Biological and Ecological Engineering | Article | Published 2011
Cotton is the most important natural fiber source for the textile industry world-wide. It is also an alternative of the man-made petroleum-based “synthetic fibers” providing an advantage for a sustainable environment. Cotton is formed by developing seed of several Gossypium species, which are mainly grown as an important cash crop in more than 70 countries including USA, India, China and Uzbekistan (Smith and Coyle, 1997). Although cotton plants are best known as the renewable source of textile materials for clothing, the fiber, seed and plants have many other uses, including home insulation to save energy, protein-rich seedderived feed for animals, cottonseed oil as a foodstuff for humans, and as a source of mulch and biomass (Cotton Incorporated, 2010, http://cottontoday. cottoninc. com/sustainabilityabout/responsible-economic-development, verified on October 14, 2011). This brings significant humanitarian and economic benefits. For example, scientists are exploring genetic means to better harness its highly nutritious seed for food and feed (Sunilkumar et al., 2006).