Botanically a fiber is a long narrow and thick-walled cell. Plant fibres are classified according to their use (Table 10.3)
Botanical name : Gossypium spp.
Family : Malvaceae
Cotton is the world’s most important non-food commercial crop.
It is one of the oldest cultivated crops of the world. It has been cultivated for about 8000 years both in new world and in old world. Commercial cotton comes from four cotton species: two from the new world and two from the old world. (1) G. hirsutum (2) G.barbadense are the New world species and (3) G. arboretum (4) G. herbaceum are the old world species. In India cotton is cultivated in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
It is mainly used in the manufacturing of various textile, hosiery products, toys and is also used in hospitals.
Botanical name : Corchorus spp.
Family : Malvaceae
Jute is derived from the two cultivated species (1) Corchorus capsularis and (2) C.olitorius is of African origin whereas C. capsularis, is believed to be Indo-Burmese origin. It is an important cultivated commercial crop in Gangetic plains of India and Bangladesh.
It is one of the largest exported fibre material of India. The jute industry occupies an important place in the national economy of India. Jute is used for ‘safe’ packaging in view of being natural, renewable, bio-degradable and eco-friendly product. It is used in bagging and wrapping textile. About 75% of the jute produced is used for manufacturing sacks and bags. It is also used in manufacture of blankets, rags, curtains etc. It is also being used as a textile fibre in recent years.
Botanical name : Cocos nucifera
Family : Arecaceae
Commercial coir is obtained from the mesocarp of coconut. The fibre is known for its light mass, elasticity, high resistance to sea water and for its insulating capacity.
We have already studied the origin of Coconut under the oil crops. India and Sri Lanka are the top producers since 2001. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the top producers in India.
It is used in manufacture of mats, cushion seats, bags, packaging material, water-proof and sound proof boards and thermal insulation. Using coir peat in horticulture also made demand for coir. It is also used for manufacturing ecofriendly horticultural products such as biodegradable planting pots.