|California Pima Cotton|
The most desirable cotton is distinguished by having extra-long staple fibers (Egyptian, Pima) and such cotton commands a price premium. But as the cotton moves around the world, and through the fabric value chain, there is the potential for it to be diluted with or fraudulently replaced with lower price, lower quality materials. Clothing manufacturers like to make quality-related or sourcing claims, but the closer an item gets to the retail shelf, the more difficult it is to certify that the garment is really made from the type of cotton they intended. A company based on Long Island called Applied DNA Sciences (NASDAQ: APDN) has developed ways to identify what is real and what is not in this market. They can verify cotton items by identifying the native cotton species via DNA testing. Their methods can tag and test cotton textiles and finished goods using DNA technology to provide a means for traceability to the source were the cotton was grown and harvested. They employ sophisticated DNA testing of the type typically used in human forensics – the kind of thing you might see on an episode of CSI.
|Scanning Electron Micrograph of Cotton Fibers (Wikipedia)|
|USDA-ARS Shot Of No-Till Cotton|