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Innovating fire safety with recombinant hydrophobic proteins for textile fire retardancy

Lookup NU author(s): Katie Gilmour, Thora Arnardottir, Dr Jane Scott, Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by Applied Microbiology International and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Fire retardancy for textiles is important to prevent the rapid spread of fire and minimize damage to property and harm to human life. To infer fire-resistance on textile materials such as cotton or nylon, chemical coatings are often used. These chemicals are usually toxic, and economically and environmentally unsustainable, however, some naturally produced protein-based fire retardants could be an alternative. A biofilm protein from Bacillus subtilis (BslA) was identified and recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli with a double cellulose binding domain. It was then applied to a range of natural and synthetic fabric materials. A flame retardancy test found that use of BslA reduced fire damage by up to 51% and would pass fire retardancy testing according to British standards. It is therefore a viable and sustainable alternative to current industrial fire-retardant coatings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gilmour KA, Arnadottir TH, James P, Scott J, Jiang Y, Dade-Robertson M, Zhang M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microbial Biotechnology

Year: 2023

Volume: 16

Issue: 11

Pages: 2194-2199

Print publication date: 01/11/2023

Online publication date: 25/09/2023

Acceptance date: 01/09/2023

Date deposited: 17/10/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1751-7915

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/1751-7915.14340

PubMed id: 37747422


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Funder referenceFunder name
Research England E3 scheme (2019)