Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wearing Bamboo: Slip, Slop, Slap with an environmental plus

Bamboo may prove to be the unlikely hero in the global quest for environmentally responsible agriculture thanks to the discovery by a Deakin University PhD candidate.

Amid concerns about cotton's water footprint in a country with an increasingly erratic water supply, fabric made with bamboo fibres is emerging as a future alternative, with added environmental advantages.

Tarannum Afri, a student at Deakin University's Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, has identified the property that gives bamboo superior sun-blocking characteristics. She is now working to develop a fabric using bamboo fibres in an environmentally responsible way.

Ms Afri, a former textile engineer, said that bamboo is 60% better than cotton at blocking UV rays. Bamboo can grow up to metre overnight, and spreads rapidly allowing a yield per acre 10 times that of cotton with no need for irrigation, pesticides, chemical weeding, insecticides and fungicide to thrive.

"Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and grows to its maximum height in about three months, and reaches maturity in three to four years," she said.

Video Interview with Tarannum Afri

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