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Concept: Cotton


It is generally assumed that the production of plant fibre textiles in ancient Europe, especially woven textiles for clothing, was closely linked to the development of agriculture through the use of cultivated textile plants (flax, hemp). Here we present a new investigation of the 2800 year old Lusehøj Bronze Age Textile from Voldtofte, Denmark, which challenges this assumption. We show that the textile is made of imported nettle, most probably from the Kärnten-Steiermark region, an area which at the time had an otherwise established flax production. Our results thus suggest that the production of woven plant fibre textiles in Bronze Age Europe was based not only on cultivated textile plants but also on the targeted exploitation of wild plants. The Lusehøj find points to a hitherto unrecognized role of nettle as an important textile plant and suggests the need for a re-evaluation of textile production resource management in prehistoric Europe.

Concepts: Cotton, Textile, Hemp, Flax, Prehistory, Textiles, Fiber crop, Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures


Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., is a plant fibre of significant economic importance, with seeds providing an additional source of protein in human and animal nutrition. Flavonoids play a vital role in maintaining plant health and function and much research has investigated the role of flavonoids in plant defence and plant vigour and the influence these have on cotton production. As part of ongoing research into host plant/invertebrate pest interactions, we investigated the flavonoid profile of cotton reported in published, peer-reviewed literature. Here we report 52 flavonoids representing seven classes and their reported distribution within the cotton plant. We briefly discuss the historical research of flavonoids in cotton production and propose research areas that warrant further investigation.

Concepts: Scientific method, Nutrition, Academic publishing, Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, Fiber plants, Gossypium, Gossypium barbadense


A need exists for artificial muscles that are silent, soft, and compliant, with performance characteristics similar to those of skeletal muscle, enabling natural interaction of assistive devices with humans. By combining one of humankind’s oldest technologies, textile processing, with electroactive polymers, we demonstrate here the feasibility of wearable, soft artificial muscles made by weaving and knitting, with tunable force and strain. These textile actuators were produced from cellulose yarns assembled into fabrics and coated with conducting polymers using a metal-free deposition. To increase the output force, we assembled yarns in parallel by weaving. The force scaled linearly with the number of yarns in the woven fabric. To amplify the strain, we knitted a stretchable fabric, exhibiting a 53-fold increase in strain. In addition, the textile construction added mechanical stability to the actuators. Textile processing permits scalable and rational production of wearable artificial muscles, and enables novel ways to design assistive devices.

Concepts: Cotton, Textile, Yarn, Knitting, Felt, Weaving, Electroactive polymers, Linen


Cotton is a promising basis for wearable smart textiles. Current approaches that rely on fiber coatings suffer from function loss during wear. We present an approach that allows biological incorporation of exogenous molecules into cotton fibers to tailor the material’s functionality. In vitro model cultures of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) are incubated with 6-carboxyfluorescein-glucose and dysprosium-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid-glucose, where the glucose moiety acts as a carrier capable of traveling from the vascular connection to the outermost cell layer of the ovule epidermis, becoming incorporated into the cellulose fibers. This yields fibers with unnatural properties such as fluorescence or magnetism. Combining biological systems with the appropriate molecular design offers numerous possibilities to grow functional composite materials and implements a material-farming concept.

Concepts: Electron, Cotton, Cellulose, Dietary fiber, Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium, Clothing, Cellulose fiber


Polyploidy often confers emergent properties, such as the higher fibre productivity and quality of tetraploid cottons than diploid cottons bred for the same environments. Here we show that an abrupt five- to sixfold ploidy increase approximately 60 million years (Myr) ago, and allopolyploidy reuniting divergent Gossypium genomes approximately 1-2 Myr ago, conferred about 30-36-fold duplication of ancestral angiosperm (flowering plant) genes in elite cottons (Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense), genetic complexity equalled only by Brassica among sequenced angiosperms. Nascent fibre evolution, before allopolyploidy, is elucidated by comparison of spinnable-fibred Gossypium herbaceum A and non-spinnable Gossypium longicalyx F genomes to one another and the outgroup D genome of non-spinnable Gossypium raimondii. The sequence of a G. hirsutum A(t)D(t) (in which ’t' indicates tetraploid) cultivar reveals many non-reciprocal DNA exchanges between subgenomes that may have contributed to phenotypic innovation and/or other emergent properties such as ecological adaptation by polyploids. Most DNA-level novelty in G. hirsutum recombines alleles from the D-genome progenitor native to its New World habitat and the Old World A-genome progenitor in which spinnable fibre evolved. Coordinated expression changes in proximal groups of functionally distinct genes, including a nuclear mitochondrial DNA block, may account for clusters of cotton-fibre quantitative trait loci affecting diverse traits. Opportunities abound for dissecting emergent properties of other polyploids, particularly angiosperms, by comparison to diploid progenitors and outgroups.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Genome, Cotton, Polyploidy, Gossypium


Extensive cultivation of crops genetically engineered to produce insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has suppressed some major pests, reduced insecticide sprays, enhanced pest control by natural enemies, and increased grower profits. However, these benefits are being eroded by evolution of resistance in pests. We report a strategy for combating resistance by crossing transgenic Bt plants with conventional non-Bt plants and then crossing the resulting first-generation (F1) hybrid progeny and sowing the second-generation (F2) seeds. This strategy yields a random mixture within fields of three-quarters of plants that produce Bt toxin and one-quarter that does not. We hypothesized that the non-Bt plants in this mixture promote survival of susceptible insects, thereby delaying evolution of resistance. To test this hypothesis, we compared predictions from computer modeling with data monitoring pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella) resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac produced by transgenic cotton in an 11-y study at 17 field sites in six provinces of China. The frequency of resistant individuals in the field increased before this strategy was widely deployed and then declined after its widespread adoption boosted the percentage of non-Bt cotton plants in the region. The correspondence between the predicted and observed outcomes implies that this strategy countered evolution of resistance. Despite the increased percentage of non-Bt cotton, suppression of pink bollworm was sustained. Unlike other resistance management tactics that require regulatory intervention, growers adopted this strategy voluntarily, apparently because of advantages that may include better performance as well as lower costs for seeds and insecticides.

Concepts: Scientific method, Cotton, Bacillus, Bacillus thuringiensis, Insecticide, Biological pest control, Genetically modified food, Pink bollworm


Transparent and flexible electrodes are widely used on a variety of substrates such as plastics and glass. Yet, to date, transparent electrodes on a textile substrate have not been explored. The exceptional electrical, mechanical and optical properties of monolayer graphene make it highly attractive as a transparent electrode for applications in wearable electronics. Here, we report the transfer of monolayer graphene, grown by chemical vapor deposition on copper foil, to fibers commonly used by the textile industry. The graphene-coated fibers have a sheet resistance as low as ~1 kΩ per square, an equivalent value to the one obtained by the same transfer process onto a Si substrate, with a reduction of only 2.3 per cent in optical transparency while keeping high stability under mechanical stress. With this approach, we successfully achieved the first example of a textile electrode, flexible and truly embedded in a yarn.

Concepts: Electricity, Optical fiber, Cotton, Chemical vapor deposition, Stress, Textile, Yarn, Transparency and translucency


Flame-retardant and self-healing superhydrophobic coatings are fabricated on cotton fabrics by a convenient solution dipping method, which involves the sequential deposition of a trilayer of branched poly(ethylenimine) (bPEI), ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and fluorinated-decyl polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane (F-POSS). When directly exposed to flame, such a trilayer coating generates a porous char layer because of its intumescent effect, successfully endowing the coated fabric with self-extinguishing property. Meanwhile, the preserved F-POSS in cotton fabrics and APP/bPEI coating produce a superhydrohobic surface with self-healing function. The coating can repetitively and autonomically restore superhydrophobicity once the superhydrophobicity is damaged. The resultant cotton fabrics, which are flame resistant, waterproof and self-cleaning, can be readily cleaned with simple water rinsing. Thus, the integration of self-healing superhydrophobicity with flame-retardancy provides a practical way to solve the problem regarding the washing durability of the flame-retardant coatings. The flame-retardant and superhydrophobic fabrics can endure more than 1000 cycles of abrasion under a pressure of 44.8 kPa without losing its flame-retardancy and self-healing superhydrophobicity, showing potential applications as multifunctional advanced textiles.

Concepts: Cotton, Geology, Coating, Textile, Yarn, Coatings, Brominated flame retardant, Tent


There exists a misunderstanding on the TAED-activated peroxide system in the textile industry that H(2)O(2) used in excess of the stoichiometric amount could produce an addition effect on bleaching of cotton under alkaline conditions. In this study, a critical reinvestigation was carried out on the TAED-activated peroxide system for bleaching of cotton. It was found that the TAED-activated peroxide system achieved its best performance under near-neutral pH conditions. No addition effect was observed when an excessive amount of H(2)O(2) was used under alkaline conditions, which is probably due to the base-catalyzed bimolecular decomposition of peracetic acid and the nucleophilic attack by H(2)O(2) on peracetic acid. NaHCO(3) was shown to be a desired alkaline agent for maintaining near-neutral pH for the TAED-activated peroxide system. This study provides new insight into the application of the TAED-activated peroxide system for low-temperature bleaching of cotton under more environmentally benign conditions.

Concepts: Oxygen, Ammonia, Hydrogen peroxide, Cotton, PH, Textile, Base, Tetraacetylethylenediamine


In this study, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabric was modified by applying a hydrophilic surface finishing agent that contains nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC). To impart superior hydrophilicity, NCC was further cationically modified through quaternization by grafting glycidyl tri-methyl ammonium chloride (GTMAC). A textile binder, PrintRite595(®), was added to the finishing system. The surface finish was applied on the fabric using a rolling-drying-curing process. The modified fabric was characterized in terms of coating durability, moisture regain, and wettability. The durability of the surface finish was tested by six repeated washing steps. The surface properties of the fabric changed from hydrophobic to hydrophilic after heat treatment with the NCC-containing surface finishing agent. The results from the washing fastness, SEM, FTIR, and EDX analyses confirmed that the cationic NCC-containing textile surface finish showed superior adhesion onto the cationic dyeable (anionic) PET surface over the un-modified NCC. Furthermore, the cationic textile surface finish was capable of withstanding multiple washing cycles.

Concepts: Cotton, Polyester, Textile, Polyethylene terephthalate, Textile manufacturing