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Milkweed fibre an alternative to cots-wool blends
03
Apr '08
NITRA is working for the last three years on development of alternative to cots-wool blend, which is considered as the best suited blend for early and late winter seasons. As a result of this incisive study, NITRA has come out with an unconventional natural fibre named Milkweed.

Milkweed fibre (Asclepiad syriaca) is obtained from the seedpod of milkweed, which is also known as mudar. The members of this family are found in the tropical regions and in the drier parts of Central and South America. In India, it grows abundantly on barren and wastelands in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The family is represented by several genera such as Asclepias, Calotropis and Ceropigia. Milkweed is a single cell natural fibre like cotton but without having the convolutions like cotton fibre. The plant contains abundance of milk saps in its leaves, stem and pods.

It has low cellulosic content and smooth surface. Milkweed fibre is hollow, with a thin wall relative to their diameter and is therefore, lightweight. The hollow structure of milkweed fibre has led to its use in items where good insulation or buoyancy properties are needed.

Similarly milkweed fibre can be used in place of wool in the blend contains cotton as second fibre. Hence, there is huge potential for this fibre to substitute the costlier cots-wool blend.

NITRA is glad to announce that it has carried out preliminary study to develop the processing technology for commercial exploitation. Expression of interest is sought from the industry for technical collaboration with NITRA.

Northern India Textile Research Association

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