Submitted to: Flax Institute Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/24/2000
Publication Date: 3/25/2000
Citation: Akin, D.E., Morrison III, W.H., Rigsby, L.L., Dodd, R.B., Foulk, J.A., Mcalister III, D.D. 2000. Flax fiber: structure, properties, and enzyme retting. Proceedings of the 58th Flax Institute, United States; pp. 202-207.
Technical Abstract: An enzyme retting formulation and retting procedure for production of cottonized flax fibers have been developed and applied at the pilot scale level. Crimping of stems using fluted rollers and inclusion of chelators with pectinase-rich enzyme mixtures resulted in effectively retted stems from fiber and seed flax. Our tests indicate that seed flax residue could be a suitable source of enzyme-retted fibers for composites or perhaps for cottonized fibers. The methods used for testing cotton fibers, namely micronaire for fineness and Stelometer for strength, provided useful results to compare flax samples and could be employed as a basis for flax standards. Micronaire and strength values were similar for flax fibers from a range of sources. Flax fibers produced with our enzyme retting method, while significantly weaker than long line fibers, were similar to dew-retted, cottonized flax and to good quality upland cotton. With some seed flax stems, rigid sheets of cuticle appeared to bind bast tissue and prevent separation of fibers and fiber bundles. Therefore, the enzyme retting procedure may require modifications for particular sample types that are recalcitrant with the current procedure.