Cargill Dow and Woolmark have formed a partnership that will explore the benefits of combining two natural-based fibres - Merino Wool and NatureWorks fibres. US-based Cargill Dow was responsible for the conception and launch of NatureWorks, which it claims is the first material to allow production of fibres that successfully bridge the gap between natural fibres and synthetics. The resins, made from annually renewable resources, such as corn, can be used in a range of fibre, textile and non-woven fabric applications.Robert Finch, group manager, technical marketing at Woolmark said: "We are very excited about this relationship. Breakthrough technology in wool development is an area that we are constantly striving to maintain - NatureWorks offers us a new area to explore and exploit to the overall benefit of the textile industry".Early development trial results have shown that there may be a number of processing efficiency benefits emerging from the natural blend combination. Indications suggest that new levels of performance may be possible in the areas of handle and crease resistance for smart casual products and moisture management advantages for outdoor wear.