The Use of Enzymes in the Bio-processing of Agave Americana and Agave Sisalana Fibres in Swaziland

This research was done in different agro-ecological zones in Swaziland where there are women and men Agave fibre decorticators and weavers. Current methods used to extract fibre from Agave spp. tend to pollute the environment since they use reagents that are not clean. The purpose of the study was to explore the use of enzymes as an alternative method for extraction, cleaning and softening of Agave sisalana and Agave americana fibres from the plants’ leaves in order to obtain environmentally friendly products. This study which has just began, will assess the current status of sisal fibre processing in making products and evaluate the use of natural dyes. Preliminary results revealed that fibres obtained from sisal are not soft enough to be used in several products. This therefore calls for studies on resin application on the rough fibres to improve their texture.
Cette recherche a été effectuée dans les différentes zones agroécologiques au Swaziland où il ya des femmes et des hommes décortiqueurs et tisserands des fibres d’Agave. Les méthodes actuelles utilisées pour extraire les fibres d’Agavespp ont tendance à polluer l’environnement, car elles utilisent des réactifs qui ne sont pas propres. Le but de cette étude était d’explorer l’utilisation d’enzymes comme une méthode alternative pour l’extraction, le nettoyage et le ramollissement des fibres d’Agave sisalana etd’Agave americanaà partir des feuilles des plantes afin d’obtenir des produits respectueux de l’environnement. Cette étude, qui vient de commencer, permettra d’évaluer l’état actuel de traitement des fibres de sisal dans la fabrication des produits et d’évaluer l’utilisation des colorants naturels. Les résultats préliminaires ont révélé que les fibres obtenues à partir de sisal ne sont pas assez doux pour être utilisées dans plusieursproduits. Ceci fait appel dès lors aux études sur l’application de résine sur les fibres rugueuses pour améliorer leur texture.
Extended abstracts submitted under Integrated Crop Management
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Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
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The 2012 RUFORUM Biennial Conference is the third in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. The third Biennial Conference was attended by 657 participants.This record contains an extended abstract accepted under Integrated Crop Management