This article describes ultra violet (UV) light shielding behaviour of Australian grown bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens). Optical reflectance showed that untreated bamboo plant has UV absorption properties. To reveal the origin of the UV absorption property, its chemical components were extracted using several polar and non-polar solvents. The extracts in most of the polar and non-polar solvents showed UV absorption property. Protic polar solvents showed better ability to extract UV absorbing chemicals than aprotic and non-polar solvents, except hexane. The chemical components of bamboo were analysed by FT-IR spectroscopy and the findings were correlated with the UV absorbance characteristics. The results confirmed that the UV absorption ability of bamboo originates from nothing but lignin. It is thus indicated that the conventional methods to manufacture bamboo fibres, such as complete degumming or viscose methods, that involve the removal of lignin, cannot retain the unique UV absorption property of bamboo plant in bamboo fibres.
Available online 21st July 2011 as an iFirst article