Remediation of environmental pollution by substituting poly(vinyl alcohol) with biodegradable warp size from wheat gluten

Environ Sci Technol. 2013 May 7;47(9):4505-11. doi: 10.1021/es304429s. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


We report the development of wheat gluten as an environmentally friendly sizing agent that can replace poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and make the textile industry more environmentally friendly. Wheat gluten applied onto polyester/cotton (P/C) and polyester as warp sizing agent provided sizing performance and biodegradability in activated sludge necessary to substitute poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). PVA is one of the most widely used sizing agents and provides excellent sizing performance to synthetic fibers and their blends but is expensive and difficult to degrade in textile wastewater treatment plants. Although considerable efforts have been made to replace PVA, it has not been possible to develop a warp sizing chemical that can match the sizing performance of PVA and at the same time be cost-effective and biodegrade in effluent treatment plants. At similar % add-on, wheat gluten provided similar cohesion to P/C but much higher abrasion resistance to polyester fabrics compared to PVA. With a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to chemical oxygen demand (COD) ratio of 0.7 compared to 0.01 for PVA, wheat gluten was readily degradable in activated sludge. Wheat gluten has the ability to replace PVA for textile warp sizing applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Biological Oxygen Demand Analysis
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation*
  • Glutens / metabolism*
  • Humidity
  • Sewage
  • Triticum / metabolism*


  • Sewage
  • Glutens