Enzymes may be used to develop an environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional polluting technologies in textile finishing. The action of the unlabeled and fluorescent labeled proteolytic enzymes subtilisin and trypsin on wool was examined. Scanning electron micrographs and a diffusion study, based on fluorescence microscopy, localized the enzymatic attack on the fiber. A kinetic study was carried out by monitoring the amino acid content of the treatment liquor.
Enzymatic action is not confined to the fiber surface. To limit attack to the surface and reduce wool damage new treatment methods such as enzyme immobilization onto a solid carrier must be investigated.
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