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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Characterization and biological depectinization of hemp fibers originating from different stem sections

Liu, Ming; Fernando, Dinesh; Meyer, Anne S; Madsen, Bo; Daniel, Geoffrey; Thygesen, Anders


The wide variation of mechanical properties of natural fibers limits their applications in matrix compos-ites. The aim of this study is to evaluate the properties of hemp fibers from different stem sections (top,middle and bottom) and to assess fungal retting pretreatment of hemp from different stem sections withthe white rot fungi Phlebia radiata Cel 26 and Ceriporiopsis subvermispora. For the untreated hemp fibers,no apparent difference in tensile behavior for fiber bundles from different stem sections was observed,and more than 90% tested samples demonstrated plastic flow behavior. Fiber strength and stiffness werehighest for the fibers from the top and middle stem sections. These properties were related to the compositional make up and morphological properties of hemp fibers, notably the secondary fiber cell contents.In fungal retting, there was a strong dependence of depectinization selectivity on stem section, whichdecreased from bottom to top presumably due to the significantly higher lignin content in the bottomsection than in the top section (middle section was in between). Consequently, the fungal retting caused alower reduction in strength of fibers from the bottom section than in those from the top stem section, andessentially reversed the influence of stem section on fiber tensile strength through depectinization selec-tivity. At whole hemp stem level, the fungal retting with P. radiata Cel 26 exhibited better mechanicalproperties with an ultimate tensile strength, strain and stiffness of 736 MPa, 2.3% and 42 GPa, respec-tively, while fibers treated with C. subvermispora exhibited lower mechanical properties of 573 MPa, 1.9% and 40 GPa, respectively. The study thus also showed that less variable and high strength fibers may beproduced using the dependence of depectinization selectivity on stem section for composite application


Hemp fiber; Fungal retting; Mechanical properties; Depectinization selectivity; White rot fungi

Published in

Industrial Crops and Products
2015, volume: 76, pages: 880-891

Authors' information

Liu, Ming
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products
Meyer, Anne S
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Madsen, Bo
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products
Thygesen, Anders
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

UKÄ Subject classification

Wood Science
Forest Science
Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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