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Bio-processing of Coir—A Natural Fibre for Diversified End Use

Chapter

Abstract

Coir is a unique natural fibre used in diverse applications of great economic importance. Coir and coir fibre products sustain the livelihood of a significant segment of the population in the coastal belt of southern India, especially Kerala. The coconut husk which is the raw material for the coir industry is available in abundance in India in regions of concentrated cultivation of coconut & this can be used for generation of rural employment and provide income to a sizable amount of population with relatively low investment. The annual production of regular coir fibre is 350 thousand tons and coir pith is 700 thousand tons. The 100% biodegradable nature of coir has resulted in a steady increase in its demand as compared with the synthetic materials which have problems of recycling, health hazards and biodegradability. Natural retting of coconut husks by native bacteria results in the release of toxic phenols delaying the extraction of the fibre and lowering the pH of the environmental waters detrimental to aquatic life. Therefore, it is imperative to develop ecofriendly methods for coir extraction from coconut husks. Current studies were undertaken to elucidate the contribution of a formulated bacterial consortium that can survive and proliferate on leachates from coconut husk rich in polyphenols under controlled conditions. The data revealed that application of a bacterial consortium from husk and estuarine water prepared by enrichment technique could reduce the process of retting to 3 months in comparison to 9-11 months by natural retting. This consortium comprised of bacteria like Azotobacter, Bacillus, Micrococcus, Pseudomonas, Actinomycetes and pectin degraders. The study emphasized that a consortium can be generated at any site using the physico-chemical parameters existing in the area. Such consortia can be useful for reducing the period for retting of husks for coir extraction and also help in controlling the environmental pollution arising due to retting in the estuarine ecosystem.

Keywords

Coir fibre Retting Bacterial consortium Polyphenols Coir pith Tender coconut husk 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coir BoardCentral Coir Research InstituteAlleppeyIndia

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