Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pineapple Leaf and The History behind it

Pineapple is perennial herbaceous plant with 1-2 m for height and width belongs to family Bromeliaceae. It is chiefly cultivated in coastal and tropical regions, mainly for its fruits purpose. In India, it is cultivated on about 2250 000 acres of land and is continuously increasing its production. A pineapple plant in the field; it is a short stem with dark green colour. First sprout of leaf looks decorative; later it converts into 3 ft. long, 2 to 3 inch wide sword shaped and numerous spirally arranged fibrous leaves edges as well as curved towards the cross section to maintain the stiffness of the leaf.

Each pineapple fruit has equal number of hexagonal sections on outer shell and does not depend on the size or shape. Now Malaysia is one of large producers in Asia as much as Hawaii. It produces a huge amount of waste material, about 384,673 metric tonnes in year 2008. Productions of Pineapple leaf fibres are plentiful for industrial purpose without any supplementary addition and annually renewable and of easy availability. Pineapple is known as Nanas in Malaysia; basically they use different varieties for different purpose; for commercial purpose they use red pineapple and green pineapple; for edible purpose, they prefer Sarawak pineapple and Morris pineapple. Pineapple fruits contain many major and minor elements. It is source of bioactive compounds, particularly in proteolytic enzymes. Pineapple is very rich source of bromelain and other cysteine proteases are present in different part of pineapple. Commercially, bromelain has been used in many food industries, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.

Pineapple is a native plant of America, first seen by Columbus and his companion in November 4, 1493, at an island of West Indies. When the new world was discovered, pineapple has been spread all over South America coastal region as well as in tropical regions. A Spanish government officer, De Oviedo, came to America in 1513; he handed over first written documents of some varieties of pineapple, and he added some Indies varieties also. The plant is called “pineapple” because of its fruit which look like pine cone. The native Tupi word for the fruit was anana, meaning “excellent fruit;” this is the source for words like ananas, common in many languages. The pineapple is an old emblem of welcome and can often be seen in stamped decorations. In 17th century Americans imported pineapple from Caribbean because of its apparently exotic features and rareness; pineapple began to be considered as an icon of wealthy people in America. The Portuguese contributed their important role in introducing the fruit throughout the whole tropical regions and major parts of world like south and east coast of Africa, Madagascar, south India, China, Java, Philippines, and Malaysia. Nowadays, varieties of pineapple plants are available which are used in various applications such as edible, medicinal, and industrial applications. For example, bromelain is an enzyme extracted from its leaves and helps in respiratory ailments. A mixture of pineapple juice and sand is powerful cleaner for boat decks. Dehydrated waste material of pineapple is used as bran feed for cattle, chicken, pigs, and so forth.

 Pineapple Leaf Fibre
Every year tonnes of pineapple leaf fibres are being produced, though very small portions are being used in the field of feedstock and energy production. The expansion of biocomposites has amplified industrial usage that would release the possibilities to minimize the wastage of renewable materials. It promotes a non-food-based market for agricultural industry. It is white in colour, smooth, and glossy as silk, medium length fibre with high tensile strength. It has a softer surface than other natural fibres and it absorbs and maintains a good colour.

However, PALF (Pineapple Leaf Fibre) has high specific strength and stiffness; it is hydrophilic in nature due to high cellulose content. Extraction of fibres from pineapple leaf fibre is carried out by mechanical method and retting method. 

Fresh leaves yield about 2 to 3% of fibres. Fibrous cell of PALF consists of vascular bundle system in the form of bunches which is obtained after mechanical removal of the entire upper layer after harvesting. 

PALF is composed of many chemicals constituents. It is multicellular lignocellulosic fibre containing polysaccharides, lignin in major amount, and some miner chemicals like fat, wax, pectin, uronic acid, anhydride, pentosan, colour pigment, inorganic substance, and so forth. Fibre is collection of thin and small multicellular fibres which appears like a thread. These cells are tightly joined with the help of pectin. PALF constitute cellulose (70–82%) and arrangement of fibres is the same as in cotton (82.7%).

In all the collection, pineapple leaf fibre is more compatible natural fibre resource and constitutes a good chemical composition. PALF has better mechanical strength than the jute when it is used in making of fine yarn. The cellulosic molecules model of PALF is a three-dimensional structure and parallel to crystalline region of the fibre. Remaining parts of molecular structure are supposed to associate within amorphous regions. Pineapple leaf fibre (PALF) is vital natural fibre, which have high specific strength, rigidity, and flexural and torsional rigidity as much as jute fibres. Considering these exclusive properties of PALF, industries can use it as an outstanding alternative raw material in the prospect of reinforcing composite matrixes.
 Extraction of Pineapple Leaf Fibres (PALF)
Pineapple natural fibres have excellent mechanical strength but due to lack of knowledge it is still not utilised properly. It can be used in various applications like artificial fibres, as a sound absorber and thermal insulator, and so forth. There are various methods to extract the PALF from leaves of pineapple.

 PALF Applications and Future Prospects

PALF is generally used in making threads for textile fabrics from several decades. 
A future prospect of diversified application of PALF is presented here.

Present application of PALF for various purposes is textile, sports item, baggage, automobiles, cabinets, mats, and so forth. Surface modified PALF is introduced for making machinery parts like belt cord, conveyor belt cord, transmission cloth, air-bag tying cords, and some cloths for industry uses . PALF is very good for carpet making because of its chemical processing, dyeing behaviour, and aesthetically pleasing fabric. The use of pineapple leaf fibre can be considered relatively as new in the paper manufacturing industry in Malaysia. PALF can be suitable for various other applications such as cosmetics, medicine, and biopolymers coating for chemicals.

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