Applied DNA Sciences claims to have closed the loop on traceability for Egyptian Pima using DNA-based genotyping assays for cotton authentication from ginned fibre to finished textile product.

These assays – an investigative (analytic) procedure – have been used to verify fibre and will be extended to yarn, fabric and finished goods in an ongoing validation programme.

The Egyptian Pima developments join and expand a series of US Pima cotton assays performed within Applied DNA testing services, and are based on work conducted over the past three years related to the validation of a known library of cotton cultivar standards.

"This solution closes the loop for the cotton industry that has been under a cloud of controversy surrounding evidence of cotton products labelled as Egyptian cotton versus those which are actually grown in Egypt," says Dr Michael Hogan, vice president, Life Sciences, Applied DNA.

"There is no substitute for DNA analysis when it comes to cotton traceability and transparency because of its ability to do what other technologies cannot do, which is to forensically authenticate the fibre through to yarn and finished goods."

When paired with SigNatureT DNA tagging, testing and tracking of cotton at the gin, it is expected that these new cotton assays, along with other methods of fibre quantitation in the development pipeline at Applied DNA, can verify the type of cotton, the cotton's origin, and the blending of the cotton fibre (both valid and surreptitious) during the journey from the ginned fibre to a finished textile product.

In August 2016, the controversy of home bedding and other products labelled 100% Egyptian Cotton hit an all-time high when a number of US retailers recalled many products from retail shelves due to label claim violations, and consumers were informed that products did not meet the standard or label requirement.

Three years later, Applied DNA will begin to validate and market test products that are labelled to contain 100% Egyptian Pima in addition to these services for US Pima.

"Our cotton authentication platform of SigNature T and genotyping can provide a means for quality control and compliance in supply chains," adds Dr James Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA.

"Many products use cotton grown in the US and Egypt, and we believe that our system can provide a useful tool to enable brands and manufacturers to verify their products at any stage of the supply chain, that is more exact than other methods claiming to do the same without the same degree of precision."