Effect of Enzymatic Treatment of Flax on Chemical Composition and the Extent of Fiber Separation

Jana De Prez, Aart Willem Van Vuure, Jan Ivens, Guido Aerts, Ilse Van de Voorde

Abstract


Enzymatic treatment of flax is gaining more interest as a promising alternative for dew retting, which is known for its dependence on weather and climate. Therefore, the effect of enzymatic treatments of flax on the effectiveness of fiber separation from each other and chemical fiber composition was investigated in this study. Chemical composition was determined by a gravimetric method, while ease of separation (in the composites society, the process to obtain natural fibers from the plant is usually defined as extraction) was determined based on the amount of long fibers obtained as well as total time needed to release this fiber fraction, providing necessary insights in the extent to which fibers are loosened from the stem. Flax treatment with pectate lyase and polygalacturonase resulted in purified fibers with a cellulose content of 78 and 79% w/w and promising yield values of 24 and 17%, respectively. Besides these pectinases, xylanase activity also showed high potential for enzymatic retting. Hence, pectate lyase, polygalacturonase, and xylanase are promising enzymes to successfully replace the dew retting process.

Keywords


Flax; Enzymatic treatment; Polygalacturonase; Xylanase; Separation efficiency; Extraction

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