DOST-PTRI’S BambooTextilesPH Brand Develops Bamboo Fibers for Textile Use
By: DOST-PTRI Research and Development Division and the Technology Transfer, Innovation and Promotions Staff
September of every year is proclaimed as Philippine Bamboo Month. This resolution was adopted through House Resolution 197 which aims to promote the many uses and relevance of bamboo as a material for various applications. In keeping with the celebration of Philippine Bamboo Month, the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) features the BambooTextilesPH.
Bamboo has always been regarded as a material for hard goods for shelter and housing. It has not been associated with soft applications like clothing until recently.
In the Philippines, the DOST-PTRI has developed technologies to produce sustainable natural textile materials from bamboo, putting it at the forefront of R&D and innovation on bamboo for textile wearables and beyond.
In 2015, as part of these efforts and in line with the Institute’s bid for greener or more sustainable textile products using circular processing technologies, the DOST-PTRI embarked on bamboo textile fiber extraction approaches to obtain textile staples from Kawayan Tinik (Bambusa blumeana), Bolo (Gigantochloa levis), Yellow Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris), and Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper). A high fiber yield obtained from Kawayan Tinik indicated this to be a robust textile fiber source. The abundance of this bamboo species and the possibility for higher value transformation provide an exciting opportunity for farmers and communities to extract and process fibers for yarn manufacture to enable textile application for wearables and more.
Kawayan Tinik culms
Bamboo-blended yarn and fabrics
Through the 2021 Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources R&D Grants-In-Aid (PCAARRD)-GIA)-funded project, the Institute is verifying the application of established bamboo textile staples extraction technology to other bamboo species. Starting in Maragondon, Cavite, and in Naguillan, La Union, the Institute seeks to diversification and value-adding propositions to bamboo utilization with the goal of immediate textile fiber extraction technology rollout. Through another PCAARRD-GIA funded project, the technology and economic prospects in mainstreaming the model at the community level and scale is under verification. The project aims to ensure that a significant part of the value transformation process will redound to the economic benefit of the local community. DOST-PTRI aims to locate more bamboo textile innovations hubs all over the Philippines funds availing.
Bamboo is a multi-faceted raw material. In addition to Bamboo as a wearable textile material, DOST-PTRI is also undertaking studies in its use for technical textiles with significant prospects in filtratrion and automotive applications. It is a source of a natural dye that renders yellow color on textile materials. Its use is also explored in the Institute’s “Constructions and Buildings Using Indigenous Locally-developed Natural Textiles (the CoBUILDTex)” Program funded by the DOST-Grants-In-Aid. The program aims to fabricate freeform concrete for load and non-load bearing structures and smart indoor furnishings.
Rallying behind the brand BambooTextilesPH, DOST-PTRI aims to consolidate R&D efforts on bamboo for textiles ensuring quality and responsibility. Bamboo textiles has been included for consideration in the implementing rules for R.A. 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law which becomes an addition to pineapple leaf, abaca, banana culm, and silk-blended fabrics for uniforms of public officials and employees and for other purposes.
Science and technology will enable access and availability of bamboo textile fibers to mobilize the upstream to downstream opportunities for Philippine textiles. With this latest addition to Philippine textile raw materials, the DOST-PTRI bolsters the gears of circularity, inclusivity, and responsible production for contemporary Philippine textiles.