GradImpact: Developing Innovative Natural Fabrics from the Fibers in Banana Stems

    As a doctoral student in Design, Housing and Merchandising at Oklahoma State University, Joyce Nabisaalu has discovered a unique new material to use in natural fiber fabrics: banana stems. Her discovery comes at an opportune time; the demand for natural fiber fabrics rises, as the production of organic cotton, the primary source for natural fabrics, steadily declines. This necessitates the search for innovative alternatives that meet or exceed cotton fabric standards.

     

    Nabisaalu’s finding began in her home country of Uganda, where bananas are a primary food source and part of at least one meal each day. The banana pseudo stems are left discarded in the fields. As Nabisaalu says, “using bananas as a channel for economic development is only practical.” The fibers derived from the banana stems are 100% organic, biodegradable, and highly sustainable. This research has the potential to grow Uganda’s economy by giving farmers another source of income. In addition to growing crops, they can learn how to extract fibers to use in fabrics.

     

    Further research is needed to improve the banana fibers physical properties, including texture, bending properties, yarn fineness, and strength, but Nabisaalu’s discovery could be a new source of economic development for largely agrarian economies all over the world. To learn more about Joyce’s work, visit the Oklahoma State University website.

     

    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.

     

     

    **Photo Credit: Oklahoma State University Communications

     

     

     

    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.

     

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