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item Akin, Danny
item Rigsby, Luanne - Lowe

Submitted to: Textile Chemist and Colorist and American Dyestuff Reporter
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2000
Publication Date: 9/15/2000
Citation: Akin, D.E., Hardin, I.R., Rigsby, L.L., Epps, H.H. 2000. Enzyme-retted fibers from fiber and seed flax. Textile Chemist and Colorist and American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol 32, pp. 36-39.

Interpretive Summary: The US is reported to be the largest consumer of linen and linen/blend textiles, but no fiber is produced in the US and all linen and linen content products are imported. In order to develop a flax/linen industry in the US, better retting methods and quality standards are required. Work carried out between ARS and the University of Georgia indicated that enzyme-retting could be used to produce fibers of diverse properties for various industrial applications. Work advances efforts addressing the two major problems (consistent retting and quality standards) limiting the development of a flax/linen industry in the US.

Technical Abstract: Methods used in cotton fiber analysis offer possibilities to develop standards for flax fibers, which are needed to develop a new industry. Fineness is an important property that is related to strength. Because of the nature of bast fiber development, diverse numbers of ultimate fibers are contained within the various bundles, giving broad distribution of fiber bundle size and making analyses for precise fiber fineness difficult and often nebulous. Image analysis was used to develop width categories that allowed these statistics to be compared with micronaire, and some agreement occurred between the frequency in the finest category (10 to 30 um) and micronaire values using a modified (5.0 g samples cut to 2.5 cm lengths) procedure. Enzyme-retting produced fibers lighter in color than dew-retted samples based on CIELAB measurements, and other color characteristics varied with samples. Results suggest that use of enzymes for retting could produce fibers with particular properties, thus providin diversity in fiber characteristics for various applications.