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Slimy Wet Dresses Made from Wine? Magnifique!

Posted by perle0 on 2007-03-19 14:30:22 (9117 views)

Yes, in case you were wondering when the armageddon would hit, here's a sign that it will soon arrive: seamless dresses created by fermenting wine. The only drawback: for now, you have to keep these garments wet, or they'll tear. That, and they look like they're made from exactly what they're made from: a bacteria-created film found collecting at the top of wine vats.

The dresses were dreamed up by Gary Cass, a laboratory technician who works on the Micro'be' project at the University of Western Australia.

Cass, who also writes science fiction, was inspired with the idea for the dresses when he was working in a vineyard years ago. He noticed that when oxygen got into the vats and turned the wine into vinegar, a slimy, rubbery layer grew on top. This layer of cellulose is produced by acetobacter bacteria as a waste product when they convert wine into vinegar.

To ferment these fashion statements, the lab lets vats of wine turn into vinegar and let the little bacteria produce the desired cellulose. The red color and viniferous smell are side-benefits.

To make the dress, they lift the layers of cellulose off of the vat and drape them over a deflatable doll. When the article is complete, they deflate the doll and removed it, leaving the seamless dress intact.

"It's the bacteria that are weaving all these fibres together," says Cass. "We're not using any machines, sewing machines and so forth."

Cass says other alcoholic drinks can be used to ferment fabrics, so be on the lookout for dresses made from white wine, beer, and sake. For now, the scientists are working to find a way to persuade the bacteria to make longer, more durable cellulose fibers, that would be more resistant to tearing and could be worn even when dry.

We so look forward to the day when "can I lick your dress?" becomes a highly successful pick-up line.

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