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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Cotton-based Nonwovens

Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research

Title: Assessment of the level of microbial combination in cotton and synthetic fibers destined for the use in nonwoven applications

Authors
item Hinchliffe, Doug
item DE Lucca, Anthony -
item Condon, Brian
item O'Regan, Jan -
item Clemmons, Julie -
item Zeng, Linghe
item Byler, Richard
item Reynolds, Michael
item Allen Jr, Hiram
item Santiago Cintron, Michael
item Madison, Crista

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Microbial burden measurements are crucial for certain converter uses of nonwoven materials. Currently, the microbial burden of natural fibers such as cotton have not been quantified and little consideration has been given to the potential contamination introduced by synthetic fibers during the processing from synthesis to roll goods production. A total of seven source fiber types were selected for use in the manufacturing of nonwoven roll goods: polyester; polypropylene; rayon; greige cotton from two sources; mechanically cleaned cotton; and scoured and bleached cotton. The bacterial and fungal microbial burden of each source fiber was measured as a preliminary assessment of microbial contamination using heterotrophic pour plate counts. Natural greige cotton fibers exhibited the highest levels of total microbial contamination, which were reduced by both storage time and trash removal in the form of mechanical cleaning. Changes in microbial burden levels were measured at each step in the nonwoven manufacturing process that included opening, carding, needlepunch fabric production; hydroentangled fabric production and recovered effluents, and final hydroentangled roll goods. The hydroentanglement process resulted in the greatest reduction in microbial burden with no detectable levels of aerobic microbial contamination present on any of the final hydroentangled roll goods regardless of the source fiber. No detectable levels of aerobic microbial regrowth were observed on any fabrics regardless of storage time or ambient storage conditions. Analysis of suspended solids (> 5'M) present in hydroentanglment effluents collected during fabric production revealed significantly less suspended solids (p < 0.001) emanated from synthetic fibers compared to all cotton fiber types. Among the cotton fibers utilized, greige and greige mechanically cleaned released significantly less suspended solids than scoured and bleached.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014