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Advantages of Pineapple Fiber
By :   Dr. Yasodha Thirumal 
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In developing countries, there is a different approach to deal with organic waste. In fact, the word 'waste' is often an inappropriate term for organic matter, which is often put to good use. The economies of most developing countries dictates that materials and resources must be used to their full potential, and this has propagated a culture of reuse, repair and recycling. In many developing countries there exists a whole sector of recyclers, scavengers and collectors, whose business is to salvage ' waste' material and reclaim it for further use. In India, 1500 jam and juice industries exist and in Tamilnadu, 259 industries are involved in processing. One of the commonly used fruits is Pineapple. From each pineapple fruit, only 52 % is used for jam and juice production. Remaining 48 % consists of fruit peel and leaves forming the waste. These waste are rich in lignin and cellulose and thus from a very good raw material for allied fibers. Also, Waste disposal is a major problem in these industries because of very high lignin and cellulose content of the waste leaves which is difficult to be degraded, thus resulting in pollution and affecting the environment.

The available, traditional methods of fiber extraction involve the processes viz., retting, decortication, combing etc., which takes 5-7 days. During decortications, it is difficult to extract the fibers as they are sticky due to the presence of pith thus necessasiating the use of chemicals which is not ecosafe. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of ecofriendly, cost effective technology.


There are different approaches to recycle the pineapple leaf wastes and substitutes for cotton /artificial fiber production without harming the environment with the following objectives.


  • To produce silky white fiber from pineapple waste using biotechnological approach.
  • To compare the biotechnologically produced fibers with the commercially available /natural fibers for its qualities.
  • To curtail the disposal problems of pineapple processing industrial waste.
  • To minimize the use of forest resources by using non woody resources like organic waste
  • Biotechnological engineering of waste to fiber.


The research methodologies with extensive knowledge in taxonomy/anatomy of various plants, textile technology blended with biotechnology are required to derive the following strategies.


  • Identification of natural fibers from agro-wastes which possess potential textile uses
  • Designing and development of technologies to convert agro-waste leaves to useful fibers.
  • Extensive research work on physico-chemical properties, biotechnology and engineering aspects of these fibers.
  • Methodologies to focus on biotechnological solutions to problems in retting and decortication processes
  • To derive eco-safe technologies for rural people by curtailing the high usage of chemicals and high cost for raw material
  • To optimize the novel metabolites of commercial importance by bioprocess for novel textile technologies that acquire
  • less energy and based on renewable raw material
  • To standardize the technical strategies for diversified application pineapple fiber (PAF) as usage of waste leaves.
  • Blending of PAF with other natural and synthetic fibers may open a new avenue for producing fibers with decorative high value yarns.
  • Analysis of the cost benefit by applying biostatistical tools.


Advantages:


  • Can be added with other allied fibers to improve their quality and application
  • Zero waste management
  • Ecosafe, and rapid technology
  • Employment opportunity for rural population


Expected outcome:

  • Strategy for development of fine quality fibers for textile weavers
  • Employment opportunity for rural population


The author is Assistant Professor in Dept of Microbiology at Adama University, Ethiopia

 

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Published On Friday, July 30, 2010
 
 
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