Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Wood-Rotting Fungal Pigments as Colorant Coatings on Oil-Based Textile Dyes: A Detailed View of the Interaction between Fungal Pigments and Some Commercial Fabrics Public Deposited

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  • Natural dyes have been used to color textiles for centuries, but with the shift to mass production, the use of synthetic dyes has increased due to their lower cost and easy manufacturing volume. However, synthetic dyes (such as disperse blue dyes 106 and 124) have been reported to cause skin allergies and other health issues. They also have a high environmental impact, as the dyeing industry uses large amounts of water, non-ecofriendly chemicals, and energy. This has resulted in the labeling of the dye industry as highly polluting, as well as one of the main producers of wastewater. The environmental issues related to synthetic dyes have helped push renewed interest in natural dyes. Natural dyes are mainly sourced from plants, animals, lichens, and fungi, , and are generally nontoxic, but have numerous limitations; the main one being the requirement of mordents to fixate them to fabrics. These mordents are not usually environmental friendly and have similar environmental issues as synthetic dyes. Recent research into naphthoquinone pigments generated by the secondary metabolism of spalting fungi, has shown promising results for fabric dyeing, as they produce a diverse array of colors, are naturally occurring, and do not require mordants for use. Of particular interest is the naturally occurring naphthoquinone pigment produced by Scytalidium cuboideum (red), which has been shown in previous research to dye various textiles without the use of a mordant, but only when the pigment was carried in dichloromethane. Of special interest for this study was the crystalline pigment produced by the fungus S. cuboideum, and it’s use with the nontoxic carrier raw linseed oil. This pigment was tested as a fabric dye on cotton, wool, and polyester. The tested samples were exposed to crocking, tensile strength, tear strength, laundry, and heat exposure. Results of these tests showed that the pigment carried in raw linseed oil was colorfast on cotton and wool (natural fabrics), but was not colorfast on synthetic fabrics, in contrast to previous studies where the pigment was carried in dichloromethane. Laundry with bleach significantly altered the red color on cotton and wool, changing it from red to blue/purple. After heat testing, a protective oil-pigment layer formed on cotton and wool, potentially making this treatment suitable for water resistance apparel. No mechanical properties were affected by dyeing on any fabric (in contrast to other natural dyes, where mordants tend to negatively affect mechanical properties). Fabric density aided colorfastness, improving color stability from lower density fabrics. Overall, the results of this research showed that pigment produced by S. cuboideum can be successfully used as a textile dye when carried in raw linseed oil. Removing the toxic solvent carrier (dichloromethane) opens up this process to commercial textile processing and may offer a natural method for waterproofing (as well as coloring rainwear) in the near future. It also offers a durable, colorfast replacement for synthetic dye methods, as well as showcases the efficacy of some fungal pigments as textile dyes without mordants as binders.
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  • Ongoing Research
Embargo date range
  • 2019-01-18 to 2021-02-19



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