Bacteria dye

Algea-based bioplastic samples dyed with bacteria pigments.
Project made by Clara Davis and Jessica Dias
at the Fabtextiles's bio lab
Fab Lab Barcelona
2018


The traditional dying process contributes significantly to pollution and results in waste products that find their way into our rivers and oceans. This problem can be solved by researching alternative dying proccesses like the use of bacteria for exemple.


This pigment is produced by the Janthinobacterium lividum bacteria. A betaproteobacterium commonly found in soils and water of cold regions, such as mountains or glaciers. The dark purple appearance of this bacteria is caused by the substance violacein, produced by the bacterium itself. An antioxidant pigment that has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that could be used in the future for the creation of antibiotics or even maybe cancer treatment. Janthinobacterium lividum is a gram-negative classificate bacteria considerate as harmless to the human body. This bacteria can grow with a temperature range of 4 to 30 °C, with an optimum growth at 25 °C. The bacteria is growing by metabolizing glycerol as a carbon source, producing and releasing dark purple color. This violacein pigment, insoluble in water but soluble in alcohols, is also durable and biodegradable. This sustainable pigment could become a potential alternative solution to synthetic textile dyes that contains harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Now, what about using this bacteria & natural pigment for dyeing bioplastics ?