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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320587

Research Project: Enhancing the Quality, Utility, Sustainability and Environmental Impact of Western and Long-Staple Cotton through Improvements in Harvesting, Processing, and Utilization

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: Current research to maintain contamination-free U.S. cotton

item Whitelock, Derek
item JIANG, WENBIN - New Mexico State University
item Armijo, Carlos
item RAYSON, GARY - New Mexico State University
item Byler, Richard
item Hughs, Sidney
item Pelletier, Mathew
item Baker, Kevin
item Fortier, Chanel

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/27/2015
Publication Date: 7/27/2015
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Jiang, W., Armijo, C.B., Rayson, G., Byler, R.K., Hughs, S.E., Pelletier, M.G., Baker, K.D., Fortier, C.A. 2015. Current research to maintain contamination-free U.S. cotton. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 152188755.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: U.S. cotton is considered to have some of the lowest levels of contamination in the world. That reputation is expected by foreign and domestic mills. Despite this reputation, U.S. spinners have recently experienced some serious contamination issues with U.S.cotton. Of particular concern are plastic contaminants – plastic trash that collects in cotton fields, black plastic film used as mulch in fields, plastic twine typically used for baling, and yellow plastic film used for round module wrap. These contaminants are typically introduced prior to ginning, but mechanical processes at the gin can tear and shred the plastics so that they become more difficult to detect and remove. Thus, the first line of defense against these contaminants should be set before or early in the gin process. For the U.S. cotton to maintain its status as “contamination-free”, the industry must strive to prevent contaminants from entering the cotton stream and to eliminate them when they slip in undetected. This presentation summarizes current research at the SW Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory to develop an inexpensive and reliable method to detect plastics contamination at the gin utilizing distinct differences in NIR/IR spectra between seed cotton and different types of plastics. Experiments showed that several portions of the infrared spectrum exhibited distinct differences between cotton and plastics. Simulations suggested that lower resolution and lower cost components could be utilized to detect the contaminants. A bench-top device was constructed and demonstrated proof-of-concept. Accuracy and sensitivity analyses are currently underway.