Transglutaminase treatment of wool fabrics leads to resistance to detergent damage

J Biotechnol. 2005 Apr 6;116(4):379-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2004.12.007. Epub 2005 Jan 28.


Biological detergents are now routinely used in domestic laundry because the enzymes they contain provide the added benefit of low temperature washes with improved cleaning performance. One of the key enzymes found in these detergents are proteases, which if exposed to natural protein fibres such as wool or silk can cause irreversible damage, leading to loss of fabric strength, shape and poor colour fastness. Transglutaminases (TGases) are protein cross-linking enzymes capable of adding tensile strength to wool proteins, and as a consequence are capable of remediating the damage caused by previous chemical treatments, and more importantly, by proteases. In this paper we treated dyed wool fabric with TGase and then washed the fabric with biological and non-biological detergents to investigate whether TGases would protect wool garments from damage by the undue use of biological detergents in domestic laundry. We demonstrate using different cycles of detergent washes containing biological and non-biological detergents and different TGase treatments, that wool fabric treated previously with TGase release less dye into the washing liquor and in addition maintain fabric strength at levels greater than the washed controls. As a consequence, wool garments previously treated with TGase are likely to have increased resistance to domestic washing and thus provide increased longevity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Detergents / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing
  • Peptide Hydrolases / chemistry*
  • Streptomyces / metabolism*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Transglutaminases / chemistry*
  • Wool / chemistry*


  • Detergents
  • Transglutaminases
  • Peptide Hydrolases