Increasing numbers of consumers prefer sustainable textiles, and demand for products made from organic cotton in particular is rising sharply. Unfortunately, however, even some products labeled organic cotton nevertheless contain genetic modifications.
Textile testing specialists at the Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim/Germany, have developed an assessment method specifically for cotton. This new DNA analysis method makes it possible to ascertain the amount of genetically modified cotton contained in products and increase traceability.
For qualitative screening, the institute developed molecular biological detection systems some time ago in order to be able to make clear yes/no statements about genetically modified cotton - from raw cotton to chemically untreated yarns and fabrics.
Once qualitative proof of genetic modification is obtained, Hohenstein experts begin quantifying the type and extent of the genetic modifications. To do this, they use DNA analysis to search for different cotton lines known to contain genetic alterations and quantify the proportion. Only by pinpointing individual genetic modifications and quantifying the extent of modification is it possible to provide precise information on whether there is an extremely small proportion of contamination, or whether larger proportions of GMOs have been mixed in. This offers clear benefits to manufacturers, brand owners and retailers when it comes to supply chain transparency.