Journal article

Effect of mechanical damage and wound healing on the viscoelastic properties of stems of flax cultivars (Linum usitatissimum L. cv. Eden and cv. Drakkar)

As plant fibres are increasingly used in technical textiles and their composites, underlying principles of wound healing in living plant fibres are relevant to product quality, and provide inspiration for biomimetic healing in synthetic materials. In this work, two Linum usitatissimum cultivars differing in their stem mechanical properties, cv. Eden (stems resistant to lodging) and cv. Drakkar (with more flexible stems), were grown without wound or with stems previously wounded with a cut parallel or transversal to the stem. To investigate wound healing efficiency, growth traits, stem biomechanics with Dynamic Mechanical Analysis and anatomy were analysed after 25-day recovery. Longitudinal incisions formed open wounds while transversal incisions generated stem growth restoring the whole cross-section but not the original stem organisation. In the case of transversal wound healing, all the bast fibre bundles in the perturbed area became lignified and pulled apart by parenchyma cells growth. Both Linum cultivars showed a healing efficiency from 79% to 95% with higher scores for transversal healing. Morphological and anatomical modifications of Linum were related to mechanical properties and healing ability. Alongside with an increased understanding of wound healing in plants, our results highlight their possible impact on textile quality and fibre yield.

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