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Title: Influence of pectinolytic enzymes on retting effectiveness and resultant fiber properties

Author
item Foulk, Jonn
item Akin, Danny
item DODD, ROY

Submitted to: BioResources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/3/2008
Publication Date: 2/20/2008
Citation: Foulk, J.A., Akin, D.E., Dodd, R. 2008. Influence of pectinolytic enzymes on retting effectiveness and resultant fiber properties. BioResources. 3(1):155-169.

Interpretive Summary: Enzymes have the capability to ret flax into textile grade fibers. New commercial pectinase enzymes were evaluated for retting efficiency with and without chelators (compounds that remove metal). The Fried Test was used to determine the most efficient enzyme and retting conditions. All enzymes retted flax stems better in the presence of chelators. Pectinases that contained cellulase reduced fiber strength. Cellulase hydrolyzes cellulose so enzymes without cellulases retted flax with minimal strength loss. The cellulase containing enzyme, Viscozyme, and several pectinolytic enzymes were compared in pilot plant studies. Texazym and Bioprep (enzymes free of cellulase) retted flax well with higher strength. The monocomponent nature, commercial availability and price, and ability to ret flax in combination with EDTA at high pH indicated a potential advantage for Bioprep in these tests. Retting with different enzymes and formulations resulted in fibers with different properties, thereby leading to protocols for tailored fiber characteristics.

Technical Abstract: Enzymes have the potential to provide an improved method to ret flax for textile fibers. New commercial pectinase products were evaluated both with and without ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) for retting efficiency. The Fried Test identified the most efficient enzymes and best retting conditions. All enzymes retted flax stems better in the presence of 18 mM EDTA. Pectinases that also contained cellulases reduced fiber strength, whereas those without cellulases effectively retted flax without substantial strength loss. Viscozyme, which has been used extensively in our enzyme-retting research, and several pectinolytic enzymes were compared in pilot plant scale tests. Texazym BFE and Bioprep 3000 L retted flax as well as Viscozyme in this system, and fibers had higher tenacity. The monocomponent nature, commercial availability and price, and ability to ret flax in combination with EDTA at high pH indicated a potential advantage for Bioprep 3000 L in these tests. Retting with different enzymes and formulations resulted in fibers with different properties, thereby leading to protocols for tailored fiber characteristics.