Single bath enzymatic scouring and bleaching process for preparation of absorbent cotton
This study aims at developing an enzyme based single bath scouring and bleaching process for the preparation of absorbent cotton using short staple cotton fibre with high micronaire. Neutral pectinase and cellulase enzymes individually and also in combination for scouring and hydrogen peroxide for bleaching have been used. The enzymatic process has been optimized to get the desired absorbency of less than 10 s as prescribed by pharmacopeia. An attempt has also been made to explore the possibility of combining the enzyme treatment with peroxide bleaching in a single bath. The result indicates that like conventional scouring and bleaching processes the enzymatic process with a mixture of pectinase and cellulase followed by bleaching produces required qualities for the cotton to be used as absorbent cotton. The absorbent cotton thus produced by the above process shows sinking time of 1.8 s, water holding capacity of 24 grams per gram fibre and less than 0.5% sulphated ash. The weight loss for the single bath scouring and bleaching process is found 18% less as compared to conventional process without any significant difference in the whiteness index and absorbency. The carboxyl content of the treated fibres shows that the formation of oxycellulose is lesser in enzymatic process as compared to conventional treatment. The relative crystallinity index obtained from FTIR spectra shows that the change in proportion of crystalline and amorphous regions is lesser in enzyme treated fibres. The developed process is ecofriendly with savings in energy, time and water along with minimum physical and chemical changes in the fibre.
Absorbent cotton; Bleaching; Cellulase; Enzymatic scouring; Medical textiles; Pectinase; Single bath pretreatment
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