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Degumming of muga cocoon with mycogenic extracellular protease and lipase enzyme - An alternative method for efficient reeling of silk

Sericulture is an agro-based industry with traditional living culture and plays an important role in the rural economy of the North-eastern region of India. Among various silk the Muga (Antheraea assamensis) silk has a tremendous demand as textile commodity. Reeling is the vital process of conversion of the cocoons into an industrial output yarn which involves various traditionally used chemicals including washing soda, sodium sulphite, sodium silicate etc. The uses of these chemicals are hazardous, cause environmental pollution and also reduce the quality of silk thread. As an alternative for degumming of muga cocoon the Fungal enzymes like protease and lipase are used which can hydrolytically cleave the peptide bonds of sericin without destroying the fibroin. In the present study 11 different fungal strains were isolated from soil and waste cocoon sample collected from different waste cocoon dumping site and waste cocoons of various muga reeling small scale industries of Kamrup district of Assam. Among them depending on the REA values only 6 strains were selected with different degrees of production of protease and lipase enzymes for enzymatic degumming. Among these the fungal isolates Aspergillus niger was found to be most effective for production of protease as well as lipase enzyme for degumming of Muga silk fibres. From the study of physical properties of the degummed muga fibre it was established that fungal secretes play an important role for degumming and recorded optimum properties with Aspergillus niger (Tenacity 3.837g/den, Toughness-0.986 g/den)which was followed by Aspergillus tamarii (Tenacity 3.787g/den, Toughness-0.985 g/den)

Author(s): Indrani Sarma

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