Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Enzymes are being used in increased amounts for treatment of cotton to add value to products and reduce the cost and potential environmental harm of chemicals. However, much is unknown about how to best use the enzymes or which enzymes would be optimal for the characteristics desired in the product. Research by University of Georgia and ARS scientists was undertaken to evaluate various types of enzymes as a potential treatment t reduce sodium hydroxide used in cotton scouring. Results indicated substantial changes occurred in cotton fibers treated with enzymes, and water absorbency was adequate indicating successful finishing could occur. These data will help establish methods, and specific parameters of the methods, for greater value added characteristics to industrial fibers in more environmentally friendly processing treatments.
Technical Abstract: The application of pectinases and cellulases dramatically improved cotton water absorbency. Microscopy observations, staining tests, water absorbency tests, fiber weight loss analysis and nitrogen content analysis were conducted on raw cotton, and chemically and biochemically treated cotton to both qualitatively and quantitatively determine the nature of changes in the surfaces of cotton caused by the enzymatic treatments. The cotton surface structure was modified by digestion of the pectins in cotton cuticle and the amorphous primary wall cellulose under the cuticle. The destruction of the hydrophobic cotton cuticle under mild enzymatic treatment conditions occurs simultaneously with achievement of adequate water absorbency of the cotton. More severe enzymatic treatments completely remove the cuticle from the cotton fiber surfaces.