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MSU awards kenaf patents to Texas manufacturer

STARKVILLE — Kenaf, a fibrous plant that is similar to bamboo, is the subject of two Mississippi State University patents that have been licensed to a Texas manufacturer.

Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc. plans to use kenaf to make pressed board.

“CBMI is looking to blend kenaf into their board products, to achieve the combination of flexibility, rigidity and durability required for the products they are making,” Chase Kasper, interim director of MSU’s Office of Technology Commercialization said in a news release.

“Kenaf is a relatively unknown and underutilized biomass material that we believe has excellent properties and potential as a wood replacement technology,” Lane Segerstrom, CEO of Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc., said.

In early January, the company licensed an MSU patent for the production of kenaf core board and an MSU patent for a machine that separates the kenaf material.

According to a university new release, researchers in Mississippi spent about 12 years studying kenaf fibers.

The results included three patents, a book on kenaf processing and properties, and genetic work that resulted in a new kenaf variety.

The machine MSU developed and patented separates the coarse fiber in the outer layer from the finer fiber in the core of the stem. The fiber from kenaf is versatile and has been used in rope, coarse cloth, paper, engineered wood, animal bedding, packing material and oil and liquid absorbers.

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