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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Morrison Iii, Wiley
item Akin, Danny

Submitted to: Nordflax I Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Interpretive summary not required for literature review, book chapter (unless reporting original research), book review, or oral presentation (where only the title or abstract is published). D152.1

Technical Abstract: An overview is presented of work to improve retting and methods of evaluating fiber and yarn quality. A method of enzymatic retting, developed among collaborating institutes, was applied to flax samples. Enzymes were capable of separating fibers as occurred in dew-retting. Mechanical pretreatment of stems enhanced enzymatic retting. The epidermis/cuticle region appeared to be a barrier to retting, and its integrity resulted in coarser fibers. Fiber and yarn samples commercially graded as low, medium, and high quality were analyzed by light microscopy, chemical analysis, Raman and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and two mass spectrometric techniques to determine characteristics which could be related to quality. Light microscopy revealed fewer fragments of cuticle and epidermal material bound to the fibers and greater separation of the fibers to smaller bundles as quality increased. Chemical analysis showed a decrease in fatty acids and long chain alcohols, and dihydroxy fatty acids with increasing quality. Raman spectroscopy showed an increase of cellulose and a decrease in aromatics and hydrocarbons from low to high quality. NMR analysis showed nearly equal amounts of crystalline cellulose within the fibers and yarn, regardless of quality. Statistical treatment of in-source, low voltage pyrolysis mass spectrometry pyrolysis mass spectrometry (PyMS) data showed that various quality samples could be differentiated based on pectin, fatty acids, protein or phenolics. Py gas chromatography (GC) MS showed palmitic acid present in lower concentrations in the high quality materials. Sinapylaldehyde and sinapyl alcohols were higher in concentrations in low quality yarn. The strength and weaknesses of each analytical method are discussed.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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