Kitotex® is Candiani Denim’s patented sizing technology based on a smart, biodegradable, and non-toxic material, chitosan. Chitosan is derived from chitin, replaces PVA, which, when not appropriately treated, persists in waterways and soil, and contributes to purifying wastewater.
What is PVA?
PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) is a petrol-based, plastic polymer often used to make thin layers of plastic, such as those used to pack food or wrap dishwasher and laundry pods. It is commonly used as a sizing agent after dyeing in the textile industry.
PVA is meant to dissolve in water and biodegrade, but the conditions for its complete biodegradation are extremely specific, and most treatment facilities are not equipped to do that. According to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 75% of PVA persists in the environment after dissolving in laundry and dishwashing machines. The result is that each US citizen eats between 0.101 and 0.549 grams of PVA daily.
PVA is considered a low-hazard substance, but it releases some greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when it breaks down, contributing to climate change.
Chitosan is the eco-friendly alternative to PVA
Kitotex® replaces PVA as a sizing agent with an eco-friendly alternative, chitosan. Chitosan is a bio-based polymer derived from chitin, the world’s most common natural polymer besides cellulose. It is obtained from renewable sources, including insects, crustaceans, algae, and fungi. At Candiani Denim, we use only fungal chitosan from Aspergillus niger. The benefits of chitosan include non-toxicity and biodegradability.
Chitosan is used in many industries, such as food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and biotechnology, first and foremost for its binding, film-forming properties. In the textile industry, we have a patent for its use in sizing.
Chitosan helps clean wastewater
Contrary to PVA, which becomes a pollutant when not filtered correctly by wastewater treatment plants, chitosan helps clean wastewater by removing pollutants and heavy metals. Moreover, it breaks down organic matter, reducing the amount of sludge that needs to be removed from sewage, and works as a coagulant, flocculating suspended particles and making it easier to take them away.
Moreover, Kitotex® works at 40% lower temperatures than most traditional agents, reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating the impact of the process on climate change.
Chitosan is bacteriostatic
Chitosan is also bacteriostatic, i.e., it inhibits the growth and reproduction of bacteria and can disrupt their cell membrane, leading them to death. The binding action contributes to blocking the bacteria’s ability to attach to surfaces and form biofilms.
Kitotex® improves color saturation
Finally, Kitotex® has some effects on the aesthetics of our fabrics. It improves color saturation to make them more appealing and, after years of fine-tuning the technology, allowed us to create a new signature color: K-New, a 100% indigo shade with a light red cast.