NEW ZEALAND: Keratec May Revolutionise Wool Industry
Woolgrowers struggling for profitability within the textile industry could find fortune in an entirely new industry courtesy of the Wool Research Organisation's Keratec project, the New Zealand Herald reported today.Wool Research Organisation (WRO) managing director Garth Carnaby said that Keratec dissolved wool, turning it into a water-soluble protein powder that could be used in a wide range of new consumer products - from cosmetics for skin, hair and fingernails to a tough but flexible paint-like film, food binders, and even fibre - but one so fine it would look more like silk than wool.Dr Carnaby said that several international firms are "exceedingly" interested in using Keratec to manufacture new consumer products. He added that it had taken around four years to crack the chemistry: "You can dissolve wool but you end up with rubbish. To dissolve it and keep all the valuable proteins is the hard bit." There are thousands of proteins in wool which can be grouped for their uses into a small number of broad types. The keratin protein is the same one humans have in skin, hair and fingernails, "so we have a material that is ideally suited for product development in the high-value, personal grooming areas," he said.But just how many different products will come out of the factory as raw material for new industries is still not determined, and NZ-based WRO is keeping quiet while it talks to potential customers.However, in WRO's 1999 annual report, Dr Carnaby forecast that in 2010 around 10 per cent of New Zealand's 194,000-tonne annual wool clip could be manufactured into new keratin products. "We are certainly planning on a factory capability of industrial scale," he said. "We can already make a bucketful - a few hundred kilograms - without any trouble."
Get full access to all content, just $1 for 30 days
A Message From The Editor
just-style gives you the widest apparel and textile market coverage.
Paid just-style members have unlimited access to all our exclusive content - including 17 years of archives.
It’s our best ever membership offer – just for you.
Leonie Barrie, editor of just-style
Help test our new apparel sourcing tool.
- China leads US apparel sources with falling prices
- Hard hit Turkish industry is not knocked out
- "Power of the many" drives change at Otto Group
- Vietnam grows share of US apparel imports in 2016
- US apparel sector braces for potential cost hikes
- US Q4 in brief – Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Carter's
- Bangladesh crackdown has cost garment sector $100m
- Adidas and Burberry recognised for sustainability
- Inditex and H&M boycott Dhaka Apparel Summit
- Macy's will "do the right thing", says Lundgren
- When Things Go Wrong - A Practical Guide to Managing Common Problems in Apparel Sourcing
- Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective
- Technical textile markets: product developments and innovations, December 2016
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Global market review of lingerie – forecasts to 2022