Silk FIBRE obtained from silkworm and Ecotextiles

Masarat Bashir and Afifa S. Kamili

Fibre is a thread like substance used in textile industry for the production of goods or provision of services. Two major groups of textile fibres are natural & synthetic. Natural Fibres are subdivided into animal, vegetable and mineral fibres. All animal fibres are proteins, all vegetable fibres are cellulose, all mineral fibres are mineral based. Eg:-Silk, cotton, wool, linen, jute etc. Natural fibres tend to have complex and distinctive internal and external features. Natural fibres have variable diameter, cross section and possibly color banding. Natural fibres have an edge over artificial fibres and silk excels all the fibres for a number of inherent characteristics such as lusture, softness, elegance, versatility, wear ability, yarn strength etc. Silk fibre is constituted by two important proteins, fibroin (73.5 %) and sericin (22.28 %). The chemical formulae of sericin is C15 H 25 N 5 O 8 and that of fibroin is C 15 H 23 N5 O6 (Mondal et al., 2007). Although silk and wool are protein fibers, yet only wool gets stretched when soaked in water because of presence of α – helical configuration in wool and parallel β configuration in silk fibroin (Kamili, 2000). The silk industry is giving employment to 63 lakh people in the country including 46 lakh farmers, three lakh reelers and 14 lakh weavers (Srinidhigowda, 2010). The overall silk exports for the current financial year are expected to reach Rs. 30 billion, J Sampath of the Central Silk Board recently said, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 12th Silk Mark Expo in Chennai on December 24 (Anonymous, 2011). The textile industry is a gigantic industry – and it is gigantically polluting. The textile industry uses copious amounts of two things: water and chemicals. It is the number one industrial polluter of water in the world (Anonymous, 2004). So, there is a need for sustainable ecotextiles. Sustainable products are environment friendly, support communal harmony, as well as capable of supporting fashion needs. whereas eco textile are textile product, produced in ecofriendly manner and processed under eco-friendly limits defined by agencies like oekotex, ifoam etc. (fibre2fashion, 2011). Silk, Cotton, Wool and Hemp are important ecotextile and needs to be exploited, branded and marketed at a higher extent.

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