Submitted to: Fiber Flax Processing for Applications in Textiles and Composites
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2008
Publication Date: 7/21/2008
Citation: Himmelsbach, D.S., Holser, R.A. 2008. Flax processing: use of waste streams for profit. Fiber Flax Processing for Applications in Textiles and Composites. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: With the potential loss of price supports for flax fibre processing and their non-existence in some countries, serious consideration should be given to the use of waste streams to increase profitability. These waste streams include the dust, shive, retting wash water, and waste cellulose. For example, fatty alcohols (policosanols) and long chain waxes (C40-C60 esters) can be extracted for potential industrial, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical applications these fractions containing cuticular tissues and surface waxes. Recovery of these compounds can be accomplished by conventional extraction processes such as with hexane solvents or green separation methods that would include supercritical fluids or hot alcohol. Additionally, shive, which is the mostly heavily lignified material, can be a source of aromatics of various types. These aromatics have potential uses as antimicrobials, antioxidants, and resins. They can be obtained from shive by extraction, enzymatic or base treatment as the corresponding monomers, oligimers, or polymers. Waste cellulose, which is mostly free of aromatics and has little surface wax, is generated from processing non-woven and woven materials and can be saccharified with microbes, or cellulases with subsequent fermentation to produce ethanol as a biofuel. All of these waste streams represent potential value-added co-products to enhance profits and provide direct economic support for the flax fibre industry.