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Qmilk - Anke Domaske award winning biopolymer fiber based on milk protein - By Renata Grilo

So give me Coffee and TV…and also Textiles made of milk

Combining one of the most delicious natural ingredients in the dairy section, plain milk, Anke Domaske, a German born, biochemist and fashion designer was able to invent the award-winning textile called, Qmilch, which stands for quality and milk in German.

Domaske started the idea with a sentimental reasoning behind it all. Her stepfather, who was suffering from cancer, needed soft fibers and untreated chemical textiles for his sensitive skin. The whole process started in the kitchen instead of a laboratory and after spending only 200 euros worth of materials, Qmilch GmbH was founded in April of 2011. Qmilch later became part of, Qmilch IP GmbH, Qmilch Holding GmbH, and Qmilch Deutschland GmbH, now engaged in R&D of biopolymers that are based on milk proteins and natural and renewable raw materials.

The Qmilk is developed through a biopolymer that consists of the milk protein casein, which makes up to 80 percent of the milk protein. Casein is employed as a binder. In the milk, casein consists of 18 from the known 22 amino acids. Casein also has an extremely high content of glutamine and calcium. With 20% of protein, no other protein contains as much glutamin as casein. The casein is produced from raw milk, which is no longer marketable and that should not be used as food by legislation.

The next step of the process to create Qmilk’s fiber is to spun and process at a temperature below 100° C, which allows the natural properties of the milk to be kept intact. Also, water is the main ingredient to be utilized as a plasticizer.

The raw material, which is sold in powder form, can be made resilient or into a hard end product. It guarantees vividness and offers a great range of color brilliance in the products to which it is applied.

Here are the main advantages of producing the biopolymer in such a way:

• For the production of 1kg of the biopolymer, only 5 minutes and a maximum of two liters of water are needed. This implies a particular level of cost efficiency and ensures a minimum of CO2 emissions.

• The Qmilk biopolymer is compostable in a few weeks

• No waste is accumulated in the preparation of the biopolymer

• The low process temperatures are energy-efficient

• It recycles a dairy industry waste product

• It uses 100% natural and renewable raw materials

• There are numerous modification options for the polymer

In Germany, 1.9 million tons of milk will be disposed of every year. Although the milk is no longer fit for consumption, it does have a high potential for textile engineering purposes.

Qmilk fibers are ranked with the highest standards of sustainability:

• Energy, water, air

• Raw materials, waste

• Safety, Health

• Social & social behavior

Qmilk fiber is antibacterial by nature, meaning that it does not require any anti-bacterial treatment. It sheds away E. coli and Staphyllococcus aureus. The bacteria cannot multiply in the Qmilk fiber, providing freshness throughout the day. It is also biodegradable.

It naturally feels, drapes and folds like silk, however unlike silk it can be washed and dried exactly as cotton is. The strands can be spun together in a rougher and heavier texture, making it possible to create a soft jersey feel available for designers all over the world who are looking for an eco-friendly approach.

Besides it’s usage in the textile industry, it’s granulates also provide companies adaptability when utilizing thermoplastics, elastomers and thermosets.

Also Qmilk’s composition is so delicate that it provides cosmetic usage. After R&D realized the properties of Qmilk cream, it was administered as an agent for wrinkle reduction, refinement of the pore image, minimization of dark circles, reduction of drought stress and emotion, relief from itching, and elimination of redness from minor wounds. The company even hands out free samples on their website.

With such a variety of usages, incredible biodegradable and eco-friendly properties certainly makes Qmilk one of the most innovative textile fibers in the market and a definitive bet for investors.

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