Today, we are going to discuss about what we take from animals and how we extract it from them. Knowing these can bail you out of many diseases!
FIBERS FROM ANIMALS
Sheep (Ovus aries)
Sheep or scientifically known as Ovus Aries is a wool yielding animal from the cold regions in the world. China has the most stock of sheep with 136.4 million stocks. There is a total of 1,078.2 million stocks in the world. Predation for the sheep by wolves, lions, etc. and Diseases like the orf (Poxviridae)virus and the bacillus anthracis (anthrax) which can cause a very strange blood disease called Sorter’s disease , are a great threat to the sheep (Ovus) species. They belong to the order Artiodactyla, which are four legged, ruminants. Their lifespan lasts from 10-12 years. The female sheep called the ewes weigh about 45-100 kg while the male ones called the ram has a weight of 45-160 kg. The sheep fiber is of two types. The coarse beard hair and the soft under hair. Dolly (Finn-Dorset), from Scotland, was the most famous sheep who was cloned with an adult somatic cell. Unfortunately, she died in the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland on 14/2/2003 at the age of 6.
Wool is mainly obtained from the sheep. But, there are other animals that produce wool like Angora (Turkey) rabbit, Cashmere goat, Angora goat (Mohair), and Vicuna (Llama species). (Cashmere goat, Vicuna, Angora rabbit, Angora goat)
Wool is the main fiber that is extracted from the fleece of the sheep. It is found in the beard and near the underside of the sheep’s body. The process includes some steps like-
Shearing the wool is the first process of processing wool. It can be done manually or automatic according to the type of trimmer or machine shears to shear sheep. Manual hair clipper have a pair of handles which are alternately squeezed (together) and then released. This type of hair clipper was faster. The electric types of clippers operate the same way as manual ones but has three types of motor, magnetic, pivot, and rotatory. Rotatory clippers can work on DC (Direct current) or AC (Alternating current). But, magnetic and pivot use magnetic force from the winding copper around steel. AC creates a cycle attracting and relaxing to create the speed and torque for the trimmer to run across the combining blade. There are 5 processes in shearing-
- remove the wool
- throw the fleece onto the wool table
- skirt, roll and class the fleece
- place it in the appropriate wool bin
- press and store the wool until it is transported.
Sheep greasy wool can contain high amounts of lanolin (C13-C24), sweat, pesticides, dead skin, etc. In NW-England, Potash pits with soft soap are used to scour the sheep’s wool. In commercial purposes, the wool is carbonized by turning it into carbon by pyrolysis (πυρο-fire, λυσις-separating is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen or any halogen(Group 17 in the periodic table)).
After scouring, comes a lining up process called carding. The wool is straightened and lined up to bale them. There are types of carding machines that have teeth in them to straighten the scoured fibres. There are also many big and small machines to card the wool. But, it can also be done manually by hand cards to make wool rolags.
The next process, grading is sorting the types of wool according to the fineness and texture. The best wool is obtained from the Merino sheep from Alentejo, Portugal and then was introduced to Spain. There is a basis for grading using the grade numbers (microns) which stand for a type of quality of wool. The lower the number, the better the wool.
- < 15.5: Ultrafine Merino
- 15.6 – 18.5: Superfine Merino
- 18.6 – 20: Fine Merino
- 20.1 – 23: Medium Merino
- > 23: Strong Merino
- Comeback: 21–26 microns, white, 90–180 mm long
- Fine crossbred: 27–31 microns,
- Medium crossbred: 32–35 microns
- Downs: 23–34 microns, typically lacks luster and brightness.
- Coarse crossbred: >36 microns
- Carpet wools: 35–45 microns
The Wool is weaved into clothes using hand looms or doing it manually. There are two types of fibre patterns in weaving, the weft which are the lateral threads and the warp which are the longitudinal threads. There are many types of weaving like knitting, felting, braiding and plaiting. Weft in Old English means ‘the one that is woven’.
Dyeing in the wool making process is an optional process which is done by dipping the woven wool fibers into color dyes to make the cloth look attractive and to make more wool business profit.
Silkworm (Bombyx mori)
The silkworm is the larva or the newly hatched baby of the silkmoth (Samia cynthia). It’s name Bombyx mori means the silkworm of the mulberry tree. It ranges from North India, China, the Korean peninsula, Japan and the far eastern regions of Russia. There are two types of Silkworm types, the univoltine (υνι (uni)-one and βολταιν (voltain) meaning brood frequency) is found within Greater Europe. The bivoltine is found in the other parts in Asia. They go through a life cycle which passes the cocoon stage. They wrap themselves around a silk fibre that is extracted from the salivary glands if the larvae. If sericulture is not done and it is allowed to live after spinning the cocoon, it releases proteolytic enzymes (peptidases)(enzymes which do proteolysis by breaking down proteins into smaller polypeptidases or amino acids) and makes a hole in the cocoon to come out as an adult moth. But, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, followed the Ahimsa philosophy and refused to use silk by killing silkworms. So, many people like him wear a type of silk called Ahimsa or peace silk. The worm is covered in tiny black hairs and then when they become darker, it indicates that they have to molt.
The cocoon is made up of a thread of silk of length 300-900 m. They are very fine and shiny which are about 10 μm. About 2000-3000 cocoons are needed for making 0.4 kg of silk. But, 28 million kg of cocoons are produced every year and needing billions and billions of cocoons. These silkworms feed on the mulberry leaves (Morus (Μωριάς) alba) which gives them their species name.
The silkworm feeds on the mulberry leaves for 35 days and then spins a cocoon. To extract the silk protein fibers, the sericulture farmers will put them in hot water to loosen the fibers (mass boiling). Then, a long silk fiber from the cocoon is run through an eyelet. Then, the silk fiber run through the eyelet is twisted and then graded. The quality in the silk depends on the manner of twisting. The fiber, thus which is made up of the salivary glands can harden easily.
By the way, sericulture (σηρικός (serikos)-silken) is the rearing of silkworms for obtaining the silk fibers. India (77,000 tonnes) is the 2nd largest producer just behind China (290,003 tonnes). The fiber was found by the Chinese empress Leizu (嫘祖) in about 4000 BC. The ancient Chinese sericulture process is shown below-
In India, Kanchipuram silk (காஞ்சிபுரம் பட்டு)from Tamilnadu state in the South, is the most famous silk in the whole country. It is the largest silk consuming country in the world. The silk industry is most prevalent in the south. In ancient India, Uraiyur (உறையூர்) in Thiruchirapalli district of Tamilnadu was a major silk industrial city. Many other countries, like Korea, Japan, Thailand, etc. are also large producers of silk.
The main consumable products from are meat. But, we can also get milk from herbivorous animals like goat, cow, etc. English is one of the many languages which have a different name for the meat other than the animal. For example, beef and pork originates from French, bœuf and porc. The word cow comes from Germanic kuh. Milk contains lactic acid (C₂H₄OHCOOH) which also contains formic acid (HCOOH) and is a carboxylic acid.
1. Why can’t we take the silk fibers directly instead of running an eyelet through it?
2. Why is the wool fiber only sheared in the summer?
3. Find out what will happen to our bodies if we do not scour wool.
4. Why is sericulture farming considered dangerous?
5. Why can’t we take the silk soon after the moth hatches?