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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #123901


item Akin, Danny
item Foulk, Jonn
item Dodd, Roy

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2001
Publication Date: 6/15/2002
Citation: Akin, D.E., Foulk, J.A., Dodd, R.B. 2002. Influence on flax fiber of components in enzyme-retting formulations. Textile Research Journal; Vol. 72(6), pp. 510-514.

Interpretive Summary: The current method for obtaining flax fibers is called dew-retting, but this method produces an inconsistent and inferior product for use in textile mills. Improved retting methods are required to establish a flax/linen industry in the US. While enzyme retting offers a possibility, costs and quality must be controlled. Results showed the variations in fiber yield, fiber properties, and chemical costs associated with several modifications of commercial products used in pilot plant scale enzyme-retting tests. Information establishes a database for fiber quality and cost toward optimizing the enzyme-retting system, and data provide a basis for integrating the pilot plant work with cleaning systems for fiber applications in textile and composites industries.

Technical Abstract: A series of enzyme and chelator was tested for flax fiber yield and properties using a recently developed enzyme-retting system on Ariane flax grown as a winter crop in southeastern South Carolina. Chelator level determined the fine fiber (i.e., Shirley-cleaned) yield. Fiber strength, measured by Stelometer, was inversely proportional to enzyme level and not affected by chelator level. Fiber fineness measured by air flow methods was better with higher enzyme levels, and within enzyme levels the higher chelator levels tended to produce fibers with the highest degree of fineness. Relative cost calculations, taking into account fiber yield with costs of enzyme and chelators, provided a framework for determining retting efficiency and fiber quality. Results indicated that fiber properties can be tailored by enzyme or chelator levels. Further, commercial enzyme mixtures and chelators effectively retted flax and could serve as a basis for large scale retting tests