Citrus waste successfully repurposed for towel production

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In Japan, a region known for both its production of luxury towels and orange groves has married the two by using cellulose nanofibers derived from the skin of the mikan orange in the production of towels.

Researchers in the Ehime Prefecture used CNFs, which are made by breaking up the outer coating of the orange into nanometer pieces, as a glue to strengthen the cotton fibers are they are machine spin. The CNFs are eventually washed away in hot water, but the material gives off a pleasant, orange smell in the meantime.

In addition to replacing chemical adhesives, the material also finds a use for the region’s citrus waste.  The prefectural government as well as universities in the region are looking for ways to reduce the cost. The CNFs made from the oranges could also have applications in reinforced resin and rubber.