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Bast fiber of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.): Biological foundations of its ancient and modern uses

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Flax has attracted human attention since at least the New Stone Age (the Neolithic), as one of a few crops from which highly valued products can be extracted from both seeds and straw. In addition to its continued production for linen textiles, flax fiber is finding new uses in industrial materials, which, along with reported health benefits of flax seed consumption, have created new interest in the biology of bast fiber development in this species. Bast fibers are long and scientifically intriguing cells that undergo intrusive growth and a special process of secondary cell wall assembly. Biochemical and genetic studies are revealing new information about the development of bast fibers, and providing a foundation for further manipulation of these unusual cells through biotechnology.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta


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