Scientists from Australia's national science agency Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have started work on a cotton with many of the properties of synthetics, such as being stretchy, non-creasing and even waterproof, while retaining its natural fibre feel. The research could lead to cotton shirts that do not need to be ironed.
The team is first working to better understand what determines the length, strength and thickness of cotton fibres.
"We're looking into the structure of cotton cell walls and harnessing the latest tools in synthetic biology to develop the next generation cotton fibre," a CSIRO press release quoted scientist Madeline Mitchell as saying.
Every time synthetics like polyester and nylon are washed, thousands of tiny micro-fibres of material are pulled free and enter our waterways. These are not degradable and can build up in the food chain. But while washing cotton, fibres are also shed but these are biodegradable and break down naturally in the environment.
Australia produces three times more cotton per drop of water than any other country, Mitchell said.
The next generation cotton research is part of CSIRO's Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, a $13 million investment in science that applies engineering principles to biology. SynBio projects aim to provide societal benefits and opportunities for a wide range of industries. (DS)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India