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Talisay Leaves Color Fabrics Yellow, Black, Gray PDF Print E-mail
The leaves of talisay (Terminalia catappa) are a natural source of yellow, black and gray dyes for textiles, according to the Philippine Textile Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (PTRI-DOST).

"A tropical tree that grows 25-40 meters high, talisay or tropical almond not only provides shade but its tannin-rich leaves also produce essential dyes when extracted and processed." announced Dr. Carlos C. Tomboc, director of PTRI. Researchers at PTRI developed a technology in producing talisay dye powder by boiling the chopped, steeped leaes. The liquid extract is filtered and fed to a spray dryer. The powder produced is collected and stored in clean, dry and air-tight amber bottles at ambient temperature to maintain the physical properties of the natural dye powder and extend its shelf-life, explains Julius Leaño, Jr., senior science research specialist at PTRI.

As the researcher described, the powder is yellowish, stable in air and light, and readily soluble in water creating a rich yellow dye bath. Gray or black shade forms when ferrous sulfate is added during dye application on textile or other materials.

Materials dyed with talisay powder went through a test of colorfastness to washing. Depending on the type of materials dyed, no change in color and no staining was recorded when dyed material was washed for an hour.

Other plant-based dye powders developed by PTRI include indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) for the blue pigment; bakawan lalake (Rhizophora apiculata), bakawan babae (Rhizophora mucronata), pagatpat (Sonneratia alba), antsoan dilaw (Senna spectabilis), gmelina (Gmelina arborea), kamachile (Pithecellobium dulce), and duhat (Syzygium cumini) for brown; mangium (Acacia mangium) for beige; kariskis (Albizia lebbekoides) and mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) for reddish brown; sampalok (Tamarindus indica) for red; ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucephala) for khaki, light maroon, brown, old rose, and purple; narra (Pterocarpus indicus) and kapok (Ceiba pentandra) for light pink to pinkish brown; langka (Artocarpus heterophyllus) for yellow; balete (Ficus balete) for reddish maroon; binunga (Macaranga tanarius) for brown and grayish black; madre de cacao (Gliricidia sepium) for light pink, pinkish brown, and light brown; tubang bakod (Jatropha curcas) for brown, pink, beige, and brownish orange; and katuray (Sesbania grandiflora) for brown and light pink.

For now only indigo powder is commercially available at Aklan State University in Banga, Aklan and R'Teh Handicrafts in Baler, Aurora. Small volume of dye powder from mahogany, sampalok, talisay, and indigo can be obtained from PTRI at a minimal cost. PTRI transfers natural dye extraction and application technologies to the public through conducts of training courses.

Talisay thrives on beaches and sandy coasts. The leaves, green fruits and sometimes the roots are used locally for tanning leather; the wood is used for building houses and boats, while the seeds are edible and contain oil. (Arlene R. Obmerga, S&T Media Service)
Philippine Textile Research Institute