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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mechanical Pretreatment and Presence of Oxalic Acid Increase the Efficiencyof Enzymatic Treatment of Flax

item Henriksson, Gunnar - UNIV GA DEPT BIOCHEM
item Eriksson, Karl-Erik - UNIV GA DEPT BIOCHEM
item Akin, Danny

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 16, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The re-establishment of a linen industry in the US would be facilitated by development of an environmentally friendly process of retting, which is the process of isolating the fibers from the non-fibrous parts of the stem. Improvement in retting would result in a more consistent fiber and would reduce costs. Research in this paper showed that addition of oxalic acid with the commercial retting enzyme mixture Flaxzyme reduced the amount of enzyme needed by 50 fold. A mechanical pretreatment to disrupt cell structure further improved the retting process. Results were important in showing a potentially environmentally friendly retting process which reduced costs that could stimulate a linen industry in this country.

Technical Abstract: The presence of 50 mM oxalic acid reduced the amount of Flaxzyme giving the greatest extent of retting with the Fried test by a factor of about 50. The retting process was completed at approximately half the time at 45 deg C compared with that at 22 deg C. A mechanical pretreatment, which was a pulling of the flax stem over a surface at an angle of 90 deg, that crushed dand opened the flax structure further increase the efficiency of the enzymatic retting. These procedures likely would reduce the amount of time and the amount of enzyme required to ret flax and, therefore, improve the probably of use at the commercial level.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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