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Biotechnol J. 2007 Mar;2(3):353-60.

Using a nitrilase for the surface modification of acrylic fibres.

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  • 1University of Minho, Textile Engineering Department, Guimarães, Portugal.


The surface of an acrylic fibre was modified with a commercial nitrilase (EC The effect of fibre solvents and polyols on nitrilase catalysis efficiency and stability was investigated. The nitrilase action on the acrylic fabric was improved by the combined addition of 1 M sorbitol and 4% N, N-dimethylacetamide. The colour levels for samples treated with nitrilase increased 156% comparing to the control samples. When the additives were introduced in the treatment media, the colour levels increased 199%. The enzymatic conversion of nitrile groups into the corresponding carboxylic groups, on the fibre surface, was followed by the release of ammonia and polyacrylic acid. A surface erosion phenomenon took place and determined the "oscillatory" behaviour of the amount of dye uptake with time of treatment. These results showed that the outcome of the application of the nitrilase for the acrylic treatment is intimately dependent on reaction media parameters, such as time, enzyme activity and formulation.

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