BIOTEC researcher awarded Young Technologist Award 2018

Dr. Thidarat Nimchua, BIOTEC researcher based at the Enzyme Technology Laboratory, was awarded the 2018 Young Technologist Award for her achievement in the development of ‘ENZease’, intelligent enzyme for
eco-friendly textile production process. 
 
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Textile wet processing is a highly polluting industrial process owing the use of toxic chemicals and dyes and consuming large amount of energy. The convention chemical process of cotton-based textiles begins with desizing of starches (size) applied to the yarn during weaving and scouring of the material in an alkaline bath to remove natural impurities, resulting in polluted waste stream. Due to her extensive background in enzyme development, Dr. Nimchua seeks to address the issue by looking into the application of enzyme in developing a more eco-friendly textile processing system.
 
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‘ENZease’, a dual-activity enzyme, was developed and optimized for a fast, integrated enzyme-based pretreatment process, combining the desizing and scouring steps into a single step for cotton fabric. ENZease provides amylase (starch-removing enzyme) and pectinase (wax-eliminating enzyme) activities that can function under similar pH and temperature range. One-step process for desizing and scouring of cotton fabric could be established using only ‘ENZease’, making
large scale operations more simple and cost effective.
 
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ENZease was co-developed by a researchers from the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) and the National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC) in partnership with Thanapaisal, a local textile company. The enzyme was tested in starch (desizing) and wax removing (scouring) process of cotton fabric in one-step. The result is satisfactory as enzyme-treated fabrics demonstrated superior properties which are lower amount of remaining starch, higher wettability and softer touch compared to that of chemical-treated fabric, meeting quality standard set by the factory.
 
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The technology has been transferred to Asia Star Trade Co., Ltd (AST) for commercial-scale production of ENZease. The enzyme product has been delivered to targeted customers including textile companies and community enterprise to be used in their textile preparation processes.
 
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The awards was initiated in 2000 and have been given annually by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. Each winner receives a shield of honor presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. 
 
Posted on 22 October 2018.