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Antimicrobial Properties of Raw Alpaca Fiber Documented
Ohio Ag Connection - 12/04/2018

Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) announced recent laboratory testing results revealed that raw alpaca fiber possesses antibacterial properties.

"While the effect is modest, it is likely comparable to the natural antibacterial properties of scoured sheep's wool," said Bud Synhorst, Executive Director of AOA. "This will increase the interest of alpaca fiber within the active apparel industry."

The outdoor and sports apparel industry has seen increased interest in antimicrobial textile products from active consumers who want products that are odor resistant. The industry has largely addressed this demand by treating fabrics with chemicals that inhibit bacterial growth.

While highly effective at suppressing bacteria on the garments short term, Synhorst noted that in most cases those chemicals are lost over time as the garment is used and washed, resulting in a loss of antibacterial effect. This has led some market observers to raise environmental concerns regarding the resulting presence of the chemicals in water and soil.

By contrast, the antibacterial properties of the keratin component of animal fibers, including alpaca, are a more natural and durable alternative to chemical treatment.

"This is another reason that high-quality animal fiber textiles remain in demand," he said. "They can be a good fit for consumers looking for durable clothing that is grown and manufactured in ways that are sensitive to the long-term health of the environment."

Headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., AOA serves as the national livestock association for alpacas in North America. As the largest alpaca association in the world, AOA facilitates the expansion of a strong and sustainable alpaca industry through the tracking of bloodlines, registration and transfer of alpacas, national educational outreach, the national show system, marketing, public relations, and its highly-respected judges training program.

The association represents more than 5,000 members and 260,000 alpacas in its registry database.

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