What is fiber plants

What is a fiber plant?

Before synthetic fibers were introduced, natural fibers were the main ingredients in the manufacture of fabrics, ropes, and paper. Fiber crops are grown for the natural fibers that are used in the manufacturing industry. Such plants were known for their high concentration of cellulose, which made them strong. Today they are still grown, and scientists are looking for different ways to alter the strength of cellulose to make different fibers for making different products. Fiber plants are divided into three groups, textile fibers, cord fibers and filler fibers.

Process of fiber plants

In the past, the fiber was obtained by recycling old textiles. Recycling ensured that paper was available for use. However, wood pulp was introduced into the papermaking process and became the main ingredient in the manufacture of paper. It also made reliance on recycling old textiles irrelevant. Today, fibers are used in manufacturing because they have advantages over wood pulp when considering the environmental impact and production costs. The process involves first getting the fiber from the plant. The type of fiber determines the process to be used in the extraction process. Microbes are used in the roasting process to obtain bast fiber. The bacteria help get rid of the soft tissues from the fiber plant. The hard fibers are removed with the help of decoration, as the machines remove the product from the plant. The ginning process is also used to obtain soft fibers as the machines involved remove it from the plant.

Fiber sources

Various plants are rich in fiber. Such plants produce bast fiber, leaf fiber, and seed fiber. Bast fibers are also known as stem skin and are found in plants such as hemp, papyrus, rice forest, kenaf, nettles, among other things. Fibers are also found on leaves in plants such as abaca, sisal, yucca, phormium, and bowstring hemp. Seeds and fruits can be sources of fiber; they are coir (made from coconut), cotton, milkweed, and loofah. Bamboo is another rich source of fiber. Such fibers have different dimensions in terms of their diameter and length, which is measured in millimeters. For example, bamboo has a diameter of 14 millimeters and a length of 2.7 millimeters, which is different from that of cotton, which has a diameter of 25.0 millimeters and a length of 20 millimeters.

Problems with fiber crop production

While innovations have helped alleviate the difficulties of fiber production, problems arise with the storage of fiber plants. It is a challenge as the rotting of fiber plants destroys them and therefore needs to be prevented. The cultures are usually stored for a long time; sometimes months, so it is important to protect against the elements that can rot like water. Because of the different types of fiber plants, storage depends on the type. For example, the storage of seed fibers will be different from that of leaf fibers. The available season also determines storage, for example crops (such as sisal) are usually harvested once a year, unlike the tree crops, which can be harvested annually. Supplying the industry with this important product means that it must be properly stored.


Author: Charlotte Johnston

Charlotte Johnston is a 25 year old journalist. Evangelist of Lifelong Bacon. Communicator. Freelance thinker. Beer fanatic. Player. Zombie lover. Alcohol specialist.