chloro-aniline) which are the main suspects in health issues related to textile dyes.
Like all chemical molecules, petroleum-based as well as natural, it is the dose that makes the poison. This is why European regulations such as REACH regulate the use of products in a more or less restrictive manner depending on their uses. PILI products comply with these regulations and pose no health risk for the uses for which they are intended. PILI dyes are less polluting than classical petrochemical dyes mostly because their production process is much cleaner. Each kilogram of regular dye necessitates the use of 100 kg of heavy oil, 10 kg of toxic chemicals and 1000 L of water as well as energy to heat the mixtures up to 300 °C. PILI dyes microorganisms produce the same amount of dye using no petrol, no chemicals, and grow in 5 times less water at room temperature. PILI dyes colors are produced by a fermentation process similar to that of beer. But PILI dyes do not stick to the molecules produced naturally by bacteria because they do not perform well and are very limited in terms of colors.
PILI dyes start from what they know how to do and improve these processes by giving them new know-how thanks to the advanced tools of synthetic biology. Thus, from this collaboration between humans and bacteria emerges a powerful process, less energy consuming, and with a very wide range of colors! The core of PILI dyes technology is based on enzymes. Enzymes are very powerful proteins that catalyze most biological reactions. All living beings have enzymes. Enzymatic synthesis is particularly interesting for biomaterial production in a sustainable way for it has a remarkable energy efficiency, and high specificity in the production of molecules. At PILI they develop a proprietary technology based on the design of enzymatic cascades to obtain dyes from renewable carbon sources (sugar and other nutrients).
The processes PILI dyes use are very well-known in big scale productions of other compounds such as insulin in the pharmaceutical industry. PILI dyes thus know that their technology can be brought up to high scale with low costs and accurate production. At the end of this process, PILI dyes separate bacteria from the pigments by filtering them (the size of a bacterium is 1000 times bigger than the targeted molecules so that's very easy. PILI dyes then formulate the dyes for various fabrics and other applications Among all the applications, PILI dyes focus on textile as this industry requires the largest volumes of dyes and pigments. Here lies the main sustainability challenge. PILI dyes are currently developing their products, testing it and scaling it from lab scale to industrial scale.