Inkjet Printing and In-Situ Crystallization of Biopigments for Eco-Friendly and Energy-Efficient Fabric Coloration

Yujuan He, Yu Cao, Hyun jun Hwang, Sarath M.Vega Gutierrez, Shujie Li, Hsiou Lien Chen, Seri C. Robinson, Chih hung Chang, Rajiv Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current methods of fabric dyeing have a significant negative effect on the environment via toxic effluent emissions, high water usage, and high energy consumption. We demonstrate, for the first time, low-energy inkjet printing of an ecofriendly and biodegradable pigment derived from widely available spalting fungi with synthesis by-products that are fully biodegradable. Vivid and stable coloration is achieved on polyester and cotton using benign acetone-based and ethanol-based biopigment inks, with no liquid effluent or runoff, and without any synthetic dyes or mordants. We investigate the influence of fabric type, solvent type, and the number of printing passes on the color type, intensity, and uniformity, pigment crystallization, and environmental stability. Greater spatial definition of the printed pigment in inkjet printing effects greater crystallization and more vivid and uniform coloration as compared to drop-casting, the primary method used till date to color fabrics with such fungal biopigments. pH-driven interactions between the fabric, solvent, and biopigment cause solvent-driven changes in color type (from bluish to reddish) and fabric-governed changes in color intensity. The impact of our findings on minimizing the environmental impact of fabric dyeing is discussed.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • Biopigment
  • Crystallization
  • Energy efficiency
  • Fabric
  • Inkjet printing


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