Analyse the Goldschlägerhaut mechanically, structurally, and genetically down to the molecular level.
Sep 30, 2021
Mar 30, 2022
Textiles have been drivers of technological innovation since the dawn of the industrial age. While the demand for synthetic textiles has grown by 30% within the past 13 years modern textile production consumes large quantities of petrochemicals, heat energy and unsustainably sourced raw materials. We believe that nature offers great inspiration for alternative and highly performative textile solutions. The outermost tissue layer of the cow appendices’ serosa is an extremely elastic and tear-resistant natural material based on collagen, the most abundant animal biopolymer. Its common name Goldschlägerhaut derives from earlier usage as extremely thin separating layers in the beating of leaf gold. During World War I Goldschlägerhaut was processed at industrial scale during the fabrication of gas ballonets for combat zeppelins of the German Navy. As harvesting of Goldschlägerhaut at industrial scale as a by-product from meat production is not desirable anymore for several reasons, we are eager to reproduce a biomanufactured substrate with similar or even superior properties.
Our goal is to analyse the Goldschlägerhaut mechanically, structurally, and genetically down to the molecular level. The mechanical analysis will prove its material properties applied to use-cases in stretchable, elastic textiles. RNA sequencing of collagen-producing mesothelial cells from cow serosa will elucidate the biosynthesis of such a versatile tissue. Furthermore, we will generate a physical prototype wearable based on native tissue.
Textile substrate development will require the biotechnological production of protein polymers using synthetic biology at ton-range. To this end, we will decode the Goldschlägerhaut’s structural make-up through biochemical analysis and RNA sequencing. We see an enormous potential for developing materials based on Goldschlägerhaut which can replace spandex (elastane, i.e. polyether-polyurea copolymers). In 2015 total production for spandex was estimated at over 760 kilo tons and is likely to exceed 1,550 kilo tons by 2023 which translates to roughly 8 Billion $ market volume. The entire market volume for elastomeric materials is close to 100 Billion $. GOLD aims at demonstrating the rapid and cost-efficient development of a novel collagen-derived biomaterial for high-performance and next-gen consumer-oriented fabrics and textiles. We will create a demonstrator based on natural Goldschlägerhaut to communicate the long-term vision of biofabricated textiles.