Crop Biotech Update

CSIRO Works on Next Generation Synthetic-Like Cotton

August 22, 2018

Scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are now working on a next generation cotton that will have the properties of synthetics, such as being stretchy, non-creasing, and even waterproof while retaining its natural fiber feel.

Synthetics such as polyester and nylon let off thousands of tiny non-biodegrable microfibers during washing, entering waterways. Cotton sheds fibers during washing, but these fibers are biodegradable and break down naturally.

"If we can produce next generation cotton, then we can take a large market share of the synthetics industry and that's a win not just for Australia's $2.5 billion industry, but also for the environment," Managing Director of Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) Peter Graham said.

CSIRO and partners, including CSD, have been credited for reducing insecticide use in cotton, growing by 85 percent and cutting herbicide use by 60 percent through more than 30 years of improved cotton breeding using GM techniques. Australian cotton is also the most water efficient cotton in the world.

For more details, read the CSIRO news release.