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Encyclopedia > Sericulture

Sericulture is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk. Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori is the most widely used and intensively studied. According to Chinese records, the discovery of silk production from B. mori occurred about 2,700 B.C. Today, China and Japan are the two main producers, together manufacturing more than 50% of the world production each year. Binomial name Bombyx mori Linnaeus, 1758 The silkworm (Bombyx mori, Latin: silkworm of the mulberry tree) is the larva of a moth that is very important economically as the producer of silk. ... Silk weaver Silk is a natural protein fiber that can be woven into textiles. ... Binomial name Bombyx mori Linnaeus, 1758 For the band named Silkworm, see Silkworm (band). ... (28th century BC - 27th century BC - 26th century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2900 - 2334 BC -- Mesopotamian wars of the Early Dynastic period 2775 - 2650 BC -- Second Dynasty wars in Egypt Germination of the Bristlecone pine tree Methuselah about 2700 BC, the...


Production

Silkworm larvae are fed cut-up mulberry leaves and after the fourth molt climb a twig placed near them and spin their silken cocoons. The silk is a continuous-filament fiber consisting of fibroin protein secreted from two salivary glands in the head of each larvae, and a gum called sericin, which cements the two filaments together. The sericin is removed by placing the cocoons in hot water which frees silk filaments and readies them for reeling. The immersion in hot water also kills the silkworm larva. Single filaments are combined to form yarn. This yarn is drawn under tension through several guides and wound onto reels. Finally, the yarn is dried, and the now raw silk is packed according to quality. Larvae are the plural of larva, juvenile form of animals with indirect development. ... Species See text Mulberry (Morus) is a genus of 10–16 species of deciduous trees native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and North America, with the majority of the species native to Asia. ... In birds, moulting or molting is the routine shedding of old feathers. ... Cocoon has a number of meanings. ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... The salivary glands produce saliva, which keeps the mouth and other parts of the digestive system moist. ... Yarn. ...


The production of cultivated silk is known as sericulture. The stages of production are as follows:

  1. The silk moth lays eggs.
  2. When the eggs hatch the caterpillars are fed mulberry leaves.
  3. When the silkworms are about 35 days old they are 10,000 times heavier than when they hatched. They are now ready to spin a silk cocoon.
  4. The silk is produced in two glands in the silkworm’s head and the forced out in liquid form through openings called spinnerets.
  5. The silk solidifies when it comes in contact with the air.
  6. The silkworm spins approximately 1 mile of filament and completely encloses itself in a cocoon in about 2 or three days.
  7. The silkworm then goes through stages and changes into a moth; however, the silkworm is usually killed with heat before it reaches this stage. The silkworms are killed because once they reach the moth stage, the moth secretes a fluid to dissolve the silk so it can emerge from the cocoon. This damages the cocoon and the silk and the silk then becomes a lower quality. Some silkworms are allowed to live to be used for breeding.
  8. The silk is obtained from the undamaged cocoons by brushing the cocoon to find the outside ends of the filament.
  9. The silk filaments are then wound on a reel. One cocoon contains approximately 1,000 yards of silk filament. The silk at this stage is known as raw silk.
  10. A yarn can now be formed by combining several filaments of silk.

External links

  • Bioinformatics Centre Mysore
  • Fabrics net
  • wormspit.com, amateur sericulture website

  Results from FactBites:
 
History of Sericulture, Cultural Entomology Digest 1 (1324 words)
Sericulture reached Japan through Korea, but not before the early part of the third century A.D. Shortly after 300 A.D., sericulture traveled Westward and the cultivation of the silkworm was established in India.
According to tradition, the egg of the insect and the seed of the mulberry tree were carried to India concealed in the headdress of a Chinese princess.
Sericulture was carried on to some extent by the early colonists of Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, and was introduced into New England about 1660.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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