Submitted to: Journal of Natural Fibres
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2005
Publication Date: 10/15/2006
Citation: Akin, D.E., Foulk, J.A., Dodd, R.B., Epps, H.H. 2006. Enzyme-retted flax using different formulations and processed through the usda flax fiber pilot plant. Journal of Natural Fibers. 3:55-68.
Interpretive Summary: The development of a flax fiber industry in the US is needed to provide alternative crops and bio-based products to supply US fiber industries with high and consistent quality fiber and to help farm economies. Barriers to such a development are current retting methods, which result in inconsistent quality fibers and lack of processing information for tailoring fiber properties. Research has been untaken between USDA and university scientists to enzyme-ret flax, process the flax through a recently installed pilot plant, and determine yield and properties of fiber from various stages of processing. Results show that flax can be grown, enzyme-retted, and cleaned in the US, with properties of different types for a variety of industries. Data support the development of a US flax fiber industry.
Technical Abstract: Mature Ariane flax was retted with various proportions of the commercial enzyme mixture Viscozyme L (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3% of product as supplied) and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (4, 7, and 18 mM) from Mayoquest 200. Retted material was then cleaned through the USDA Flax Fiber Pilot Plant (Flax-PP) consisting of the following: 9-roller crushing calender, top shaker, scutching wheel, 5-roller grooved calender. To simulate cottonization of fiber for use in textiles, the Flax-PP -cleaned fiber was passed 1 X through a Shirley Analyzer. Fiber yields and properties (strength, elongation, fineness, and color), which were determined for the various processing stages, were influenced by various formulations and by processing stage. For this flax sample, 0.05% Viscozyme plus 18mM EDTA produced the highest yield of Flax-PP and Shirley-cleaned fibers, strong fine fibers of light color, and the strongest coarse fibers from Shirley by- product material.