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For other uses, see Cotton (disambiguation). Cotton_sentence_0

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a , or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. Cotton_sentence_1

The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Cotton_sentence_2

Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds. Cotton_sentence_3

The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India. Cotton_sentence_4

The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Cotton_sentence_5

Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds. Cotton_sentence_6

The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. Cotton_sentence_7

The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated to the fifth millennium BC have been found in the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as fabric remnants dated back to 6000 BC in Peru. Cotton_sentence_8

Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the cotton gin that lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and it is the most widely used natural fiber cloth in clothing today. Cotton_sentence_9

Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes or 110 million bales annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. Cotton_sentence_10

India is the world's largest producer of cotton. Cotton_sentence_11

The United States has been the largest exporter for many years. Cotton_sentence_12

In the United States, cotton is usually measured in bales, which measure approximately 0.48 cubic meters (17 cubic feet) and weigh 226.8 kilograms (500 pounds). Cotton_sentence_13

Types Cotton_section_0

There are four commercially grown species of cotton, all domesticated in antiquity: Cotton_sentence_14


  • Gossypium hirsutum – upland cotton, native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Florida (90% of world production)Cotton_item_0_0
  • Gossypium barbadense – known as extra-long staple cotton, native to tropical South America (8% of world production)Cotton_item_0_1
  • Gossypium arboreum – tree cotton, native to India and Pakistan (less than 2%)Cotton_item_0_2
  • Gossypium herbaceum – Levant cotton, native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (less than 2%)Cotton_item_0_3

Hybrid varieties are also cultivated.The two New World cotton species account for the vast majority of modern cotton production, but the two Old World species were widely used before the 1900s. Cotton_sentence_15

While cotton fibers occur naturally in colors of white, brown, pink and green, fears of contaminating the genetics of white cotton have led many cotton-growing locations to ban the growing of colored cotton varieties. Cotton_sentence_16

Etymology Cotton_section_1

The word "cotton" has Arabic origins, derived from the Arabic word قطن (qutn or qutun). Cotton_sentence_17

This was the usual word for cotton in medieval Arabic. Cotton_sentence_18

The word entered the Romance languages in the mid-12th century, and English a century later. Cotton_sentence_19

Cotton fabric was known to the ancient Romans as an import but cotton was rare in the Romance-speaking lands until imports from the Arabic-speaking lands in the later medieval era at transformatively lower prices. Cotton_sentence_20

History Cotton_section_2

Main article: History of cotton Cotton_sentence_21

Early history Cotton_section_3

South Asia Cotton_section_4

Further information: Tree cotton Cotton_sentence_22

The earliest evidence of the use of cotton in the Old World, dated to 5500 BC and preserved in copper beads, has been found at the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh, at the foot of the Bolan Pass in Balochistan, Pakistan. Cotton_sentence_23

Americas Cotton_section_5

Cotton bolls discovered in a cave near Tehuacán, Mexico, have been dated to as early as 5500 BC, but this date has been challenged. Cotton_sentence_24

More securely dated is the domestication of Gossypium hirsutum in Mexico between around 3400 and 2300 BC. Cotton_sentence_25

In Peru, cultivation of the indigenous cotton species Gossypium barbadense has been dated, from a find in Ancon, to c. 4200 BC, and was the backbone of the development of coastal cultures such as the Norte Chico, Moche cultureMoche, and Nazca. Cotton_sentence_26

Cotton was grown upriver, made into nets, and traded with fishing villages along the coast for large supplies of fish. Cotton_sentence_27

The Spanish who came to Mexico and Peru in the early 16th century found the people growing cotton and wearing clothing made of it. Cotton_sentence_28

Arabia Cotton_section_6

The Greeks and the Arabs were not familiar with cotton until the Wars of Alexander the Great, as his contemporary Megasthenes told Seleucus I Nicator of "there being trees on which wool grows" in "Indica". Cotton_sentence_29

This may be a reference to "tree cotton", Gossypium arboreum, which is a native of the Indian subcontinent. Cotton_sentence_30

According to the Columbia Encyclopedia: Cotton_sentence_31

Iran Cotton_section_7

In Iran (Persia), the history of cotton dates back to the Achaemenid era (5th century BC); however, there are few sources about the planting of cotton in pre-Islamic Iran. Cotton_sentence_32

The planting of cotton was common in Merv, Ray and Pars of Iran. Cotton_sentence_33

In Persian poets' poems, especially Ferdowsi's Shahname, there are references to cotton ("panbe" in Persian). Cotton_sentence_34

Marco Polo (13th century) refers to the major products of Persia, including cotton. Cotton_sentence_35

John Chardin, a French traveler of the 17th century who visited Safavid Persia, spoke approvingly of the vast cotton farms of Persia. Cotton_sentence_36

Kingdom of Kush Cotton_section_8

Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum Linnaeus) may have been domesticated 5000 BCE in eastern Sudan near the Middle Nile Basin region, where cotton cloth was being produced. Cotton_sentence_37

Around the 4th century BC, the cultivation of cotton and the knowledge of its spinning and weaving in Meroë reached a high level. Cotton_sentence_38

The export of textiles was one of the sources of wealth for Meroë. Cotton_sentence_39

Aksumite King Ezana boasted in his inscription that he destroyed large cotton plantations in Meroë during his conquest of the region. Cotton_sentence_40

China Cotton_section_9

During the Han dynasty (207 BC - 220 AD), cotton was grown by Chinese peoples in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. Cotton_sentence_41

Middle Ages Cotton_section_10

Eastern world Cotton_section_11

Egyptians grew and spun cotton in the first seven centuries of the Christian era. Cotton_sentence_42

Handheld roller cotton gins had been used in India since the 6th century, and was then introduced to other countries from there. Cotton_sentence_43

Between the 12th and 14th centuries, dual-roller gins appeared in India and China. Cotton_sentence_44

The Indian version of the dual-roller gin was prevalent throughout the Mediterranean cotton trade by the 16th century. Cotton_sentence_45

This mechanical device was, in some areas, driven by water power. Cotton_sentence_46

The earliest clear illustrations of the spinning wheel come from the Islamic world in the eleventh century. Cotton_sentence_47

The earliest unambiguous reference to a spinning wheel in India is dated to 1350, suggesting that the spinning wheel was likely introduced from Iran to India during the Delhi Sultanate. Cotton_sentence_48

Europe Cotton_section_12

During the late medieval period, cotton became known as an imported fiber in northern Europe, without any knowledge of how it was derived, other than that it was a plant. Cotton_sentence_49

Because Herodotus had written in his Histories, Book III, 106, that in India trees grew in the wild producing wool, it was assumed that the plant was a tree, rather than a shrub. Cotton_sentence_50

This aspect is retained in the name for cotton in several Germanic languages, such as German , which translates as "tree wool" (Baum means "tree"; Wolle means "wool"). Cotton_sentence_51

Noting its similarities to wool, people in the region could only imagine that cotton must be produced by plant-borne sheep. Cotton_sentence_52

John Mandeville, writing in 1350, stated as fact that "There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. Cotton_sentence_53

These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungry." Cotton_sentence_54

(See Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.) Cotton_sentence_55

Cotton manufacture was introduced to Europe during the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. Cotton_sentence_56

The knowledge of cotton weaving was spread to northern Italy in the 12th century, when Sicily was conquered by the Normans, and consequently to the rest of Europe. Cotton_sentence_57

The spinning wheel, introduced to Europe circa 1350, improved the speed of cotton spinning. Cotton_sentence_58

By the 15th century, Venice, Antwerp, and Haarlem were important ports for cotton trade, and the sale and transportation of cotton fabrics had become very profitable. Cotton_sentence_59

Early modern period Cotton_section_13

Mughal India Cotton_section_14

Main articles: Mughal Empire and Muslin trade in Bengal Cotton_sentence_60

Further information: Economic history of India Cotton_sentence_61

Under the Mughal Empire, which ruled in the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th century to the early 18th century, Indian cotton production increased, in terms of both raw cotton and cotton textiles. Cotton_sentence_62

The Mughals introduced agrarian reforms such as a new revenue system that was biased in favour of higher value cash crops such as cotton and indigo, providing state incentives to grow cash crops, in addition to rising market demand. Cotton_sentence_63

The largest manufacturing industry in the Mughal Empire was cotton textile manufacturing, which included the production of , calicos, and muslins, available unbleached and in a variety of colours. Cotton_sentence_64

The cotton textile industry was responsible for a large part of the empire's international trade. Cotton_sentence_65

India had a 25% share of the global textile trade in the early 18th century. Cotton_sentence_66

Indian cotton textiles were the most important manufactured goods in world trade in the 18th century, consumed across the world from the Americas to Japan. Cotton_sentence_67

The most important center of cotton production was the Bengal Subah province, particularly around its capital city of Dhaka. Cotton_sentence_68

The worm gear roller cotton gin, which was invented in India during the early Delhi Sultanate era of the 13th–14th centuries, came into use in the Mughal Empire some time around the 16th century, and is still used in India through to the present day. Cotton_sentence_69

Another innovation, the incorporation of the crank handle in the cotton gin, first appeared in India some time during the late Delhi Sultanate or the early Mughal Empire. Cotton_sentence_70

The production of cotton, which may have largely been spun in the villages and then taken to towns in the form of yarn to be woven into cloth textiles, was advanced by the diffusion of the spinning wheel across India shortly before the Mughal era, lowering the costs of yarn and helping to increase demand for cotton. Cotton_sentence_71

The diffusion of the spinning wheel, and the incorporation of the worm gear and crank handle into the roller cotton gin, led to greatly expanded Indian cotton textile production during the Mughal era. Cotton_sentence_72

It was reported that, with an Indian cotton gin, which is half machine and half tool, one man and one woman could clean 28 pounds of cotton per day. Cotton_sentence_73

With a modified Forbes version, one man and a boy could produce 250 pounds per day. Cotton_sentence_74

If oxen were used to power 16 of these machines, and a few people's labour was used to feed them, they could produce as much work as 750 people did formerly. Cotton_sentence_75

Egypt Cotton_section_15

Main article: History of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty Cotton_sentence_76

In the early 19th century, a Frenchman named M. Jumel proposed to the great ruler of Egypt, Mohamed Ali Pasha, that he could earn a substantial income by growing an extra-long staple Maho (Gossypium barbadense) cotton, in Lower Egypt, for the French market. Cotton_sentence_77

Mohamed Ali Pasha accepted the proposition and granted himself the monopoly on the sale and export of cotton in Egypt; and later dictated cotton should be grown in preference to other crops. Cotton_sentence_78

Egypt under Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century had the fifth most productive cotton industry in the world, in terms of the number of spindles per capita. Cotton_sentence_79

The industry was initially driven by machinery that relied on traditional energy sources, such as animal power, water wheels, and windmills, which were also the principal energy sources in Western Europe up until around 1870. Cotton_sentence_80

It was under Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century that steam engines were introduced to the Egyptian cotton industry. Cotton_sentence_81

By the time of the American Civil war annual exports had reached $16 million (120,000 bales), which rose to $56 million by 1864, primarily due to the loss of the Confederate supply on the world market. Cotton_sentence_82

Exports continued to grow even after the reintroduction of US cotton, produced now by a paid workforce, and Egyptian exports reached 1.2 million bales a year by 1903. Cotton_sentence_83

Britain Cotton_section_16

East India Company Cotton_section_17

Main articles: Calico Acts and Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution Cotton_sentence_84

The English East India Company (EIC) introduced the Britain to cheap calico and chintz cloth on the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660s. Cotton_sentence_85

Initially imported as a novelty side line, from its spice trading posts in Asia, the cheap colourful cloth proved popular and overtook the EIC's spice trade by value in the late 17th century. Cotton_sentence_86

The EIC embraced the demand, particularly for calico, by expanding its factories in Asia and producing and importing cloth in bulk, creating competition for domestic woollen and linen textile producers. Cotton_sentence_87

The impacted weavers, spinners, dyers, shepherds and farmers objected and the calico question became one of the major issues of National politics between the 1680s and the 1730s. Cotton_sentence_88

Parliament began to see a decline in domestic textile sales, and an increase in imported textiles from places like China and India. Cotton_sentence_89

Seeing the East India Company and their textile importation as a threat to domestic textile businesses, Parliament passed the 1700 Calico Act, blocking the importation of cotton cloth. Cotton_sentence_90

As there was no punishment for continuing to sell cotton cloth, smuggling of the popular material became commonplace. Cotton_sentence_91

In 1721, dissatisfied with the results of the first act, Parliament passed a stricter addition, this time prohibiting the sale of most cottons, imported and domestic (exempting only thread Fustian and raw cotton). Cotton_sentence_92

The exemption of raw cotton from the prohibition initially saw 2 thousand bales of cotton imported annually, to become the basis of a new indigenous industry, initially producing Fustian for the domestic market, though more importantly triggering the development of a series of mechanised spinning and weaving technologies, to process the material. Cotton_sentence_93

This mechanised production was concentrated in new cotton mills, which slowly expanded till by the beginning of the 1770s seven thousand bales of cotton were imported annually, and pressure was put on Parliament, by the new mill owners, to remove the prohibition on the production and sale of pure cotton cloth, as they could easily compete with anything the EIC could import. Cotton_sentence_94

The acts were repealed in 1774, triggering a wave of investment in mill based cotton spinning and production, doubling the demand for raw cotton within a couple of years, and doubling it again every decade, into the 1840s Cotton_sentence_95

Indian cotton textiles, particularly those from Bengal, continued to maintain a competitive advantage up until the 19th century. Cotton_sentence_96

In order to compete with India, Britain invested in labour-saving technical progress, while implementing protectionist policies such as bans and tariffs to restrict Indian imports. Cotton_sentence_97

At the same time, the East India Company's rule in India contributed to its deindustrialization, opening up a new market for British goods, while the capital amassed from Bengal after its 1757 conquest was used to invest in British industries such as textile manufacturing and greatly increase British wealth. Cotton_sentence_98

British colonization also forced open the large Indian market to British goods, which could be sold in India without tariffs or duties, compared to local Indian producers who were heavily taxed, while raw cotton was imported from India without tariffs to British factories which manufactured textiles from Indian cotton, giving Britain a monopoly over India's large market and cotton resources. Cotton_sentence_99

India served as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods. Cotton_sentence_100

Britain eventually surpassed India as the world's leading cotton textile manufacturer in the 19th century. Cotton_sentence_101

India's cotton-processing sector changed during EIC expansion in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Cotton_sentence_102

From focusing on supplying the British market to supplying East Asia with raw cotton. Cotton_sentence_103

As the Artisan produced textiles were no longer competitive with those produced Industrially, and Europe preferring the cheaper slave produced, long staple American, and Egyptian cottons, for its own materials. Cotton_sentence_104

Industrial Revolution Cotton_section_18

Main article: Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution Cotton_sentence_105

The advent of the Industrial Revolution in Britain provided a great boost to cotton manufacture, as textiles emerged as Britain's leading export. Cotton_sentence_106

In 1738, Lewis Paul and John Wyatt, of Birmingham, England, patented the roller spinning machine, as well as the flyer-and-bobbin system for drawing cotton to a more even thickness using two sets of rollers that traveled at different speeds. Cotton_sentence_107

Later, the invention of the James Hargreaves' spinning jenny in 1764, Richard Arkwright's spinning frame in 1769 and Samuel Crompton's spinning mule in 1775 enabled British spinners to produce cotton yarn at much higher rates. Cotton_sentence_108

From the late 18th century on, the British city of Manchester acquired the nickname "Cottonopolis" due to the cotton industry's omnipresence within the city, and Manchester's role as the heart of the global cotton trade. Cotton_sentence_109

Production capacity in Britain and the United States was improved by the invention of the modern cotton gin by the American Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton_sentence_110

Before the development of cotton gins, the cotton fibers had to be pulled from the seeds tediously by hand. Cotton_sentence_111

By the late 1700s, a number of crude ginning machines had been developed. Cotton_sentence_112

However, to produce a bale of cotton required over 600 hours of human labor, making large-scale production uneconomical in the United States, even with the use of humans as slave labor. Cotton_sentence_113

The gin that Whitney manufactured (the Holmes design) reduced the hours down to just a dozen or so per bale. Cotton_sentence_114

Although Whitney patented his own design for a cotton gin, he manufactured a prior design from Henry Odgen Holmes, for which Holmes filed a patent in 1796. Cotton_sentence_115

Improving technology and increasing control of world markets allowed British traders to develop a commercial chain in which raw cotton fibers were (at first) purchased from colonial plantations, processed into cotton cloth in the mills of Lancashire, and then exported on British ships to captive colonial markets in West Africa, India, and China (via Shanghai and Hong Kong). Cotton_sentence_116

By the 1840s, India was no longer capable of supplying the vast quantities of cotton fibers needed by mechanized British factories, while shipping bulky, low-price cotton from India to Britain was time-consuming and expensive. Cotton_sentence_117

This, coupled with the emergence of American cotton as a superior type (due to the longer, stronger fibers of the two domesticated native American species, Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense), encouraged British traders to purchase cotton from plantations in the United States and in the Caribbean. Cotton_sentence_118

By the mid-19th century, "King Cotton" had become the backbone of the southern American economy. Cotton_sentence_119

In the United States, cultivating and harvesting cotton became the leading occupation of slaves. Cotton_sentence_120

During the American Civil War, American cotton exports slumped due to a Union blockade on Southern ports, and also because of a strategic decision by the Confederate government to cut exports, hoping to force Britain to recognize the Confederacy or enter the war. Cotton_sentence_121

The Lancashire Cotton Famine prompted the main purchasers of cotton, Britain and France, to turn to Egyptian cotton. Cotton_sentence_122

British and French traders invested heavily in cotton plantations. Cotton_sentence_123

The Egyptian government of Viceroy Isma'il took out substantial loans from European bankers and stock exchanges. Cotton_sentence_124

After the American Civil War ended in 1865, British and French traders abandoned Egyptian cotton and returned to cheap American exports, sending Egypt into a deficit spiral that led to the country declaring bankruptcy in 1876, a key factor behind Egypt's occupation by the British Empire in 1882. Cotton_sentence_125

During this time, cotton cultivation in the British Empire, especially Australia and India, greatly increased to replace the lost production of the American South. Cotton_sentence_126

Through tariffs and other restrictions, the British government discouraged the production of cotton cloth in India; rather, the raw fiber was sent to England for processing. Cotton_sentence_127

The Indian Mahatma Gandhi described the process: Cotton_sentence_128


  1. English people buy Indian cotton in the field, picked by Indian labor at seven cents a day, through an optional monopoly.Cotton_item_1_4
  2. This cotton is shipped on British ships, a three-week journey across the Indian Ocean, down the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean, through Gibraltar, across the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean to London. One hundred per cent profit on this freight is regarded as small.Cotton_item_1_5
  3. The cotton is turned into cloth in Lancashire. You pay shilling wages instead of Indian pennies to your workers. The English worker not only has the advantage of better wages, but the steel companies of England get the profit of building the factories and machines. Wages; profits; all these are spent in England.Cotton_item_1_6
  4. The finished product is sent back to India at European shipping rates, once again on British ships. The captains, officers, sailors of these ships, whose wages must be paid, are English. The only Indians who profit are a few lascars who do the dirty work on the boats for a few cents a day.Cotton_item_1_7
  5. The cloth is finally sold back to the kings and landlords of India who got the money to buy this expensive cloth out of the poor peasants of India who worked at seven cents a day.Cotton_item_1_8

United States Cotton_section_19

Main articles: Cotton production in the United States and Black Belt in the American South Cotton_sentence_129

In the United States, growing Southern cotton generated significant wealth and capital for the antebellum South, as well as raw material for Northern textile industries. Cotton_sentence_130

Before 1865 the cotton was largely produced through the labor of enslaved African Americans. Cotton_sentence_131

It enriched both the Southern landowners and the new textile industries of the Northeastern United States and northwestern Europe. Cotton_sentence_132

In 1860 the slogan "Cotton is king" characterized the attitude of Southern leaders toward this monocrop in that Europe would support an independent Confederate States of America in 1861 in order to protect the supply of cotton it needed for its very large textile industry. Cotton_sentence_133

Cotton remained a key crop in the Southern economy after slavery ended in 1865. Cotton_sentence_134

Across the South, sharecropping evolved, in which landless farmers worked land owned by others in return for a share of the profits. Cotton_sentence_135

Some farmers rented the land and bore the production costs themselves. Cotton_sentence_136

Until mechanical cotton pickers were developed, cotton farmers needed additional labor to hand-pick cotton. Cotton_sentence_137

Picking cotton was a source of income for families across the South. Cotton_sentence_138

Rural and small town school systems had split vacations so children could work in the fields during "cotton-picking." Cotton_sentence_139

During the middle 20th century, employment in cotton farming fell, as machines began to replace laborers and the South's rural labor force dwindled during the World Wars. Cotton_sentence_140

Cotton remains a major export of the United States, with large farms in California, Arizona and the Deep South. Cotton_sentence_141

The Moon Cotton_section_20

China's Chang'e 4 brought cotton seeds to the Moon's far side. Cotton_sentence_142

On 15 January 2019, China announced that a cotton seed sprouted, the first "truly otherworldly plant in history". Cotton_sentence_143

Inside the Von Kármán Crater, the capsule and seeds sit inside the Chang'e 4 lander. Cotton_sentence_144

World Cotton Day Cotton_section_21

World Cotton Day is celebrated on 7 October. Cotton_sentence_145

This day was initiated in 2019. Cotton_sentence_146

Cultivation Cotton_section_22

Successful cultivation of cotton requires a long frost-free period, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall, usually from 60 to 120 cm (24 to 47 in). Cotton_sentence_147

Soils usually need to be fairly heavy, although the level of nutrients does not need to be exceptional. Cotton_sentence_148

In general, these conditions are met within the seasonally dry tropics and subtropics in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, but a large proportion of the cotton grown today is cultivated in areas with less rainfall that obtain the water from irrigation. Cotton_sentence_149

Production of the crop for a given year usually starts soon after harvesting the preceding autumn. Cotton_sentence_150

Cotton is naturally a perennial but is grown as an annual to help control pests. Cotton_sentence_151

Planting time in spring in the Northern hemisphere varies from the beginning of February to the beginning of June. Cotton_sentence_152

The area of the United States known as the South Plains is the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world. Cotton_sentence_153

While dryland (non-irrigated) cotton is successfully grown in this region, consistent yields are only produced with heavy reliance on irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer. Cotton_sentence_154

Since cotton is somewhat salt and drought tolerant, this makes it an attractive crop for arid and semiarid regions. Cotton_sentence_155

As water resources get tighter around the world, economies that rely on it face difficulties and conflict, as well as potential environmental problems. Cotton_sentence_156

For example, improper cropping and irrigation practices have led to desertification in areas of Uzbekistan, where cotton is a major export. Cotton_sentence_157

In the days of the Soviet Union, the Aral Sea was tapped for agricultural irrigation, largely of cotton, and now salination is widespread. Cotton_sentence_158

Cotton can also be cultivated to have colors other than the yellowish off-white typical of modern commercial cotton fibers. Cotton_sentence_159

Naturally colored cotton can come in red, green, and several shades of brown. Cotton_sentence_160

Water footprint Cotton_section_23

The water footprint of cotton fibers is substantially larger than for most other plant fibers. Cotton_sentence_161

Cotton is also known as a thirsty crop; on average, globally, cotton requires 8000-10000 liters of water for one kilogram of cotton, and in dry areas, it may require even more such as in some areas of India, it may need 22500 liters also. Cotton_sentence_162

Genetic modification Cotton_section_24

Main article: Bt cotton Cotton_sentence_163

Genetically modified (GM) cotton was developed to reduce the heavy reliance on pesticides. Cotton_sentence_164

The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) naturally produces a chemical harmful only to a small fraction of insects, most notably the larvae of moths and butterflies, beetles, and flies, and harmless to other forms of life. Cotton_sentence_165

The gene coding for Bt toxin has been inserted into cotton, causing cotton, called Bt cotton, to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues. Cotton_sentence_166

In many regions, the main pests in commercial cotton are lepidopteran larvae, which are killed by the Bt protein in the transgenic cotton they eat. Cotton_sentence_167

This eliminates the need to use large amounts of broad-spectrum insecticides to kill lepidopteran pests (some of which have developed pyrethroid resistance). Cotton_sentence_168

This spares natural insect predators in the farm ecology and further contributes to noninsecticide pest management. Cotton_sentence_169

But Bt cotton is ineffective against many cotton pests, however, such as plant bugs, stink bugs, and aphids; depending on circumstances it may still be desirable to use insecticides against these. Cotton_sentence_170

A 2006 study done by Cornell researchers, the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy and the Chinese Academy of Science on Bt cotton farming in China found that after seven years these secondary pests that were normally controlled by pesticide had increased, necessitating the use of pesticides at similar levels to non-Bt cotton and causing less profit for farmers because of the extra expense of GM seeds. Cotton_sentence_171

However, a 2009 study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Stanford University and Rutgers University refuted this. Cotton_sentence_172

They concluded that the GM cotton effectively controlled bollworm. Cotton_sentence_173

The secondary pests were mostly miridae (plant bugs) whose increase was related to local temperature and rainfall and only continued to increase in half the villages studied. Cotton_sentence_174

Moreover, the increase in insecticide use for the control of these secondary insects was far smaller than the reduction in total insecticide use due to Bt cotton adoption. Cotton_sentence_175

A 2012 Chinese study concluded that Bt cotton halved the use of pesticides and doubled the level of ladybirds, lacewings and spiders. Cotton_sentence_176

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) said that, worldwide, GM cotton was planted on an area of 25 million hectares in 2011. Cotton_sentence_177

This was 69% of the worldwide total area planted in cotton. Cotton_sentence_178

GM cotton acreage in India grew at a rapid rate, increasing from 50,000 hectares in 2002 to 10.6 million hectares in 2011. Cotton_sentence_179

The total cotton area in India was 12.1 million hectares in 2011, so GM cotton was grown on 88% of the cotton area. Cotton_sentence_180

This made India the country with the largest area of GM cotton in the world. Cotton_sentence_181

A long-term study on the economic impacts of Bt cotton in India, published in the Journal PNAS in 2012, showed that Bt cotton has increased yields, profits, and living standards of smallholder farmers. Cotton_sentence_182

The U.S. GM cotton crop was 4.0 million hectares in 2011 the second largest area in the world, the Chinese GM cotton crop was third largest by area with 3.9 million hectares and Pakistan had the fourth largest GM cotton crop area of 2.6 million hectares in 2011. Cotton_sentence_183

The initial introduction of GM cotton proved to be a success in Australia – the yields were equivalent to the non-transgenic varieties and the crop used much less pesticide to produce (85% reduction). Cotton_sentence_184

The subsequent introduction of a second variety of GM cotton led to increases in GM cotton production until 95% of the Australian cotton crop was GM in 2009 making Australia the country with the fifth largest GM cotton crop in the world. Cotton_sentence_185

Other GM cotton growing countries in 2011 were Argentina, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Costa Rica. Cotton_sentence_186

Cotton has been genetically modified for resistance to glyphosate a broad-spectrum herbicide discovered by Monsanto which also sells some of the Bt cotton seeds to farmers. Cotton_sentence_187

There are also a number of other cotton seed companies selling GM cotton around the world. Cotton_sentence_188

About 62% of the GM cotton grown from 1996 to 2011 was insect resistant, 24% stacked product and 14% herbicide resistant. Cotton_sentence_189

Cotton has gossypol, a toxin that makes it inedible. Cotton_sentence_190

However, scientists have silenced the gene that produces the toxin, making it a potential food crop. Cotton_sentence_191

On 17 October 2018, the USDA deregulated GE low-gossypol cotton. Cotton_sentence_192

Organic production Cotton_section_25

Organic cotton is generally understood as cotton from plants not genetically modified and that is certified to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides. Cotton_sentence_193

Its production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles. Cotton_sentence_194

In the United States, organic cotton plantations are required to enforce the National Organic Program (NOP). Cotton_sentence_195

This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic crops. Cotton_sentence_196

As of 2007, 265,517 bales of organic cotton were produced in 24 countries, and worldwide production was growing at a rate of more than 50% per year. Cotton_sentence_197

Organic cotton products are now available for purchase at limited locations. Cotton_sentence_198

These are popular for baby clothes and diapers; natural cotton products are known to be both sustainable and hypoallergenic. Cotton_sentence_199

Pests and weeds Cotton_section_26

The cotton industry relies heavily on chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, although a very small number of farmers are moving toward an organic model of production. Cotton_sentence_200

Under most definitions, organic products do not use transgenic Bt cotton which contains a bacterial gene that codes for a plant-produced protein that is toxic to a number of pests aespecially the bollworms. Cotton_sentence_201

For most producers, Bt cotton has allowed a substantial reduction in the use of synthetic insecticides, although in the long term resistance may become problematical. Cotton_sentence_202

Global pest problems Cotton_section_27

Main article: List of cotton diseases Cotton_sentence_203

Significant global pests of cotton include various species of bollworm, such as Pectinophora gossypiella. Cotton_sentence_204

Sucking pests include cotton stainers, the chili thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis; the cotton seed bug, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis. Cotton_sentence_205

Defoliatores include the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda. Cotton_sentence_206

North American insect pests Cotton_section_28

Historically, in North America, one of the most economically destructive pests in cotton production has been the boll weevil. Cotton_sentence_207

Due to the US Department of Agriculture's highly successful Boll Weevil Eradication Program (BWEP), this pest has been eliminated from cotton in most of the United States. Cotton_sentence_208

This program, along with the introduction of genetically engineered Bt cotton, has improved the management of a number of pests such as cotton bollworm and pink bollworm). Cotton_sentence_209

Sucking pests include the cotton stainer, Dysdercus suturellus and the tarnish plant bug, Lygus lineolaris. Cotton_sentence_210

A significant cotton disease is Xanthomonas citri subsp. Cotton_sentence_211 malvacearum. Cotton_sentence_212

Harvesting Cotton_section_29

Most cotton in the United States, Europe and Australia is harvested mechanically, either by a cotton picker, a machine that removes the cotton from the boll without damaging the cotton plant, or by a cotton stripper, which strips the entire boll off the plant. Cotton_sentence_213

Cotton strippers are used in regions where it is too windy to grow picker varieties of cotton, and usually after application of a chemical defoliant or the natural defoliation that occurs after a freeze. Cotton_sentence_214

Cotton is a perennial crop in the tropics, and without defoliation or freezing, the plant will continue to grow. Cotton_sentence_215

Cotton continues to be picked by hand in developing countries. Cotton_sentence_216

Competition from synthetic fibers Cotton_section_30

The era of manufactured fibers began with the development of rayon in France in the 1890s. Cotton_sentence_217

Rayon is derived from a natural cellulose and cannot be considered synthetic, but requires extensive processing in a manufacturing process, and led the less expensive replacement of more naturally derived materials. Cotton_sentence_218

A succession of new synthetic fibers were introduced by the chemicals industry in the following decades. Cotton_sentence_219

Acetate in fiber form was developed in 1924. Cotton_sentence_220

Nylon, the first fiber synthesized entirely from petrochemicals, was introduced as a sewing thread by DuPont in 1936, followed by DuPont's acrylic in 1944. Cotton_sentence_221

Some garments were created from fabrics based on these fibers, such as women's hosiery from nylon, but it was not until the introduction of polyester into the fiber marketplace in the early 1950s that the market for cotton came under threat. Cotton_sentence_222

The rapid uptake of polyester garments in the 1960s caused economic hardship in cotton-exporting economies, especially in Central American countries, such as Nicaragua, where cotton production had boomed tenfold between 1950 and 1965 with the advent of cheap chemical pesticides. Cotton_sentence_223

Cotton production recovered in the 1970s, but crashed to pre-1960 levels in the early 1990s. Cotton_sentence_224

Uses Cotton_section_31

Cotton is used to make a number of textile products. Cotton_sentence_225

These include terrycloth for highly absorbent bath towels and robes; denim for blue jeans; cambric, popularly used in the manufacture of blue work shirts (from which we get the term "blue-collar"); and corduroy, seersucker, and cotton twill. Cotton_sentence_226

Socks, underwear, and most T-shirts are made from cotton. Cotton_sentence_227

Bed sheets often are made from cotton. Cotton_sentence_228

Cotton also is used to make yarn used in crochet and knitting. Cotton_sentence_229

Fabric also can be made from recycled or recovered cotton that otherwise would be thrown away during the spinning, weaving, or cutting process. Cotton_sentence_230

While many fabrics are made completely of cotton, some materials blend cotton with other fibers, including rayon and synthetic fibers such as polyester. Cotton_sentence_231

It can either be used in knitted or woven fabrics, as it can be blended with elastine to make a stretchier thread for knitted fabrics, and apparel such as stretch jeans. Cotton_sentence_232

Cotton can be blended also with linen producing fabrics with the benefits of both materials. Cotton_sentence_233

Linen-cotton blends are wrinkle resistant and retain heat more effectively than only linen, and are thinner, stronger and lighter than only cotton. Cotton_sentence_234

In addition to the textile industry, cotton is used in fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives manufacture (see nitrocellulose), cotton paper, and in bookbinding. Cotton_sentence_235

Fire hoses were once made of cotton. Cotton_sentence_236

The cottonseed which remains after the cotton is ginned is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. Cotton_sentence_237

The cottonseed meal that is left generally is fed to ruminant livestock; the gossypol remaining in the meal is toxic to monogastric animals. Cotton_sentence_238

Cottonseed hulls can be added to dairy cattle rations for roughage. Cotton_sentence_239

During the American slavery period, cotton root bark was used in folk remedies as an abortifacient, that is, to induce a miscarriage. Cotton_sentence_240

Gossypol was one of the many substances found in all parts of the cotton plant and it was described by the scientists as 'poisonous pigment'. Cotton_sentence_241

It also appears to inhibit the development of sperm or even restrict the mobility of the sperm. Cotton_sentence_242

Also, it is thought to interfere with the menstrual cycle by restricting the release of certain hormones. Cotton_sentence_243

Cotton linters are fine, silky fibers which adhere to the seeds of the cotton plant after ginning. Cotton_sentence_244

These curly fibers typically are less than ⁄8 inch (3.2 mm) long. Cotton_sentence_245

The term also may apply to the longer textile fiber staple lint as well as the shorter fuzzy fibers from some upland species. Cotton_sentence_246

Linters are traditionally used in the manufacture of paper and as a raw material in the manufacture of cellulose. Cotton_sentence_247

In the UK, linters are referred to as "cotton wool". Cotton_sentence_248

A less technical use of the term "cotton wool", in the UK and Ireland, is for the refined product known as "absorbent cotton" (or, often, just "cotton") in U.S. usage: fluffy cotton in sheets or balls used for medical, cosmetic, protective packaging, and many other practical purposes. Cotton_sentence_249

The first medical use of cotton wool was by Sampson Gamgee at the Queen's Hospital (later the General Hospital) in Birmingham, England. Cotton_sentence_250

Shiny cotton is a processed version of the fiber that can be made into cloth resembling satin for shirts and suits. Cotton_sentence_251

However, it is hydrophobic (does not absorb water easily), which makes it unfit for use in bath and dish towels (although examples of these made from shiny cotton are seen). Cotton_sentence_252

Long staple (LS cotton) is cotton of a longer fibre length and therefore of higher quality, while Extra-long staple cotton (ELS cotton) has longer fibre length still and of even higher quality. Cotton_sentence_253

The name "Egyptian cotton" is broadly associated high quality cottons and is often an LS or (less often) an ELS cotton. Cotton_sentence_254

The American cotton variety Pima cotton is often compared to Egyptian cotton, as both are used in high quality bed sheets and other cotton products. Cotton_sentence_255

While Pima cotton is often grown in the American southwest, the Pima name is now used by cotton-producing nations such as Peru, Australia and Israel. Cotton_sentence_256

Not all products bearing the Pima name are made with the finest cotton: American-grown ELS Pima cotton is trademarked as Supima cotton. Cotton_sentence_257

Cottons have been grown as ornamentals or novelties due to their showy flowers and snowball-like fruit. Cotton_sentence_258

For example, Jumel's cotton, once an important source of fiber in Egypt, started as an ornamental. Cotton_sentence_259

However, agricultural authorities such as the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in the United States discourage using cotton as an ornamental, due to concerns about these plants harboring pests injurious to crops. Cotton_sentence_260

Cotton lisle, or fil d'Ecosse cotton, is a finely-spun, tightly twisted type of cotton that is noted for being strong and durable. Cotton_sentence_261

Lisle is composed of two strands that have each been twisted an extra twist per inch than ordinary yarns and combined to create a single thread. Cotton_sentence_262

The yarn is spun so that it is compact and solid. Cotton_sentence_263

This cotton is used mainly for underwear, stockings, and gloves. Cotton_sentence_264

Colors applied to this yarn are noted for being more brilliant than colors applied to softer yarn. Cotton_sentence_265

This type of thread was first made in the city of Lisle, France (now Lille), hence its name. Cotton_sentence_266

International trade Cotton_section_32

The largest producers of cotton, currently (2017), are India and China, with annual production of about 18.53 million tonnes and 17.14 million tonnes, respectively; most of this production is consumed by their respective textile industries. Cotton_sentence_267

The largest exporters of raw cotton are the United States, with sales of $4.9 billion, and Africa, with sales of $2.1 billion. Cotton_sentence_268

The total international trade is estimated to be $12 billion. Cotton_sentence_269

Africa's share of the cotton trade has doubled since 1980. Cotton_sentence_270

Neither area has a significant domestic textile industry, textile manufacturing having moved to developing nations in Eastern and South Asia such as India and China. Cotton_sentence_271

In Africa, cotton is grown by numerous small holders. Cotton_sentence_272

Dunavant Enterprises, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is the leading cotton broker in Africa, with hundreds of purchasing agents. Cotton_sentence_273

It operates cotton gins in Uganda, Mozambique, and Zambia. Cotton_sentence_274

In Zambia, it often offers loans for seed and expenses to the 180,000 small farmers who grow cotton for it, as well as advice on farming methods. Cotton_sentence_275

Cargill also purchases cotton in Africa for export. Cotton_sentence_276

The 25,000 cotton growers in the United States are heavily subsidized at the rate of $2 billion per year although China now provides the highest overall level of cotton sector support. Cotton_sentence_277

The future of these subsidies is uncertain and has led to anticipatory expansion of cotton brokers' operations in Africa. Cotton_sentence_278

Dunavant expanded in Africa by buying out local operations. Cotton_sentence_279

This is only possible in former British colonies and Mozambique; former French colonies continue to maintain tight monopolies, inherited from their former colonialist masters, on cotton purchases at low fixed prices. Cotton_sentence_280

Leading producer countries Cotton_section_33

The five leading exporters of cotton in 2019 are (1) India, (2) the United States, (3) China, (4) Brazil, and (5) Pakistan. Cotton_sentence_281

In India, the states of Maharashtra (26.63%), Gujarat (17.96%) and Andhra Pradesh (13.75%) and also Madhya Pradesh are the leading cotton producing states, these states have a predominantly tropical wet and dry climate. Cotton_sentence_282

In the United States, the state of Texas led in total production as of 2004, while the state of California had the highest yield per acre. Cotton_sentence_283

Fair trade Cotton_section_34

Cotton is an enormously important commodity throughout the world. Cotton_sentence_284

However, many farmers in developing countries receive a low price for their produce, or find it difficult to compete with developed countries. Cotton_sentence_285

This has led to an international dispute (see United States – Brazil cotton dispute): Cotton_sentence_286

While Brazil was fighting the US through the WTO's Dispute Settlement Mechanism against a heavily subsidized cotton industry, a group of four least-developed African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali – also known as "Cotton-4" have been the leading protagonist for the reduction of US cotton subsidies through negotiations. Cotton_sentence_287

The four introduced a "Sectoral Initiative in Favour of Cotton", presented by Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaoré during the Trade Negotiations Committee on 10 June 2003. Cotton_sentence_288

In addition to concerns over subsidies, the cotton industries of some countries are criticized for employing child labor and damaging workers' health by exposure to pesticides used in production. Cotton_sentence_289

The Environmental Justice Foundation has campaigned against the prevalent use of forced child and adult labor in cotton production in Uzbekistan, the world's third largest cotton exporter. Cotton_sentence_290

The international production and trade situation has led to "fair trade" cotton clothing and footwear, joining a rapidly growing market for organic clothing, fair fashion or "ethical fashion". Cotton_sentence_291

The fair trade system was initiated in 2005 with producers from Cameroon, Mali and Senegal. Cotton_sentence_292

Trade Cotton_section_35

Cotton is bought and sold by investors and price speculators as a tradable commodity on 2 different commodity exchanges in the United States of America. Cotton_sentence_293


  • Cotton No. 2 futures contracts are traded on the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) under the ticker symbol CT. They are delivered every year in March, May, July, October, and December.Cotton_item_2_9
  • Cotton futures contracts are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) under the ticker symbol TT. They are delivered every year in March, May, July, October, and December.Cotton_item_2_10

Critical temperatures Cotton_section_36


  • Favorable travel temperature range: below 25 °C (77 °F)Cotton_item_3_11
  • Optimum travel temperature: 21 °C (70 °F)Cotton_item_3_12
  • Glow temperature: 205 °C (401 °F)Cotton_item_3_13
  • Fire point: 210 °C (410 °F)Cotton_item_3_14
  • Autoignition temperature: 360 °C (680 °F) - 425 °C (797 °F)Cotton_item_3_15
  • Autoignition temperature (for oily cotton): 120 °C (248 °F)Cotton_item_3_16

A temperature range of 25 to 35 °C (77 to 95 °F) is the optimal range for mold development. Cotton_sentence_294

At temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), rotting of wet cotton stops. Cotton_sentence_295

Damaged cotton is sometimes stored at these temperatures to prevent further deterioration. Cotton_sentence_296

Egypt has a unique climatic temperature that the soil and the temperature provide an exceptional environment for cotton to grow rapidly. Cotton_sentence_297

British standard yarn measures Cotton_section_37


  • 1 thread = 55 in or 140 cmCotton_item_4_17
  • 1 skein or rap = 80 threads (120 yd or 110 m)Cotton_item_4_18
  • 1 hank = 7 skeins (840 yd or 770 m)Cotton_item_4_19
  • 1 spindle = 18 hanks (15,120 yd or 13.83 km)Cotton_item_4_20

Fiber properties Cotton_section_38

Genome Cotton_section_39

There is a public effort to sequence the genome of cotton. Cotton_sentence_298

It was started in 2007 by a consortium of public researchers. Cotton_sentence_299

Their aim is to sequence the genome of cultivated, tetraploid cotton. Cotton_sentence_300

"Tetraploid" means that its nucleus has two separate genomes, called A and D. The consortium agreed to first sequence the D-genome wild relative of cultivated cotton (G. raimondii, a Central American species) because it is small and has few repetitive elements. Cotton_sentence_301

It has nearly one-third of the bases of tetraploid cotton, and each chromosome occurs only once. Cotton_sentence_302

Then, the A genome of G. arboreum would be sequenced. Cotton_sentence_303

Its genome is roughly twice that of G. raimondii. Cotton_sentence_304

Part of the difference in size is due to the amplification of retrotransposons (GORGE). Cotton_sentence_305

After both diploid genomes are assembled, they would be used as models for sequencing the genomes of tetraploid cultivated species. Cotton_sentence_306

Without knowing the diploid genomes, the euchromatic DNA sequences of AD genomes would co-assemble, and their repetitive elements would assemble independently into A and D sequences respectively. Cotton_sentence_307

There would be no way to untangle the mess of AD sequences without comparing them to their diploid counterparts. Cotton_sentence_308

The public sector effort continues with the goal to create a high-quality, draft genome sequence from reads generated by all sources. Cotton_sentence_309

The effort has generated Sanger reads of BACs, fosmids, and plasmids, as well as 454 reads. Cotton_sentence_310

These later types of reads will be instrumental in assembling an initial draft of the D genome. Cotton_sentence_311

In 2010, the companies Monsanto and Illumina completed enough Illumina sequencing to cover the D genome of G. raimondii about 50x. Cotton_sentence_312

They announced that they would donate their raw reads to the public. Cotton_sentence_313

This public relations effort gave them some recognition for sequencing the cotton genome. Cotton_sentence_314

Once the D genome is assembled from all of this raw material, it will undoubtedly assist in the assembly of the AD genomes of cultivated varieties of cotton, but much work remains. Cotton_sentence_315

As of 2014, at least one assembled cotton genome had been reported. Cotton_sentence_316

See also Cotton_section_40

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