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Scientists growing cotton with new hues to suit textile mill needs

Jan 09, 2020
Scientists growing cotton with new hues to suit textile mill needs

Aiming to commercialise naturally-grown coloured cotton, a team of scientists is developing different shades of cotton through conventional methods suiting requirements of textile mills. As part of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Cotton, a team of four researchers at the BM College of Agriculture, Khandwa have developed four shades of brown cotton grown through the conventional method by mixing different wild varieties of cotton collected from across the country. They are now working on making it commercially viable by means of increased yield, strength and better size.

Dr Devendra Kumar Shrivastava, plant breeder of the project said, “Traditionally we have seen and used white cotton but there are coloured varieties that are not cultivated by farmers because coloured varieties yields are less and they have poor fibre strength and length. But now we are working on enhancing the characteristics of coloured variety so that they can be commercially used.”

The college had developed a variety of dark brown cotton known as JCC1 around five years ago but the variety is not in use due to poor yields and short fibre length making it unacceptable by textile mills. Researchers said fibre length of coloured cotton is around 26 mm while textile mills demand at least 28-30mm. Poor yields and chances of contamination with white cotton makes it unviable for farmers.

Researchers in the project, entomologist Dr SK Parsai, agronomist Dr JP Mehta, under the guidance of BM College of Agriculture dean Dr UPS Bhadauriya are now working towards developing a strong variety of coloured cotton that can be accepted by textile mills. According to researchers, the latest coloured variety of cotton developed by the college has yielded 8 to 14 quintals /hectares while fibre length has grown to 28-32 mm.