Results of a six-year trial of enzyme-based bleaching technology at one of Europe's largest textile mills are said to show significant savings in energy and water use, along with increased productivity, compared with conventional cotton bleaching techniques.

The study by DuPont Industrial Biosciences, in collaboration with Huntsman Corporation, was carried out at Portugal's Acabamentos Têxteis de Barcelos (ATB), one of the nation's leading knitwear dyeing and finishing specialists.

Conventional cotton bleaching techniques require a high temperature and large amounts of caustic chemical additives.

The new technology, however, is said to allow for low-temperature bleaching of textiles at 65°C with less water and energy - while cotton pre-treated with Gentle Power Bleach has a softer, bulkier, more natural handle with less fabric weight loss.