Bio-fabricated Leather-like Film of Bacteria Cellulose

Bacterial Cellulose Leather Like Film

The production and processing of genuine leather involves the use of different chemicals and cattle rearing contributes to increasing carbon emission. This project develops leather-like film from sustainable sources using bacteria cellulose extracted from beverage waste. Kombucha, a healthy drink made of tea, sugar, and symbiotic bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), produces a solid film material of bacteria cellulose during its fermentation. This layer of bacteria cellulose is usually discarded but this project will use the bacteria cellulose as the raw material to develop leather-like film.


The leather-like film is intended suitable for making small goods such as wallet and name card holder. 

Industry Benefit

An eco-friendly alternative to genuine and synthetic leather

Leather industry is expected to gain significant growth, with the global leather goods market size valued at USD 242.85 billion in 2022 and estimated CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.6%. Following the high demand to leather comes the increase in production of leather, which would impose huge environmental impact such as toxic materials generated during the production processes.

Plant-based vegan leather has been a hot topic to replace the use of genuine leather. Various kinds of product such as pineapple leaf fibre leather have been available in the market. Plant-based vegan leather leaves less carbon footprint than genuine leather, but polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is needed to be added to ensure good leather properties. The use of such non-biodegradable and petro-based chemicals will create sustainability issues. Besides, plant growth takes time and requires larger piece of land. The cultivation of bacterial cellulose is easier and faster than plant growth and stock breeding. The source of bacterial cellulose can be originated from fermented kombucha drink. By making good use of the beverage waste, this project can develop a more eco-friendly material for making small leather-like goods such as wallet and name card holder.

Technological Breakthrough
  1. Cultivate bacteria cellulose using Kombucha beverage nutrient recipe and produce the leather-like film
  2. Produce different shaped films by cultivation or growing-to-shape to reduce cut waste when making leather-like goods
  3. Improve the elasticity of the film by applying plasticizer
  4. Reinforce the film with cellulose-based lining with no synthetic plastics
  5. Impart the film with hydrophobic property using long carbon chain materials
Project Name (ITF)

Bio-fabricated Leather-like Film of Bacteria Cellulose

Project Number (ITF)