PhilFIDA-FUTD Conducts Data Gathering, Extraction and Fiber Sample Collection of Local Abaca Varieties in Aklan for Fiber Characterization using SEM Imaging and Elemental Analysis

Date Posted August 2023

In line with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority's (PhilFIDA) commitment to characterize 50 abaca varieties as outlined in the 2021-2025 Abaca Industry Roadmap, the Fiber Utilization and Technology Division recently conducted data gathering, extraction and fiber sample gathering of three local abaca varieties in Libacao, Aklan namely Bisaya, Hagbayanon last July 17 to 20, 2023. The activity was part of the study conducted by FUTD entitled "Fiber Characterization using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Imaging and Elemental Analysis of Various Local Abaca Varieties taken from Major Abaca Producing Provinces" which aims to characterize the fiber properties of lesser-known abaca varieties as well as to determine their potential and assess their suitability as alternatives for applications where commercial varieties are used as raw materials.

As part of the protocol, samples were collected, and fiber samples were extracted from the local varieties. Nine (9) stalks were harvested, tuxied, and stripped. The stripped fibers were measured, weighed, labeled, and sun-dried twice to prevent discoloration and achieve the ideal moisture content. The weight of the dried extracted fibers was measured, and the fiber recovery per variety was computed. The collected fiber samples will undergo physical, morphological, and chemical characterization at the Fiber Processing and Utilization Laboratory in Quezon City. Imaging and elemental analysis using SEM will be performed as well.

PhilFIDA continues to conduct research and collaborate with local farmers and officials to optimize utilization of fibers, enhance farming techniques, and develop eco-friendly processing methods. Through these efforts, the aim is to further advance the abaca industry and promote sustainable fiber utilization in the Philippines.