Effects of Different Bleaching Conditions on the Bending Tolerance of Two Rattan Species (Calamus merrillii Becc. and C. caesius Blume)
Edgar E. Devera1*, Ramon A. Razal1,
Stella Villa A. Castillo1, and Portia G. Lapitan2
1Department of Forest Products and Paper Science
2Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources,
University of the Philippines, Los Baños, College, 4031 Laguna
Following bleaching treatment under varying conditions, scraped poles of sika (Calamus caesius Blume) and palasan (C. merrillii Becc.) were tested to determine their breaking radius of curvature. Variables include bleaching agents, soaking time, and temperature using a 3 × 3 × 3 factorial in a Completely Randomized Design experiment. Bent poles that were least and most negatively affected by bleaching, along with unbleached control samples, were taken for chemical analysis and fiber measurement. Flexural properties of sika were unaffected by the different temperature levels employed while palasan was only affected by the bleaching agent used. Interactions among the three variables were found to be insignificant in sika but were highly significant in palasan. Proximate chemical analysis showed that the bending tolerance of sika and palasan poles that was most negatively affected by bleaching treatment had significantly lower holocellulose content but higher ash, hot water, and 1% NaOH soluble fractions than the control and the least affected poles. Fiber analysis revealed that only the fiber length of palasan was affected by bleaching.
Considered as an export winner, rattan has been one of the major non-timber tropical forest products in the world. In Southeast Asia, it is regarded as the most important forest product next to timber (Abasolo 2002). The global market for rattan products is estimated at approximately US$6.5 billion. In the Philippines, it is valued at US$138 million with an estimated employment of 15,000 people generating a total income of $1.5 million (PCARRD 1991; Abasolo 2002). Rattan can be utilized in wicker furniture manufacture and converted into derivatives that can be crafted or fashioned to produce different shapes, designs, and product types.
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