New Fabrics from Plant Sources Named, Set for Launching This Year
The Philippine Textile Research Institute(PTRI) has set to launch this year a new set of natural fabrics made from three fiber plants sources. This was announced by PTRI Director Carlos C. Tomboc during the Institute’s 42nd Anniversary last February 25 held at PTRI Building in Taguig City.
Dr. Tomboc identified the three fiber plants as saluyot, maguey, and water hyacinth which, when blended with polyester, were found suitable for making into fabrics. The resulting fabrics can be ideal for use in apparels and home textiles such as curtains, mats, furniture cover, and table linens, according to studies conducted by PTRI researchers.
Now on its product development stage, Dr. Tomboc said that PTRI is coming out this year with fabrics blended with saluyot, maguey, and water hyacinth for apparel use.
Saluyot is known as a vegetable plant, with its leaves being relished by Ilocanos due to its nutritive value, but its stem can yield fiber. A study by PTRI researchers showed a 7 percent fiber yield from fresh stems after retting. Maguey, on one hand, has been traditionally grown in northern Luzon as a fiber source and as an ornamental plant, while water hyacinth, a very prolific water plant which has been taking up a big portion of Laguna Lake nowadays, has been found to be a good source of raw material for handicraft.
Dr. Tomboc said that successful utilization of these indigenous plants for production of natural fabrics could help the country’s textile industry become competitive in the international market since these natural fabrics cater only to the upscale markets. It could also help local farmers earn income from the production of raw materials.
“The only way to compete with globalization is to utilize materials that other countries do not have,” says DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro. She added that the launching of the new set of natural fabric is timely as we are celebrating this year the International Year of Natural Fiber.
For years, PTRI has been continuing to meet the science and technological needs of its clientele and stakeholders, particularly the micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises by improving the quality of their products. This has enabled them to increase productivity and enhance competitiveness locally and abroad.
Aside from the continuous development of new textile products out of local resources, PTRI has also developed various dyes from 75 plants and established parameters on using them. Its advocacy on the use of Philippine tropical fabric is also notable.
Recently, the PTRI Testing Laboratory has been awarded an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Certificate of Accreditation by the Philippine Accreditation Office. This will cover the expansion of its scope in the fields of mechanical and chemical testing.
PTRI also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Research and Standards-Department of Public Works and Highways (BPS-DPWH) on geotextile testing. The MOA designates PTRI as the official local testing laboratory for breaking load, mass per unit area, tearing strength, tensile strength, and thickness of geosynthetics and geotextiles for DPWH’s construction and infrastructure projects.