(ORDO NEWS) — A group of American researchers crossed several varieties of cotton to end up with a plant suitable for making non-combustible fabrics.
In recent years, clothing made from cotton – a natural fabric, warm, light and hygroscopic – has become increasingly popular, which encourages breeders to pay attention to the development of new varieties of cotton with modified fiber properties.
In particular, one of the main problems with natural cotton is that it catches fire easily and quickly. This forces clothing manufacturers to add flame retardants, chemicals that prevent fire, to cotton fabric.
Unfortunately, the flame retardant treatment of the fabric is destroyed after a certain number of washes, and the flame retardants themselves have a negative impact on the environment.
To ensure that the finished fabric is flame retardant without compromising its quality, researchers at the USDA decided to look at some varieties of brown cotton, the fibers of which burn relatively poorly.
To select the best candidates for further selection, they tested 11 varieties of cotton by burning fabric samples from their fibers and evaluating their resistance to fire.
Then, selecting the five most resistant varieties, the researchers crossed them together, achieving fabrics that burned significantly worse than the parent varieties, and in some cases the fire even died out on its own.
To understand the reason for such fire resistance, the authors of the work studied the genome of the “fire resistant” cotton and found that the new variety combined minor genetic changes accumulated by its predecessors and provided them with moderate fire resistance.
Also, tests of the obtained fabric showed that it is not inferior to the usual one in terms of properties.
In the future, the researchers plan to study in detail the genetic basis of the refractoriness of cotton, which will allow in the future to give the same properties to other varieties by genetic engineering.
Also, the resulting fabric will undergo additional tests, which will allow us to evaluate its quality after numerous washes and prolonged wear.
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