Submitted to: Nordic Textile Journal
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2000
Publication Date: 12/30/2000
Citation: Henriksson, G., Akin, D.E., Zhang, J., Khalili, S., Johansson, G. 2000. Recent progress of enzymatic retting of flax. Nordic Textile Journal; Vol. 2 (no pages) Interpretive Summary: Flax in important world-wide but is not produced commercially in the US. Improved processing systems could improve production and processing, making this bio-based fiber more efficiently produced in the US and in Scandinavian countries where dew-retting is difficult. Work was reviewed on several aspects of dew-retting. Data are important in showing how an overall process should be developed for enzyme-retting to produce quality flax fibers.
Technical Abstract: An enzyme-retting system has been developed in the US for retting flax. The use of chelators to remove calcium, in conjunction with pectinases, worked well to extract flax fibers from the non-fiber stem tissues. When dew-retting is replaced by enzyme-retting, the entire processing of flax requires modification, especially for short staple, cottonized flax fibers. .Harvested flax will be transported directly to processing units for mechanical bending of straws creating cracks in the surface for enzyme penetration. Enzyme-retting, which is the next step, can be carried out by either semi-wet retting or wet retting. Both methods have advantages and drawback, but we have produced yarn and textiles with acceptable properties with both methods.