What Are The Uses Of Agave Sisalana (Sisal)?
Agave Sisalana has many uses, that includes;
- Because of its strength, resilience, stretchability, affinity for particular dyestuffs, and resistance to degradation in saltwater, sisal has traditionally been the primary material for agricultural twine (binder twine and baler twine).
With competition from polypropylene and the advent of various haymaking processes, the relevance of this traditional application is dwindling, while other higher-valued sisal products have been created.
- Sisal is used in low-cost and specialty paper, dartboards, buffing cloth, filters, geotextiles, mattresses, carpets, handicrafts, wire rope cores, and macramé, in addition to ropes, twines, and general cordage.
Sisal has been utilized as an ecologically friendly strengthening agent in composite materials, particularly the car industry, to replace asbestos and fiberglass.
Because of its high cellulose and hemicellulose concentration, lower-grade fiber is processed by the paper industry. The medium-grade fiber is used in the cordage industry to make ropes, baler and binder twine, and other products.
Ropes and twines are frequently used in marine, agricultural, and general industrial applications. After treatment, the higher-grade fiber is turned into yarns and utilized in the carpet industry.
- Other sisal fiber-derived goods include spa products, cat scratching posts, lumbar support belts, rugs, slippers, towels, and disc buffers.
- The abrasion and tearing resistance criteria of the American Society for Testing and Materials and the National Fire Protection Association are met by sisal wall covering.
- Because fiber extraction uses just a tiny portion of the plant, several initiatives to increase economic viability have focused on utilizing waste material to produce biogas, stock feed, or medicinal products.
- Because of its extended flowering cycle, sisal is an excellent feed for honeybees. It is especially appealing to them when pollen is scarce. However, the honey produced is black and has a strong and disagreeable flavor.
- Because sisal is an agave plant, it may be fermented and distilled into mezcal. It may be used in several street delicacies in India.
Is Agave Sisalana Use To Make Carpets?
Despite the yarn endurance of sisal, minor matting of sisal carpets is possible in high-traffic areas.
Because sisal carpet does not accumulate static electricity or retain dust, vacuuming is the only upkeep necessary.
High-spill areas should be coated with a fibre sealer, and a dry-cleaning powder is advised for spot removal.
Sisal absorbs or releases air humidity according on the weather, producing expansion or contraction.
Sisal is not suitable for places subjected to wet spills, rain, or snow. Sisal is used in carpets either alone or in mixes with wool and acrylic for a softer touch.
How Is Agave Sisalana Harvested?
Typically, sisal is gathered by hand. Harvesting is difficult to mechanize due of the rosette growth pattern.
Manually trim leaves at 2.5 to 5 cm from the plant’s bole. It is critical to leave enough leaf area at each cutting to let the plant to continue developing.
At the initial cutting, around 20 to 25 leaves are left on the plant, and this number is frequently reduced to 15 to 20 leaves at future cuts.
Before or after the leaves are chopped, the terminal spines are removed.
How Long Does Takes Agave Sisalana To Mature?
Within specified age restrictions, the plant’s growth decides when the first cut can be made.
Plant development, on the other hand, is governed by elements such as soil potential, rainfall, temperature, and general management techniques.
Under typical conditions, the plant can be harvested for the first time three to four years after planting.
At this point, the plant develops 120 to 125 leaves that are 60 centimeters or more in length and is around 1.5 meters tall. Only mature leaves are permitted to be collected.
When the color of the thorn at the tip changes from dark brown to light brown, it is ripe.
Sisal leaves are collected at regular intervals during the crop’s life cycle; after that, only 25 leaves per year can be taken.
An early start to cutting is beneficial to yields, as long as the plants are not severely trimmed.
Plants pole early if trimming is postponed, and substantial leaf losses occur due to wilting. The severity of cutting has a significant impact on yield, and overcutting should be avoided.
Selective cutting should be done in uneven fields to prevent cutting immature plants.
Cutting too soon limits the length of the future leaves formed on the plants, which is critical since the fibre content rises as the leaves grow longer.
How Is Agave Sisalana Processed?
Leaves should be decorated within 48 hours of being cut. Sisal fiber is made from the plant’s leaves.
It is often obtained by machine decortication, which involves crushing the leaf between rollers and physically scraping it.
After that, the fiber is washed and dried. Decortication results in the loss of 15 to 20% of the total leaf fibre.
The leaves are soaked in water for about a week before being dried.
are hammered on a stone to eliminate any leftover foreign particles, and
Separated fiber is cleaned, sun-dried, and baled.
Following decortication and washing, the fiber is dried, either in the sun or in a dryer.
drying equipment, giving the fiber a more consistent quality.
Excessive drying in the sun may lead to deterioration in colour. The fiber after drying
only accounts for 4% of the overall weight of the leaf.
This process also combs out the shorter fibre strands/strings of 7,5 to 12,5 cm in length. Once it is dried the fibre is mechanically brushed.
After drying, the fiber is gathered into hanks to be brushed. The brushing technique is required to straighten and polish the tangled, wavy threads. The fiber has been mechanically combed.
Following brushing, the fiber is graded based on length, color, and other/decortication properties.
Buyers insist on proper grading and overall cleanliness of the bale. The presence of oil, coal shards, and other pollutants in the bale is strictly condemned.
A manually or electrically driven pressing machine is used to bundle graded fibers into bales.
The moisture percentage of packed fiber should not exceed 10% to 12%.
If it becomes too moist, it stiffens and poses a risk of spontaneous fire in the bales. One whole bale contains 125 kg of fiber. One ton is made up of 8 bales.
The produced sisal/fibre is either sold locally to individuals who use it for various activities such as mats and basket weaving, farmers for tomato plant support and ropes for ceiling corner reinforcement, and so on, or it is sold through the sisal marketing council.
Sisal was created for “conventional” sectors such as rope, twine, and carpet backing, as well as the specialized pulp and paper industry to a lesser extent.
Sisal fiber is shipped to many places across the world, where it is highly welcomed due to the exceptional quality of South African farmed fiber.
Customers in Botswana and Zimbabwe also purchase the fiber, which is used to make rope.
Is Agave Sisalana Use For Medicinal Purposes?
Sterols, steroidal saponins, steroidal alkaloids, and alkaloidal amines are produced from Agave sisalana, and these plant-derived compounds serve as the precursors for steroid synthesis.
All of these secondary metabolites contribute to the plant’s pharmacological characteristics (Figure 2).
Hecogenin (IV), a saponin (Agave sisalana), was converted to cortisone using the Spensley et al. (1995) technique, which specifies the process of producing cortisone from hecogenin (IV), a saponin of A. sisalana (Fazli, 1968).
What Is Agave Sisalana Pharmacological Properties?
According to pharmacological research, the juice extracted from Agave sisalana leaves activates the intestinal and uterine muscles, decreases blood pressure, and induces miscarriage in pregnant animals. Agave sap has antibacterial characteristics and is used to prevent the growth of microorganisms in the stomach and intestine.
The juice from the leaves of this plant is used in traditional medicine in Northern Morocco as a wash for skin disorders (El-Hilaly et al., 2003).
It is used to treat syphilis and is sometimes used for pulmonary TB, liver illness, and jaundice. It is also effective as a laxative.
Due to the pharmacological properties of the juice, various therapeutic potential may be postulated; it is a uterine stimulant and emmenagogue hypotensive drug (Sharaf and Zahran, 1967)
Which Is The Largest Producers Of Agave Sisalana In The World?
In 2020, the global output of sisal fiber was 210 thousand tonnes, with Brazil producing the most, 86,061 tonnes.
Tanzania produced around 36,379 tons, Kenya produced 22,768 tons, Madagascar produced 17,578 tons, and China produced 14,006 tons.
Mexico donated 13,107 tons, with Haiti, Morocco, Venezuela, and South Africa contributing lesser amounts.
Sisal ranks sixth among fiber plants, accounting for 2% of global plant fiber output (plant fibers account for 65% of total fiber production).
What Is Agave Sisalana’s Environmental Significance?
Sisal has enormous future promise as a renewable resource and, as such, as a component of the global solution plan for reversing climate change.
Sisal plants absorb more CO2 than they emit, and the waste created by the sisal fiber processing business is fully biodegradable and may be used to make biogas, animal feed, and natural fertilizers.
The plant’s large root systems help protect the soil from erosion and retain water inside the soil.
These plants can also be cultivated around the boundaries of other crops’ fields to prevent insect and animal pests from entering the fields.