Texas Tech University

Abidi part of research team cited as 2022 Prototype Fund winner

Norman Martin

November 14, 2022

The Innovation Hub at Research Park this month awarded $25,000 to New American Fabric, a startup supporting agricultural technology that includes as part of its development team, Noureddine Abidi, Texas Tech's Leidigh Professor in the Department of Plant & Soil Science and Director of the university's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute.

The cash award will go toward further development of a prototype aimed at creating an inexpensive, antimicrobial cotton fabric. The founding team includes Abidi, along with Phat Tran and Ted Reid with Texas Tech's Health Sciences Center, and Nick Bergfeld, an Innovation Hub ITTU Mentor.

“We were able to customize an antimicrobial chemical compound that reacts with cotton cellulose using either the traditional dyeing process or the traditional chemical crosslinking approach,” Abidi said. “When applied to cotton fabric using a simple approach, the fabric possesses antimicrobial properties.”

Applications of the finished fabric include socks, gauzes and medical textiles, he said. Further research is needed to study the durability of the treatment and to produce samples for real world applications.

Each year faculty, students and community entrepreneurs with an established technology startup are given the opportunity to develop a minimum viable product based on customer discovery and recommendations from the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps. 

The Prototype Fund also assists in the development of intellectual property and validates technology for currently funded projects or new small business innovation research or small business technology transfer proposals. This year, the fund awarded five startups with between $5,000 and $25,000 to further develop their. The awardees include students and faculty from Texas Tech and the TTUHSC, as well as members of the community.

Abidi has a strong history of creative research. Recent honors include the President's Excellence in Commercialization Award (2021), and the Discover Natural Fibres Initiative Innovation Award (2020) for his work and the patent received for his discovery of changing low-grade cotton to a cellulose gel that can be used in a wide variety of ways.

In the past Abidi's research has focused on the creation of antimicrobial textiles, self-cleaned textiles and the physicochemical characterization of pollen shells. This is done using Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy, a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas, and thermal gravimetric analysis, where the mass of a sample is measured over time as the temperature changes.

Abidi holds a doctorate in theoretical, physical and analytical chemistry from the University of Montpellier II in France. He joined the FBRI in 1999 as a research associate working in chemical finishes and textile chemistry, holding a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in polymer chemistry.


This story was first published in the Davis College NewsCenter. See the original article here.