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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Activated Peroxide-Assisted Enzmatic Control of Wool Shrinkage

item Cardamone, Jeanette

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 2005
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: To control the dimensional stability of wool, enzymes can modify the scalar surface structure by proteolysis of the polypeptide network so that the surface properties no longer assist in entanglement. Wool is resistant to enzyme attack. Efficient enzymatic systems generally include a reducing agent to rupture peptide linkages and cystine disulfide cross-linkages by hydrolysis and oxidation. We have designed effective systems to control shrinkage by pretreating wool with a stable, activated peroxide followed by proteolysis treatment with either serine or cysteine protease. In the ARS patented process for whitening, biopolishing and shrinkage control, wool fabrics are pretreated at 30ºC for 30 minutes with a powerful, stable peroxide, peroxycarboximide, formed from dicyandiamide and alkaline hydrogen peroxide with gluconic acid stablizer for sustained whitening. Subsequent treatment at 45ºC for 40 minutes with serinase assisted by sodium sulfite or unassisted cysteinase applied at 50°C for 60 minutes biopolishes and controls the shrinkage of woven and knit wool fabrics of various fabric weights and constructions without appreciable loss in strength or elastic recovery. The process provides bleached, biopolished, machine-washable wool that can be worn with "itch-free" comfort.

Last Modified: 4/17/2015
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