Application of transglutaminases in the modification of wool textiles

Joäo Cortez, Phillip L.R. Bonner, Martin Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of the protein-crosslinking enzymes transglutaminases (EC, as biocatalysts in the processing of wool textiles offers a variety of exciting and realistic possibilities, which include reducing the propensity of wool fabric to shrink and maintaining or increasing fabric strength.
Guinea pig liver (GPL) transglutaminase or the microbial transglutaminase isolated from Streptoverticilium mobaraense, when applied to wool either alone or following a protease treatment, resulted in an increase in wool yarn and fabric strength (up to a 25% increase compared to a control). This indicates that transglutaminases can remediate the negative effects of proteolytic treatments in terms of loss in fibre strength. Incubation of samples pretreated with different oxidative and reducing agents with both sources of transglutaminases led to significant increases in tensile strength for all samples tested, suggesting that yarn strength lost following chemical treatments can also be recovered. The two different transglutaminases (TGases) could also impart a significant reduction in fabric shrinkage.
The incorporation of primary amine transglutaminase substrates into wool fibres, with a view to altering wool functionality, was demonstrated using the incorporation of the fluorescent primary amine fluorescein cadaverine (FC). Incubation of wool with this fluorescent amine and transglutaminase led to high levels of incorporation into the fibres. The treatment of wool textiles with transglutaminases indicates that a number of novel and radically different finishes for wool textiles can be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalEnzyme and Microbial Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2004


  • transglutaminase
  • protease
  • wool
  • strength
  • shrinkage
  • crosslinking
  • amine incorporation


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