Non Conventional Fibres Association

Pineapple Leaf Fibres

Botanical Information

  • The generic name of the pineapple plant is Ananas comosus.
  • It is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Bromeliaceace.
  • Pineapple leaf fibre (PALF) is a waste product in the agricultural sector, abundantly cultivated in Malaysia and across Asia.
  • However, with the advancement of modern technology and an increasing demand for sustainable alternatives, pineapple leaves are now being utilized to produce fibres. These fibres find applications in various sectors such as textiles, construction, automobiles.
  • Pineapple is derived from the Spanish word “Pina”, which means cone shaped.
  • The native Tupi word for the fruit was anana, meaning “excellent fruit;” this is the source for words like ananas, common in many languages.
  • It is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions as a commercial fruit crop.

Agroclimatic Conditions for Cultivation

  • The plant is sturdy and robust with the height of 1-2m, characterized by tapering fleshy leaves that can reach up to 90 cm in length and approximately 6 cm in width.
  • The optimal temperature range for pineapple cultivation is between 22oC to 32oC. Pineapple can be grown up to an elevation of 1100 meters above mean sea level if the region is free from frost.
  • While the ideal rainfall is between 100-150 cm, pineapples can thrive in high rainfall zones and dry areas with supplemental protective irrigation during dry spells.
  • For optimal growth, pineapple prefers soil with a depth of 45-60 cm, free from hard pan or stones. The preferred pH range for the soil is 5.0 pH – 6.0pH.
  • The important pineapple-growing countries of the world are the Hawaiian Islands, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, Puerto Rico, and India.
  • In India, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Bihar are the major pineapple producing states.
  • In the year 2017, the global pineapple cultivation covered an area of 1,098,705 hectares, potentially providing around 1,318 thousand tons of Pineapple Leaf Fiber (PALF). This estimation is based on a calculation of 40 tons per hour of usable fresh leaves and a 3% PALF yield .
  • According to 2013 analysis, Pineapple is India’s commercially significant fruit crop, occupying approximately 90,000 hectares of land. The annual production stands at 15.27 lakh tonnes, with a productivity rate of 15.3 tonnes per hectare. Thus, the estimated amount of PALF obtained should be 41,310 tons.

Extraction process

There are two steps to extract the fibres from the pineapple leaf. 

Scrapping of leaves–

The decorticator machine is used for scrapping the pineapple leaf. It has three rollers namely, 

Feed roller – through which the leaves are fed into the machine.

Leaf scrapping roller – it scratches and removes the pulpy part of the leaf along with the waxes.

Serrated roller – it crushes the leaves and makes several breaks as a passage for the retting microbes.

Retting –

Small bundles of pineapple leaves that have been scratched are placed in a water tank with a substrate-to-liquor ratio of 1:20 in which urea 0.5% or diammonium phosphate (DAP) is mixed for fast retting reactions to happen.

The fibres are regularly checked to ensure that fibres are loosened.

After retting, fibres are separated mechanically, by washing in fresh water and then dried in air by hanging. 


Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres

Physical & Mechanical Properties

Length (mm)


Fineness (tex)


Tenacity (cN/tex)


Elongation (%)


Initial modulus (cN/tex)


Chemical Composition









Fat and Wax




Water soluble material


Pineapple varieties

Smooth Cayenne

Giant Kew, Charlotte Rothschild




Cayenne Lisse

Martinique, Ivory Coast

Sarawak, Samarahan, Nanas Durian, Nanas Paun


Perolera, Bumanguesa, Santa Maria

Venezuela, Colombia

St. Michael


Kona Sugarloaf

Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, Central and South America

Baron Rothschild




Monte Lirio

Mexico, Costa Rica


Mexico, Florida

Fu Mu, Cherimoya, Perfume, Sugarcane, Sugar honey, Golden diamond, Milk


Cayenne Guadeloupe


Queen cultivar

Mauritius (Queen Malacca)

Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka

Del Monte Gold (MD 2), Hawaiian Gold

Hawaii, Costa Rica, Ghana, Cuba, France

Nanas Moris, Sarikei



South Africa, Queensland

James Queen

South Queen

Ripley Queen

Florida, Queensland

Kallara local


Natal Queen

South Africa, El Salvador

Natal Queen

Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela


Hybrid 36






Cabezona, Cumanesa, Castilla

Venezuela, West Indies, Mexico, Puerto Rico, El Salvador

Valera, Morada

Colombia, Venezuela

Pineapple Panare



Sugarloaf, Black Jamaica, Montufar

Central and South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines

Chart 1: Varieties of pineapple


  • Pineapple leaf fibre (PALF) is white in colour, smooth, and glossy as silk.
  • It is a medium-length fibre with high tensile strength. 
  • It has a softer surface than other natural fibres and absorbs and maintains a good colour.
  • It has good abrasion resistance.
  • As a byproduct of pineapple fruit, it is economic. As a natural fibre, it is ecofriendly, and recyclable and it can act as a good substitute of cotton fibre .
  • Pineapple leaf fibre (PALF) is a crucial natural fibre with high specific strength, rigidity, and flexural and torsional rigidity comparable to jute fibres.
  • The primary limitation of Pineapple Leaf Fiber (PALF) is its hydrophilic nature that limits strong bonds with hydrophobic matrices, especially at elevated temperatures.

Typical uses

  • Fibers are extracted from fresh pineapple leaves to produce ropes, twines, composites, and clothing. The pineapple plant serves as a significant source of fibre in countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan, and India. PALF is generally used in making threads for textile fabrics from several decades. 
  • The primary end uses of pineapple fibre include wedding dresses, casual wear, and formal dresses. Pineapple leaf fibre is also employed in the production of table linens, bags, mats, and various other clothing items. Additionally, products such as handbags, coasters, and various interior design items can be crafted from Pineapple Leaf Fiber.
  • Currently, Pineapple Leaf Fiber finds applications in various sectors such as textiles, sports items, baggage, automobiles, cabinets, and mats.
  • Surface-modified PALF is also introduced for manufacturing machinery parts, including belt cords, conveyor belt cords, transmission cloth, airbag tying cords, and certain cloths designed for industrial uses .
  • The physical and mechanical properties of pineapple fibre, including density, tensile strength, and elongation %, make it well-suited for applications in textiles, building and construction materials, automotive components, and furniture.
  • It can be used in various applications as acoustics for sound absorption, and thermal insulation.