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Prospect of bamboo as a renewable textile fiber, historical overview, labeling, controversies and regulation

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Abstract

Innovation in textile has brought alternative plant based fibers such as bamboo into the spotlight and as a replacement to petrochemical based synthetic fibers. Bamboo as a raw material is a remarkably sustainable and versatile resource but the manufacturing process is where the debate really gets heated and the sustainability and green image of bamboo is tarnished. Products made from bamboo are often labeled as ‘eco-friendly’, ‘bio-degradable’ and ‘anti-microbial’ irrespective of their method of manufacturing. The claims may not always portray the products authenticity and true environmental impact. By far, viscose process is predominantly used to create fibers from bamboo but the properties of natural bamboo fibers in such bamboo viscose products have been lost. However, bamboo textiles are not yet achieved their full potential and cleaner production processes are appearing. With abundant sources of raw material, relatively low cost; and unique performance of bamboo fiber it is only a matter of time to develop green and pure bamboo textiles. This paper analyses the prospects of bamboo fibers providing a view on bamboo as a plant and processed fiber, facts regarding the antimicrobial properties of bamboo fibers, its chemical properties, morphology, anatomy, historical overview, patents and modern bamboo textile industry.
Prospect ofbamboo asa renewable
textile ber, historical overview, labeling,
controversies andregulation
Lopamudra Nayak* and Siba Prasad Mishra
Introduction
Although textile is one of the most ancient known, dating back to the very inception of
culture there still remains room for innovation today. New ways have to be thought up of
creating materials that will provide the best possible balance between properties sought,
cost and quantities of material and energy used, so that these new materials may be
created that are either biodegradable or can be easily recycled (CETI, http://www.ceti.
com). What’s more textile and apparel manufacturer are constantly exploring for natural
renewable fibers having unique performances as their way of adding value to their prod-
ucts and to catch the attention of the consumers. ese concerns drive research into
ways to develop fiber derived from unconventional ‘agro-resources’ such as bamboo.
Bamboo plant as a resource is available in plenty and plays a great role in socio-eco-
nomic development (Panda 2011; Yeasmin et al. 2015). It is fast growing (Devi et al.
Abstract
Innovation in textile has brought alternative plant based fibers such as bamboo into
the spotlight and as a replacement to petrochemical based synthetic fibers. Bamboo as
a raw material is a remarkably sustainable and versatile resource but the manufacturing
process is where the debate really gets heated and the sustainability and green image
of bamboo is tarnished. Products made from bamboo are often labeled as eco-friendly,
‘bio-degradable’ and ‘anti-microbial’ irrespective of their method of manufacturing.
The claims may not always portray the products authenticity and true environmental
impact. By far, viscose process is predominantly used to create fibers from bamboo but
the properties of natural bamboo fibers in such bamboo viscose products have been
lost. However, bamboo textiles are not yet achieved their full potential and cleaner pro-
duction processes are appearing. With abundant sources of raw material, relatively low
cost; and unique performance of bamboo fiber it is only a matter of time to develop
green and pure bamboo textiles. This paper analyses the prospects of bamboo fibers
providing a view on bamboo as a plant and processed fiber, facts regarding the anti-
microbial properties of bamboo fibers, its chemical properties, morphology, anatomy,
historical overview, patents and modern bamboo textile industry.
Keywords: Natural bamboo fiber, Bamboo viscose, Litrax bamboo, Morphology,
Anatomy, Patents, Bamboo fiber labeling, Regulation
Open Access
© 2016 Nayak and Mishra. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
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indicate if changes were made.
REVIEW
Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
DOI 10.1186/s40691-015-0054-5
*Correspondence:
licha.lopa@gmail.com
School of Fashion
Technology, Kalinga
Institute of Industrial
Technology (KIIT) University,
Bhubaneswar 751024, India
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
2007; Rodie 2008; Nieder 2009; Hardin etal. 2009) and most of it is grown organically
(though very little is certified organic), and it has been claimed that growing bamboo
usually requires no pesticides and fertilizers (Devi etal. 2007; Rodie 2008; Nieder 2009;
Hardin etal. 2009; Yueping etal. 2010) i.e. naturally organic. Bamboo textiles are fash-
ionably chic, soft, cool, breathable and light (Textile Digest 2009; Hardin et al. 2009;
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo http://www.getgloved.com).
Bamboo textile and apparel products are a recent development. Products made from
bamboo are often labeled as ‘green’, ‘bio-degradable’, etc. irrespective of their method of
manufacturing (Rodie 2008; Hardin etal. 2009). While ‘agro-resources’ by definition do not
use petroleum as raw material, there are often hidden consequences and impact created by
their uses. Besides, many apparel manufacturers often claimed that products made from
bamboo have antimicrobial properties (Rodie 2008; Hardin etal. 2009 Textile Digest 2009;
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo http://www.getgloved.com). e claims may not
always portray the products authenticity and true environmental impact. However, more
scientific investigations are needed to prove the claims and researches are still going on.
is paper analyses the prospects of bamboo fibers providing a view on bamboo as a
plant and processed fiber, facts regarding the antimicrobial properties of bamboo fibers,
its chemical properties, morphology, anatomy, historical overview, patents and modern
bamboo textile industry.
Taxonomy andgeographical distribution
Bamboo is the vernacular term for perennial, giant woody evergreen plants in the grass
family Poaceae (syn. Gramineae); subfamily Bambusoideae (Scurlock etal. 2000; Sung-
kaew etal. 2009; Hodkinson etal. 2010; Panda 2011; Yeasmin etal. 2015). e most
important characteristics that make majority of bamboo distinct from other grasses are
their woody perennial habit and peculiar flowering and seeding behavior (Panda 2011).
e taxonomy of bamboo is the most difficult domain and still not clearly understood
partly because of the infrequent flowering of many species; some species even flower
after a very long interval of vegetative growth (as long as 120 years) (Scurlock et al.
2000; Das etal. 2008; Panda 2011) and also partly due to extensive genome polyploidi-
zation (Das etal. 2008). In precise, the taxonomic demarcation of genera and species
of woody bamboos at lower ranks are so far not well resolved. A number of species are
known only vegetatively and new species are frequently been described (Triplett etal.
2006; Clark etal. 2007; Das etal. 2008). e earliest bamboo classification was attempted
by Munro (1868) which described 170 species under 20 genera (Das etal. 2008; Clark
etal. 2015). e most up-to-date comprehensive and phylogenetically based bamboo
taxonomical system is derived from DNA sequence data in combination with various
morphological and anatomical features (Clark etal. 2015). Currently bamboo encom-
pass 1482 described species within 119 genera and are classified into three tribes: (1)
Arundinarieae: the temperate woody bamboos, albeit some occur in the tropics at high
elevations; 546 species, (2) Bambuseae: the tropical woody bamboos, even if some occur
outside of the tropics; 812 species, (3) Olyreae: the herbaceous bamboos; 124 species
(Clark etal. 2015) clearly supported by phylogenetic results (BPG 2012). However, 1575
bamboo species are reported (Goyal et al. 2013; Basumatary et al. 2015) and Waite
(2009) accounted that although more than 1500 species of bamboo are found around the
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
world, approximately 50 are involved commercially in trade. Almost half of these species
are spread in Asia, mostly within the Indo-Burmese region which is also considered to
be their place of origin (Grosser and Liese 1971).
Many DNA sequencing activities are being carried out in recent years for character-
ization of bamboo species for sustainable utilization of genetic diversity, its conserva-
tion and future studies (Yeasmin etal. 2015) facilitating easy availability of sequences
in the public domain (Sungkaew etal. 2009; Yosodha 2011). Almost all the bamboos are
polyploides (Gielis 1998; Kellog and Bennetzen 2004) and therefore the nuclear genomes
of bamboo exhibit extensive variation in chromosome number, size and DNA content
(Yosodha 2011). Bamboo phylogeny Group reported that approximation of total diver-
sity vary from source to source. Discoveries of new species and genera in all of these
tribes are still going on and phylogenetic analyses in a number of cases support generic
recircumscriptions (BPG 2012).
Bamboo plants are found in almost all parts of world except those places having
extreme cold climates like Europe though some species can be successfully introduced in
mild temperate zones of Europe (IFAR/INBAR 1991; Tewari 1992; Panda 2011; Hakeem
etal. 2015) (Fig.1). e spreading of bamboo plants can be broadly assigned into three
major divisions namely Asia–Pacific, America and Africa (Zhou 1998). Greatest diver-
sity of bamboo is found in Southeast Asia and South America, where they occur in
tropical, subtropical and temperate regions (Zhou 1998; Bystriakova and Kapos 2006;
Hodkinson etal. 2010; Panda 2011; Goyal etal. 2013) while, fewer bamboo species are
found in Africa in comparison to the other two regions (Zhou 1998; Bystriakova and
Kapos 2006; Panda 2011) with the exception of Madagascar which is rich in endemic
genera and species (Bystriakova and Kapos 2006; Panda 2011). ey occur at latitudes
from 51°N in Japan to 47°S in South Argentina and from sea level to 4000m elevation
though occurrence of herbaceous bamboo never exceeds an altitude of 1500m (IFAR/
INBAR 1991; Tewari 1992; Panda 2011). Qiu etal. (1992) reported that almost one thou-
sand bamboo species are found in Asia, predominantly indigenous rather than planta-
tion or introductions.
Bamboo morphology
Morphology (Morphe=form; logos=study) of bamboo refers to the external structure
(form and features) of the bamboo plant’s components. Bamboo does not have a cen-
tral trunk like other woody plants and its major components include roots, rhizomes,
Fig. 1 Geographical distribution of bamboos: a herbaceous Bamboos, b all woody bamboos, c temperate
woody bamboos [Source: http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/research/bamboo/bamboo.html, Map prepared by:
Elizabeth Vogel and Anna Gardner; Courtesy: Dr. Lynn Clark, Iowa State University, USA]
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
culms, branches, leaves, and flowers (Seethalakshmi etal. 1998; Banik 2015; Liese and
Tang 2015).
e rhizome is an essential parts of bamboo plants which bears roots. Stapleton
(1997) reported that two major rhizome systems prevail but the terminology used to
explain rhizomes has often been uncertain and indistinct. He reviewed the terminology
and opined that the term pachymorph and leptomorph [prefered by McClure (1966)]
were the most appropriate than the terms sympodial (clumping) and monopodial (non-
clumping or running) which concern more with the branching patterns than actual mor-
phological forms. e growth and branching pattern of bamboo is dependent upon the
rhizome systems, as this determines whether the plant will be clump forming or non-
clumping and will also determine the distances between individual culms (neck length).
Bamboos are broadly classified into clumping types with pachymorph rhizome systems
and running types with leptomorph rhizome systems (Janssen 2000; Das et al. 2008;
Waite 2009; Banik 2015); in certain circumstances a mixed condition of both monopo-
dial and sympodial types, known as amphipodial is witnessed (Das etal. 2008). However,
according to Stapleton (1997) the term amphipodial or amphimorph though often used
is possibly misleading.
e rhizome in a bamboo is well developed (Banik 2015) underground plant part
(Das etal. 2008; Hardin etal. 2009) that spreads to produce an interconnected network
and often send out shoots or new rhizome from its nodes (Das etal. 2008; Liese and
Tang 2015). e young shoots are protected by sheaths that fall off as they grow up into
mature culms (‘Culm’: Latin word culmus meaning stem) (Janssen 2000; Das etal. 2008).
In pachymorph rhizome system the culms develop from the terminal buds whereas in
leptomorph rhizome system these arise from the lateral buds of the rhizome (Janssen
2000; Banik 2015). After reviewing the terminology, Ding etal. (1997) suggested that
only monopodial (running) bamboo possess a true rhizome (Liese and Tang 2015).
e culm is the most distinguishable upper ground part in the plant, may be arching
or erect semiscandent or scandent (Seethalakshmi etal. 1998), characterized as a hol-
low cylindrical tube divided by nodes and internodes (Chaowana 2013; Liese and Tang
2015). e culm is complimented by the branching system which is more informative at
mid position of the culm than the lower culm body (Das etal. 2008). e length of inter-
nodes appearing from the culm sheath towards the end of the growth period varies with
the species and has a stable genetic basis (Banik 2015); longer in those species in which
the growth periods begin earlier.
Two types of leaves—culm leaf and foliage leaf, which are functionally different, are
observed in bamboo (Das etal. 2008; Banik 2015). e bamboo leaf develops from a
sheath, which encircles the stems and is called a leaf-sheath. e leaf-sheath resembles a
small culm-sheath but develops a large sheath blade that functions as a proper leaf (foli-
age leaf). e green foliage leaf essentially performs photo synthesis whereas the culm
leaf protects the younger shoot. At the point of attachment of the blade of the sheath
there are different combinations of features involving auricle, bristles and ligules which
are as important as the colour of the culm sheath in the identification of individual spe-
cies (Das etal. 2008; Banik 2015).
e Olyreae tribes are discerned by their rather weakly lignified culms, lack of both
well differentiated culm leaves and outer ligules; restricted vegetative branching and
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
unisextual spikelets on the contrary, Arundinarieae and Bambuseae tribes have a tree
like habit with highly lignified, typically hollow culms, complex rhizome systems, clearly
distinguished culm leaves, well developed aerial branching, and foliage leaf blades with
outer ligules, and bisexual spikelets (BPG 2012; Clark etal. 2015).
e sequence of flowering in bamboos varies with species and accordingly these can be
categorized into three major types namely annual, irregular (sporadic) and gregarious.
However, the majority of bamboo species (for e.g. Bambusa bambos, B. tulda, Dendro-
calamus strictus) exhibit gregarious flowering that occurs at long intervals with synchro-
nized seed production. e entire clump at one location produces flowers and then dies
back over the course of 2–3years; the cycle repeats every 30–40years even more than
60years in certain cases (Scurlock etal. 2000; Das etal. 2008). Besides, almost all her-
baceous bamboos exhibit seasonal flowering while the woody bamboos usually exhibits
gregarious flowering pattern (Clark etal. 2015).
Anatomy ofbamboo culm
e technological properties of a bamboo culm are determined by its anatomical fea-
tures. A number of studies have been attempted to describe anatomical changes occur-
ring in the culm tissues such as cell wall thickening and lignifications during culm
maturation and their significance in change of technical properties (Liese 1987, 1998,
2004a, b; Alvin and Murphy 1998; Liese and Grosser 2000; Wahab etal. 2013; Liese and
Tang 2015). Unlike wood, there are no such major differences found among genera and
species of bamboo in their anatomical structure yet certain species are ideal for specific
uses (Liese 1992; Liese and Tang 2015). Besides, growth conditions and aging have no
significant effect on composition and structure of bamboo tissue. e thickness of culm
wall shows significant difference between genera and species which has great impact on
mechanical properties. e whole bamboo culm comprises of 50% parenchyma, 40%
fibers and 10% conducting tissue (vessels, sieve tubes with companion cells) with some
variation according to species (Liese 1992, 1998; Chaowana 2013; Liese and Tang 2015).
Bamboo is an anisotropic and natural composite material due to the structure com-
posed of mostly vascular bundles (which comprises of sclerenchyma, metaxylem vessels,
sieve tubes with companion cells), embedded in a ligneous matrix (parenchyma) (Liese
1987; Smole etal. 2013; Dixon and Gibson 2014; Habibi and Lu 2014; Liese and Tang
2015). In other words, bamboo comprises of three fundamental tissues namely paren-
chyma, vascular bundles and epidermis (Habibi and Lu 2014).
Vascular bundles embedded in the parenchymatous ground tissue collectively play a
role in the flexibility and stability of the culm. e parenchyma cells, which are smaller
on the outer culm part and grow to be longer and larger towards the inner part, are of
two types– one vertically longer and the other short, cube like fiber interspersed. e cell
wall of the longer one has a polylamellate structure with alternating broad and narrow
lamellae (Fig.2) and become lignified in the early stages of shoot growth (Parameswaran
and Liese 1980; Liese 1987; Liese and Tang 2015). e walls of shorter parenchyma cells
remain mostly non-lignified even in mature culms and retain their cytoplasmic activity
for a long time. Usually the maturation changes pertaining to lignifications and thicken-
ing of cell wall complete within 3–4years (Liese 1998; Gritsch etal. 2004).
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
Fibers are present around vascular bundles as sclerenchyma sheaths (fiber sheaths;
fiber cap) and in some species as additional fiber strands. In non-conventional fiber
plant like bamboo sclerenchyma cells are organized in a similar manner than traditional
fiber cells like flax and hemp. e bamboo fibers are slender, long, tapered and often
forked at the ends and are aligned in the longitudinal direction of the culm. e fiber
length shows significant variation between and within species (Liese and Grosser 2000;
Chaowana 2013; Smole etal. 2013; Dixon and Gibson 2014; Liese and Tang 2015). e
fibers add 40 percent mass and 60–70 percent of the weight of culm. e percentage of
fiber is compact in the outer part (Fig.3) while the parenchyma and conducting cells are
plenteous in the inner part of the wall. Fiber length is not only significantly correlated
Fig. 2 Model of the polylamellate structure of a bamboo fiber wall (Liese 1985); [Reproduced from Liese and
Tang 2015]. Figures on the left indicate fibril angles and letters on the right the terminology of wall lamellae.
ML middle lamella, P primary wall, S0 secondary wall, Transparent broad lamellae (S-l); (S1-l, S3-l, S5-l & S7-l),
Denser narrow lamellae (S-t); (S2-t, S4-t, S6-t, & S8-t)
Fig. 3 Cross-section of a bamboo culm, vascular bundles within the parenchyma (Liese 1998); [Reproduced
from Liese and Tang 2015]. The density of the fibers in the cross-section of a bamboo culm varies along its
thickness. The fibers are concentrated in regions closer to the outer skin
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
with fiber diameter and cell wall thickness, but also with the modulus of elasticity and
compression strength (Chaowana 2013; Liese and Tang 2015).
Both sides of the culm wall are covered by special tissue. e outer part, the cortex,
consists of epidermal cells that are covered with waxy layer which prevent moisture loss
in the bamboo culm. At the inner side, layer of parenchyma cells, form a special tissue
(Chaowana 2013; Liese and Tang 2015).
Chemical composition ofbamboo ber
Bamboo is a natural ligno-cellulosic fiber obtained from bamboo culm. Its chemical
composition is similar to bast fiber (Li etal. 2010) so, its structure and properties are
often compared with other bast fibers such as flax and jute (Yueping etal. 2010). Besides,
it belongs cellulose I crystalline structure, like that of cotton and ramie. ough bamboo
fiber is alike a bast fiber, it is often misinterpreted as a bast fiber. Bamboo does not have
a bark and the fiber occurs on the outer culm unlike a bast fiber which takes place in the
phloem or bark of the plant. erefore, bamboo could appropriately be called as a ‘culm
fiber’ just as cotton is called—a ‘seed fiber, or sisal—a ‘leaf fiber.
e major chemical constituents of bamboo are cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin
accounting for over 90% of the total mass and the minor constituents being soluble
polysaccharides, waxes, resins, tannins, proteins and ashes (Seethalakshmi etal. 1998;
Li etal. 2007; Chaowana 2013; Liese and Tang 2015). Tomalang et al. (1980) in their
study found that bamboo culms consist of 60–70% holocellulose (cellulose+hemicel-
lulose=holocellulose), pentosans (20–25%), hemicelluloses and lignin (each amounted
to about 20–30%). On the whole, bamboo contains 40–50% α-cellulose, which is com-
parable with the reported α-cellulose contents of softwoods (40–52%) and hardwoods
(38–56%). Cellulose contents in this range make bamboo a suitable raw material for the
pulp and paper industry (Fengel and Wegener 1984; Dence 1992; Li etal. 2007). Table1
presents approximate chemical analysis of some bamboo species.
Li etal. (2010) reported that bamboo fiber contains more than 70% cellulose (Bam-
boo species: Neosinocalamus affinis, abundantly found in China). In general, the cellu-
lose amounts as ‘holocellulose’ to more than 50% of the chemical constituents (Liese
1987). However, the contents of hemicelluloses and particularly lignin are greater than
that of flax and little less than that of jute fiber. Non-cellulose substances like pectin and
hemicelluloses influence the fiber properties such as strength, flexibility, moisture and
also density significantly (Li etal. 2010). Cellulose and hemicelluloses are carbohydrate
polymer constituents of simple sugar monomers. Cellulose, like other plant cellulose,
consists of linear chains of β-1-4-linked glucose anhydride units. Above 90% of hemicel-
luloses in bamboo comprise of xylan (4-O-acetyl-4-O-methyl--glucuronoxylan, a rela-
tively short polymer, degree of polymerization 200) (Liese 1987; Liese and Tang 2015).
Lignin (a typical grass lignin) is a polymer of phenyl-propane units (p-hydroxyphenyl)
(H), guaiacyl (G) and syringly (S) in a molar ratio of 10:68:22 (Wahab etal. 2013; Liese
and Tang 2015).
e degree of polymerization (DP) for bamboo is higher than for dicotyledonous
woods (a maximum of 15,000) (Liese and Tang 2015). However, the DP of bamboo fiber
(species: Neosinocalamus affinis (at present known as Bambusa emeiensisChrysoti-
chus’), single fiber length: 2mm) is close to jute fiber and lesser than flax and ramie and
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
much lower than cotton fiber (Yueping etal. 2010; Li etal. 2010); the higher the lignin
content the lower the degree of polymerization (Yueping etal. 2010). Yueping et al.
(2010) also stated that the DP is strongly correlated to the length and width ratio of a
single fiber. ey deduced that bamboo fiber has lower DP than flax and ramie, conse-
quently the single fiber length is very short i.e. 2mm with a length and width ratio of
about 120:1 as against more than 1000:1 in length and width ratio for flax and ramie.
However, the length varies considerably between and within bamboo species and the
range of length to width ratio lies between 150:1 and 250:1 (Liese 1987). Liese and Tang
(2015) reported average single fiber lengths of some bamboo species which are more
than 2 mm, especially Dendrocalamus membraneus (4.3 mm), Gigantochola aspera
(3.8mm), Oxytenanthera nigrocilliata and Teinostachyum sp. (3.6mm), and Bambusa
textilis and B. tulda (3.0mm).
Besides, Liese (1987, 1992) reported that the chemical composition varies according to
species, the growth condition, age and the part of the culm. As the culm tissue matures
within a year when the soft and fragile sprout becomes hard and strong, the proportion
of lignin and carbohydrates is changed during this phase. Yet, after the full maturation of
the culm, the chemical composition tends to remain rather constant.
Table 1 The chemical composition ofsome bamboo species
Bamboo species Holocellulose
(%) Alpha-cellulose
(%) Lignin (%) Ash (%) Sources
Bambusa blumeana 65.7–72.6 40.3–45.1 20.5–22.7 Latif and Liese (1995);
Liese and Tang
(2015)
Bambusa
heterostachya
68.8–79.5 19.7–23.1 2.7–5.27 Latif et al. (1996)
Bambusa
stenostachya
68.5–76.2 20.7–25.2 2.08–2.7 Chang et al. (2013)
Bambusa vulgaris 67.8–69.6 37.9–43.2 22.7–23.9 1.8–2.1 Latif and Liese (1995);
Liese and Tang
(2015)
Dendrocalamus
asper
61.9–75.2 18.5–29.0 1.7–5.6 Prasetya (1996)
Gigantochloa brang 79.94 51.58 24.83 1.25 Wahab et al. (2013)
Gigantochloa levis 85.08 33.80 26.50 1.29 Wahab et al. (2013)
G. levis 63.5–67.2 36.2–42.5 23.3–26.6 1.4–1.9 Latif and Liese (1995);
Liese and Tang
(2015)
Gigantochloa
scortechinni
74.62 46.87 32.55 2.83 Wahab et al. (2013)
G. scortechinni 66.8–68.1 40.5–41.4 24.9–27.9 1.1–1.4 Latif and Liese (1995);
Liese and Tang
(2015)
Gigantochloa wrayi 84.53 37.66 30.04 0.88 Wahab et al. (2013)
Phyllostachy
pubescens
71.4 47.00 22.8 1.5 Li et al. (2007)
P. pubescens 68.6–73.8 46.08–47.9 21.26–23.95 1.26–1.95 Li (2004)
Schizostachyum
zollingeri
68.8–74.3 48.7–52.6 22.1–22.9 Latif and Liese (1995);
Liese and Tang
(2015)
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
Manufacturing process ofbamboo ber
e manufacturing process of bamboo fiber is where the debate gets intense and the
sustainability and green image of bamboo is tarnished. ere are two main methods of
producing bamboo fibers namely mechanical and chemical. e chemical process is of
two kinds: one that follows the viscose process used to produce rayon where the fiber is
broken down with harsh chemicals and extruded through mechanical spinnerets. e
second one follows the closed solvent spinning loop which, is essentially the same pro-
cess used to produce Lyocell fibers (DyStar Ecology Solutions 2010). ere is another
category of bamboo fiber known as bamboo charcoal nano fiber (Waite 2009) which is
beyond the scope of this subject and not discussed in details.
Fiber extraction throughmechanical process
e fiber extracted by mechanical process is often referred by the manufacturer as ‘natu-
ral’ or ‘original’ bamboo fiber and more or less the same manufacturing process used to
produce ramie (Waite 2009).
1. e bamboo culms are split mechanically followed by rasping off the woody part.
2. e crushed bamboo strands are treated with enzymes to separate the fibrous mate-
rials from the remaining culm-parts.
3. Individual fibers are then combed out.
4. Fibers are then spun into yarns.
Natural bamboo fiber would be recognizable as bamboo under microscope (Fig. 4).
Bamboo fiber produced by this process though considered eco-friendly is less used
because it is time consuming, labor intensive, costly and serves a very specific niche of
the textile market.
Fiber extraction throughchemical process (Rayon Process)
e method essentially follows the same process as used to manufacture regenerated
viscose rayon using hydrolysis alkalization with the multi-phase bleaching principle
(Erdumlu and Ozipek 2008; Waite 2009; Ogunwusi 2013) and the process is as follows.
Fig. 4 Cross-section of a natural bamboo fiber
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1. e bamboo culm is crushed into smaller fractions and soaked in a solution of 18%
NaOH at 20–25°C for 1–3 h to form alkali cellulose.
2. e bamboo alkali cellulose is pressed to remove excess NaOH solution, crushed by
a grinder and left to dry for 24h.
3. In this stage, CS2 is added to the bamboo alkali cellulose to sulfurise the compound,
causing it to jell.
4. e remaining CS2 is removed by evaporation due to decompression, resulting in
sodium xanthogenate.
5. A diluted solution of NaOH is added to the cellulose sodium xanthogenate, which
dissolve it into a viscose solution consisting of about 5% NaOH and 7–15% bamboo
fiber cellulose.
6. e viscose solution is forced through spinneret nozzles into a larger container of
diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4) solution which, hardens the viscose and reconverts it to
cellulose bamboo fiber which are spun into yarns (to be woven or knitted).
is process (Fig.5) produce regenerated bamboo fiber which is essentially a rayon
fiber which is silky, strong and elegant but just like any other rayon, involves toxic chem-
icals and harmful byproducts. Unless methods are used to capture and recycle the caus-
tic chemicals, harmful byproducts can be released into air and water.
Fiber extraction byclosed solvent spinning loop process
Prof. Peter Hauser of North Carolina State University had suggested at a workshop spon-
sored by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July 2008 that bamboo may also be
processed into lyocell fibers (Textile Digest 2009). Closed loop process or lyocell process
may be the solution to greener regenerated bamboo manufacturing.
1. Lyocell process uses N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide (NMNO) to dissolve the bam-
boocellulose into viscose solution. NMNO are weak alkalines that act as surfactant
and help break down the cellulose structure.
2. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is added as a stabilizer and the solution is forced through
spinnerets into a hardening bath (usually a solution of H2O2 and a alcohol like meth-
anol or ethanol), which causes the thin streams of viscose solution to harden into
bamboo cellulose fibers.
3. e regenerated bamboo fibers are spun into yarns.
Fig. 5 Simplified bamboo viscose manufacturing steps (Lin 2008)[Reproduced from Waite 2009]. a Raw bam-
boo. b Bamboo processed into thick pulp. c Bamboo processed further into fine pulp sheet. d Bamboo rayon
fiber. e Spun into yarn
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While much more expensive, the lyocell process substantially reduces the environ-
mental threats associated with the viscose process and thus, comparatively eco-friendly
because the amine oxides are reported to be non-toxic to humans beings. e process
being closed-loop, 99.5% of the chemicals used during the processing are captured and
recycled and virtually no waste is created and only trace amounts escape into the atmos-
phere. It is considered to be one of the leading methods of producing environmentally
friendly regenerated fibers for textiles. Regenerated bamboo fiber made by lyocell pro-
cess would be labeled as lyocell.
It should be noted that some manufacturing company such as Tanboocel bamboo fiber
from Bambrotex claim they produce bamboo fiber with their proprietary closed loop
system using the conventional chemicals (NaOH and CS2) for producing rayon (Bamboo
fabric store 2009).
Often, imprecise terminologies (for examples—‘soft, inner pith’ from bamboo and
inner fibers’ are extracted from bamboo) have been used while describing the bamboo
fiber manufacturing process. As seen in the Fig. 3 (Cross-section of bamboo culm),
bamboo fiber is denser on the outer part of the culm than the inner part. us it is inap-
propriate to use the terms like the “soft”,inner pith, or “inner fibers.” In fact, inner pith
hardly contains any fiber and there is no such delineation as hard and soft bamboo fibers
remarked Dr. Walter Liese (Wood Biologist, University of Hamburg, Germany) who has
done numerous researches on bamboo structure and anatomy and is well recognized for
his works worldwide.
Litrax (natural) bamboo ber
Swiss brand LITRAX, new-founded under Litrax AG Limited, has moved its headquar-
ters to Hong Kong in 2010. It has developed natural bamboo fiber that offers a green
alternative for manufacturers looking for producing and marketing certifiable, sustain-
able bamboo-based apparel and home-fashion textiles (Rodie 2010; http://www.swicofil.
com).
Litrax AG founded in 2005 creates sustainable recycled raw materials, functional
polymer chips and dye solutions, and performance nano particles for a wide range of
industries, from textiles, construction and cosmetics to medical, automotive and bio-
plastics, according to Felix Stutz, president of Litrax AG Limited. During its initial years,
LITRAX promoted bamboo viscose products which were labeled as “viscose,” in accord-
ance with EU textile labeling laws. Later LITRAX has developed “greener” method of
processing raw bamboo culms into natural bamboo fiber. Litrax’s bamboo yarns have
been tested by Austria’s LENZING for harmful substances and comply with Oeko-Tex®
Standard 100 class 1. e unique, biodegradable textile yarn engineered by Litrax is
called LITRAX 1 (L1 NATURAL). It is made from bamboo using a high-tech process
that includes opening up and refining the culm fiber cells through an enzyme process
that separates longitudinal bamboo cells into textile fiber strands ready for further pro-
cessing through carding and combing.
In order to turn bamboo into a fiber, the culm must first be crushed mechanically. e
crushed bamboo strands are then treated with designed enzymes to separate the fibrous
material from the glue-like lignin within the plant. is includes a series of precisely timed
alternate steam-washing and enzyme treatment cycles, which also act on the vertical and
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horizontally aligned lignin of the resulting fiber bundles. e final step is to bleach the
fibers with hydrogen peroxide. e resulting natural staple length varies between 70 and
150mm, but can be cut to shorter lengths for processing, i.e. 50 or 38mm staple (Table2;
Fig.6). Litrax provides the LITRAX-1 (L1) natural bamboo fibers with a special DNA
coding to protect its vertical supply chain and customers. e DNA coding will guarantee
that customers are buying the original, authentic bamboo fiber from Litrax. e fiber is
strong and durable. Litrax also team up with Lenzing Gruppe, a world leader in man-
made cellulose fibers such as lyocell (tencel) and Lenzing modal, and introduce the blend
of LITRAX-1 natural bamboo fiber and lyocell. e company develops natural bamboo
blended fibers in part to keep the cost down and also to enhance the properties of fibers
(Nieder 2009; Rodie 2010; http://www.swifcofil.com; http://www.litrax.com).
Bamboo charcoal ber
With the development of new processing technologies, nanotechnology is introduced
to manufacture bamboo charcoal fiber that improves the performance of textiles. Bam-
boo can be processed and turned into activated charcoal products that have applications
in both traditional and high-tech industries (Tso 2009). Production of the charcoal has
been documented as early as 1486 during China’s Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when it
was used mostly as a fuel source (Sheu 2007). Today, the technology of producing char-
coal from bamboo is a highly specialized process where dried bamboo is carbonized in
a kiln at very high temperature (800°C or more, according to the performance desired),
reducing it to charcoal (Fig.7). e bamboo charcoal is sent for further processing to be
turned into nano particles. is molecular nano charcoal/carbon powder is then embed-
ded into natural or synthetic polymers to form fiber that are woven or knitted into fabric
form (Sheu 2007; China Textile Magazine). It has been reported that the resulting fabric
is enhanced with performance qualities such as odor absorption, launch of anions, elec-
tromagnetic shielding effectiveness, low surface resistivity, antibacterial and antifungal
Table 2 Technical data ofLITRAX L1 bamboo ber
L1 ber characteristics Dimensions
Fineness 5.7D
Fiber dimensions 38 mm from (natural 70–150 mm staple)
Fiber cross section Kidney shape
Production process Enzyme retting
Fig. 6 Mechanical extraction of natural bamboo fiber [with permission from Litrax; trademark registered by
Felix B. Stutz, Switzerland]. a Bamboo culms. b Mechanical splitting of bamboo culms. c Rasping of woody
parts. d Enzyme bath. e Gray and bleached natural bamboo fibers. f Woven bamboo fabric
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
property, far infrared ray emission, thermal regulation, prevention of static electricity
buildup and so on (Dinsely 2010; Sheu 2007; China Textile Magazine; Kittinaovarat and
Suthamnoi 2009; http://www.getek.com.tw; Lin etal. 2011a, b). Not all attributes are
proved with sufficient scientific evidence. More scientific research is needed to prove
these facts especially, the benefits of health related effect (Tso 2009).
According to the Leslie Jordan Apparel Design and Mfg Co. that produce functional
apparel (Leslie Jordan Brand) for sports community the quantity of bamboo charcoal
embedded into the textile fibers is usually 2% or less which is not enough to make a
product qualify for general environmental benefit claims besides, being insufficient to
offer any antimicrobial properties. Moreover, it is often embedded into the synthetic
polymers that are environmentally harmful, thus, negating any environmental benefits it
may offer (http://www.lesliejordan.com).
The conception ofbamboo fabric: history, patents andmodern bamboo textile
industry
Although bamboo is well appreciated and extensively used in life, the development of
processed bamboo fiber, textile and apparel products are contemporary (Jiang 2011).
e use of bamboo fiber for apparel is a 20th century development, initiated by several
Chinese company (Smith 2011). According to the information obtained from the website
ehow.com,’ Beijing University is accredited for developing the first modern bamboo tex-
tile process though it is likely that a number of manufacturers too discovered the method
nearly the same time, in the early 2000s. e successful extraction of the bamboo fibers
and use of modern bleaching chemicals to produce it white, lead to create commercially
available bamboo fabrics and successfully market them in America. is statement is
confirmed from the website of “Bamboo Clothing Limited, UK,” which reported that Bei-
jing University was first to discover the method of making fabric from bamboo in 2001
(Frequently Asked Question: Bamboo Clothing http://www.bambooclothing.co.uk/faqs.
html). Subsequently, the techniques of manufacturing bamboo fabrics have been in pro-
gress, bringing new innovations in fiber mixing and other processes. e entire process
is natural which, retain the organic heritage of the product.
Fig. 7 Bamboo charcoal and activated carbon [Courtesy: GE Technology Inc., Taiwan]
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In this context, Waite (2009) reported that the earliest record of US patents pertaining
to bamboo textile was made by Philipp Lichtenstadt in 1864 (U.S. patent and Trademark
office 2008). is patent described the process for disintegrating the fiber of bamboo,
in order to use it in manufacturing cloth, cordage, mats or pulp for paper. e method
described is something like as stated below.
1. e joints of bamboo are cut out and then split up into pieces of slivers of an inch in
width.
2. e shredded bamboo is pickled in a solution of clear lime-water, nitrate of soda and
oxalic acid.
3. e pickled bamboo is removed after 12–24h in order to be boiled in a solution of
soda ash.
4. e material is crushed and then combed, carded, or heckled. It is then spun into
cordage, yarn or other forms of manufacturing.
e technique is quite similar to the process use today to manufacture regenerated
bamboo cellulose, opined Waite (2009). Waite’s statement is confirmed from the websites
greenearthbamboo.com which informs that there is some interesting historical informa-
tion on viscose from bamboo and one of the earlier history of patent is for “improve-
ment in preparing fiber from the bamboo.” It is a U.S. patent #41,627 and has a date of
16 February 1864 which deals with the process for “disintegrating the fiber of bamboo,
so as to use it in manufacturing cordage, mats, cloth, or pulp for paper.” ere is another
U.S. patent #87,295, dated 23 February 1869 which also discusses on the improvement
of bamboo fiber preparation. A report from the website ehow.com remarked that neither
of these patents that occurred in 1864 and 1869, made possible for commercialization of
bamboo material, perhaps the demand for this materials were not so high in the locality
where bamboo grew and the transportation costs were too expensive. One more patent
was issued in 1881 for mixing bamboo fiber with wool and spinning into a yarn, the fore-
runner of modern bamboo yarn.
e existence documents which seem to be patents by Zhuzhou Cedar Ramie Indus-
trial Co. Ltd, bring up an essentially mechanical process for turning bamboo into fiber
to a great extent in the same manner that ramie is made into thread, and their website
asserts they are “Natural bamboo fabric.” e invention concerning a kind of yarn com-
prising bamboo fibers and its processing method is also described in the International
publication number: WO 2004/076728 (10.09.2004 Gazette 2004/37) where it states that
the basic bamboo fibers can be produced by the process disclosed in Chinese patent no.
ZL0211138.7 or technical fibers made by reserving factitiously some lignin and pectin.
e basic bamboo fibers are fed with emulsified oil and dried, then dewed and again fed
with oil to facilitate the spinnability and fortify the dispersion and building property of
the original bamboo fiber. After being stacked certain time, they are collected, tidied and
drafted twice, made into slivers. Slivers are then combed, drawn, roved and spun into
yarn. ese bamboo fibers can either be drawn in pure form or mixed with other textile
fibers to attain different characteristics. Clothes of different counts were produced from
these fibers for spring and summer leisure and the yarn have a high wet permeability
performance.
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e above mentioned patent exist in the European Patent EP 1598458 A1 (Publica-
tion date: 23.11.2005 Bulletin 2005/47); and EP 1598458 B1 (Publication date: 31. Dec.
2008; also published as CN1483872A) and United States Patent 7313906 (Publication
date: 01/01/2008) describe natural bamboo yarn (30–100% by weight of natural bamboo
fiber) and its method of production. e yarn is made by spinning either pure natural
bamboo fiber or in combined with other textile fibers. In this patent the background
information discloses the existence of Chinese patents for “Bamboo rayon” and “Natural
bamboo fiber” which are briefly described as follows. e supposed “bamboo fibers” and
bamboo textiles in the market at present are exactly products made from viscose fib-
ers produced from bamboo pulp sheets (China Patent No. ZL02113106.6), in which, the
characteristic of natural bamboo fibers in such bamboo viscose products has been dam-
aged to a great extent. Hence, the authoritative organizations do not acknowledge those
products as natural bamboo textiles. China Patent No. ZL02113180.7 gives an account
of the process of manufacturing real natural bamboo fibers that effectively retains the
excellent qualities of bamboo fibers. To differentiate it from the bamboo viscose, this
fiber is labeled as natural bamboo fiber. e successful extraction of natural bamboo
fiber leads to a stable establishment of bamboo textile industry (data.epa.org/publica-
tion-server; http://www.freepatentsonline.com). Table3 present a few patents for manu-
facturing process of bamboo viscose and natural bamboo fibers.
Bamboo fabric labeling, controversies andregulation
Proponent claims that there are several benefits in the expansion of bamboo textile indus-
try. Nieder (2009) remarked that bamboo’s sustainability and marketability starts with
the plant itself. It is a natural fiber which means it is renewable. Bamboo plant can be
harvested sustainably in 3–5years cycle unlike a tree forest that takes over 60years to
recover from deforestation. It is one of the fastest growing plant species and can grow
and adapt to a wide variety of climatic conditions. As the bamboo root systems stay intact
after harvesting, it improves soil quality and helps to rebuild eroded soil (Devi etal. 2007;
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo http://www.getgloved.com; Panda 2011). Bam-
boo is inherently antimicrobial due to a bio-agent called bamboo chinone that the Japa-
nese named “kun,” which resists the growth of bacteria on the fiber, so it is hardly ever
infected by pathogens or eaten by pests. Bamboo plant does not usually need the use
of irrigation; pesticides and herbicides that often required to grow cotton and can grow
in diverse climates; as a result, plantations can easily be maintained organic (Devi etal.
2007; Nieder 2009; Yueping etal. 2010; Kothari 2011; Rathod and Kolhatkar 2014).
Even though the above mentioned attributes make bamboo a sustainable and versa-
tile raw material for various end-uses its farming must be properly managed so that the
eco-system is not compromised (Waite 2009; Yiping and Henley 2010; Song etal. 2011).
According to the assessment of Yiping and Henley (2010), intensive farming practices in
China have had negative effects on bamboo biodiversity. Intensive management of bam-
boo species, increasing the density of bamboo culms per unit of land, effectively creates
monoculture bamboo forests. is is accomplished by clearing other vegetative spe-
cies, besides; performing topsoil tillage annually or twice a year and by applying various
quantities of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In the long-run it leads to a reduction
in resilience to external threats such as pests, disease and adverse weather events and a
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
Table 3 Some patents formanufacturing regenerated bamboo ber, natural bamboo ber andits blends
S no. Patent no. Publication
date/year Invention Source
1. U.S. patent #41,627 16/02/1864 Process for disintegrating the fiber of bamboo Waite (2009); greenearthbamboo.com; ehow.com
2. U.S. patent, #87,295 23/02/1869 Improvement of preparing fiber from bamboo greenearthbamboo.com; ehow.com
3. International publication no. : WO
2004/076728
10/09/2004 Invention relates to a kind of yarn comprising bamboo fibers and its processing method http://data.epa.org/publication-server
http://www.freepatentsonline.com
4. China patent no. ZL02113106.6 Viscose fibers produced from bamboo pulp sheets https://www.google.com/patents/EP1598458B1?cl=en
http://data.epa.org/publication-server
http://www.freepatentsonline.com
5. China patent no. ZL02111380.7 Discloses a process to produce real natural bamboo fibers that can efficiently keep the
excellent merits of bamboo fibers. To differentiate the fiber from the rayon one, the
fiber is called natural bamboo fiber
https://www.google.com/patents/CN101629322B?cl=en
http://data.epa.org/publication-server
www.freepatentsonline.com
6. China patent numbers:
ZL03128496.5, 004100464515 and
2005-G-13848
China Bambro Textile Co., Ltd use the combination patents to produce bamboo rayon
in a process that trapped the chemicals. 73 % of CS2 and 26 % of H2SO4 are recycled.
(Brand: Tanboocel bamboo fiber)
China Bambro Textile Co., Ltd—http://www.facebook.com.
pages/Bamboo-FabricStore/
7. European patent EP 1598 458 B1 31/12/2008 Yarn comprising bamboo fibers and its processing method
Yarn made by spinning natural bamboo fibers alone or in combination with other fibers
http://www.google.kz/patents/EP1598458B1?cl=en
8. United States Patent US 7313906 B2 01/01/2008 Method for preparing natural bamboo fiber and yarn prepared by spinning fiber alone or
blending with other fibers in a ratio of natural bamboo fibers comprising 30–100 % by
weight and other fibers comprising 70 to 0 % by weight
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7313906.html
https://www.google.com/patents/US7313906?dq
9. CN1600907 B 8/12/2010 Preparation method for fabricating raw bamboo into spinnable bamboo fibers
The method includes cutting bamboo into pieces, placing prepared bamboo pieces in
pressure container for obtaining coarse fibre, using mildew aqueous solution; rolling
and dividing the fibre, bleaching and rinsing; dewatering and adding reinforcer to
enhance fibre strength; emulsifying and drying it for obtaining spinnable bamboo fibre
http://www.google.com/patents/CN1600907B?cl=en
10. CN101629322 B 29/6/2011 Preparation method for processing bamboo into bamboo fiber with spinnability
The method comprises of pulse electric shock treatment, high-temperature high-
pressure cooking treatment and microorganism bacterial decomposing treatment; the
microorganism bacterial comprises Ceriporiopsis subvermispora and Trametes gallica
https://www.google.com/patents/CN101629322B?cl=en
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
reduced capacity to erosion control and nutrient cycle, etc., most importantly leading to
lower productivity of bamboo forests (Yiping and Henley 2010; Song etal. 2011).
Products made from bamboo are often labeled as “green,” “biodegradable” and “100%
bamboo fiber”, etc. irrespective of their methods of manufacturing. Besides, many
apparel manufacturers often claim that their products made from bamboo have anti-
microbial and moisture-transport performance properties. Natural bamboo fabric is
soft and possesses high absorbency and antimicrobial properties but the chemical pro-
cess bamboo rayon destroys this antimicrobial effect (Rodie 2008). However, the topic
regarding the antimicrobial properties of natural bamboo fabric has been discussed in
details separately.
In this context, Dystar Ecology Solutions reported that so long as bamboo fiber is pro-
duced by the viscose process, it will not be more sustainable than conventional rayon
method. Both natural bamboo fabrics and bamboo rayon are sold by traders as bam-
boo fabric in order to cash in on bamboo’s present green image. However, in mid-2009,
the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) an autonomous government organization,
formed exclusively for protecting consumers from unjust business practices, expressed
concerns about the bamboo labeling, forcing companies to list “rayon made from bam-
boo” when products are not natural bamboo. FTC consequently charged four companies
for deceiving their consumers by selling bamboo rayon inappropriately labeled as 100%
natural bamboo products (Rodie 2011).
Regarding FTC’s apprehension about the labeling, claims and the environmentally
unfriendly processing, China Bambro Textile Co., Ltd., a leading bamboo viscose man-
ufacturing company issued a statement in their Facebook for their customers in 22nd
Aug. 2009, about the brand “Tanboocel bamboo fiber” and the process they used, which
states, “it would be incorrect and naive to generalize that all bamboo fiber is processed
exactly the same.” e company further remarked that though there are some similari-
ties, there are also dissimilarities between brands and processing methods. Tanboo-
cel bamboo fiber is a regenerated cellulose fiber manufactured by an environmentally
friendly high tech process using natural organic bamboo. e process is a combination
of their patent nos. ZL03128496.5, 004100464515 and 2005-G-13848. ough the com-
panies use conventional chemicals such as NaOH and CS2, they are recycled during the
process of manufacturing. e bamboo is processed in an enclosed container where
100% of the chemicals are trapped and held, not allowing to release into the atmos-
phere. 73% of CS2’s are recycled, 26% are recycled into H2SO4. ough the process
is not completely green, the company makes every effort to make the process as eco-
friendly as possible. Tanboocel bamboo fiber conforms to with Oeko-Tex® Standard 100.
e company offers third party testing for all its customers to make certain that they are
purchasing real bamboo rayon (Bamboo Fabric Store 2009).
By far, almost all available bamboo fabric in market is made using the viscose process.
As per FTC guidelines this regenerated cellulose must be labeled as viscose or rayon
but not as natural bamboo product. Janice Gerde (US Customs and Border Protection)
reviewed research reports dating to early 1930s, using various instrumental approaches
and observed that “once the cellulose is simply cellulose, the source cannot be differenti-
ated.” While testing samples that are labeled as “bamboo” by Fourier Transform Infrared
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
Spectroscopy (FTIR), the reference spectrum matched that of viscose rayon, with no
identifiable variations (Textile Digest 2009).
e FTC Green Guides recommended further amendment in October 2010 to deal
with the current changes in the market scenario. In the context of “green,”eco-friendly,”
renewable materials” and “degradable” products the current Guides states that market-
ers can make unqualified general environmental benefit claims if they can validate all
express and implied claims, or else, they should qualify the claim. Regarding renewable
material, a marketer should be eligible for the claims with precise information about the
material, its source and raison d’être for its renewability. Additionally, marketers should
qualify renewable material claims if the item is not made entirely with renewable mate-
rials (excluding minor, incidental components). A marketer should qualify a degrada-
ble claim unless it can authenticate that the “entire product will completely decompose
within a reasonably short period of time after its disposal.” Marketers should not make
unethical degradable claims for items destined for landfills, incinerators, or recycling
facilities because decomposition will not occur within 1 year (Green Guides: http://
www.eenews.net).
Facts regardingthe antimicrobial performance ofbamboo ber
Often the debate pertaining to the antibacterial properties of bamboo textile creates a
controversy. ere are extreme opinions on this issue and only a few examples are men-
tioned here. Afrin etal. (2012) investigated the antibacterial activity of Australian grown
bamboo plant (Phyllostachys pubescens). e bamboo extract made using water, dime-
thyl sulphoxide and dioxane, was compared against gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia
coli and it was found that the extract made in 20% dimethyl sulphoxide aqueous solu-
tion exhibited weak antibacterial activity while the extract made by 90% dioxane aque-
ous solution showed strong antibacterial activity. It was also found that antibacterial
agents are located in lignin and not in hemicelluloses or other water soluble chemical
components.
Can the antibacterial performance claims be made for bamboo fibers whether natural
or regenerated as for the unprocessed fiber from which it is derived? When processed
into fiber mechanically it maintains its inherently anti-bacterial properties (Textile
Digest 2009; About Mechanically Processed Bamboo http://www.getgloved.com). An
eBay Guides “Natural fibers leading the way to textile innovations” published by ‘jonano:
bamboo and antimicrobial fashions’; on March 10, 2006 and written by Bonnie Siefers,
owner/designer, jonano: a division of Sami designs, states that bamboo contains “bam-
boo kun” which imparts it’s natural resistance to bacteria and is molecularly bonded into
the cellulose fibers during fabric processing. Hence, bamboo fiber and therefore fabric
has natural antimicrobial, anti-odor and resilience-added benefits. To prove his state-
ment he further provided the quantitative antibacterial activity test conducted by ‘e
China Textile Industrial Testing Center (CTITC)’ and ‘Japan Textile Inspection Associa-
tion (JTIA)’. Test performed by CTITC during July, 2003 on 100% bamboo and cotton
fabric against bacteria strain Staphylococcus aureus showed that the 100% bamboo fab-
ric had a 99.8% antibacterial kill rate which exhibited bacterial growth. Again studies
conducted by JTIA, revealed the long term antibacterial efficacy of the fabric. Quan-
titative test performed on 100% bamboo fabric that has been industrially washed 50
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Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
times against bacteria strain type MRSA Staphylococcus IID 1677 showed that bamboo
fabric exhibits greater than 70% antibacterial efficacy (Results obtained from Shanghai
Tenbro Bamboo Textile Ltd) (http://www.ebay.com/gds/). Hardin etal. (2009) examined
several specimens of textiles and apparel that were labeled as “bamboo” by a number of
online retailers in the years 2006–2007, to assess their characteristics and the authentic-
ity of the claims being made for such fibers and materials. e researchers whose find-
ings were published in “AATCC Review (2009)” reported that those fibers and materials
were not made from natural bamboo fibers but were actually regenerated bamboo cel-
lulose. Besides, these materials do not possess antimicrobial properties as claimed by the
marketers.
Some studies done by researchers namely Xing and Liu (2004) reported that natural
bamboo fibers have bactericidal property against some kinds of bacteria. Conversely,
Zhou and Deng (2005) found that natural bamboo fiber does not possess any significant
antibacterial effect and albeit it does, the bacteriostatic activity came from the crude
and particular micro-structure of the natural bamboo fiber, not from the antibacterial
constituents reported Zhou etal. (2008). Li and Dao(2012) investigated the antibacte-
rial property of natural bamboo fiber and compared with the antibacterial property of
other textile fibers namely flax, ramie, jute and bamboo viscose and found that natu-
ral bamboo fiber does not have natural antibacterial property. According to their find-
ings which were presented on the ‘proceeding of the 55th International Convention of
Society of Wood Science and Technology, Beijing’, the bacteriostatic rate of natural bam-
boo fiber against all the tested bacteria was zero. In contrast, the bacteriostatic rate of
ramie against Staphylococcus aureus was over 90%, and that of bamboo viscose fiber
was 75.8%. ey concluded that the antibacterial performance of ramie has been attrib-
uted to the constituents of pyrimidine, purine or other antibacterial component and
that of bamboo viscose may derive from the use of large amount of chemicals in the
manufacturing process. In this regard, further scientific documentations are needed and
researches are still going on.
Conclusion
e potential of bamboo plants as a resource for making textile fabrics is very high but
it remains largely unrealized. A great deal of attention is focused on bamboo’s sustain-
able attributes. e plant’s high growth rate and carbon-absorbing properties makes it
the most important plant fibers. Bamboo is a recurring and harvestable plant; it does
not require replanting after harvest but will regenerate from its rhizome root structure.
However, sustainable cultivation and management of bamboo resources should be top
priority for the industries exploiting bamboo resources and importance should be given
on practices employed for sustainable bamboo cultivation. Nevertheless, the economic
benefits should not be achieved through environmental cost.
Natural bamboo fiber that has been processed mechanically is environmentally
friendly but not yet commercially viable or affordable. Moreover, most bamboo fibers
and fabrics in the market are produced by viscose process which uses chemical solvents
that raise environmental concerns besides being quite different from the original bamboo
fibers. While bamboo rayon is a good choice relative to other manmade fiber options, a
naturally processed bamboo fiber would be far superior and preferable. Bamboo rayon
Page 20 of 23
Nayak and Mishra Fashion and Textiles (2016) 3:2
would have a smooth, silky hand like other rayon. On the contrary, natural bamboo fiber
being alike to bast fiber in chemical composition would produce linen like fabric but it
might not possess any antibacterial properties as claimed by many. However, regarding
moisture-transport performance properties researchers argue that bamboo fiber has a
larger moisture regain capability than other natural fibers such as cotton because of its
loose structure and existence of disordered non-cellulose substances (Li etal. 2010).
However, bamboo based textiles are not yet achieved their full potential and cleaner
production processes are appearing. At present, there are only a small number of
manufacturing plants in China that manufacture natural bamboo fiber. Ecologically
pioneer textile manufacturing companies like Litrax and Lenzing have already intro-
duced greener manufacturing processes into bamboo textiles. Researches are going on
full swings for the development of eco-friendly, natural bamboo fabric. With abundant
sources of raw materials, relatively low cost, and unique performance of bamboo fiber
it is only a matter of time to develop green and pure bamboo textiles. Further, bamboo
textile industry has the potential to provide livelihood for millions of people worldwide.
Acknowledgements
The authors express their sincere thanks and profound gratitude to Dr. Walter Liese, Department of Wood Science, Uni-
versity of Hamburg, Germany for his valuable suggestion and providing some useful information.
Received: 13 July 2015 Accepted: 31 December 2015
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... Contribution to responsible production and consumption (SDG 12): Due to its fast growth, bamboo can be a source of sustainable bioenergy and green building materials as well as a sustainable substitute for tropical forest wood or cotton in the bioenergy, construction, and manufacturing industries (Manandhar et al., 2019;Nayak and Mishra, 2016). Generally, bamboo has a low negative environmental impact throughout its life cycle, uses less energy than conventional materials, and generates little waste during its processing and production stages and what it does produce is bio-degradable. ...
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