The effect of moisture stress on the physical and histochemical properties of three certified improved varieties of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) relevant to pulp and paper production were investigated. The test plants were grown in the field on a deep sandy-loam soil in the Botanical Garden of Abia State University, Uturu. Three watering regimes representing well-watered control, moderate stress and severe water stress were imposed on the plants. Each irrigation regime was replicated three times in a split plot design with watering treatments as the main plots and the varieties as the sub-plots. Water deficit did not adversely affect the fibre dimensional properties as well as the fibre derived values. Analysis of histochemical properties of Kenaf indicated that water deficit enhanced these properties in the stressed plants when compared with well-watered plants. Thus suggesting that water stress enhances the quality of pulp and paper produced from Kenaf.
Key words: Hibiscus cannabinus, kenaf, histochemical, pulp, paper, water deficit.
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