Contemporary artist Donna Franklin has created a dress using a chemical technique that turns the bacteria found during the fermentation process in wine into a cotton-like cellulose product. Working with Bioalloy, which carry’s out research for the University of Western Australia, Franklin developed a fibrous cellulose fabric by taking acetobacter – the bacteria used in the fermentation process of turning wine into vinegar – into vats of red wine. The bacteria would then go on to create the cellulose and when grown with glucose can be made chemically similar to cotton. Beer can also be used in the same way.
In other words, the bacteria forms a thread like material that floats on the top of wine during fermentation and can be made into fabric. Gary Cass of Bioalloy chanced upon the material while attempting to make a cyborg with self-developing skin.
“The Micro’-be’ garments are made from microbial cotton which forms on the surface of the wine, almost as if the bacteria are trying to form a raft to flow on the wine,” Cass told technology website Wired.co.uk.
“We have perfected a technique that will allow the bacteria to form a three-dimensional seamless garment that can be formed to fit the wearer like a second skin,” Cass added.
Though the fabric becomes easily torn when dry, the fact that a dress and possibly skin can be made from wine and beer is pretty impressive.