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Plant Fiber Identification Services

I have recently started a new small business: identifying plant fibres in manufactured or raw materials from commercial, archaeological and conservation samples. Currently, the fibre range that I can identify includes flax, hemp, roselle, kenaf, sunn hemp, ramie, jute, sisal, and abaca. If identification of other fibres is required, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

As the hemp trade is an expanding market, traders and producers need to know what they are buying and selling. In the trade, a quality test programme for importers and wholesalers would improve the integrity of the business. I can help by my impartial, independent service.

My background is in microbiology. I passed the Membership to Institute of Biology exams in microbiology with immunology. I have experience ranging from the immunology and genetics of infectious diseases, freshwater fish microbiology, soil microbiology, and screening for microbial natural products.

In 1999, I was approached by the IHA about the possibility of running an independent plant fibre identification service. I attended a course at Durham University run by Dr. Dorothy Catling, who, with John Grayson, carried out the original research into the methods used. The past year has been spent setting up the business and gaining IHA accreditation through blind tests with known standards.

Apart from archaeological samples, a square meter of cloth or a meter of cordage is required for testing. Half of the sample will be retained for additional analysis if there is a dispute. For archaeological samples, send as much as can be spared, preferably including warp and weft threads. Approximately 5 square centimeters is required to perform all of the tests accurately. Identification of the plant fibres involves looking at a section of the raw sample, a macerated sample and an ash sample. These patterns of characteristics determine the identification of the fibre.

If more information about my plant fibre identification service is needed, please contact me as shown below, or Rob Clarke at the IHA.



• Determination of presence or absence of hemp

£57.25        (£52.50 for IHA members)

• Determination of percentage of hemp in sample

£90.00        (£80.00 for IHA members)

(Note: Unless the sample is pure hemp, or contains no hemp.)

• Identification of additional plant fibers

£57.25        (£52.50 for IHA members)

(Note: This price is added on for each additional fiber identified.)

• Determination of % each non-hemp fibre type present

£90.00        (£80.00 for IHA members)


If you have more than 5 samples for identification, please contact me for discount rates.

Jane Potter
35 Preston Grove
Faversham, Kent
UK. ME13 8JY
Tel. +44 (0)1795-535661.
e-mail: <JaneAPotter@aol.com>


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