The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:08 AM EST

Jeans are a perennial fashion favorite, with more than 4.5 billion pairs sold every year. But their synthetic indigo dye takes a toll on the environment, contaminating water with toxic chemical runoff. Biotechnology company Huue has specially engineered bacteria that turns natural sugars into indigo-identical dye—without the environmental impact—by mimicking how enzymes in plants create colors. In September, the company partnered with the cell-programming platform Ginkgo Bioworks to scale up production, and plans to start shipping to denim designers by the end of the year. —Aryn Baker


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