Innovating fire safety with recombinant hydrophobic proteins for textile fire retardancy

Katie Gilmour, Thora H. Arnardottir, Jane Scott, Paul James, Yunhong Jiang, Martyn Dade-Robertson, Meng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Fire retardancy for textiles is important to prevent the rapid spread of fire and minimize damage to property and harm to human life. To infer fire-resistance on textile materials such as cotton or nylon, chemical coatings are often used. These chemicals are usually toxic, and economically and environmentally unsustainable, however, some naturally produced protein-based fire retardants could be an alternative. A biofilm protein from Bacillus subtilis (BslA) was identified and recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli with a double cellulose binding domain. It was then applied to a range of natural and synthetic fabric materials. A flame retardancy test found that use of BslA reduced fire damage by up to 51% and would pass fire retardancy testing according to British standards. It is therefore a viable and sustainable alternative to current industrial fire-retardant coatings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2194-2199
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number11
Early online date25 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

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