Sericulture, or silk farming, is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk.Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, "Bombyx mori" is the most widely used and intensively studied. Confucious texts place the discovery of silk production from "B. mori" around 2700 BC, although archaeological records point to silk cultivation as early as the Yangshao period China: A Cultural, Social and Political History. Page 7] (5000 - 10,000 BC). Later it was introduced in Europe, the Mediterranean and other asiatic countries. Sericulture has become one of the most important cottage industry in a number of countries like Japan, China, Republic of Korea, India, Brazil, Russia, Italy and France. Today, China and Japan are the two main producers, together manufacturing more than 50% of the world production each year.


Silkworm larvae are fed cut-up mulberry leaves, and, after the fourth molt, climb a twig placed near them and spin their silken cocoons. The silk is a continuous-filament fiber consisting of fibroin protein, secreted from two salivary glands in the head of each larva, and a gum called sericin, which cements the two filaments together.The sericin is removed by placing the cocoons in hot water, which frees silk filaments and readies them for reeling. The immersion in hot water also kills the silkworm larvae.

Single filaments are combined to form yarn. This yarn is drawn under tension through several guides and wound onto reels. Finally, the yarn is dried, and the now raw silk is packed according to quality.

tages of production

The stages of production are as follows:

# The silk moth lays eggs.
# When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are fed mulberry leaves.
# When the silkworms are about 25 days old, they are 10,000 times heavier than when they hatched. They are now ready to spin a silk cocoon.
# The silk is produced in two glands in the silkworm's head and then forced out in liquid form through openings called spinnerets.
# The silk solidifies when it comes in contact with the air.
# The silkworm spins approximately 1 mile of filament and completely encloses itself in a cocoon in about two or three days but due to quality restrictions, the amount of usable silk in each cocoon is small. As a result, 5500 silkworms are required to produce 1 kg of silk.
# The silkworm then metamorphoses and changes into a moth; however, the silkworm is usually killed with heat before it reaches this stage. The silkworms are killed, because once they reach the moth stage, the moth secretes a fluid to dissolve the silk so it can emerge from the cocoon. This damages the cocoon and the silk then becomes a lower quality. Some silkworms are allowed to live to be used for breeding.
# The silk is obtained from the undamaged cocoons by brushing the cocoon to find the outside ends of the filament.
# The silk filaments are then wound on a reel. One cocoon contains approximately 1,000 yards of silk filament. The silk at this stage is known as raw silk. Just one thread consists of 48 individual silk filaments. This could lead to at least 4000 yards in a whole cocoon.
# A yarn can now be formed by combining several threads of silk.

ee also

*Silk Road

External links

* [] , amateur sericulture website

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sericulture — [ser′ə kul΄chər] n. [Fr sériculture, contr. < sériciculture < L sericus (see SERGE) + Fr culture] the raising and keeping of silkworms for the production of raw silk sericultural adj. sericulturist n …   English World dictionary

  • Sericulture — Ser i*cul ture, n. [See {Sericeous}, and {Culture}.] The raising of silkworms. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sericulture — 1851, from Fr. sériciculture, from L. sericum (nom. serica) silk (see SERGE (Cf. serge)) + cultura (see CULTURE (Cf. culture)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • sériculture — (entrée créée par le supplément) (sé ri kul tu r ) s. f. L élève des vers à soie. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Le grec signifie, ver à soie, proprement l animal du pays des Sères. M. de Dumast et, après lui, MM., Luppi et Dupré de Loire ont condamné le mot… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • sericulture — noun Etymology: Latin sericum silk + English culture Date: circa 1854 the production of raw silk by raising silkworms • sericultural adjective • sericulturist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sericulture — sericultural, adj. sericulturist, n. /ser i kul cheuhr/, n. the raising of silk worms for the production of raw silk. [1850 55; < Gk sér silkworm + I + CULTURE] * * * …   Universalium

  • sericulture — noun the cultivation of silk …   Wiktionary

  • sericulture — ser·i·cul·ture || serɪ‚kÊŒltʃə(r) n. raising and breeding silkworms; production of raw silk by raising silkworms …   English contemporary dictionary

  • sericulture — [ sɛrɪˌkʌltʃə] noun the production of silk and the rearing of silkworms for this purpose. Derivatives sericultural adjective sericulturist noun Origin C19: abbrev. of Fr. sériciculture, from late L. sericum silk + Fr. culture cultivation …   English new terms dictionary

  • sericulture — seri·culture …   English syllables

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