The cystine content of Merino wool in relation to its physical attributes

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Peer-Reviewed Research


The cystine content of Merino wool is approximately 12 per cent and although several research worker have studied the source and formation of this constituent, the function of cystine in Merino wool production from nutritional and physiological aspects has not yet been defined. In the present contribution it is not intended to deal with this aspect of the problem but to discuss the results mainly with regard to the relationships between the physical attributes of wool and its cystine content. These physical attributes largely determine the uses to which Merino wool may be put and are valuable assets either during the processes of wool manufacture or in the finished fabric. Should the cystine content of Merino wool be a modifying factor in its physical attributes, quantitative variations in cystine would have important applications in methods of wool production. In the present investigation a series of selected Merino wool samples which differ from one another in their physical attributes has been analysed. The cystine content is compared with such characteristics as Tensile Strength, Fibre Resilience, Fibre Fineness, Crimping, Scaliness, Percentage Extension and Whiteness.