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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Indigo dye is an important dyestuff with a distinctive blue color . The chemical compound that constitues the indigo dye is called indigotin.
  • A variety of plants, including woad, have provided indigo throughout history, but most natural indigo is obtained from those in the genus Indigofera, which are native to the tropics. In temperate climates indigo can also be obtained from woad (Isatis tinctoria) and dyer's knotweed (Polygonum tinctorum), although the Indigofera species yield more dye.

Process

  • Natural indigo dye is extracted from the legume plant Indigofera tinctoria. The process involves over night fermentation of harvested indigo plant using bacteria in specially designed cement moulded ring tank. After fermentation the plant debris are removed and the ferment liquid is oxidised using specially designed mechanical agitator. The precipitated indigo settles down at the bottom of the tank as slurry is collected, boiled and sun dried as indigo cake

Market

  • While at present natural indigo accounts for less than 1% of the total indigo market, a European Union survey suggests that by 2005 15% of textile sales will have been dyed using natural products.
  • World consumption of indigo in the 1800s was very large indeed, so in 1866 a German chemist named Adolph von Baeyer began his studies of the pigment and eventually elucidated its chemical structure so that it could be synthesized commercially.
    At the end of the 19th century, Germany was able to produce synthetic indigotine cheaper than the natural dyestuff, and thus Germany then took charge of supplying indigo

Applications

  • The indigo dye is used for dyeing of fabrics especially denim cloth for jeans, printing cotton, rayon and wool. Apart from these it has medicinal uses such as stimulant, antithelmintic, antiperiodic, ulcers, hair colourant and several other applications.
  • Indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing. Many Asian countries, such as India, China, and Japan, have used indigo as a dye for centuries. The dye was also known to ancient civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Britain, Peru, and Africa. India is believed to be the oldest center of indigo dyeing in the Old World. It was a primary supplier of indigo to Europe as early as the Greco-Roman era.
  • The roots, stems and leaves are biter, thermogenic, laxative, trichogenous, expectorant, anthelminitic, tonic and diuretic, and are useful for promoting the growth of hair and in gastropathy, splenomegaly, cephalagia, cardiopathy, chronic bronchitis, asthma, ulcers and skin diseases
     

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