Hierarchical structure of hair and wool (not to scale)
Wool farming in Australia is a viable industry delivering textile fibre mostly from Marino sheep to the textile industry. Being the leading producer of wool with 25% of the global market share, the revenue generated from Australian wool is estimated at $2 billion. However not all wool is suitable for use in the textile industry (including kemp which cannot be spun) and not all sheep farms harvest wool. Developing applications for waste wool is important in reducing this bio-waste and offers exciting possibilities for developing benign processes and products for the future economies.
Green minimal waste processing
We have developed a novel technology that uses a cheap and benign ionic liquid composite of to disassemble the fibrous structure of such materials, without generating waste. Applications and uses arising from this technology include the development of natural sunscreens and hair products, obtaining mass quantities of high value amino acids and peptide supplements, development of drug delivery and novel gels, and forensic applications. It is worth mentioning that the residual material is an ideal chicken feedstock noting choline chloride and urea are supplements in the diet of animal in the poultry industry, Fig. 2.
To find out more, see the publications below or watch the talk here:
List of publications:-
Moore, K.E., Mangos, D.N., Slattery, A.D., Raston, C.L. and Boulos, R.A. (2016). Wool deconstruction using a benign eutectic melt. RSC Advances, 6(24) pp. 20095-20101.
Boulos, R., Eroglu, E., Chen, X., Scaffidi, A., Edwards, B., Toster, J., et al. (2013). Unravelling the structure and function of human hair. Green Chemistry, 15(5) pp. 1268-1273.