In recent years, the cotton planting area in Jiangsu Province has been reduced to slightly over 3 million mu, down 9 million mu from the highest record. The farmers give up the planting due to low profits, high cost, natural disasters and cheap imports of cotton.
However, JAAS scientists have made new innovations on cotton breeding and utilization. The original color of cotton is white, but now the scientists have developed cottons of different colors, with brown and green as the two main colors. The brown-colored cotton also includes the light, medium and dark brown cottons and among them, Sucaiza No.1 has been approved as a new plant variety. The natural colored cotton doesn’t need to be dyed for making garments. That means we can save tremendous dye and cut down significant amount of environmental pollution. The garments are also safe to human bodies. The extension specialists are now seeking cooperation with relevant textile enterprises for industrialized development.
The cotton-made ornamental trees and shrubs as well as potted cottons, are another innovation by JAAS scientists. The cottons are different in height and color, and the flowering stage rages from 7 to 11 months.
The successful breeding of glandless cotton (or non-gland cotton) expands the traditional cotton functions. Glandless cotton is a cotton variety without gossypol, a toxic substance that limits the feeding of cottonseeds to non-ruminants. The glandless cotton varieties Suyan 606, Suyan 608, developed by JAAS scientists, are 10% higher in lint yield than ordinary varieties and can be made into functional food because of the high content of unsaturated fatty acid and amino acid in the cottonseeds. In addition to this, the seed contains high-quality of oil, more nutritious than peanut, bean and rapeseed oils.
The scientists of JAAS also laid out the approaches of improving cotton breeding, first, mechanization will be covering the entire process to increase efficiency; second, salt-tolerant varieties will be developed since the large-scale cotton planting will be most possibly in Jiangsu coastal saline areas; third, cotton breeding should be industrialized with new varieties and techniques.
The Chinese version of the news is seen on Xinhua Daily, April 5.