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UK Designer Grows Clothes From Bacteria

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the my-shirt-is-sticky dept.

Biotech 93

An anonymous reader writes "Experimental UK designer Suzanne Lee 'grows' clothes from bacteria. She has developed a method for growing clothing from yeast, a pinch of bacteria, and several cups of sweetened green tea. From this microbial soup, fibers begin to sprout and propagate, eventually resulting in thin, wet sheets of bacterial cellulose that can be molded to a dress form. As the sheets dry out, overlapping edges 'felt' together to become fused seams. When all moisture has evaporated, the fibers develop a tight-knit, papyrus-like surface."

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Ew (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874272)

It looks like something from Warhammer 40K, or a Hannibal Lector movie.

Re:Ew (4, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874366)

It puts the lotion on the Bacteria...

Re:Ew (5, Funny)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874494)

Support bacteria! It's the only culture some people have!

Re:Ew (1)

tivoKlr (659818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875028)

I don't mod funny normally, and I used up all my mod points yesterday, but you sir deserve +1 Funny!

Re:Ew (1)

purpleheart (1854284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877912)

hmm. How does it smell? I think I will stick with Kohl's or Jcpenney. I am glad someone is thinking outside the box. But I might as well go wear a rose bush...

Re:Ew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874530)

It looks like the clothes I saw at the Perth (Western Australia) Royal Agricultural Show in 2009... My friend & I chatted with the woman (a post grad student) who had caused the clothes to be created. And yes, they had a certain odour...

Parallel science? :)

Imagine drowning it on Nitrate and (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875620)

make Nitrocellulose clothing! Perfect clothing for girls featuring instant-undressing, just grab a lighter or move under the sun and watch your clothes disappear while you blink your eyes.

Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874292)

Aside from the novelty, this is basically just paper clothing. And paper doesn't look nearly as nasty of this stuff does. It's an interesting proof of concept, but doesn't strike me as particularly useful. Like hemp clothing, it will probably appeal to some hippie types who will like to be able to say that their clothes are made from green tea. But beyond that, not particularly useful for anything else.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (3, Funny)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874336)

Because in the post-apocalyptic future we may not have anything else to make clothing from.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874460)

If we get to the point where we don't even have paper, I'd say clothing will be the least of our problems.

Personally, all I'll need in the apocalypse are shoulderpads, a mohawk, and a dune-buggy. Shirt and pants are purely optional.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (5, Funny)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874576)

Burning hot seat combined with no pants sounds like a BAD plan. (Unless you are in that sort of thing)

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875204)

Because you definitely waste leather on a seat cover during the end-times. It'll be old t-shirts, which don't get nearly as hot. I, for one, welcome the pants and shirtless future (unhealthy fatties won't survive, so no worries about that particular visage).

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (2, Funny)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875592)

,

I, for one, welcome the pants and shirtless future (unhealthy fatties won't survive, so no worries about that particular visage).

Just sunburnt wangs, that sounds like fun.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32882352)

Tanning is a wonderful process you know.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32898514)

Tanning is a wonderful process you know.

Yes, albinos will also go extinct at that point.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877698)

unhealthy fatties won't survive, so no worries about that particular visage

That depends on how much engineering knowledge they possess. They can be kept in the shade, or undeground with thousands of pigs providing power for the last remaining vestiges of the old civilizations.

Who runs Barter Town bitch? That's right.... I run Barter Town.

Now get me my ham sandwich.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 4 years ago | (#32899416)

(Unless you are in that sort of thing)

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (3, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874578)

Personally, all I'll need in the apocalypse are shoulderpads, a mohawk, and a dune-buggy. Shirt and pants are purely optional.

ah yes, optional, until you get your nadgers trapped or you're caught up by the short & curlies...

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877476)

nadgers

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883518)

What the hell is a nadger trap?

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32881450)

Then we will walk in the nude!

I hear it will be quite hot anyway.

In the right climate, clothes are a pointless socially conditioned habit anyway. :)
(At least the women around you have to believe that. :D)

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (5, Insightful)

OneAhead (1495535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874504)

Except that it's not paper, which is usually made from ground-up trees. You guys should think further than clothing. There has been a lot of talk and hype about using bacteria to synthesize useful materials. More than anything else, this little stunt demonstrates that it's slowly getting feasible.

The material in question might find some more useful application than clothing. If not, some other "biotech" material eventually will.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874846)

I think that the general sensation of "lack of novelty" derives from the fact that we've been forcing plants to produce cellulose fibers, then processing them into various sorts of sheet material, since sometime before the advent of recorded history. In most of those cases, we've even been using fusion-driven desalination to water the plants...

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (2, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875226)

'Except that it's not paper, which is usually made from ground-up trees.'

Usually, but not always. Enjoy:

http://www.elephantdungpaper.com/process.html [elephantdungpaper.com]

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

xenn (148389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32880812)

alright then, sometimes grass and other plants too

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874534)

As long as it can be tie dyed, it will have a following among the hippies.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874548)

I'm just amazed that it has a pocket!

Hopefully the appearance can be approved over time and people won't protest the low wages in bacteria "sweat shops"... err, "cytoplasm complexes"?

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (4, Funny)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875588)

I'm just amazed that it has a pocket!

Erm... that's an orifice...do not put your hand in... oh, it seems to like it. Never mind!

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (2, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874720)

And besides that, it looks like the stuff is not dyed. Without color, I really couldn't call this clothing -- at least not in the modern sense of clothing.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (2, Informative)

corinroyal (526083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874996)

Actually, the material takes dyes very easily. Suzanne's work is dyed and protected from microbial degradation by Kakishiburi which is aged, fermented juice of green persimmons, and a traditional Japanese process.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

random_ID (1822712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875406)

Then maybe it can be used as paper. There are all kinds of ecological reasons to pursue 'grown' textiles.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (2, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875420)

Well, it's not clear from any of the website what the material's properties are like. Just because it's matted cellulose doesn't mean it necessarily has a stiff paper-like constitution.

Unfortunately the website isn't very helpful saying what the properties are now, and what they think they can get them to be.

(BTW, in countries with a hemp fiber industry that actually has gotten to the point of doing steam explosion and cottonization, hemp fabric and blends are not just an enviro-chic product. Much of the stuff sold here in the U.S. is behind the curve.)

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32876116)

It's a bacteria, takes 20 secs to procreate. A few years of selection, and these will grow into costumes, complete with shoes and ascots. Clothing industry will be driven out of business, and will sue the bacteria for copying their clothes...

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32876750)

Hemp clothing is for more than just "hippies" (whoever they are). Hemp is a great fiber for textiles, which is why it was used for centuries/millennia. Synthetic fiber corps like Dupont helped create marijuana prohibition because hemp was too competitive with their new products.

Maybe only "hippies" know about that, but the fabric is for everyone. You can't smoke it.

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (1)

fifedrum (611338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888012)

but you can make excellent ropes for drums with it

Re:Sure you can wear it, but why would you want to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32910444)

Like hemp clothing

Hemp has been one of the most important textile products in history. When the current prohibition dies down it will once again become more ubiquitous than cotton.

it will probably appeal to some hippie types.

Those darn hippies and their designer fashions!

not particularly useful for anything else

Harnessing bacteria for physical work is very important as it holds possible solutions to many problems including energy, food, and innumerable structural designs like water filters, hip joints, and spacecraft.

And if they are hydrated again? (4, Funny)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874294)

If the material is hydrated again, will it become a wet sheet again? That would make for some interesting wet T-Shirt contests....

Cryptex. (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874404)

Especially if it's like papyrus and you substitute water for a pitcher of vinegar.

Re:And if they are hydrated again? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874452)

considering it appears to be translucent when dry, a wet T-Shirt contest with this material seems kind of pointless.

Re:And if they are hydrated again? (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874486)

considering it appears to be translucent when dry, a wet T-Shirt contest with this material seems kind of pointless.

Exactly - thats why you need the cold water - to get the pointy bits to stick out!

Re:And if they are hydrated again? (1)

Toze (1668155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874542)

Actually, I think it will turn into a wet paper bag, which evidently some people can't X their way out of, for various values of X.

Prison clothing for incompetents!

Re:And if they are hydrated again? (1)

200_success (623160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32876186)

Dry clean only!

Cool (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874298)

Now Hollister, Aero, and Abercrombie & Fitch will market the clothing as a "new trend" and sell the shirts for 100$ a pop.

Re:Cool (1)

Chih (1284150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32876024)

And when they wash the clothes the first time, they'll disintegrate. O wait, that's no different...

Re:Cool (1)

Kyont (145761) | more than 4 years ago | (#32880436)

One has to assume that it would be accompanied by a viral marketing campaign...

Grow some of that FUNK !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874326)

It's good for you, too. Right at how for your typical slashdottie. FUNK that is.

It Puts the lotion on it's.... (0, Redundant)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874344)

.... bacteria? Eeeeewwwwww.

Wearing living stuff (5, Funny)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874356)

Obviously, fungi-bacteria cellulose clothes is an acquired taste. It grows on you.

Re:Wearing living stuff (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874384)

I dunno, I kinda got sick of it.

Re:Wearing living stuff (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874572)

Obviously, fungi-bacteria cellulose clothes is an acquired taste. It grows on you.

What if it acquires a taste for you?

I wouldn't mind it growing on me, but if it starts nibbling on me . . . .

Re:Wearing living stuff (2, Insightful)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874806)

And what about a whole line of underwear and lingerie garments? Do you think the ladies wont mind that it's made with yeast?

Re:Wearing living stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32885814)

And what about a whole line of underwear and lingerie garments? Do you think the ladies wont mind that it's made with yeast?

Well, you've just spoiled my breakfast.

Re:Wearing living stuff (2, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875022)

I wonder if its edible.

Re:Wearing living stuff (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875168)

And you can finally literally eat your hat!

carbon nanotubes. (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874358)

call me when they grow some carbon nanotubes from bacteria.

Bacterial clothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874400)

I have a whole wardrobe under my foreskin.

That's nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874402)

"I have wiped entire civilizations off of my chest, with a grey gym sock." - Hicks

Its revenge! (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874426)

Revenge at last.... Bacteria have been living in us for millions of years.

Byproducts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874434)

Could it make beer as a byproduct?

Better yet, could this be a byproduct of making beer?

Re:Byproducts? (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32880184)

Not really, but it does make an interesting vinegar. I'm quite sure that she made the clothes from the mother of a batch of kombucha [wikipedia.org] .

when you take antibiotics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32874466)

Yeah! When you take antibiotics, your clothes disappear!! Perfect for hot women :)

Re:when you take antibiotics (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874540)

You'd have to ask yourself though, why are these hot women taking antibiotics in the first place?

Re:when you take antibiotics (2, Funny)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875610)

Cause they so hot they have FEVERS ohhhhhhhhhhh

Re:when you take antibiotics (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32880060)

I was thinking more along the lines of "they have chlamydia or gonorrhea"...

.

Re:when you take antibiotics (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32881378)

Vapid cunts right?

Everything I own will be alive! (2, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874606)

I can wear this in my meat house [slashdot.org] . The future is here! and it is hella gross.

Re:Everything I own will be alive! (1)

Chih (1284150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32876044)

+1 memesplosion

Gimmicky and worthless (0)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874648)

An earlier post speculated that this clothing is basically useless except to environmentalist types who brag about how their clothes are ultra-green. Nevermind that the non-existant aesthetic would put off most people you encounter; plus its obvious that wearing papery material means that you cannot stay in the rain for long, have to be careful removing and putting on the garment, and can't count on it lasting for long in the face of ordinary wear and tear. All in all, worse even than the thinnest of thin cotton shirts you get from markets and shops like Primark.

Papyrus, the ancient world's precursor to paper, is as the summary states similar to this stuff. Oh and if you chose to wear papyrus you'd be just as green since it is predominantly the pith from the papyrus plant which isn't remotely threatened as a species. It made its appearance in Egypt over three thousand years back but never saw wide use in clothing due to tried and tested plant fiber proving infinitely better.

Kombucha Klothes! (2, Interesting)

Lazaru5 (28995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874678)

Yes!

Re:Kombucha Klothes! (1)

Lazaru5 (28995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877298)

Interesting??? It was supposed to be funny!

Yuck (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874692)

So can this be cleaned, like ever? If not, then it would hardly be considered human clothing. Even the ancients rinsed out their loincloths from time to time.

But then again, one could just grow a new shirt when needed....

And as the season changes... (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874718)

When Summer turns to Autumn, the leaves start falling and the evening nights start to have a little nip in the air, hey presto, a few well-placed sneezes up your arms and your short-sleeved top becomes full-length in the arm department.

Instead of DKNY, show a little biological chic with your NY3 wardrobe.

Looks like Kombucha (2, Interesting)

gox (1595435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874760)

I used to brew Kombucha [wikipedia.org] tea, and this looks exactly like (and probably is) the dried form of the culture that forms on the surface. I used it to write stuff on, feels really like papyrus.

No, the cat does not, in fact, "got my tongue." (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32874812)

UK Designer Grows Clothes From Bacteria

So what? Bobby Fischer started doing this 20 years ago!

Now there's an innovative way to disrobe people (1)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875046)

All one needs to do is come up with some microorganism that attacks that kind of bacteria and kills it. Just imagine moving around with a spray gun filled with that microorganism and threatening to spray your adversary with it! Think of the possibilities that it provides to muggers!!!

GoodBye Horses (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875086)

Buffalo Bill is the first thought that came to mind when i saw the pics of the shirt

Soylent Armani is made out of people!! (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875110)

IT'S PEOPLE!!

Oh, wait, what? It's made out of cows? Oh, that's cool, never mind...

.

Brilliant (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875230)

Obviously a little dye would make that garment look better. But this is a mind blowing breakthrough in a way. If fabric can be grown it might even be possible to grow cement saturated fabric that could form structures such as homes when soaked with water. Although this work is in its infancy I expect that it will branch out and become an important breakthrough in our society. It is a bit like making the first car. The very first cars were sort of useless but the concept was the beginning of a world wide change in the way people live.

hmm, interesting implications (4, Interesting)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875298)

What would be interesting is if the bacteria can become dormant instead of dying. Then if you get a rip or tear on the clothes you apply some nutrients to the rip and in 24 hours it regrows and fixes itself. Though i'm thinking that's quite a ways away, it would be really neat instead of throwing away clothes like we do now. That or clothes that can grow/shrink with you, or clothes that shed like skin always new.

Re:hmm, interesting implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32877008)

They make this stuff called thread, and when paired with a thing called a needle, you can repair a rip or tear in clothes made from plant fiber today! Why wait years?

Re:hmm, interesting implications (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877254)

Or clothes that feed off sweat, dead skin cells, etc.?

YES! I'd never have to change clothes or shower again!!

Re:hmm, interesting implications (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877846)

Oh, that would make it a whole lot better. Think of all those akward restaurant situations?

"Honey, you've got some sauce on your sleeve"

"Yes, it looks like it might be getting a bit chilly so I'm switching to long-sleeve"

Re:hmm, interesting implications (1)

mxs (42717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908488)

I don't know about you, but I don't throw my clothes away due to some tear or rip. We have plenty of tools at our disposal to actually fix these things.

edible? (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32875462)

But is it edible? One can see uses for that, ranging from being shipwrecked on a desert island, to late on a hot date....

                    mark

Re:edible? (2, Funny)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32877032)

One can see uses for that, [. . . ] to late on a hot date....

Yes, "one can," provided "one" is not a typical slashdot poster.

I have another process. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32878072)

Under my design, cellulose is not grown using bacteria, but rather using
plants, such as flax, from which a puffy cotton can be collected.
These fibers can be pulled and spun together to make threads,
using a process that I call, for lack of a better word, spinning.
This thread being thus procured is ready for another process
which I call weaving, on a device called a loom, which creates
a criss-cross grid of threads to form fabric. Fabric can be cut
and assembled together using sewing to make garments.

It's quite far fetched compared to the bacteria, but shows a lot
of promise.

A wearable kombucha SCOBY? (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32879068)

Sounds slimy to me.

Ha! (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32885246)

I've been doing the reverse for years.

Pried from thee, cold, dead corpse (1)

bobvious (1331503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32886688)

Get back to me when they come up with something that doesn't look like it was peeled off of Shakespeare's corpse.

Undies? (1)

JustABlitheringIdiot (1773798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32887790)

So if they make underwear out of this stuff and it is still contaminated with yeast in large quantities does anybody else see this being a bad thing?

Unless you own stock in Monistat or cranberry juice companies...

Re:Undies? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32964448)

I think it would be the wrong kind of yeast for that. I certainly hope so anyway...
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