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Eco-friendly processing of Jute & Allied Fibres

Paper presented to

INTERNATIONAL JUTE STUDY GROUP (IJSG)


DHAKA, BANGLADESH
By

Dr. S. K. Chakrabarti

INDIAN JUTE INDUSTRIES RESEARCH ASSOCIATION


17, TARATALA ROAD, KOLKATA 700088

INDIAN JUTE INDUSTRIES RESEARCH


ASSOCIATION
ECO-FRIENDLY PROCESSING OF JUTE & ALLIED FIBRES
Dr. S. K. Chakrabarti
Indian Jute Industries Research Association (IJIRA)
17 Taratola Road, Kolkata- 700088
Abstract: In the present scenario, the growing concerns among the people globally against the use of
synthetic polymers, toxin liberating substances and non-biodegradable products, because of their
hazardous after effects on environment and human health, re-established the needs of natural fibres to our
society in terms of packaging and daily use products. Jute, the ligno-cellulosic biodegradable, natural bast
fibre is known for decades as low cost packaging material. With increase in awareness for eco-friendly
materials from sustainable resources, Jute sector started regaining its market both in traditional and
diversified applications. However, for eco-compliance of Jute products and to increase the cost
competitiveness of jute commodity items, efforts have been continuing to develop effective eco-friendly and
cleaner process technologies. The paper presented encompasses brief description of three eco-process
technologies developed by Indian Jute Industries Research Association.

1.0 Introduction:

Golden fibre, Jute, is the most important cash crop of great socio-economic
importance in South Asian countries specially India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal ,as
it provides subsistence to millions of farmers for their livelihood. Jute is characterized
specially with its silky lusture, high tensile strength, low extensibility, considerable
resistance to fire and heat, good insulation to sound and heat etc. and for the centuries it
has been used successfully as flexible low cost packaging material for packing industrial
and food products.
The use of jute fibre which was stiffly declining particularly in packaging due to
the advent of low cost synthetic fibre and their products has been reviewed by the
consumers world over, focusing on eco-friendly materials from sustainable resources.
With the increasing global awareness in civilized society towards the use of eco-friendly
products, jute is progressively widening its application areas and hence profile of jute
fibre is being changed from sacks to consumer utilities, hessian to hard boards and twines
to decorative etc. In recent time, considerable amount of research works have been
initiated to introduce jute in the various high end applications also and the driving force
of such technology development has been the economy and ecology.
In recent time, it has been reported that finished jute products, either
conventional or diversified, contain some undesirable and objectionable non-fibrous
components though jute fibres cultivated following Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)
and processed under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in Jute mills are usually free
from any toxic residues. Hence, for better market acceptance and customer satisfaction,
Jute sector has been trying to develop eco-friendly technologies for processing of jute and
allied fibres in order to meet the stringent EPA guidelines and the Sanitary &
Phytosanitary issues related to textiles. Development of eco-friendly and cleaner
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technologies for sustainable production pattern in jute processing has been continuing by
various Research Institutes under Environmental Research & Development Programmes.
It is an established phenomenon that excessive use of harsh chemicals in textile
processing has resulted in pollution of environment and slow deterioration of soil health.
Manufacturing of eco-textiles through cleaner production concept is thus receiving new
recognitions today, as it is the comprehensive & preventive approach to environmental
protection.
This paper will highlight in brief three eco-process technologies such as a)
Eco-fibre lubricant in Jute processing, b) Enzyme application in Jute and c) Bio-chemical
technology for retention of optimum moisture in Jute Processing, developed and
implemented by Indian Jute Industries Research Association (IJIRA), Kolkata, for Indian
Jute Sector.
2.0 PART (A): ECO-FIBRE LUBRICANT IN JUTE PROCESSING

It is the most important environmental obligation of major jute producing and


processing countries e.g. India and Bangladesh etc. to preserve the eco-friendly
characteristic of jute products through development of sustainable process technologies.
Jute being ligno-cellulosic, coarse bast fibres are traditionally processed by petroleum
based fibre lubricant, known as Jute Batching oil (JBO) for the last couple of decades to
improve their amenability in subsequent processing through machineries. However,
presence of some undesired toxic chemical constituents in JBO (e.g. Poly nuclear
aromatic hydrocarbons such as pyrenes, benzpyrenes, benzanthracene etc. reported to be
carcinogenic in nature) and its typical odour have posed some problems in terms of its
wide acceptability in food contact application. Although the threat perception of jute
consuming countries with respect to JBO processed jute bags were not well founded in
terms of human health aspects, nevertheless, market has demanded replacement of JBO
and it was prudent not to ignore the market signal. In addition, consumer safety and
environmental protection are becoming increasingly important issues while exporting
textile products in abroad.
Considering the limitations of JBO, demand has been generated to replace Jute
Batching Oil in jute processing by a suitable Eco-fibre lubricant. To find out a suitable
alternative of JBO various fibre lubricant formulations using Castor oil, Turkey Red Oil,
Palm Oil, Polymers etc. had been tried in Jute sector, however, with moderate success.
Development of Rice Bran Oil technology by IJIRA being a market driven Process
Technology, was a major breakthrough in this direction. Application of Rice Bran Oil
based eco- fibre lubricant is mostly restricted to the production of specific exportable
premium Jute items known as Food Grade Jute Products (FGJP) to pack cocoa, coffee
and shelled nuts etc. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study on jute further recommended
for vegetable oil based fibre lubricant formulation especially Rice Bran Oil (RBO)
considering its unique nature, eco-compatibility etc. (Table-1).
A brief details of Rice Bran Oil based eco-fibre lubricant developed by IJIRA as
an alternative to JBO has been presented below.
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2.1 RICE BRAN OIL (RBO)

In the field of eco-processing of jute, contribution of IJIRA is well recognized and


the Institute is the pioneer of implementing RBO based eco-fibre lubricant to Jute
industry as a widely acceptable replacement of JBO specifically for producing Food
Grade Jute Products (FGJP).
Rice Bran Oil (RBO) of non-edible variety (Grade II) has been recommended
initially by IJIRA as the major ingredient of Eco-fibre lubricant within indigenous
vegetable oils of India, as production of RBO is steadily increasing in India scenario
(Table 1 ) and its untapped potential is very high so that the likelihood of shortage or
price hike is minimum in RBO. On the other hand, rancidity is a common problem in all
types of vegetable oils where RBO is a solitary exception due to the presence of
multicomponent systems of natural anti-oxidants such as Tocopherol and esters of
Ferulic acids etc.
Table 1: Why Rice Bran Oil?

Sr. No.

Special Characteristics of RBO

1.

Rice is one of the worlds largest crops. Rice Bran Oil (Gr.II) extracted from
Rice Bran is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for food packaging.

2.

RBO is unique in terms of high thermal and oxidation stability and therefore
reasonably free from rancidity.

3.

Rice Bran Oil is adequately available at reasonable price. Present annual


production of RBO in India is 12.0 Lakh MT and its untapped potential is
8.0 Lakh MT.

2.2 WORKING SPECIFICATION OF RBO

A working specification for RBO has been laid down by IJIRA keeping in view of
meeting the International specification IJO 98/01 made for FGJP (Table 2).
2.3 RBO TECHNOLOGY A SYNERGISTIC COCKTAIL FORMULATION

RBO based eco-fibre lubricant is basically a cocktail of several components e.g.

Rice Bran Oil (1.5 -2.0 %, w/w)


Non-ionic eco-emulsifier
Enzymes and
Additives

Synergistic effect of the above components has been found to be of critical importance
for optimum processing of jute fibres. Present cost of RBO based eco-emulsion is about
Rs. 800-900/-per MT of jute fibre.
2.4 VALIDATION OF RBO BASED TECHNOLOGY

Rice Bran Oil based eco-fibre lubricant developed by IJIRA has been validated by
a buyers recognized German Laboratory. This inter-laboratory comparison is helpful in
developing requisite marketing confidence and to increase the market share of safe jute
bags for packing food in an ecological sensitive global market place.
Table 2: Working Specification of Rice Bran Oil
Sr. No.

Parameters tested

Rice Bran Oil

1.

Free Fatty Acid (%)

0.25 0.35

2.

Unsaponifiable Matter (%)

2.5 -3.0

3.
4.
5.

MIV ( % )
Flash Point
Colour

0.05
> 250 0C
10-12

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

Peroxide Value
Saponification Value
Cloud Point
TBHQ , ppm
Ozyzanol Content, ppm
Viscosity (cst)
Mineral Oil Test

<1.0
190
8.5 0C
100
14,400
30-35
-ve

2.5 PRODUCT RANGE

RBO technology has made the conventional jute products as well as jute based
diversified products more acceptable to customers around the world. Indian Jute sector is
currently manufacturing various products such as Hessian cloth/ bags, twill bags, DWF
bags, tea bags, leaf bags etc. using RBO based eco-fibre lubricant.
Table 3: Properties of RBO processed Jute Hessian Yarns

Quality
Actual Count (lbs)
Count@ 16% M.R
Count CV %
Avg. Q.R.
Range
Strength CV%
Actual T.P.I
Spinning Efficiency %

8.5lbs Hessian
Warp

8.5lbs Hessian
Weft

8.34
8.79
3.58
92.0
(88-95)
15.25
4.22
88 %

8.46
8.92
3.72
90.0
(82-94)
16.85
4.28
86 %

Batch Compositions

DTD3.5 =32%
SNTD4 = 48%
ATD6 =20%

DTD3.5=32%
SNTD4=48%
ATD6 =20%

2.5 PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

The performance of the RBO technology is now a time tested phenomenon. RBO
based eco-fibre lubricant has been used by various Indian jute mills and based on the
floor level feed back, the eco- fibre lubricant formulation has been modified to increase
its performance efficiency. Physical properties of different hessian and sacking yarns
have been summarized along with their spinning performance in Table 3 & 4. Weaving
performance of RBO treated hessian & sacking cloths at looms is shown in Table 5.
Spinning and weaving performances of RBO treated yarns and fabrics respectively have
been observed satisfactory.
Table 4: Properties of RBO processed Jute Sacking Yarns

Quality

10.5lbs Skg. Warp

28lbs Skg Weft

10.51

28.26

Actual Count (lbs)


Count @ 20% M.R
Count CV %
Avg. Q.R.
Range
Strength CV%
Actual T.P.I
Spinning Efficiency%
Batch Compositions

11.31
5.21
85.0
(78-90)
16.40
4.12
82 %
DTD4=30%
DTD5=42%
SNTD5=15%
Wastage=13% (cuttings,
thread waste, habijabi)

29.03
6.42
80.0
(74-84)
20.10
2.40
76%
SNTD6=21%
DTD6 = 30%
DTD6 =9%
Thread waste =13%
Cutting = 23%
Habijabi & Spg.Waste=4%

Table 5: Weaving Performance of RBO treated Food Grade Jute Products

Quality

Hessian
40-(1112)-10
oz/yd

B. Twill
26.5-(68)13.9
oz/yd

DW Fabric
28 -(88) 12.3
oz/yd

Ends/dm

47

76

68

Picks/dm

47

31

31

Warp Count (lbs)

8.5

10.5

10.5

Weft Count (lbs)

8.5

28.0

26.0

60-62

78-80

75-78

Loom Efficiency (%)

2.6 IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF ECO-FIBRE LUBRICANT

Eco-fibre lubricant formulation based on Rice Bran Oil has been implemented by
the Indian Jute Industry and currently seventeen jute mills are licensed by IJIRA to use
this technology for producing Food grade Jute products. Attempts are being made to
replace JBO by modified RBO based eco-fibre lubricant on whole shed basis.
2.7 TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND QUALITY ASSURANCE

IJIRA, being the nodal accredited organization in India for certification of FGJP
for export, developed a strict regime of certification in the greater interest of the end users
of RBO based eco-fibre lubricant. Jute mills desiring to manufacture toxic - hydrocarbon
free FGJP are required to obtain Capability Certificate from IJIRA. The essential
prerequisite to have such a certificate involves declaring, identifying and marking a full
production line within a mill which is totally dedicated and segregated for the production
of eco-friendly jute products only.
2.8 PROTECTION OF INTELECTUAL PROPERTY

IJIRA has been granted patent on RBO based eco-fibre lubricant in all major jute
producing and consuming countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, U.K,
China , Nepal , Indonesia , India and OAPI countries.
2.9 CONCLUSION

Rice Bran Oil based eco-fibre lubricant developed by IJIRA has been found to be
techno-commercially viable for eco-friendly processing of jute and allied fibres and the
treated products (FGJP) meet the International specification IJO 98/01(Revised 2005).
Indian Jute Mills are comfortable to meet the current export demand of non-toxic,
hydrocarbon free Jute products especially for packing cocoa, coffee beans, shelled nuts
and related food products. Having stood the test of time, RBO based eco-fibre lubricant is
now on its way to replace Jute Batching Oil in Jute fibre processing.
3.0 PART (B): ENZYME APPLICATION IN JUTE PROCESSING

Enzymes being the naturally occurring large protein molecules of tremendous


complexity are produced in vivo by living cells in plants, animals and microorganisms
and are used to catalyze various bio-chemical reactions either to produce a novel product
or an energy efficient eco-friendly process Technology. Major advantages of enzyme
applications are i) it is eco-friendly & safe ii) works under mild conditions iii) very
specific, efficient and effective in small quantities iv) amazing catalytic power, does not
alter at the end of the reaction known as Bio-Catalyst v) save precious energy vi)
replaces harsh chemicals. In an overall consideration the enzymes are the wonder

products. Enzyme application, therefore, attracted attention in eco-friendly processing of


textiles in general and jute in particular.
Industrial application of enzymes in textile sector started way back in 1857 and
gradually widened its area of application. Today, enzyme application has become an
integral part of textile processing and with the increased awareness and regulation about
the environment concerns, the enzymes are now become the obvious choice. In Jute and
allied fibre processing limited application of enzymes initiated in 1970s.
Indian Jute sector faced an acute shortage of good quality raw jute fibre and the
main reason for the substandard quality has been identified as improper and incomplete
retting of jute plant under water limiting conditions unlike Bangladesh. Until recently, the
farmers motivation for production of higher grade jute was also not perceptible. The
average grade of jute fibres obtained is characterized by a varying proportion of under
retted barky root ends with runners and specks on the body. Such fibres are not suitable
for production of finer count yarns of the desired quality at a high spinning efficiency.
For gainful utilization of such average to low grade jute fibres , softening of barky root
ends and improvement in overall quality of yarns and spinning performance , Indian Jute
Industries Research Association ( IJIRA) developed , implemented and patented Ecofriendly enzyme based technology for the benefit of the Jute sector. Multiple end uses of
enzymes in Jute and allied fibre processing have been discussed in brief.
3.1 PRODUCTION OF FIBRESOFTENING ENZYMES

The fungus Aspergillus terreus (IJIRA 6.2) has been selected by IJIRA for its
stable biochemical nature and it is grown on sterilized moist wheat bran under solid
substrate fermentation. Wheat bran with 50 % added moisture is sterilized at a steam
pressure of 25 p.s.i for one hour and subsequently inoculated with the fungus grown
previously on sterile parboiled moistened rice and finally the inoculated bran is incubated
at 300 C for 3 days for maturation of its growth. Aqueous extract of dried and fresh
culture is used as the source of crude enzymes for the softening and cleaning of root
cuttings and low grade jute fibres in mills. Enzyme mixture present in the aqueous extract
is compatible with oil-in-water emulsion and the activity profile present in the aqueous
extract of the dry mouldy bran culture of A. terreus (IJIRA 6.2) is summarized in Table 6.
Table 6: Enzyme profile of 10% aqueous extract of Aspergillus terreus (IJIRA 6.2)
Sr. No.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Enzyme Components

Activity per ml of extract

Endo - (1-4) Glucanase


Exo - (1-4) Glucanase
- Glucosidase
Jute Hemicellulase
Pectinase

80 -100 Units
30 Units
90-95 Units
50-80 Units
4-5 Units

Ref: J.Textile Institute, No.2, 108 -116, 1980

3.2 MULTIPLE FACETS OF ENZYME APPLICATION IN JUTE PROCESSING

I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.

Softening and cleaning of barky root ends of Jute


Use of uncut Jute for batch economy
Enzymatic modification of TKP size paste
Enzyme pretreatment for improved bleaching
Bio-polishing of Jute fabric

3.3 ENZYME IN JUTE FIBRE UPGRADATION / BATCH ECONOMY

The thickened root ends of low grade jute fibres are under-retted barks comprising
dried cells of parenchyma tissue held together by pectinaceous matter. During piling of
the jute fibres both aerobic and anaerobic microbes present in jute plays a vital role in
softening and cleaning of barky root ends and predominance of microbes varies with the
ambience of jute pile (Table 7).
Application of enzymes called hydrolases in presence of moisture enhances
catalytic degradation of specific carbohydrates such as cellulose, hemicellulose and
pectins present in hard barky root ends. The synergistic effect of the two biological
systems, enzymes and bacteria, brings about the ideal softening of barky tissue in a
minimum period of piling. Enzyme application during jute piling causes accelerated
maturation of pile Known as accelerated softening.
Table 7: Microbial profile in Jute piles during softening of barky root cuttings
Piling period
( Hrs)
24
48
72
96

Temperature
in Mini Jute Pile
( 0C)
50
69
72
54

Bacterial Count / Gm. of Fibre


Aerobic
6

70x10
600x106
300x106
29x106

Anaerobic
38x106
280x106

Extent of
Softening
Low
Moderate
Moderate

The
enzyme
system
developed
by IJIRA
for upgradation
fibres
never ws
Ref:
Application
of enzymes
in the
Jute Industry,
Ed. Dr. Bof
.L.Jute
Ghosh,
IJIRA
The enzyme system developed by IJIRA for upgradation of jute fibres never shows any
perceptible damage to jute even when applied in relatively higher concentration and
based on the observation while carrying out whole mill trials, an optimum limit of its
concentration has been determined ( 2.0 units/ gm of fibre). Enzymatic softening of piled
jute has been reported to be an outcome of controlled hydrolysis of the fibre matrix on the
periphery of the filaments leading to smooth separation of the fibre filaments from the
meshy structure during the subsequent carding operation. The resultant fleece is more
lustrous and clean, so much so that slivers obtained from even lower grade fibres
softened enzymatically can be spun at a significantly higher efficiency to produce better

quality yarns. Effect of IJIRA enzyme on physical properties of jute fibre has been shown
in Table 8.
Table 8: Enzyme action on Physical properties of TD3 Jute fibre
Sample
No.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Enzyme
concentration
( Unit/ gm of
fibre)

Reducing sugar
released
( mg/gm of
fibre)

Linear
Density
( tex)

0
0.149
2.24
0.5
0.216
2.16
1.0
0.387
1.90
2.0
0.456
1.69
3.0
0.498
1.63
Ref: J.Textile Institute, 91, No.1, 28-34, 2000

Bundle
Tenacity
( gf/tex)

Carding
Resistance
( %)

Compressibility
( %)

19.0
18.8
18.4
18.6
15.9

100
86
76
70
66

100
122
145
151
208

Effect of enzyme action on reduction of batch cost , spinning performance and


yarn qualities have been reported after carrying out series of mill trials and representative
data has been summarized in Table 9 & 10. Jute fibres in general contains 5 -7% roots
and due to judicious application of enzymes it is possible to use uncut jute to spin even
8.0 lbs yarn without any noticeable problem suggesting gainful utilization of 100% long
jute. Enzyme application thus indirectly increases the cost competitiveness of Jute
products by reducing the batch cost by 15-20%.
Table 9: Enzyme application on reduction of batch composition
Batch
composition (%)

Mill Normal

DTD3
SNTD4
DTD4
DTD5 *
SNTD5 *
Cutting / Waste *

50
25
25
-

Trial I
Experimental

33.3
16.7
16.7
33.3
-

Trial II
Mill Normal
Experimental

30.0
42.0
15.0
13.0

30.0
42.0
28.0

* Enzyme treated
Table 10: Mill data - Yarn properties and spinning performance
Parameters Tested
Trial I
Trial II
Mill Normal
Experimental
Mill Normal
Experimental
Avg. Count( lbs/ spy)
Count CV%
Avg. Quality Ratio
Min. Quality Ratio
Avg. Strength CV%

8.20
4.20
90.2
58.2
17.6

8.24
3.72
89.6
57.4
17.4

10.5
6.5
84.0
53.6
18.4

10.4
5.7
84.4
53.0
18.8

10

Specks per mtr of Yarn


( Avg.100 )

0.32

0.34

0.36

0.40

3.4 ENZYME IN JUTE SIZING

Jute yarns are conventionally sized with a thick cooked paste of tamarind kernel
powder, however, it is observed that enzymatic modification of TKP size paste not only
reduces the cost of cooking of size but also helps in rapid drying of sized yarns. Enzyme
modification of size paste has been observed to reduce the viscosity of the size paste and
improves yarn sizing and its overall quality. Effect of enzymes on sizing of jute yarns is
presented in Table 11. Enzyme application in jute yarn sizing has been observed to
improve the weaving efficiency by 2-3% and hence considered as an eco-process
technology related to the reduction of cost of jute processing.
Table 11: Enzyme application on sizing of 8.0 lbs Jute Hessian warp Yarns
Parameters tested

Unsized Yarns

Cooked TKP sized


yarns

Enzyme modified
TKP sized yarns

Avg. Quality Ratio


Min. Quality Ratio
Strength CV%

86.7
54.5
18.8

100.6
68.7
17.4

104.2
72.4
16.6

Weaving Efficiency (%),

ND

58-60

60-63

40-(1112)-10 oz/yd
Ref: 18th Technological Conference of IJIRA, 1995
3.5 ENZYME AS BLEACHING AID OF JUTE

The art of bleaching jute has received fresh attention in diversified jute products.
Among various methods suggested, bleaching of jute with peroxide has proven attractive
since fibers retain adequate strength with reduced health hazards and pollution. IJIRA
developed a mixed enzyme based pretreatment procedure for enhancing the brightness of
peroxide bleached jute. It has been observed that brightness index of bleached jute
material is increased by 3% when pretreated with an enzyme mixture containing cellulase
and xylanase (Table12). Enzyme pretreatment being an eco-friendly approach in jute
bleaching thus can reduce the consumption of harsh bleaching chemicals in order to
attain equivalent brightness.
Table 12: Physical properties of enzyme-pretreated jute after bleaching with peroxide
Jute Materials
Fibre
Yarn
Fabric

Sample
Control
Enz-pretreated
Control
Enz-pretreated
Control

Brightness
percent
63.3
66.7
58.7
61.8
58.4

Strength
19.5
17.9
2.77
2.55
25.2

Bulk Specific
Vol. (cc/g)
4.06
3.50
4.25
3.78
ND

11

Enz-pretreated

61.5

23.4

ND

Strength is expressed: Fibre g/tex, Yarn and Fabric Kg.


Ref: Textile Res. J., 61(2), 720-723, 1991
3.6 ENZYMES AS DEHAIRING AGENT OF JUTE

Small fibre ends, called fuzz, projected from the surface of yarn give an
unpleasant feel to all cellulosic fabrics. This problem has intensified with jute because of
its inherent coarseness and rigidity of jute fuzz cause a pricking sensation. Upgradation of
jute fabric means reduction of Fuzz, thus imparting smoothness as well as making the
product soft. IJIRA has developed a Bio-polishing technique by using specific enzymes
and improved the handle and appearance of JuteCotton union fabric. Effect of enzymatic
bio-polishing on various fabric properties has been summarized in Table 13.
Table 13: Effect of Bio-polishing on Fabric properties
Treatment

Drape
Co-efficient
(%)

Compressibility
(%)

81
79
67

28
28
32

Bleached
18.0
46.5
118
2100
69
Bleached +BP
13.5
41.0
60
1620
65
Ref: Indian Journal of Fibre & Textile Research, 21, 127-130, 1996

30
33

Untreated
Soap washed
Soap washed
+ BP

Bending length
(cm)
Warp
21.1
19.5
15.5

Weft
50.0
49.0
44.0

Flexural Rigidity
( mg-cm)
Warp
185
158
85

Weft
2349
1800

Diversified applications of enzymes starting from fibre upgradation to


improvement in fabric properties clearly indicate that these eco-friendly applications are
highly beneficial for jute and allied fibres and will find other avenues in the days to
come.
4.0 PART (C): OPTIMUM MOISTURE RETENTION IN JUTE PROCESSING

Moisture relationship of Jute and their industrial significance are well known for
their technical and commercial implications. Jute is a hygroscopic lignocellulosic bast
fibre, however, exhibits a tendency to be in moisture equilibrium with the relative
humidity of the surrounding atmosphere. Problems related to the retention of optimum
moisture in Jute processing is generic in nature and observed particularly in low humid
winter and dry summer. Inadequate moisture in jute processing adversely affects its
operational efficiency, deteriorates yarn quality, reduces spinning performance, increases
waste generation and ultimately affects overall productivity. Insufficient contract
moisture in export yarn and in some diversified jute products leads to huge financial loss
by the Jute industry during commercial transaction. Higher moisture in finished goods, on
the other hand, invites microbial growth which in turn damages jute products. Hence
retention of optimum moisture is very essential in jute processing.

12

Role of moisture in Jute processing is very critical as almost all the physicochemical properties of jute fibres are affected by its moisture content and these improved
fibre properties plays a significant role in the conversion of fibres into yarns and fabrics.
Some R&D efforts made earlier to resolve this issue were primarily based on the
application of inorganic humectants but later on discontinued. To resolve this critical
issue, IJIRA suggested a bio-chemical route based on specific organic polymers which
are compatible to Oil-in-water emulsion. Judicious application of such organic
humectants (e.g glycol derivatives) along with JBO or RBO etc. during jute softening has
been observed to retain optimum moisture profile at various stages of processing in mill
shop floor and found beneficial in spinning. Table 14&15 shows representative data on
improved moisture profile at fibre and yarn stages respectively due to the application of
Organic humectants.
Table 14: Improved Moisture profile in Jute Fibres by Organic humectants
Samples

Moisture Regain (%) of Jute fibre at


50 % R.H

65 % R.H

80% R.H

97% R.H

Untreated Jute

9.6

12.3

16.4

34.4

Jute + OH 1
Jute + OH 2

12.8
14.9

15.6
19.2

17.9
23.2

44.1
52.4

OH: Organic humectants


Table 15: Improved properties of Jute yarns by Organic humectants (OH- 2)

Yarn parameters tested

Avg. Count( lbs/ spy)


Count CV%
Avg. Quality Ratio
Min. Quality Ratio
Avg. Strength CV%
Moisture Regain (%)

Mill Trial ( A )
Dry Summer

Mill Trial ( B )
Low humid Winter

Mill Normal

Normal +
OH

Mill
Normal

Normal +
OH

8.06
4.10
86.4
56.2
17.6
11.4

8.14
3.42
89.8
59.4
16.2
15.6

8.16
4.36
85.6
55.6
18.4
10.5

8.12
3.78
89.2
60.2
17.0
14.4

5.0 Conclusion
Responding to the global eco-alertness and to meet market demands IJIRA
developed three eco-friendly technologies as described above for eco-processing of Jute
and allied fibres which improves not only the eco- character of jute products but also
their cost competitiveness. For sustained growth of the Jute sector and eco-compliance of
jute products, further development and intervention of such eco-friendly technologies
would be the obvious choice.
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Acknowledgement:
The author expresses his thanks to International Jute Study Group (IJSG), Dhaka,
Bangladesh, for organizing and sponsoring this one day International Seminar and
inviting Indian Jute Industries Research Association (IJIRA), Kolkata, India, for making
presentations on various challenging issues related to Jute and allied fibres. The author is
also grateful to the Chairman, IJIRA and the Acting Director, IJIRA for giving permission
to present this paper.

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