Applied DNA Sciences Inc., a provider of DNA-based supply chain, anticounterfeiting, antitheft technology product genotyping and product authentication solutions, is introducing proprietary enhanced DNA authentication technology specifically quantifying cotton species.
This means that consumer cotton brands can now determine the amount of inappropriate blends in their cotton, not just the presence of inferior blends using an enhanced DNA authentication technology for fiberTyping cotton textiles. This technology applies to premium extralong staple cottons that have been “blended” with shorter staple cotton and labeled as 100 percent Pima or 100 percent Egyptian ELS, the Stony Brook, N.Y., company said.
“Consumers unknowingly could buy a mislabeled product,” said Michael E. Hogan, vice president of Life Sciences at ADNAS. “They could be purchasing a sheet that says it is ‘100 percent Egyptian ELS’ that is actually not 100 percent ELS, but instead, made from yarn containing 30 percent ELS and 70 percent upland cotton. Our technology provides a method for clearly distinguishing the type of blending, especially in extralong staple cotton products.”
During the past eight years, ADNAS’ team of international molecular biologists, forensic scientists, quality control and assurance and technical advisers developed the scientific and commercial foundation for validating DNA tests for cotton. This involved a significant investment including intellectual property, research, development, technical validation and forensic expertise.
“Simply put, it’s about honest cotton,” Hogan said. “Consumers want to buy products from retailers and brands they trust. Our brand partners can be confident the products they source from suppliers contain truthful materials. With our quantitative DNA testing, we will help keep cotton growing, moving and connecting with consumers around the globe not only in the U.S., but also in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Peru and Turkey.”
Historically, the goal of select processors of premium cotton fibers such as Egyptian ELS or American Pima was to buy the highest quality cotton at the lowest price, attempting to meet product specifications by blending bales with different fiber qualities and types. Blending of premium extralong staple cotton with shorter staple non-ELS upland cotton occurs when brands search for higher profit margins and there is a lack of available high-quality extralong staple fiber, ADNAS said. This blending of different fiber types results in impure products being labeled and sold as 100 percent ELS cotton, violating U.S. and international laws.
“It has been reported that ELS cotton grown in Egypt is experiencing difficulties due to mixing of pure Egyptian ELS cotton seeds with poorer quality seeds,” Hogan added. “At recent global industry meetings, discussions were held on the standards for Egyptian cotton and the alleged fraudulent practices taking place now. Our fiberTyping testing enables proper diagnosis of these widely blended, counterfeited textiles.”
Government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission established clear guidelines protecting the consumer by ensuring that products are based on accurate information on product origin, construction, quality and care. The disclosure of fiber content is integral to trade in textiles and apparel and it is incumbent upon the manufacturer to know, and to correctly report, fiber content in both documentation and on product labels, the company said.
“This is a critical tipping point,” said MeiLin Wan, vice president of textile sales at ADNAS. “It is important to provide quantitative results for cotton yarns and fabrics, specifically for greige yarn and fabric. Since they are unprocessed, the ability to extract DNA and precisely determine the quantity of ELS DNA, Upland DNA or a blend, is helpful to determine if the product is 100 percent pure.”