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Dyes from plants: Past usage, present understanding and potential


Prior to the synthesis of dyes from by-products of thepetrochemical industry all colour was derived from natural sources,including plants. As the awareness of the need to preserve ournatural resources increases and attitudes change towards achievingthis, interest is growing in finding renewable resources, which canbe used as alternatives. Recent work, to discover whether it ispossible to use plants as commercially viable sources of dyes hashighlighted a significant resource, which would benefit both industrial production and consumer choice. However, because of themultiplicity of products available, customer expectation is veryhigh. This means that in order to satisfy this demand for highquality and choice, the plants in question must be studied more closely to allow breeding of useful lines and improved economicreturns.

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Correspondence to Kerry G. Gilbert (nee Stoker).

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Gilbert (nee Stoker), K.G., Cooke, D.T. Dyes from plants: Past usage, present understanding and potential. Plant Growth Regulation 34, 57–69 (2001).

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  • anthraquinones
  • flavonoids
  • indigo
  • Isatis
  • plant dyes
  • woad