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Jute fabric
Fiber type

Natural fiber , bast fiber

Fiber length Fiber bundles up to 300 cm
(approx. 20 individual fibers ); Single fiber about 2 mm
Fiber diameter 2.4 µm (cell)
modulus of elasticity 17.3 N / mm²
strength 40.3 cN / tex
Breaking strength 1.2 N
Products Ropes, ropes, cords

Jute ([ ˈjuːtə ], formerly [ ʤuːt ]) is an annual plant (herb, shrub). It belongs to the genus Corchorus , of which mainly the two species Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius are used for fiber production. The stem length - and thus the fiber length - is 1.50 to over 3 m. Originally the jute comes from the countries of the Mediterranean area and came from there to Asia and is grown today especially in India and Bangladesh. It needs an always humid, tropical climate (optimal temperature 27 to 31 ° C, precipitation > 1,500 mm / year). Corchorus olitorius is native to tropical Africa and Asia. The fruits are poisonous.


Field with jute plants

Jute is grown especially in the alluvial soils of the Ganges Delta in the humid tropics . After sowing in the prepared soils, the plants are warped at a size of 15 to 20 cm and harvested after about four months.

Where there is annual flooding, jute is grown without fertilizers and pesticides. The fungus Macrophomina phaseolina is, however, a pest for modern monocultures that destroys around 30% of the harvest. Its genome was deciphered in 2012 by a team led by Maqsudul Alam at the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute with the hope of developing a pesticide here.

C. olitorius is also known as Tossa jute in trade and industry , C. capsularis as white jute . A number of plants that do not belong to the same genus provide fibers that are very similar to those of jute, e.g. B. Kenaf and Roselle . Since the fibers can hardly be differentiated in the trade, they are often grouped under the category “jute and similar fibers”.

Extraction of the fibers

After roasting for 20 days, the fibers are loosened by hand, washed in running water and dried. Before spinning, the fibers are usually treated with an oil containing mineral oil (so-called batschen) to facilitate processing. This procedure is criticized because of the possible harm to health. This oil is particularly problematic in technical applications, e.g. B. in automobiles as door linings , whereas in textile applications it is mostly washed out again during the manufacturing process.

Jute fibers are dried along a street


As natural fibers , jute fibers are completely biodegradable . The jute fiber has a golden and silky sheen, which is why it is also called "the golden fiber". It is characterized by a high water absorption capacity, a low tear resistance (20-25  Rkm ) and good rotability. Jute fibers have high tensile strength with low extensibility , which determines their quality as an industrial yarn and fabric. They are easy to dye, but are very prone to rot and have a strong smell.


Jute fibers are used for packaging materials (such as bags ), special papers, coarse yarns and carpets , among other things . Jute fabric serves as a carrier material for linoleum . Jute is one of the " renewable raw materials " and is an important competitor to the native natural fibers flax and hemp, for example in fiber composite materials . Jute has also been used recently as a high-performance insulation material.

Jute leaves ( Corchorus olitorius ) are also eaten as a vegetable (Arabic: Malachija or Nalta). Sometimes they are also dried and made into a soup. The dried leaves of the jute plant can be scalded and drunk as jute tea . In India, Corchorus olitorius is also grown as a fiber plant, but the quality is clearly inferior to that of Corchorus capsularis . As a by- product of jute, the wooden core in the form of small fragments ( shives ) is obtained when the fibers are extracted from the straw . However, there are no high-quality applications for this.

The jute bag was introduced by GEPA in 1978 and sold more than 5 million times. It is now being replaced by cotton bags, some of which come from organic farming and fair trade. However, due to the environmental impact during production, a conventional cotton bag must be used at least 100 times as often as a petroleum-based plastic bag in order to match the plastic bag in terms of the carbon footprint, according to the assessment of the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu).

Economical meaning

The world production of jute fibers in 2007/08 was around 2.7 million t. The largest producer was India (around 1.6 million t), followed by Bangladesh (0.9 million t) and other South Asian countries ( Myanmar with around 0.04 million t and Nepal with around 0.02 million t) . World production fluctuates between 2.3 and 2.8 million tons on a cultivated area of ​​over 1.3 million hectares.

In terms of quantity, jute is the most important natural fiber after cotton . Worldwide, 10 to 12 million smallholders and many 100,000 people live from their processing. Due to the increase in bulk goods and the displacement with synthetic fibers since the 1970s, international trade and real prices plummeted. Only a third of the fibers are exported. The rest is consumed in the main growing countries India and Bangladesh . The main importing country is now Pakistan. The use of jute as packaging material for wholesale is required by law in India.

Since jute dominates all technically used natural fibers in terms of quantity, it has a decisive influence on the prices of other natural fibers. In recent years, a wealth of new products with high added value for jute fibers has been developed: home textiles , composite materials , geotextiles , paper , technical textiles , insulation materials , chemical products and fashion items. The increasing demand for jute fibers, especially from India (for packaging) and China (including for composite materials), together with poor harvests for several years, led Bangladesh to decide in December 2009 to ban exports of unprocessed jute. This was only partially lifted in February 2010 for certain qualities and as a result of the embargo, the price for jute fibers rose by 50 to 100%.

Cultural history

The use of jute in Asia first began as a cooked vegetable and as a source of fiber for personal consumption. It was not until the first half of the 19th century that machine processing of the fiber began in the Scottish city of Dundee , which was subsequently nicknamed Juteopolis . Only then did jute gain global economic importance as a fiber supplier. As early as 1900, jute cultivation reached around 1 million hectares.

The first jute spinning mill on mainland Europe was founded in 1861 by the industrialist Julius Spiegelberg (1833–1897) in Vechelde near Braunschweig . In 1866, the company was producing around 500 to 600 quintals of jute yarn a week. The company existed until 1926.

The slogan jute instead of plastic! became a symbol for the conscious decision of consumers against the throwaway society and for social and ecological responsibility. The jute bag is now being replaced by cotton bags from organic farming and fair trade .

The Oxford English Dictionary assumes a relationship with or derivation of Sanskrit जट jaṭa "(hair) strand, braid" ( hereinafter Walter W. Skeat ) , but this derivation is described as "very doubtful" in Hobson-Jobson . Similar words with this meaning also exist in other North Indian languages, including Bengali , which is the language in the main growing region. The plant is already mentioned by Theophrastus (EIP 4.8.14). Jute fibers have been archaeologically proven, for example, in the Bronze Age Schahr-e Suchte in Iran and in Berenike in Egypt.


Recycling code for jute

The recycling code for jute is 61.


Web links

Commons : burlap  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. G. Holzmann, M. Wangelin: Natural and vegetable building materials - raw material, building physics, construction. Vieweg + Teubner, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-8351-0153-1 .
  2. a b c d Michael Carus u. a .: Study on the market and competitive situation for natural fibers and natural fiber materials (Germany and EU). Gülzower Expert Discussions 26, ed. from the specialist agency for renewable raw materials e. V., Gülzow 2008. (without ISBN)
  3. Author collective: Textile fibers . Second improved edition. VEB Fachbuchverlag, Leipzig 1967, p. 239.
  4. ↑ Collective of authors: Fiber theory. 3rd, revised edition, Fachbuchverlag, Leipzig 1973, p. 78.
  5. Anton Schenek: natural fiber dictionary. Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-87150-638-9 , pp. 117/118.
  6. ^ RR Franck (ed.): Bast and other plant fibers. Cambridge / Boca Raton, 2005, ISBN 1-85573-684-5 / ISBN 0-84932-597-8 .
  7. India: Jute bags made of heat, dust and hard work. In: zeit.de. May 22, 2012, accessed December 9, 2014 .
  8. NK Mehrotra, S. Kumar, M. Anthony 1988: Carcinogenic Property of JBO (P) Variety of Jute Batching Oil , Drug and Chemical Toxicology , 11 (2), 181-193.
  9. nova Institute 2004: PP-NF injection molding is ready for the market - overview of PP-NF injection molding technology and its properties .
  10. a b  Jörg Burger: Shopping: Plastic instead of jute. In: zeit.de. June 8, 2006, accessed December 9, 2014 .
  11. Cotton bags : How ecological the everyday companions Report in the daily newspaper Handelsblatt from December 26, 2017, accessed on December 26, 2017
  12. FAO 2008: Jute, Kenaf, Sisal, Abacá, Coir and Allied Fibers ( Memento of July 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), FAO Commodities & Trade Division, June 2008.
  13. FAO .
  14. The Financial Express: Govt bans raw jute export to meet local demand ( Memento of the original from March 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , December 9, 2009. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com
  15. M. Carus: Growing demand for European hemp fibers on oekonews.at, April 18, 2010.
  16. G. Holzmann, M. Wangelin: Natural and vegetable building materials. Raw materials - building physics - construction. Vieweg + Teubner Verlag, Wiesbaden 2009; ISBN 978-3-8351-0153-1 , pp. 131-147.
  17. ^ The Open University: Dundee, jute and empire .
  18. R. von Gottschall: Our time - German revue of the present. Volume 2, Brockhaus Verlag, Leipzig 1866.
  19. Eduard Gottlieb Amthor (ed.): Forward - magazine for merchants. Volume 3, Verlag Rübling, Stuttgart and Leipzig 1866.
  20. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd edition 1989, p. v. jute¹ .
  21. ^ Sir Henry Yule: Hobson-Jobson. A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. J. Murray, London 1903. p. v. JUTE ( Memento from July 11, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ).