Bioretting

Chapter

Abstract

Flax for centuries has provided important industrial products such as textiles, oilseed, and paper/pulp. Fibers are obtained from flax stems by the process of retting. Two methods employed for retting flax at commercial levels using pectinolytic microorganisms are water- and dew-retting. Water-retting traditionally depends upon anaerobic bacteria, such as Clostridium spp., that live in lakes, rivers, ponds, and vats to produce pectinases and other enzymes to ret flax. The stench from anaerobic fermentation of the plants, extensive pollution of waterways, high drying costs, and putrid odor of resulting fibers resulted in a move away from anaerobic water-retting in the mid-twentieth century to dew-retting. Dew-retting is the result of colonization and partial plant degradation by plant-degrading, aerobic fungi of flax stems, which are harvested and laid out in swaths in fields. The highest quality linen fibers are produced using dew-retting but concern exists within this industry about low and inconsistent quality. Enzymes have the potential to provide an improved method to ret flax for textile fibers. Enzymatic-retting produces high and consistent quality fibers of staple length for blending with cotton and other fibers. Enzymatic-retting is faster and more reproducible than traditional methods and may provide the spinners with a better quality product.

Keywords

Flax Retting Enzymes Pectinolytic microorganisms Dew-retting Water-retting Anaerobic bacteria 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pulp and Paper ConsultantKanpurIndia

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