Journal of Wood Science

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 401–404 | Cite as

Excellent oil absorbent kapok [Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.] fiber: fiber structure, chemical characteristics, and application

  • Keko Hori
  • Maxima E. Flavier
  • Shigenori Kuga
  • Thi Bach Tuyet Lam
  • Kenji IiyamaEmail author
Original Paper


The study focused on kapok [Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.] fruit as a biomass for effective utilization. Kapok fruits were harvested just before full maturation at the campus of University of the Philippines Los Banos and in southern Vietnam. The kapok fibers are utilized locally as fiberfill in pillows, quilts, and some soft toys. Kapok fiber was isolated and analyzed microscopically, and the physicochemical properties were determined by spectroscopic methods. Some tests were done to determine the effective utilization of kapok fiber. Microscopic analysis of the higher structure of kapok fiber gave quite different results from cotton fiber, which has a significantly homogeneous hollow tube shape and is composed of cellulose (35 % dry fiber), xylan (22%), and lignin (21.5%). Kapok fiber is characterized by having a high level of acetyl groups (13.0%). Usually cell walls of plants contain about 1%–2% of acetyl groups attached to noncellulosic polysaccharides. Kapok fiber is significantly hydrophobic and does not get wet with water. Thus, the absorptivity of oil was tested. The fiber selectively absorbed significant amounts of oil (40 g/g of fiber) from an oil suspension in freshwater and seawater. It is suggested that this fiber could be used to recover oil spilled in seawater.

Key words

Oil absorbent Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. Lignin Neutral sugar composition Acetyl group 


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Copyright information

© The Japan Wood Research Society 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keko Hori
    • 1
  • Maxima E. Flavier
    • 2
  • Shigenori Kuga
    • 1
  • Thi Bach Tuyet Lam
    • 3
  • Kenji Iiyama
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of Agriculture and Life SciencesUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Institute of ChemistryUniversity of the Philippines Los Baños, CollegeLagunaThe Philippines
  3. 3.School of BiochemistryLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  4. 4.Asian Natural Environmental Science CenterUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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