Of the five prizes offered by the Department of Trade and Industry sponsored Bio-Wise organisation, two of the largest awards went to long established UK textile firms.

The awards presented to the winners by Science Minister Lord Sainsbury at Bio-Wise's annual conference went respectively to Yorkshire based spinner Thomas Chadwick and to Treforest Textiles which is a specialist fabric printer operating out of Pontypridd in South Wales.

Thomas Chadwick picked up a grant of £354,879 for its project, which demonstrated how bacterial micro-organisms can be deployed to eliminate organic waste from the wool industry. Treforest's award was also related to waste disposal. It received £109,974 to set against the £274,486 already spent developing an environmentally friendly method of dealing with aqueous waste.

At the presentation ceremony Lord Sainsbury told the prize winners and conference delegates: "Bio-technology offers huge potential improvements to industry and to the environment, while turning new ideas and technology into jobs and prosperity with schemes like those set before us today is crucial to maintaining the strength of the national economy."

By Sonia Roberts.