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From Dresses to Dressings

Wine dress

Bacteria have been developed that can turn wine into a fabric that fits like a second skin. Credit: Ray Scott

By Magdeline Lum

Bacteria have been developed that can turn wine into a fabric that fits like a second skin, and the sexual health of female cyclists can be affected by cycling.

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Bacteria have been developed that can turn wine into a fabric that fits like a second skin.

A multidisciplinary approach at the University of Western Australia could lead to a new generation of medical dressings made from microbes.

Five years ago Bioalloy, which operates from the Faculty of Natural Agricultural Sciences laboratories at UWA, produced a dress made from fermented wine. It was the result of a collaboration between Bioalloy co-founder Gary Cass and artist Donna Franklin. The pair introduced Acetobacter bacteria to vats of wine where it converted the alcohol to cellulose microfibres.

“This microbial cellulose is chemically similar to cotton. Therefore the garments are made from microbial cotton. It is formed on the surface of the wine, almost as if the bacteria are trying to form a raft to flow on the wine,” Cass says.

“We have now perfected a culturing technique that will allow the bacteria to form a three-dimensional garment that will be seamless. It can also be formed to fit the wearer like a second skin.”

Research is underway to determine the feasibility of using the fermented fashion as medical bandages. The material would be able to keep wounds sterile from outside infections but still allow carers to see how the wound is healing under the dressing.

“One of the biggest advantages is that it doesn’t need any...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.