Initial Stages of Colored Cotton Development Achieved
Scientists working for Australia’s own Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have successfully created cotton with natural colors. The purpose of this naturally-colored cotton is to replace the need for dyes.
At present, scientists are working with cotton plant tissue growing in Petri dishes. They have used genetic modification to create a variety of cotton tissue cultures that naturally express various colors: bright yellows, golden-orange, deep purple, even black. It will take several months for the cotton tissue to mature into flowering cotton plants, but so far all signs point toward the colorful cotton plants producing colorful cotton bolls.
Dyes Pose Significant Challenge for Sustainability within Textiles
When cotton is grown sustainably, it has much to commend it. Cotton can be grown using environmentally- and socially responsible methods. However, the fact that cotton needs to be dyed is a significant challenge for sustainability in the textile industry. Some of the chemical dyes are environmentally harmful, and textile dyeing is the second most significant source of water pollution globally.
This is why Australian scientists’ breakthrough is such an important achievement. The ability to produce cotton that can grow natural colors instead of requiring dyes will save a lot of resources, including dyes and wastewater.
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