Retting may be defined as the separation of bast fibres from the core tissues of the stem.
The methods of retting have witnessed technological advances based on intervention of microbial enzymes
resulting in better quality of fibers. The traditional methods of retting namely water retting and
dew retting suffered from several limitations like poor quality of fibers, comparatively large space and
time requirement, dependence on weather conditions, huge manpower involvement, pollution and high
cost of drying. The microbial enzymes predominately pectinases are becoming popular for retting of
fibers owing to the fact that it results in high quality fiber, save time and is also ecofriendly. The enzymatic retting is now
preferred over the traditional methods resulting in formulation of several commercial enzyme preparations like Flaxzyme
and Viscozyme. The variability in types of natural fibers, different retting methods, intervention of microbial enzymes for
retting of fibers, parameters for efficient retting aresome of the important highlights of this review.
Keywords: Retting, natural fibers, microbial enzymes, water retting, dew retting, pectin lyases, polygalacturonases.
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