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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #113515


item Akin, Danny
item Foulk, Jonn
item DODD, ROY

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2001
Publication Date: 10/15/2001
Citation: Epps, H.H., Akin, D.E., Foulk, J.A., Dodd, R.B. 2001. Color of enzyme-retted flax fiber affected by processing, cleaning and cottonizing. Textile Research Journal; Vol. 71(10), pp. 916-921.

Interpretive Summary: The lack of fiber standards limits the development of a flax/linen industry in the US, and National Program Leaders have strongly encouraged the development of standards for quality. Color is one of five important properties identified for development of a series of standards for flax fibers by the Flax (Linen Content) Products subcommittee of ASTM. Research hby ARS-USDA and colleagues at the University of Georgia and Clemson have determined lightness, yellowness, and redness in a series of flax fibers produced from various sources, by various retting formulations, and cleaned by various means. Data are essential for developing a color standard for flax.

Technical Abstract: Twenty-seven representing variations of retted flax fiber were analyzed using a color spectrophotometer and CIELAB models. Variables included enzyme- or dew-retting, fiber or seed type flax, enzyme and chelator concentrations, and sequential cleaning steps. In addition to differences in color with enzyme- or dew-retting, the variables involved in enzyme-retting also contribute to significant differences in lightness, redness-greenness, and yellowness-blueness of the resulting fibers. Dew-retted fiber flax, as well as seed flax that had weathered during storage prior to enzyme-retting, was significantly darker than non- weathered, enzyme-retted fiber flax. Pairwise comparisons showed that lower enzyme concentrations (0.05% v/v as commercially supplied) produced redder and yellower fiber samples than ones retted with higher (0.3% v/v) enzyme levels. Higher chelator levels, (i.e., 50mM vs 25mM ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) produced redder fibers. Fiber lightness was significantly increased by additional cleaning steps. Lightness, redness, and yellowness of flax fibers are significantly influenced by a variety of factors. Results presented herein indicate that objective color measurements, and color standards, can define important fiber properties toward tailoring raw materials for specific industrial applications.