Archive for category Species

Bamboo Trails- Dendrocalamus Stocksii

I learnt about this near solid, iron-bamboo (Dendrocalamus Stocksii) from an article published by Institute of Wood Science and Technology. The interesting feature was its loose-clumping growth habit, along with a near absence of inter-nodal cavity, thereby making it a suitable candidate for consideration of use to replace wood in certain applications in the handicraft industry. Also alluded to, as an iron-bamboo due to its iron like strength, this species is practically non-existent in N. India. Scientists at FRI and various agricultural institutes need to study the viability of introducing Dendrocalamus Stocksii in the TARAI, which is pretty humid and moist, much like the costal area, where this bamboo is naturally found.

Classification

Dendrocalamus stocksii (Munro), synonym Oxytenanthera stocksii / Pseudoxytenanthera stocksiiaabsence (Munro), synonym Oxytenanthera stocksii / Pseudoxytenanthera stocksii

As per the alluded article, Dendrocalamus stocksii is naturally distributed in Central Western Ghats. Locally called - Chivari’, Mes, Konda, Oor-shema, Marihal, Manga etc. D. stocksii has medium sized, stout solid and strong culms. Though the natural distribution of this species is in humid tropics, this species has a wide adaptability and comes up well in tropical humid, sub humid and semi-arid conditions.

MORPHOLOGY

Culms are said to be about 8 to 9m, basal dia 25-58mm and internode of 15-30cm, light green in colour, loosely spaced and without thorns. They are solid at the base upto about half the culm height.

Anatomical and Mechanical Properties of Dendrocalamus stocksii

Specific gravity- 0.691

Fibre Diameter (μm)- 16.6

Fibre Lumen Diameter (μm)- 5.7

Fibre length (mm)-3.4

Fibre Wall Thickness (μm)- 10.9

Modulus of Rupture (MOR) (kg/cm2)- 620

Maximum crushing stress (kg/cm2)- 386

Vascular bundles per cm2- 281

(Source: Rao et al., 2004)

Species Specific gravity MOR (kg/cm2) Max. crushing stress (kg/cm2)
Dendrocalamus stocksii 0.691 620 386
Bambusa nutans 0.603 529 456
Bambusa bambos 0.584 836 572
Dendrocalamus strictus 0.631 734 359
Tectona grandis 0.604 959 532
comparison
kN/cm²   spruce   bamboo   steel St37
elastic modulus   1100   2000   21000
compressive compressive   4.3   6.2-9.3   14
tension strength   8.9   14.8-38.4   16
bending strength   6.8   7.6-27.6   14
shearing strength   0.7   2.0   9.2

Source- http://bambus.rwth-aachen.de/eng/reports/mechanical_properties/referat2.html

The compressive strength of bamboo is roughly situated between 40 and 80 N/mm2 which is twice to four times the value of most timber species. Bamboo with low moisture content has a higher compressive strength than one with higher moisture.

The shear strength of bamboo is often twice the value of popular timber species.

The bending strength of most bamboo species varies between 50 and 150 N/mm2 and is on average twice as strong as most conventional structural timbers

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Bamboo- For Handicrafts and Fiber

Bamboo, genetically, a grass, is proving to be a suitable green substitute to hardwood timber. Its green, because it is one of the fastest growing plants, and under a suitable regimen of agro-forestry, can substantially reduce the burden on our forests.

Needless to mention, that Indian Wooden Handicraft Industry is having to look at alternative resources for raw material, in light of Indian Rosewood (Shisham) having been classified under schedule 2 of the  CITES lists.

Bamboo seems to fit the bill perfectly. 

As a farmer, as well a stake-holder in handicraft business, we have hence commenced planting bamboo for our needs. In quest of elite planting material, I travelled to all corners of the country, as well as parts of Bhutan and Nepal. We collected some interesting genotypes- We also received some good planting material from Agro-Forestry Dept.of GBPUAT. As a result of above efforts, we have now established trial plots of 6 species of bamboo on our farm, which we shall study for suitability for handicraft applications, as well as its agronomy ( suitability as a cash crop).

Bamboo has a long and interesting history dating back more than 5,000 years. The woody stem has various applications- it is widely used in construction industry, handicrafts, paper, furniture and for fiber processing, besides some other applications. 

Bamboo textiles are textiles derived from bamboo fibers, with or without hemp/cotton/spandex blends. BAMBOO Fiber is obtained from the culms- it is lingo cellulosic, made from bamboo timber which has matured for at least 3-4 years (depending on species). The major chemical constituents of bamboo are cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin, besides minor occurrence of waxes, resins, tannins, proteins and ashes. Bamboo fibers comprise of 60–70 % holo-cellulose, pentose's (20–25 %), hemicelluloses and lignin. The α-cellulose of bamboo is comparable with that of woods. Cellulose contents in this range make bamboo a suitable raw material for the pulp and paper industry. Cellulose is made up of linear chains of β-1-4-linked glucose anhydride units.

Mature Culms are crushed and submersed in a strong solution of sodium hydroxide to dissolve the cellulose. Carbon disulfide is added to regenerate fibers, which are then drawn off, washed and bleached and dried. The resultant fluff is spun into yarn.

The higher tensile strength and longer staple results in a tough yet soft yarn – This is what gives bamboo fabrics excellent durability. The hollowness of the bamboo fiber makes it highly absorbent. Thus, it takes longer to dry on a clothesline. The hollowness of the bamboo fiber also enables it to hold color (dyes and pigments)-thus it is much more colorfast.

Main methods of producing bamboo fibers-

The culm is crushed and soaked in a solution of 18 % NaOH at 20–25 °C for 1– 3 h to form alkali cellulose, which is then pressed to remove excess NaOH solution. The mass is further crushed, left to dry for 24 h and CS2 added. This causes the bamboo alkali cellulose to sulfurise and jell out. The remaining CS2 is removed by evaporation due to decompression, resulting in sodium xanthogenate.  A diluted solution of NaOH is added to the cellulose sodium xanthogenate, to dissolve it into a viscose solution consisting of about 5 % NaOH and 7–15 % bamboo fiber cellulose.  The viscose solution is forced through spinneret nozzles into a larger container of diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4) solution which, hardens the viscose and reconverts it to cellulose bamboo fiber which are spun into yarns (to be woven or knitted).

Lyocell process uses N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide (NMNO) to dissolve the bamboo cellulose into viscose solution. NMNO- a weak alkaline-  acts as surfactant, as well as to break down the cellulose structure. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is added as a stabilizer and the solution is forced through spinnerets into a hardening bath (usually a solution of H2O2 and a alcohol like methanol or ethanol), which causes the thin streams of viscose solution to harden into bamboo cellulose fibers. The regenerated bamboo fibers are spun into yarns.

BAMBOO CHARCOAL FIBER  The joints of bamboo are cut out and then split up into pieces of slivers of an inch in width. The shredded bamboo is pickled in a solution of clear lime-water, nitrate of soda and oxalic acid. The pickled bamboo is removed after 12–24 h in order to be boiled in a solution of soda ash. The material is crushed and then combed, carded, or heckled. It is then spun into cordage, yarn or other forms of manufacturing.
LITRAX (NATURAL) BAMBOO FIBER Mechanical extraction of natural bamboo fiber, a Bamboo culms. b Mechanical splitting of bamboo culms. c Rasping of woody parts. d Enzyme bath. e Gray and bleached natural bamboo fibers. f Woven bamboo fabric. In order to turn bamboo into a fiber, first the culm must be crushed mechanically. The crushed bamboo strands are then treated with designed enzymes to separate the fibrous material from the glue-like lignin within the plant. This includes a series of precisely timed alternate steam- washing and enzyme treatment cycles, which also act on the vertical and horizontally aligned lignin of the resulting fiber bundles. The final step is to bleach the fibers with hydrogen peroxide. The resulting natural staple length varies between 70 and 150 mm, but can be cut to shorter lengths for processing, i.e. 50 or 38 mm staple. Litrax provides the LITRAX-1 (L1) natural bamboo fibers with a special DNA coding to protect its vertical supply chain and customers. The DNA coding will guarantee that customers are buying the original, authentic bamboo fiber from Litrax. The fiber is strong and durable.

TECHNICAL DATA OF LITRAX L1 BAMBOO FIBER L1 fiber characteristics Dimensions Fineness 5.7D Fiber dimensions 38 mm from (natural 70–150 mm staple)

END USES OF BAMBOO FIBER Bamboo fabrics are made from pure bamboo fiber yarns which have excellent wet permeability, moisture vapor transmission property, soft hand, better drape, easy dying, splendid colors.

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Dendrocalamus Membranaceous Bamboo

Dendrocalamus Bamboo is of special interest to me, as it is one of the bamboo species which is almost fully solid. It offers to be a good substitute for wood, which is a raw material for us, in the handicraft industry.

The few plants, that we have here, were established using seed from ICFRE.

The culms of this particular genotype are fully solid till about 18 feet. Subsequently, the inter-nodal cavity begins to appear. The diameter of the cavity however, continues to be small till the next 10 to 15 feet. Above 25 feet, the diameter of the cavity (hole)  begins to increase. The wall thickness, overall, is very good. The bamboo has been seen to grow to about 35 to 40 feet. The outer diameter at breast height is about 4 to 6 inches.

I have been trying, in vain, to develop a vegetative nursery to establish a plantation. I have tried using auxins ( NAA and IBA) at various strengths ( 1000 to 5000 ppm) but failed to root the cuttings. I wonder, if any specialist on the Agro-Forestry or Bamboo forum could offer guidance and help.

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Hamiltonii and Nutaans Bamboo as a Raw Material for Craft

As a farmer turned entrepreneur craftsman, my journey of diversification, from conventional agriculture to bamboo agro-forestry has been an interesting saga.

Wood is an important raw material for us. Unfortunately, this is a non-renewable resource, which has been over exploited over the last so many years. We, as mankind, have wiped out our forest cover at an alarming rate (and still doing so). Our  indifference and greed has thus resulted in precipitating irreversible ecological changes. For instance, global warming is a direct result of pollution and deforestation, which, if not controlled, could wipe out 20% of Bangladesh, due to the rising sea level. One can cite numerous examples.

Policy makers, have now, grudgingly accorded high priority to ecological rehabilitation. Afforestation has thus become a global focus. CITES, is a result of one such global endeavor to save our forests.

Recently, CITES has listed Shisham and indian Red Wood in its watch list- Wooden Handicraft Industry has had a direct hit.

For some reason, I had a premonition, couple of years ago, and I had commenced collecting information on Bamboo, including elite planting materials etc. I have been in touch with many universities and my travels took me to all quarters of the country, wherever bamboo was said to be growing.

We short-listed Bambusa Balcooa, Bambusa Nutaans, Dendrocalamus Hamiltonii, Dendrocalamus Strictus and Dendrocalamus Membranaceous.

We made trial plots- but unfortunately, the rooting in Membranaceous and Balcooa was poor- we lost all plants.

We managed saving a few plants of Hamiltonii, Nutaans and Strictus.

The bottle-neck with bamboo, to be exploited as a wood, is its inter-nodal cavity and fiber orientation. Notwithstanding, its an excellent resource since it grows fast, and, by way of systematic agro-forestry, also renewable.

I have seen some variants of Dendrocalamus Strictus and Membranaceous almost fully solid, a quality, that perhaps, can make them a good substitute to wood.

Nutaans and Balcooa are thick walled- excellent for construction works etc. Both have straight growing habits, thus have a ready market.

In a recent experiment, I cut full length culms 2 year old of Nutaans and Hamiltonii- further divided them into 2 foot segments, to compare the wall thickness at similar heights. I noticed that Hamiltonii, though thicker at the base, with almost same wall thickness as Nutaans, lost out at around 18 feet, where its walls started to become thinner than Nutaans. Further, Nutaans is open culming- and easier to harvest- especially, if you are harvesting in a horse-shoe pattern (selective harvest)

20170331_11284420170331_11294320170331_112956 

In light of above, I feel Nutaans is a better choice for farmers, than Hamiltonii.

I am still in the process of establishing Balcooa and Membranaceous- rooting has been a problem with Membranaceous---- Any suggestions or advice, as to how to get it to root ???

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Rattan Cane and Bamboo for Handicrafts

Rattan Cane and Bamboo are often confused with one another, despite them belonging to entirely different families.

Rattan Cane is a creeper-palm. The word "Rattan" ( Malay rotan) is a family of about 600 climbing palms belonging to subfamily Calamoideae (Greek 'kálamos' = reed).

Synonyms for Rattan- manila, or malacca (named after the ports- Manila and Malacca), Manau (Malay rotan manau, which is the trade name for Calamus manan canes). The climbing habit is associated with the characteristics of its flexible woody stem, derived typically from a secondary growth, makes rattan a liana rather than a true wood.

The largest rattan genus is Calamus, distributed in Asia and Africa.

Daemonorops, Ceratolobus, Korthalsia, Plectocomia, Plectocomiopsis, Myrialepis, Calospatha, Pogonotium and Retispatha, are found in Southeast Asia.  Laccosperma (syn. Ancistrophyllum), Eremospatha and Oncocalamus are found in Africa.

The bamboos are grasses- evergreen perennial flowering plants of subfamily Bambusoideae, family Poaceae. Bamboos have hollow inter-nodal regions, though some are almost solid, e.g., Dendrocalamus Strictus and Membranaceous.  The vascular bundles in Bamboos are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement. The dicot woody xylem is also absent. The absence of secondary growth wood makes bamboos columnar rather than tapering.

Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, being used for building materials, as a food source, and as a versatile raw product. Bamboo has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete and a specific tensile strength that rivals steel.

Bamboo and Cane agro-forestry systems, thus offer a sustainable option to save our forest cover, which is the backbone of human existence on earth.

Bamboo and Cane are an excellent raw material for handicraft industry. 20160527_194924_resized71KXC7vxZ4L._SL1500_12_Seater_setty2-Asian-Moderne51tPjGFv8zL._SL1500_81K0QD9NwRL._SL1500_640c4c0063bc04bd7c1dd76f2dd4bc80800px-Baseball_bat-Louisville_slugger_construction

The word bamboo comes from the Kannada term bambu, which was introduced to English through Indonesian and Malay.

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Planting Material for Bamboo Agro-Forestry

The selection and availability of the right genotype(s) of Bamboo, is one of the prime bottle-necks in establishing an Agro-Forestry plantation system.

It's a dilemma I am currently encountering.

I am considering bamboo as a plantation crop on my farm, and have been researching suitable genotypes. I have been in touch with many institutions- private, a well as government, NGO's, universities, traders, sellers, growers etc.

I have come to realize, with dismay, that most private institutions have their own sales agenda and specifically evolved sales pitch.  Thus, I have ruled out buying blindly from any of them.

Universities and Government bodies are safer. However, they can only offer to sell what exists in their bamboo- herbarium, which, at times is just a chronology of research trial plots, without extensive trials.

In light of above uncertainties,  I have decided to stagger the plantation endeavor.

Instead of buying outright, I am now establishing a small trial plot, where I am planting all shortlisted varieties that I have collected during my Pan-India travels.

I would rather wait for 3 years than waste the effort and the land, with a wrong choice of planting material.

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Bambusa Nutans Bamboo

My interest in Bambusa Nutans and Dendrocalamus Strictus has been as a result of my quest for solid (not hollow) bamboos. I am very fascinated by this species of grass-which grows faster than any other hardwood species and has a better wood-fiber  quality, in some parameters, matching steel. But alas! Most bamboos are hollow, thereby limiting its spectrum of applications.

Having travelled and communicated with many institutions, organizations, scientists, growers and traders across India, I was, till recently, given to believe that the only genotype devoid of an inter-nodal cavity (solid, not hollow) is D. Strictus. Unfortunately, this species has many limitations- its stunted growth, small diameter and low yield, to cite a few. From a farmer's perspective, yield and per acre economics is an important consideration. During the course of this exchange of information, I learnt about  B. Nutans, another thick walled species (with an inter-nodal cavity), with much higher bio-mass production (wood), growing to about 15 m- about twice as high as D. Strictus.

I was still in a dilemma. A bamboo without an inter-nodal cavity, was still a mirage.

Imagine my surprise, when I accidentally discovered a few culms of B. Nutans, WITHOUT ANY INTERNODAL CAVITY - in a neglected corner of my farm, right under my bonnet !!!!! Wow !!! B. Nutans that is that are fully solid- with an excellent growth rate and straight bamboo culms. When I spoke to my father, he casually mentioned that he came across this rare bamboo, many years ago, on one of his travels. He further mentioned that he brought back a few root cuttings and planted them on the periphery, and subsequently forgot about !!!

I am now in the process of developing a nursery for this particular stain of B. Nutans. I plan to establish a small bamboo plantation. A legacy my father started.

Bambusa Nutans, bamboo species is cultivated/naturalized in the Northern, Central and Eastern parts of India, occurring naturally in tropical India and Indo-China in the sub-Himalayan tracts, between 600 to 1500m altitude. It requires well drained sandy loams with tropical / sub tropical climate.

b_nutansbambusa nutans2

Local/Indigenous Indian names-

  • In Arunachal Pradesh it is called Mokal / Mallo / Kali
  • In Assam it is called  Deobanh / Jatie makal
  • In manipur- it is called  Utang
  • In Sikkim, it is called Mal Bans
  • In Nagaland it is called Rungazumi
  • In Orissa it is called Badi.

Agro- Forestry Uses- Nutans is used as shade for Tea.

Other Uses- Mainly as poles, and  as a source of Fibre for the paper mills.

Propagation
Primarily  root and stem cuttings

HABIT - Nutans is a Perennial bamboo. Rhizomes are short; pachymorph. Culms are erect; 6 to 12 metres long; 4 to 7 cm in diameter, woody; with some aerial roots at the nodes. Culm-internodes are about 12 to 18 inches, are terete; with relatively small lumen and mid-green to shiny green in colour. Culm-nodes are glabrous, or pubescent. Lateral branches are dendroid. Culm-sheaths are about 6 to 12 inches long; pubescent; with appressed hair or/and black hair, which truncate at apex and auriculate; setose on shoulders. Culm-sheath is ligule 2.5–5 mm high and dentate. Culm-sheath blade is triangular; 6 to 12 inches long; pubescent; acute. Leaves are cauline. Leaf-sheaths are striately veined and pubescent. Leaf-sheath oral hair are setose. Leaf-sheath auricles are falcate. Ligule, an eciliate membrane is obtuse. Collar has an external ligule. Leaf-blade base has a brief petiole-like connection to sheath; petiole is about 0.3–0.5 cm long. Leaf-blades are lanceolate; glandular. Leaf-blade midrib conspicuous. Leaf-blade venation with 14–20 secondary veins. Leaf-blade surface glabrous, or puberulous; hairy abaxially. Leaf-blade margins scabrous. Leaf-blade apex acuminate; antrorsely scabrous.
INFLORESCENCE Synflorescence bractiferous; clustered at the nodes; in untidy tufts; with spathaceous subtending bracts; with axillary buds at base of spikelet; prophyllate below lateral spikelets.
FERTILE SPIKELETS Spikelets comprising 3–5 fertile florets; with diminished florets at the apex. Spikelets lanceolate; subterete; 17–25 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Rhachilla internodes definite; clavate; pilose; hairy at tip.
GLUMES Glumes several; 2–3 empty glumes.
FLORETS Fertile lemma ovate; 10 mm long; without keel. Lemma inner surface pubescent. Lemma apex acute; mucronate. Palea keels ciliate. Apical sterile florets resembling fertile though underdeveloped.
FLOWER Lodicules 3; membranous; veined; ciliate. Anthers 6–7; anther tip apiculate. Stigmas 2–3; sparsely hairy. Ovary umbonate; pubescent on apex.
FRUIT Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; oblong; hairy at apex.
DISTRIBUTION Asia-tropical: India and Indo-China.

References

http://www.kew.org/data/grasses-db/www/imp01287.htm

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