Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 4, 2001
Publication Date: November 10, 2001
Citation: Akin, D.E., Morrison III, W.H., Rigsby, L.L., Dodd, R.B. 2001. Plant factors influencing enzyme-retting of fiber and seed flax. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49(12): 5778-5784. Interpretive Summary: The major problem in processing flax, in order to establish a flax/linen industry in the US, is improved retting over the current method of dew-retting. Results showed which components are the most influential in enzyme-retting for both fiber type and seed type flax. Information is important in optimizing enzyme-retting formulations and associated cleaning gprocesses for fibers with specific properties required by the textile and composite industries.
Technical Abstract: Retting, which is the microbial activity through which bast fibers are released from non-fiber tissues, is the limiting factor in flax processing. The objective of this work is to identify chemical and structural characteristics in a variety of fiber and seed flax types that influence enzyme-retting in a recently developed method. Analyses of flax retted in a aseries of tests, including twice enzyme-retting in some cases, indicated t lignin did not limit the separation of fibers from shive and showed that pectinases in enzyme-retting mixtures could ret fiber and seed flax. Howev mature stems, such as that in flax produced for seed, had greater amounts o cutin and wax in the cleaned fiber product, suggesting that the cuticle cou be a greater antiquality factor in seed vs fiber flax. With seed flax, the fraction of finer fibers produced during retting was significantly lower th with fiber flax. Results indicated that enzyme-retting could be used to obtain flax fibers from seed flax stem residues and add value to this agricultural material.