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Advances in Textile Biotechnology

Advances in Textile Biotechnology

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Advances in Textile Biotechnology

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Jul 7, 2019


Advances in Textile Biotechnology, Second Edition examines the latest in biotechnology for the fiber and textile industry. This new edition has been fully revised to include the current essential areas of development in the field, covering both natural and synthetic fibers. Chapters cover the latest technology in bioprocessing for bast fiber, PVA, polyester, wool and silk before exploring issues of enzyme stability. Essential areas of application and development are then considered, including biomedical textiles, silk materials for biotechnological applications, bacterial cellulose, the ink jetting of enzymes, and the role of enzymes, wool and silk fibers.

Containing groundbreaking research, this book will be essential reading for manufacturers, designers and engineers in the textiles industry, textile and fiber scientists, and academic researchers and postgraduate students working in the area of textile technology.

  • Provides a thorough overview of current and future focuses of biotechnology in the fiber and textile industry
  • Presents fully revised content, with a new focus on biosynthesis and bioprocessing for novel textile fibers, both synthetic and natural
  • Enables readers to understand and utilize the benefits of biotechnology for the manufacture and production of textiles
Lançado em:
Jul 7, 2019

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Advances in Textile Biotechnology - Elsevier Science

Advances in Textile Biotechnology

Second Edition


Artur Cavaco-Paulo

Vincent A. Nierstrasz

Qiang Wang

Table of Contents

Cover image

Title page

The Textile Institute Book Series


List of contributors


1. Bioprocessing of bast fibers

1.1. Introduction

1.2. Biotechnology used for retting of bast fiber

1.3. Biotechnology used for pretreatment of bast fiber

1.4. Biotechnology used for functionalization of bast fiber

1.5. Conclusions and future trends

2. Poly(vinyl alcohol)–degrading enzyme

2.1. Introduction

2.2. Microorganisms degrading poly(vinyl alcohol)

2.3. Production and characteristics of poly(vinyl alcohol)–degrading enzymes

2.4. Poly(vinyl alcohol) dehydrogenase

2.5. Mechanism of poly(vinyl alcohol) biodegradation

2.6. Conclusion

3. Bioprocessing of polyesters

3.1. Introduction

3.2. Enzymatic modification of poly(ethylene terephthalate)

3.3. Esterases

3.4. Applications

3.5. Analytical methods

3.6. Conclusions and future trends

4. Biosynthesis of polyesters and their application on cellulosic fibers

4.1. Modification of cellulose fibers: state-of-the-art

4.2. Biosynthesis of polyesters

4.3. Coating of cotton

4.4. Final remarks and future perspectives

5. Enzymatic treatment of wool and silk fibers

5.1. Introduction

5.2. Enzymes used for protein fiber processing

5.3. The application of enzymatic treatments to wool fibers

5.4. The application of enzymatic treatments to silk fibers

5.5. Future trends

6. Enzyme stabilization for biotechnological applications

6.1. Challenges for the successful application of enzymes in industry

6.2. Importance of stable and active enzymes on industrial applications

6.3. Enzyme's stabilization based on immobilization and formulation techniques: methods and applications

6.4. Practical insights on applications of stabilized enzymes

6.5. Final remarks and future perspective

7. Enzyme biotechnology for medical textiles

7.1. Introduction

7.2. Enzymatic functionalization of biomedical textiles

7.3. Enzymes embedded on biomedical textiles

7.4. Enzyme-responsive biomedical textiles

7.5. Conclusions and future trends

8. Biopolyphenolics in textile

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Natural polyphenols

8.3. Attractive bioactivities of polyphenols

8.4. Functionalization of textiles with biopolyphenols

8.5. Conclusion and future trends

9. Processing of cotton and man-made cellulosic fibers

9.1. Introduction

9.2. Enzymatic desizing, scouring, and bleaching of cotton

9.3. Enzymes in dyeing of cellulose fibers

9.4. Enzymatic finishing of cellulosic fibers

9.5. Integrated processing of cotton and man-made cellulosic fibers: scouring, bleaching, dyeing, and finishing

9.6. Ultrasound in the enzymatic processing of cellulosic fibers

9.7. Final considerations and outlook

10. Silk materials for biotechnology

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Extraction of fibroin and sericin

10.3. Fabrication

10.4. Biotechnological applications

10.5. Conclusion

11. Bacterial cellulose as promising biomaterial and its application

11.1. Introduction

11.2. Applications of bacterial cellulose

11.3. Conclusion and future trends

12. Inkjetting of enzymes

12.1. Introduction

12.2. Inkjet technology

12.3. Inkjet printing of enzymes

12.4. Conclusion and future trends


The Textile Institute Book Series

Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1925, The Textile Institute was established as the professional body for the textile industry to provide support to businesses, practitioners and academics involved with textiles and to provide routes to professional qualifications through which Institute Members can demonstrate their professional competence. The Institute’s aim is to encourage learning, recognise achievement, reward excellence and disseminate information about the textiles, clothing and footwear industries and the associated science, design and technology; it has a global reach with individual and corporate members in over 80 countries.

The Textile Institute Book Series supersedes the former ‘Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles’ and represents a collaboration between The Textile Institute and Elsevier aimed at ensuring that Institute Members and the textile industry continue to have access to high calibre titles on textile science and technology.

Books published in The Textile Institute Book Series are offered on the Elsevier web site at: store.elsevier.com and are available to Textile Institute Members at a substantial discount. Textile Institute books still in print are also available directly from the Institute’s web site at: www.textileinstitute.org

To place an order, or if you are interested in writing a book for this series, please contact Matthew Deans, Senior Publisher: m.deans@elsevier.com

Recently Published and Upcoming Titles in The Textile Institute Book Series

New Trends in Natural Dyes for Textiles, Padma Vankar Dhara Shukla, 978-0-08-102686-1

Smart Textile Coatings and Laminates, William C. Smith, 2nd Edition, 978-0-08-102428-7

Advanced Textiles for Wound Care, 2nd Edition, S. Rajendran, 978-0-08-102192-7

Manikins for Textile Evaluation, Rajkishore Nayak Rajiv Padhye, 978-0-08-100909-3

Automation in Garment Manufacturing, Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye, 978-0-08-101211-6

Sustainable Fibres and Textiles, Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, 978-0-08-102041-8

Sustainability in Denim, Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, 978-0-08-102043-2

Circular Economy in Textiles and Apparel, Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, 978-0-08-102630-4

Nanofinishing of Textile Materials, Majid Montazer Tina Harifi, 978-0-08-101214-7

Nanotechnology in Textiles, Rajesh Mishra Jiri Militky, 978-0-08-102609-0

Inorganic and Composite Fibers, Boris Mahltig Yordan Kyosev, 978-0-08-102228-3

Smart Textiles for In Situ Monitoring of Composites, Vladan Koncar, 978-0-08-102308-2

Handbook of Properties of Textile and Technical Fibres, 2nd Edition, A. R. Bunsell, 978-0-08-101272-7

Silk, 2nd Edition, K. Murugesh Babu, 978-0-08-102540-6


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List of contributors

Karina Alves dos Santos,     Chemistry Department, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, Brazil

Jürgen Andreaus,     Chemistry Department, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, Brazil

Arnau Bassegoda,     Department of Chemical Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Terrassa, Spain

Tuser Tirtha Biswas,     Textile Materials Technology, Department of Textile Technology, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business/The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden

Artur Cavaco-Paulo,     Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal

Bruna Lyra Colombi

Chemistry Department, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, Brazil

Department of Chemical and Food Engineering, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

Jacinto Alves Gonçalves,     Chemistry Department, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, Brazil

Georg M. Gübitz

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Department of Agrobiotechnology IFA-Tulln, Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Tulln an der Donau, Austria

Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology, Division Polymers & Enzymes, Tulln an der Donau, Austria

Suyeon Kim,     Pontificia Universidad Católica del, Lima, Perú

Hye Rim Kim,     Department of Clothing and Textiles, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, South Korea

Ki Hoon Lee,     Department of Biosystems & Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Madalena Martins,     Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal

Vincent A. Nierstrasz,     Textile Materials Technology, Department of Textile Technology, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business/The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden

Felice Quartinello,     University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Department of Agrobiotechnology IFA-Tulln, Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Tulln an der Donau, Austria

Jinsong Shen,     Textile Engineering and Materials Research Group, School of Design, De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom

Carla Silva,     Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal

Ji Eun Song,     Department of Clothing and Textiles, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, South Korea

Ivaylo Stefanov,     Department of Chemical Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Terrassa, Spain

Tzanko Tzanov,     Department of Chemical Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Terrassa, Spain

Qiang Wang,     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Ping Wang,     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Yuanyuan Yu,     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Junchun Yu,     Textile Materials Technology, Department of Textile Technology, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business/The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden

Jiugang Yuan,     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Ying Zhang,     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Xiaoman Zhao

Jiangsu Engineering Technology Research Center for Functional Textiles, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, People's Republic of China

International Joint Research Laboratory for Textile and Fiber Bioprocesses, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, People's Republic of China


Biotechnology, or more specifically enzyme technology, has proven to be very profitable in textile and fiber industry, as well as detergency. Leading industrial enzyme producers, such as Novozymes and DuPont, demonstrated significant improvement of ecological footprint (reductions in energy, water, chemicals consumption, and process time), replacing conventional industrial textile processes by enzymatic processes such as desizing, cotton scouring, bleaching, bleach cleanup, and biofinishing/biopolishing. Enzyme technology has not only been proven to be very profitable in processing of natural textiles and fibers. In addition, processing, modification, and functionalization of man-made and synthetic fibers and textiles enzyme technology bring important advantages not only in processing of these materials but also in the design and development of novel functional textile materials. Large-scale application of enzymes for industrial processing of synthetic materials is envisioned in the coming years.

This book is a follow-up to Advances in Textile Biotechnology (2010), first edition, and Textile Processing with Enzymes (2003). Advances in Textile Biotechnology, second edition, provide a thorough overview of recent developments and state of the art in enzyme technology for processing, modification, and functionalization of textiles, textile fibers, and polymers. Two chapters, Chapters 6 and 12, focus on technologies involved in textile biotechnology: Enzyme stabilization for biotechnological applications and Inkjetting of enzymes, respectively. The other 10 chapters focus on modification and functionalization of textile and fibers using modern biotechnology/enzyme technology. Recent developments and state of art are reviewed in bioprocessing of bast fibers, Poly (vinyl alcohol)-degrading enzyme, bioprocessing of polyester, biosynthesis of polyesters and their application on cellulosic fibers, enzymatic treatment of wool and silk fibers, enzyme stabilization for biotechnological applications, enzyme biotechnology for medical textiles, biopolyphenolics in textiles, processing of cotton and man-made cellulosic fibers, silk materials for biotechnology, and bacterial cellulose as promising biomaterial and its application.

These expert contributions from leading scientists in the field are expected to increase understanding of the enormous potential of enzyme technology in industrial processing, modification, and functionalization of textiles, fibers, and polymers, as well as the acceptance of biotechnology in society.

Vincent A. Nierstrasz,     University of Borås, Borås, Sweden

Artur Cavaco-Paulo,     University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Qiang Wang,     Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China


Bioprocessing of bast fibers

Yuanyuan Yu, Qiang Wang, and Ping Wang     Key Laboratory of Science and Technology of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China


Bast fibers are defined as those obtained from the outer cell layers of the stems of various plants, such as flax, hemp, jute, ramie, and alike plants, which are used in many industries, for instance, clothing textiles, industrial textiles, paper materials, and reinforcements for polymer–matrix composites. The use of enzymes in the bast fiber processing has received increasing attention in recent years because enzyme treatment is highly specific and efficient and works under mild conditions. Moreover, some research shows that enzyme treatment can improve product quality or impart new functionality to the fiber, for example, hand of fabric, antimicrobial property, and hydrophobicity. This chapter presents a review of the applications of biotechnology for bast fiber processes, including retting, scouring, bleaching, and functional modification.


Bast fiber; Biotechnology; Enzyme; Functionalization; Pretreatment; Retting

1.1. Introduction

Bast fiber, also called phloem fiber, is a type of plant fiber that can be collected from the phloem or bast surrounding the stem of certain dicotyledonous plants. Bast fibers can be obtained either from cultivated herbs, such as flax, hemp, and ramie, or wild plants, such as linden, wisteria, and mulberry. The strands of bast fibers are usually released from the cellular and woody tissue of the stem by mechanical, biological, or chemical methods. Bast fibers have higher tensile strength than other natural fibers, thereby are usually used in the production of high-quality textiles (Faruk et al., 2012; Summerscales et al., 2010). Bast fibers are processed and utilized in many industries, such as textiles, ropes and nets, carpets and mats, brushes, and mattresses industries, in addition to paper and board materials industries (Paridah et al., 2011). In recent years, bast fibers, such as flax, kenaf, and hemp, have received attention from researchers and industries for their use as reinforcement in polymer–matrix composites because of environmental awareness of consumers and government regulation in some countries (Anuar and Zuraida, 2011; Bos et al., 2002; Saba et al., 2015; Stuart et al., 2006).

Biotechnological process has been used in textile processing of bast fibers, such as microbial retting of bast fibers, which took place during BC periods. During the past decades, textile biotechnology has been an important research area, and thus several enzyme-based processes have now been well-established and are available for use in bast fiber processing, such as retting, scouring, bleaching, and functionalization (Table 1.1) (Kozlowski et al., 2006; Shahid et al., 2016).

1.2. Biotechnology used for retting of bast fiber

1.2.1. Retting of bast fiber

Retting of bast fibers is a process used to extract bast fibers from harvested stems. It involves chemical or biological fermentation treatments that facilitate the separation of fiber bundles located in the phloem from the woody xylem core and epidermis (Akin et al., 2004). Retting is a highly criticalocess for the production of long fiber from bast plants (Paridah et al., 2011).

Table 1.1

The two traditional methods for retting of bast fiber are water retting and dew retting. Both methods require 14–28 days to degrade the pectic materials, hemicellulose, and lignin (Akin et al., 2004; Yadav et al., 2016).

Water retting is performed by submerging bundles of stalks into large water tanks to allow the development of pectinolytic bacteria community (Donaghy et al., 1990; Di Candilo et al., 2010). Water can penetrate into the central stalk portion, causing the inner cells to swell, resulting in bursting of the outermost layer, thus increasing the absorptions of both moisture and decay-producing bacteria. However, water retting is no longer used in the Western countries, since several decades ago, because of its overlong processing time and generation of a large amount of wastewater (Brown, 1984).

Dew retting is carried out by spreading plant stalks in a grass field to allow the dissolve of stem material surrounding fiber bundles by the combined actions of bacteria, sun, air, and dew produces fermentatn (Henriksson et al., 1997; Di Candilo et al., 2010). It is usually used in areas with limited water resources. The climates with heavy nighttime dews and warm daytime temperatures are also highly important for dew retting. Owing to some of its advantages, such as lower labor costs and high fiber yields, dew retting is more acceptable in the European countries. However, it has some unconquerable disadvantages, which include (1) its dependency on particular geographical reions that have appropriate moisture and temperature ranges for retting; (2) the fibers obtained from dew retting is coarser and has lower quality than those obtained from water retting; (3) the characteristics of the obtained fibers generally have less consistency; and (4) the workers are required to work in the agricultural fields for several weeks (Van Sumere, 1992; Akin et al., 2001).

Because of the shortcomings of these traditional methods and to improve the retting of bast fiber, other alternatives, such as enzymatic retting, chemical retting, and mechanical retting, have been utilized (Adamsen et al., 2002; Akin et al., 2000; Parikh et al., 2002; Henriksson et al., 1998; Yadav et al., 2016). Table 1.2 compares five retting methods used for the production of long bast fibers, including water retting, dew retting, enzymatic retting, chemical retting, and mechanical retting. It appears that each method has some advantages and disadvantages. However, none of these methods result in desirable outcomes, by means of treatment time, fiber strength, environmental pollution, and cost (Paridah et al., 2011).

Enzyme retting is an environmentally friendly retting method. At the beginning of 1980s, European researchers studied and used enzyme in retting of bast fibers. The results of this early study showed that pectinases were key enzymes for effective retting (Van Sumere, 1992; Akin et al., 2004), in addition to other enzymes, such as cellulase, hemicellulases, and xylanase, which were also considered to be important enzymes for effective retting (Sharma, 1987a); Sharma and Van Sumere, 1992; Akin et al., 2004). Flaxzyme is a commercial mixed enzyme consisting of pectinases, hemicellulases, and cellulases. Flaxzyme has been used in retting, which produces fiber with better fineness, color, and waxiness than the fiber produced by water retting (Van Sumere and Sharma, 1991). However, the shortcomings of commercial enzyme retting, such as the cost of enzymes and the potentially lower fiber strength, have restricted its further developments (Akin et al., 2001, 2007).

Table 1.2

Recent research has explored the use of other pectinase-containing products for retting of bast fiber plants. Akin et al. reported that the spray enzyme retting (SER) method could effectively ret flax with low liquid to fiber ratio. The SER method has been proven to be an effective framework for further tests of enzyme–chelator formulations (Akin et al., 2004). In their later work, Akin et al. studied enzyme retting of flax using alkaline pectate lyase and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA; as a calcium chelator). They described that the use of pectate lyase and chelator could ret the flax fiber and stems more effectively than the use of each component alone; and the fiber strength was greater than that obtained from retting with mixed-enzyme product containing cellulases (Akin et al., 2007). Das et al. used four bacterial strains possessing polygalacturonase, pectin lyase, and xylanase with minimal cellulase activity in enzyme retting of jute fiber. The microbial inoculation resulted in remarkably improved jute's fiber strength (26.62–28.91   g/tex) and fineness (2.76–2.92 tex) compared with control (Das et al., 2012). Tian et al. studied the optimal culture condition of flax retting enzyme by applying the enzyme liquors to retting. The flax retting enzyme contained high yield of polygalacturonase and low yield of xylanase, but did not yield cellulase. The composition of enzyme could be used for flax retting, while causing no damage to cellulosic fiber (Tian et al., 2014). Liu et al. investigated the effects of hydrothermal pretreatment and enzymatic retting on the removal of noncellulosic compounds during the production of cellulose-rich fibers from hemp without damaging the mecal properties of fiber (Liu et al., 2016b). In addition, some recent research works have shown that the search for suitable microbial sources for enzymes used in retting by metagenomics-based approaches along with the desired manipulation of enzymes by directed evolution approach can have immense benefits to the textile industries (Yadav et al., 2016).

1.2.2. Mechanism of enzyme retting

The major goal of retting is to degrade pectins and other cementing compounds linking bast fibers and fiber bundles to other tissues and to separate fibers from the core tissues (Van Sumere, 1992; Akin, 2013). The underlying principal of retting is that the enzymes, which are secreted by naturally occurring microbes possessing pectinolytic activity, break down the pectic layer; and with the aid of mechanical action, fiber bundles are separated from the core tissues (Shahid et al., 2016).

Pectin, a high molecular weight acidic structural polysaccharide, is a major component of primary cell walls of all land plants (Willats et al., 2001). Pectin has been characterized as having a backbone of D-galacturonic acid residues (Gummadi and Panda, 2003) that are linked by α(1–4) linkage with a small number of rhamnose residues in the main chain and by arabinose, galactose, and xylose in the side chains (Kohli and Gupta, 2015).

Pectinases contain a number of enzymes that can be divided into three broad groups based on their modes of actions and substrate specificities as follows (Yadav et al., 2009; Sharma et al., 2013):

1. Protopectinases (PPase) are enzymes that catalyze the solubilization of protopectin to produce highly polymerized soluble pectin.

2. Depolymerizing enzymes, which break α-1,4 linkages in the principal pectin chain, can include the following:

a. Polygalacturonases (PGses) are pectinolytic enzymes that catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of the polygalacturonic acid chain by introducing water across the oxygen bridge.

b. Polymethylgalacturonases (PMGL) are enzymes that catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of α-1,4-glycosidic bonds in pectin backbone (Jayani et al., 2005; Pedrolli et al., 2009).

c. Lyases (or transeliminases) are enzymes that nonhydrolytically breakdown pectates or pectinates by transeliminative splitting of pectic polymer (Kashyap et al., 2001; Jayani et al., 2005; Pedrolli et al., 2009). They can be classified as endopectate transeliminase (pectate lyase, PGL) or endopectin transeliminase (pectin lyase, PL). While PGL preferentially breaks the glycosidic linkages on polygalacturonic acid forming unsaturated product by transelimination reaction, PL randomly cleaves pectin producing unsaturated methyl oligogalacturonates through transelimination of glycosidic linkages.

3. Pectinesterase (PE) is a carboxylic acid esterase. It is often referred to as pectin methylesterase, pectinase, pectin methoxylase, pectin demethoxylase, and pectolipase. This enzyme catalyzes the deesterification of methyl ester linkages of galacturonan backbone of pectic substances and releases acidic pectins and methanol (Kashyap et al., 2001; Malvessi and Silveira, 2004; Jayani et al., 2005; Pedrolli et al., 2009).

1.2.3. Properties of bast fiber obtained by enzyme retting Fiber morphology

Cao et al. studied the effects of different treatments, including alkaline, enzyme, and steam heat, on flax fibers (Cao et al., 2012). Untreated fibers have uneven surface, while flax fibers after different treatments have smoother surface. Moreover, the flax fiber bundles were better separated by alkaline and enzyme treatments than by steam heat treatment.

Viscozyme L is a commercial enzyme that is rich in pectinase but low in cellulase activities. The combination of Viscozyme L and EDTA has been used in enzyme retting of flax fiber (Akin et al., 2001). Fig. 1.1 shows the effects of enzyme retting time and EDTA on the cross-sectional morphology of fiber. Fig. 1.1A displays the cross-sectional morphology of unretted fiber flax stem, showing the fiber bundles (F) between the shive (S) and the cuticle/parenchyma barrier (arrow). Fig. 1.1B depicts the cross-sectional morphology of fiber flax treated with Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 2   h, showing slight modification of bast fiber bundles after treatment. Fig. 1.1C shows the cross-sectional morphology of fiber flax treated with Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 4   h, which indicates the initial separation of fibers from shive and cuticle and the slight modification of bast fiber bundles. Fig. 1.1D indicates that the fibers within the bast region are visibly separated after being treated with Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 8   h. Fig. 1.1E illustrates that after treatment with the combined Viscozyme and 50   mM EDTA at pH 5.0 for 8   h, a significant separation from the epidermis/cuticle (arrows) and a loosening of fibers and fiber bundles can be observed within the bast region. These results indicate that longer retting time can increase the separation of bast fibers. Moreover, greater separation of cuticle/epidermis from the fibers can be obtained by retting with combined enzyme and EDTA (Akin et al., 2001).

Figure 1.1 Scanning electron microscope images of (a) unretted Ariane fiber flax stem; (b) Ariane fiber flax stem retted in Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 2   h; (c) Ariane fiber flax stem retted in Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 4   h; (d) Ariane fiber flax stem retted in Viscozyme L at pH 5.0 for 8   h; and (e) Ariane fiber flax stem retted in combined Viscozyme L and 50   mM EDTA at pH 5.0 for 8   h (Akin et al., 2001). Fiber properties

The properties of fibers treated with mixed enzyme/EDTA were studied by Akin et al. The elongation of fiber treated with 0.3% Viscozyme L is lower than that of fiber treated with other methods. The strength of fiber treated with 0.3% Viscozyme L was lowest. The strength of fiber treated with 0.05% Viscozyme L ranged from ∼20 to ∼25   g tex −¹, and dew-retted fibers are significantly stronger than other enzyme-retted fibers (Akin et al., 2001).

1.3. Biotechnology used for pretreatment of bast fiber

1.3.1. Bioscouring

Natural bast fibers are surrounded by a hydrophobic layer, which is mainly composed of pectin, hemicellulose, lignin, proteins, waxes, fats, and mineral compounds. This hydrophobic layer, which can render a valuable hydrophilic property to natural fibers, must be removed before processing and application. Traditionally, these impurities are removed by chemical scouring using sodium hydroxide solutions at 98°C, which is harmful for the environment (Sojka-Ledakowicz et al., 2007).

In 1987, Sharma reported the first study on enzymatic degradation of residual noncellulosic polysaccharides from dew-retted flax fibers (Sharma, 1987b). The use of enzymes in scouring of bast fibers may potentially replace the traditional alkali-based scouring. Enzymes such as pectinase, xylanase, protease, galactomannanase, laccase, lipase, and cellulose have been used for scouring of bast fiber fabrics (Akin et al., 2001).

Ossola and Galante described the enzyme-aided scouring of flax roving (Ossola and Galante, 2004). Although the highest yarn count of flax roving is obtained from chemical treatment, such treatment causes the highest loss in yarn strength. On the other hand, the yarn counts obtained from all enzymatic treatments are improved, to some extent, without the decrease in strength. The effectiveness decreases in the order of pectinase   >   xylanase   =   galactomannanase   =   protease   >   lipase   ≥   laccase. Compared with traditional chemical scouring, the enzyme scouring is conducted under mild reaction conditions, and the physical properties of the resultant yarns are not reduced, indicating that it has great advantages (Ossola and Galante, 2004).

Lignin is a major impurity in bast fibers. Enzyme such as laccase can catalyze the decomposition of lignin–cellulose complex. Sójka-Ledakowicz et al. have utilized laccase complex to treat woven fabrics made from flax fibers (Sojka-Ledakowicz et al., 2007). Their results indicated that flax fabrics treated with laccase complex have improved water sorption capabilities, thus confirming that laccase treatment can be an alternative to traditional chemical scouring.

Xylanase and cellulase have also been utilized to treat linen (Patra et al., 2010). The data demonstrate that satisfactory water absorption performance, whiteness, and residual lignin of linen can be obtained. After alkaline scouring, a fair amount of distortion in the fiber structure is observed on the samples, which can be attributed to severe action of NaOH at high temperature. On the contrary, the enzyme treatment appears to be safe and quite harmless (Patra et al., 2010).

1.3.2. Biobleaching

Bast fibers contain coloring and other waxlike impurities. These impurities need to be removed so that it can be easily processed and is commercially acceptable (Zahran and Ahmed, 2010). During the pretreatment of bast fibers, bleaching not only removes the natural coloring impurities but also contributes to the success of subsequent wet processing operations, such as dyeing, printing, and finishing (Abou-Okeil et al., 2010).

There are a number of bleaching methods that are currently and commonly used; however, these methods have some disadvantages. Sodium hypochlorite bleaching leads to high adsorbable organic halogen compounds (AOX) value, and hypochlorite-bleached cellulosic materials become yellow on storage (Gar and Schulz, 1995; Tendulkar and Kulkarni, 1995). The corrosive nature of chlorine dioxide, which evolves during the process, is the main problem of sodium chlorite bleaching (Hickman, 1996; Zahran and Ahmed, 2010). The wastewater from hydrogen peroxide bleaching contains high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, alkali, and stabilizers, which pollutes the environment. In attempts to solve the pollution problem of bleaching, some enzymes, including peroxidase, laccase/mediator systems, glucose oxidase cellulose, hemicellulose, and catalase, have been used to remove coloring impurities in fibers during the bleaching process (Sekar, 1999; Ramadan, 2008).

Betcheva et al. studied bleaching of flax fibers by pure laccase and combined laccase–sodium peroxide (Betcheva et al., 2007). For the enzyme-pretreated samples, 15   min of bleaching with peroxide is sufficient to achieve satisfactory results, in terms of lightness (L∗) and kappa numbers (κ).

Despite its many advantages, the enzyme bleaching has several disadvantages, including high processing cost, low reaction rate, and fabric damage, which can greatly impede its application in the textile industry (Abou-Okeil et al., 2010).

Ultrasound-based approaches have been used to accelerate the mass transfer during textile processing steps, such as desizing, scouring, bleaching, mercerizing, and dyeing steps (Yachmenev et al., 2004; Mistik and Yükselogˇlu, 2005; Ahmed et al., 2007; Fakin et al., 2005). Abou-Okeil et al. reported the influence of ultrasonic power on bleaching of linen fabrics by combined laccase–hydrogen peroxide, an alternative to both combined laccase–hydrogen peroxide and the conventional bleaching processes (Abou-Okeil et al., 2010). The L∗ value increases with increasing ultrasonic power of up to 180   W, which indicates that ultrasound can effectively enhance the bleaching by the combined laccase–hydrogen peroxide.

1.4. Biotechnology used for functionalization of bast fiber

Traditionally, graft polymerization (Kalia et al., 2008; Popescu et al., 2011) and coupling (Mai and Militz, 2004; Le Moigne et al., 2014) are the common methods for functional modification of natural bast fibers. However, the graft copolymerization initiated by chemical initiators or high-energy rays has been shown to generate homopolymers. Moreover, the grafting process also has several other disadvantages such as difficulty in industrialization, contamination from residual toxic initiators, and cause of damage to fibers (Dong et al., 2015).

In recent years, fiber modification by enzymatic grafting has attracted increasing attention because it meets consumers' expectations, such as high hygienic standard, and the obtained products are safe and environment-friendly (Elegir et al., 2008).

1.4.1. Laccase used for functionalization of bast fiber Laccase

Laccases (EC, benzenediol: oxygen oxidoreductase) are multicopper-containing oxidoreductases, the glycosylated proteins widely distributed in bacteria, fungi, and higher plants (Mogharabi and Faramarzi, 2014). Laccases catalyze monoelectronic oxidation of phenols and aromatic amines, generating reactive radicals, while simultaneously reducing molecular oxygen to water in a redox reaction (Claus, 2004; Riva, 2006; Dong

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