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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #328846

Research Project: Enhancing the Profitability and Sustainability of Upland Cotton, Cottonseed, and Agricultural Byproducts through Improvements in Pre- and Post-Harvest Processing

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research


item WEDEGAERTNER, T - Cotton, Inc
item Holt, Gregory

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Every year the cotton crop on the planet produces about 11 million metric tons of protein. Unfortunately, the Modern plant biotechnology (utilizing RNAi and a seed specific promoter) has produced a genetically enhanced cotton plant that has gossypol production silenced in the seed while retaining normal levels in all other plant tissues, allowing the plant to retain its natural occurring chemical defense mechanism. It is referred to as Ultra-Low Gossypol Cottonseed (ULGCS). This technology has the potential to greatly improve the utilization of this massively underutilized protein resource, thus making a substantial contribution to global food security and the sustainability of cotton. Gossypol, a naturally occurring noxious compound found in pigment glands located throughout the cotton plant, is an effective insect deterrent, but it is also a cumulative toxin in animals with simple stomachs. The end result is that all the protein produced by the cotton plant is relegated to ruminant feed. Ruminant species do not utilize protein as efficiently as monogastric or aquaculture species. Elimination of gossypol allows cottonseed protein to be used much more efficiently by using it in food products for direct consumption by humans. More than 10 million metric tons of cottonseed protein is produced worldwide each year. Without gossypol, this is enough protein to satisfy the daily, basic protein needs (50 grams/person) of more than 600 million people for one year. Food scientists have created a wide range of food products from ULGCS cottonseed, including humus, plant-based dairy substitutes, chopped nuts, a peanut butter alternative, protein fortified beverages, protein bars and many others. Since the cotton plant is drought and heat tolerant, it is uniquely suited to serve as a source of both food and fiber for an ever increasing world population. Coincidentally, in some geographical regions, cotton is grown in close proximity to malnutrition and hunger. In addition, recent research demonstrates 100% replacement of fish meal in feeds for shrimp, black sea bass, hybrid striped bass, and pompano, without a decrease in performance. These species are very efficient at converting plant-based protein to high-quality animal protein. For more than 100 years cottonseed has been processed for the oil. All the other cottonseed products, except linters, are fed to cattle. Cottonseed oil mills are in the business of making edible oil and cattle feed. ULGCS is a complete game changer for the cotton industry. First, it will allow existing cottonseed processors to produce a better quality edible oil while reducing processing costs, primarily due to the fact that physical refining can be used to refine the oil, instead of caustic refining. Physical refining has never been done with cottonseed oil, due to the presence of gossypol. A virgin, cold pressed, physically refined cottonseed oil will now be possible. Edible, whole cottonseed kernels can be produced using cryogenic dehulling. Protein concentrates, protein isolates and high protein meals and flours will now be possible, whereas cottonseed protein containing gossypol cannot enter any of these markets. A lot of cottonseed processing research was done in the 1970’s after the discovery of edible glandless cotton. Much of that research needs to be revisited, updated and documented with modern processing technology. An innovative new processing technology, the "Brush Delinter" is a direct result of efforts to find new, more efficient and environmentally friendly processing techniques. This biotechnology-based proof of concept provides strong evidence that it is possible to produce a gossypol-free cottonseed resulting in greatly improved utilization of this valuable, massive, underutilized protein resource for improving global food security. Realizing the potential of this exciting biotechnology breakthr