The amounts of fur and processing properties of fur from the Australian Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) were determined. The amounts of fur per animal ranged from 18 – 94 g depending on the sizes of the animals, with 75% coming from the body, 10 - 151% from each of the belly and tail. Fur from the belly was shorter and finer than that from the body, which was shorter and finer than that from the tail (20.1 vs. 27.1 vs. 37.9 mm; 16.2 vs. 17.7 vs. 22.9 µm respectively (P < 0.001). Belly fur was less curved than body or tail fur (47.2 vs. 52.8 and 55.6 °/mm respectively (P < 0.001)). The fibre curvature of fur from all three body sites was half to two thirds of the curvature expected for Merino wool of similar diameter. Coefficients of variation of both fibre length and fibre diameter were approximately double those normally observed in Merino wool (coefficient of variation (CV) = 32.8% (length) and 47.6% (diameter)). The number of medullated fibres was high (mean = 44.5% by weight), with most of the coarser fibres being medullated. The cuticle scale structure was smoother than Merino wool. The high degree of medullation observed contributes to the reported high insulation value of the fur as it results in a high number of fibres for the weight. The relatively low curvature and low scale profile, give the fibre a smooth, slippery surface. This makes processing difficult and causes problems for fibre retention in fabric.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 351-355, 2007
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