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Sensory textile-bacterial hybrids: textile-bacteria fusion to impart forest-associated scents

Lookup NU author(s): Paula Nerlich, Dr Angela SherryORCiD, Professor Ruth Morrow, Dr Jane Scott



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


This research paper presents a study on the development of living textile-bacterial hybrids, focusing on the scent produced by Streptomyces violaceruber, a bacterial species, throughout its growth phase. The objective of this study was to observe scent profiles of S. violaceruber on two different fibres, cotton, and linen, and analyse the potential impact of fibre properties on scent profile, intensity, and duration. In doing so the research suggests potential opportunities to curate living scent through textiles and the generation of sensory textile-bacterial hybrids. Interdisciplinary methods were applied to compare changes in the volatile compounds present and identify fibres and fabrication processes most suitable to create a living textile. The paper reports on the development of textile samples that are infused with S. violaceruber and observed for their subjective scent as well as the volatile compounds, which were analysed via gas chromatography. The findings of this study confirmed the presence and development of bacterial scents on textiles during bacterial growth. The scents identified included earthy, soil-like, floral, jasmine, and fruity notes, offering potential for further exploration in fibre and yarn selection, as well as the structural design of the textile. This research contributes to the field of biotextiles by examining the influence of textile fibres and knitted textiles on bacterial volatile compounds. It establishes a platform for investigating how different fibres and structural factors influence the bacterial scent profile and provides valuable insights for the future development of living sensory textiles and their integration into various applications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nerlich P, Sherry A, Deary M, Morrow R, Scott J

Editor(s): Heinzel T; Dumitrescu D; Tomico O; Robertson S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Textile Intersections 2023

Year of Conference: 2023

Pages: 1-15

Online publication date: 29/01/2024

Acceptance date: 02/06/2023

Date deposited: 13/02/2024

Publisher: Design Research Society


DOI: 10.21606/TI-2023/111