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item Akin, Danny
item Foulk, Jonn
item DODD, R
item EPPS, H

Submitted to: International Conference on Textile Biotechnology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2004
Publication Date: 6/13/2004
Citation: Akin, D.E., Foulk, J.A., Dodd, R.B., Epps, H.H. 2004. Properties of enzyme-retted, mechanically processed flax fibers. International Conference on Textile Biotechnology. June 13-16, Graz, Austria. Abstract #16.

Interpretive Summary: This is an abstract only. An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Flax (Linum usitassimum L.) has provided quality linen for textiles over millenia. Now, expanded use of flax fibers is sought for composites and non-woven applications. New methods are needed to extract and produce consistent quality fibers for these various uses. We developed an enzyme-retting procedure using commercial pectinase-rich mixtures and chelating products, and evaluated flax in small (10 kg) pilot scale tests. Retting, however, must be integrated to subsequent mechanical cleaning steps for practical fiber production. A pilot plant, using 4 modules based on the commercial "Unified Line", for cleaning flax has been recently established in the US. Flax, which was retted with a series of Viscozyme/chelator formulations, was cleaned through the "Unified Line" modules. Then, fine fiber resulting from passage through a Shirley Analyzer and the coarser fiber in the Shirley by-product were collected for each retting formulation. Flax fiber yield, fineness, strength, and color were determined for the series of enzyme-retting formulations and the various cleaning stages. Research provides information 1) on optimal enzyme-retting formulations, 2) for tailoring fiber properties through enzyme-retting, 3) as a basis for cost estimates of the chemical inputs, and 4) on fundamental knowledge of the interactions between enzyme-retting and mechanical cleaning.