The Kombucha Connection: Unexpected Uses of Bacterial Cellulose

Kombucha, a culture of sweet tea and bacteria, is primarily used as a drink. The bacteria produce a cellulose by-product that floats to the top of the culture. But instead of throwing it away, designers have other things in mind.

Suzanne Lee, 2011 TED fellow and former Senior Research Fellow in the School of Fashion/Textiles, Central Saint Martins, is the brain behind BioCouture, a project that aims to grow clothing. Using this material and process, it is possible to create fabric that has less of an environmental impact.

Women’s jacket made of bacterial cellulose. Image via

(More via the BioCouture blog.)

More recently, Stefan Schwabe from the Design Interactions program at the Royal College of Art, used bacterial cellulose for his project, The Kernels of Chimaera, which aims to perform “an automated production of hybrid living artefacts.”

Harvesting the cellulose. Image via the Design Interactions 2012 website.

(More via the Design Interactions 2012 site.)

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1 comment
  1. I work on the production of bacterial cellulose from kombucha colonies.

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