Have you read about the dress made from wine yet? Yes, wine!
Australian researchers at the Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia (UWA), have found a way to make clothing out of wine using Acetobacter (bacteria). Acetobacter is a microbe that turns wine into vinegar. This same bacteria is used to grow fabric at UWA.
How? First vats (a place used to store liquids) of wine are set off to produce cellulose. Cellulose is a stringy, fibrous substance that forms the main material in the cell walls of plants. It is an organic molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen according to The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.
Layers of slimy, rubbery cellulose are then lifted out and put onto a deflateable mannequin. A deflatable mannequin needs to be used since the material, when it is dry, is not flexible and cannot be easily be removed from a regular mannequin. Once on the doll it shrinks to the form of the doll's body. When the dress is at the desired shape the doll is deflated and the dress can be worn. You can see what the material looks like close up at the Micro'be' website.
No machines are used to make the dress. The bacteria does all the work. Well...almost all of it. The layers of cellulose have to be put in place to form the dress. Also, because the bacteria can only produces short cellulose fibers the clothing has to be kept wet. If it dries up the fabric will tear.
The next step is to try to find a way to make the bacteria form longer more flexible fibers. In doing so UWA researchers Gary Cass, Donna Franklin and Alan Mullett hope one day to generate a wearable seamless dress that forms on it's own without a single stitch.
If you're more of a beer enthusiast than a wine enthusiast, don't worry. The researchers are also experimenting with the translucent material that it makes. So, is this the fashion of the future or the beginning of scientific art? Whichever it is, it is fascinating and I can't wait to see what comes next. You?