n South African Journal of Plant and Soil - Preliminary retting research on different kenaf cultivars - short communication

Volume 36 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0257-1862
  • E-ISSN: 2167-034X
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Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), a fibre crop, is a member of the Malvaceae family and related to cotton (Gossipium hirsutum L.) and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench). Natural fibres have many advantages over synthetic fibres, such as light weight, low cost and biodegradability. Natural fibres have gained renewed interest, especially as a glass fibre substitute in automotive industries. The quality of kenaf fibre is mainly determined by the efficiency of the retting process, which relies on the breakdown of pectic materials. A preliminary retting study was done in 2014 at the Agricultural Research Council–Institute for Industrial Crops, Rustenburg, South Africa. The aim of this study was to investigate six retting methods, namely NaCl, NaOH, natural bacteria from dam water, urea, water retting and dew retting, on six kenaf cultivars, namely BG52, Cuba-108, Cubano, Everglades 71, T15 and Tainung-1. Both cultivars and retting treatments differed significantly. The cultivar Cuba-108 had the strongest fibres (37.3 cN tex−1). Water retting and the water urea retting treatments resulted in the strongest fibres of 38.9 and 37.5 cN tex−1, respectively. With regard to significant cultivar × retting method interaction, the strongest fibres of 43.8 cN tex−1 were obtained with the cultivar Cubano retted with the urea retting treatment.

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