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Applied DNA Testing Can Now Determine Levels of Falsified Fiber Content

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.


Taking its DNA authentication a step further, Applied DNA Sciences can now tell how much of an inappropriate blend is in your cotton and not just that the inferior blend exists.

The enhanced DNA authentication technology for fiberTyping cotton textiles could put a stop to premium extra long staple (ELS) cottons being blended with shorter staple cotton but labeled as 100 percent Pima or 100 percent Egyptian ELS.

“Consumers unknowingly could buy a mislabeled product,” said Dr. Michael E. Hogan, Ph.D. and vice president of Life Sciences at ADNAS. “They could be purchasing a sheet that says it is ‘100 percent Egyptian ELS’ that is actually not 100 percent ELS, but, instead, made from yarn containing 30 percent ELS and 70 percent Upland cotton. Our technology provides a method for clearly distinguishing the type of blending, especially in extra long staple cotton products.”

With its technology, ADNAS can extract DNA from the fiber to determine the exact quantity of ELS DNA, Upland DNA or a blend, to verify the product’s purity.

Some cotton processors have sought to buy the highest quality cotton, like Egyptian ELS or American Pima, at the lowest price, and as such, have tried to meet product specs by blending bales of premium ELS with shorter staple non-ELS upland cotton to realize higher profit margins, ADNAS said. The result is impure products that are mislabeled and sold under false pretenses, which violates U.S. and international laws.

“It has been reported that ELS cotton grown in Egypt is experiencing difficulties due to mixing of pure Egyptian ELS cotton seeds with poorer quality seeds,” Hogan noted. “At recent global industry meetings, discussions were held on the standards for Egyptian cotton and the alleged fraudulent practices taking place now.”

ADNAS and its team of international molecular biologists, forensic scientists and quality control advisors has spent the last eight years researching and developing a process for validating cotton, and called this latest development “a significant milestone.”

“Simply put, it’s about honest cotton,” Hogan said. “Consumers want to buy products from retailers and brands they trust. Our brand partners can be confident the products they source from suppliers contain truthful materials. With our quantitative DNA testing, we will help keep cotton growing, moving and connecting with consumers around the globe not only in the U.S., but also in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Peru and Turkey.”

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