• Kate Ayers

Ag helps make eco-friendly laundry detergent

As a result of recent developments, agricultural waste could soon be a source for a key ingredient in laundry detergent.

Using mustard seed oil cakes, researchers hope to create an economical and naturally derived version of lipase, said a February release from England’s University of Portsmouth.

Manufacturers use lipase, which is an enzyme, in detergents because it is eco-friendly and effectively removes oil stains from clothing, the release said. It is expensive for companies to biotechnologically produce this enzyme, but lipase produced from mustard seed oil cakes offers a more financially viable alternative. The oil cakes provide an effective growth medium for microbes to produce enzymes, the release said.

"Anoxybacillus sp. ARS-1 (a type of bacteria) produced lipase (that) was found to be stable and to resist almost all chemical detergents as well as common laundry detergent,” Dr. Pattanathu Rahman, a microbial biotechnologist from the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the university, said in the release.

The study is published in the February edition of the journal Preparative Biochemistry & Biotechnology.

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