DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Linen. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of the weave of a piece of linen. Linen is made from the fibres of the stem of the flax plant Linum usitatissimum, the seeds of which yield linseed oil. For fibre production the plants are sown close together to produce a tall, erect stand. Harvesting is followed by a process called retting, in which the stems are steeped in water for a period of time. During the steeping bacterial action dissolves the soft, fleshy parts, leaving the tough, thickened cell walls of the fibrous tissue. This is mechanically beaten & combed to produce a pure cellulose fibre material. Magnification: X12 at 6x6cm size.
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