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**History and Production of Coir:**
Coir originated from Tamil and Malayalam words for cord or rope.
– Austronesian peoples first used coconut fibre for ropes and sennit.
– Indian and Arab navigators utilized coir for ship ropes.
Coir industry existed in the UK before the 19th century.
– Treloar and Sons in England manufactured coir fabrics for floor coverings.
Coir fibres are located between the coconut’s shell and outer coat.
– Fibre cells are narrow, hollow, and made of cellulose.
– Green coconuts yield pliable white fibres, while brown fibre comes from mature coconuts.
– Brown fibre is soaked, separated, dried, and twisted for various uses.
– White fibre undergoes retting, beating, drying, and cleaning for spinning into yarn.
Coir pith is high in sodium and potassium.
– Proper buffering enhances the effectiveness of coir pith as a growing medium.

**Types and Uses of Coir Fibre:**
– Brown coir is thick and strong, used in mats and sacking.
– White coir is smoother, finer, and weaker, spun into yarn for mats or rope.
– Red coir for floor mats, brushes, mattresses, and sacking.
– Brown coir for erosion control and upholstery padding.
– White coir for rope manufacture and fishing nets.
– Mats made from bristle and white fiber.
Coir used in hydroponic growing systems and as a substrate for mushrooms.
Coir used in soil and potting mixes.
– Substitute for sphagnum and peat.
– Suitable for terrarium substrate and as a replacement for traditional peat.

**Processing of Coir Fibre:**
– Fibrous layer is separated from the shell manually or using machines.
– Brown fibre is soaked, separated, dried, and twisted for various uses.
– White fibre undergoes retting, beating, drying, and cleaning for spinning into yarn.
Coir bristle fibre can be bleached and dyed for different colors.
– Researchers developed a biological process to extract coir fibre without polluting.

**Coco Peat and Other Uses of Coir:**
– Coco peat used as a soil conditioner.
– Contains macro- and micro-plant nutrients.
– Can cause nitrogen deficiency if not fully decomposed.
– Used as animal bedding in litter boxes and pet houses.
– Construction material in some applications.
– Superior absorption capabilities compared to other products.
– Sustainable alternative to mined absorbents.

**Safety and Environmental Concerns:**
Coir is an allergen, along with latex and other treatment materials.
– Coco fibre can harbor organisms posing biosecurity risks.
– Trichoderma in coco peat protects plant roots from pathogenic fungi.
– Imported coco peat in New Zealand introduced 25 new weed species by 2009.
Coir production statistics: India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Ghana.

Coir (Wikipedia)

Coir (/ˈkɔɪər/), also called coconut fibre, is a natural fibre extracted from the outer husk of coconut, and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, and mattresses. Coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir (made from ripe coconut) are in upholstery padding, sacking and horticulture. White coir, harvested from unripe coconuts, is used for making finer brushes, string, rope and fishing nets. It has the advantage of not sinking, so can be used in long lengths in deep water without the added weight dragging down boats and buoys.

A close-up view of coir fibre
Segregation of coir fibre

Coir must not be confused with coir pith, which is the powdery and spongy material resulting from the processing of the coir fibre. Coir fibre is locally named 'coprah' in some countries, adding to confusion. Pith is chemically similar to coir, but contains much shorter fibers. The name coco peat may refer either to coir or the pith or a mixture, as both have good water-retaining properties as a substitute for peat.

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