Indonesia is one of the countries with a long history of cultivation of Kenaf fiber besides the US, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and Australia. Retting is the main challenge faced during the processing of bast plants for the production of long fiber. The traditional methods for separating the long bast fibers are by water retting requires 14 to 28 days to degrade the pectin, hemicellulose, and lignin materials to separate fiber on the bast. Even though the fibers produced from water retting can be of high quality, the long duration and polluted water have made this method less attractive. Various technologies have been developed, and this turns out to have a substantial impact on the quality of the fiber. This research is preliminary of the dew retting process needs 15 days for the optimum retting process. Dew retting largely relies on indigenous bacteria to degrade pectin and hemicellulose by releasing polygalacturonase (PGase) and xylanase. Indigenous bacteria are bacteria freely available in nature and can synthesize the compound of nitrogen, sugar, and other bioactive substances. These bacteria can be taken advantage of in helping for retting Kenaf bast under control. The pectinolytic and ligninolytic bacteria from water soaking of kenaf in many parts of East Java can be candidates as formulation indigenous consortium bacteria for dew retting process on Kenaf. Bacteria that potentially would be a source inoculum in the retting process. The purpose of this research is to study on dew retting process of Kenaf by using the formulation of indigenous consortium bacteria by spray method. Six formulations of indigenous consortium bacteria have been used in this study to determine shorter retting time and acceptable quality of Kenaf fibers. The LIGTIN formulation is the best formulation to produce high fiber yield and the good quality of fiber in tensile and performance of the fiber. This formulation has a good ability to degrade lignin and pectin which bound the fiber in kenaf stems. The control sample shows a significant difference with treatment samples.
Keyword: dew retting, kenaf, fiber, pectinolytic, ligninolytic