Italian fiber producer takes chitin to chic

 

October 1, 2003, Sonia Roberts/just-food.com: Fashion insiders may have a new stone to turn when is comes to a fabric source, one that may have originally been nestled deep in the bottom ocean. Italian fiber producer Pozzi-Electa has discovered a method of extracting protein, technically known as chitin from seafood shells, and turning it into a filament suitable for knitting or weaving fabric.

The new fiber enjoys a number of advantages. In contrast to exuding a fishy smell as one may think, the resultant fiber, which will be marketed worldwide under the brand name Crabyon, has been found to possess anti-bacterial properties that prevent the formation of odors caused by stale human sweat.

The fiber is environmentally and pocketbook friendly. The oceans will not need to be further combed to source the new fabricate instead the shells are the discards of the seafood processing industry.

“Our fiber however doesn’t diminish the world’s already shrinking forest resources and is therefore a more environmentally friendly raw material, as well as being very economical because it makes use of what would otherwise be simply waste,” said Pozzi-Electa.

The substance can be obtained from all members of the carpace-bearing arthropod family although Pozzi-Electa is currently finding crab shells the most convenient to work with. It is similar in character to the cellulose that is processed from timber.

When the new fiber was previewed at the recent Fil Event textile trade fair in Paris it excited interest from visitors across the international scene, but seemed a particularly commercially interesting proposition to Japanese delegates. “Obviously with the heavy consumption of seafood as an integral part of the traditional Japanese diet any process which creates a profitable by-product for the fish industry is of major importance,” said Pozzi-Electa.