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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340550

Title: Boll sampling protocols and their impact on measurements of cotton fiber quality

item KOTHARI, NEHA - Texas A&M Agrilife
item HAGUE, STEVE - Texas A&M University
item Hinze, Lori
item DEVER, JANE - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2017
Publication Date: 12/15/2017
Citation: Kothari, N., Hague, S., Hinze, L.L., Dever, J. 2017. Boll sampling protocols and their impact on measurements of cotton fiber quality. Industrial Crops and Products. 109:248-254.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton is a natural fiber; therefore, variation in fiber quality is expected. However, cotton fibers compete with man-made fibers which can be precisely engineered to exactly meet consumer textile demands. Improved accuracy in measurement of cotton fiber quality traits is needed to optimize the efficiency of the textile manufacturing process. Through this research, we identified the best method for cotton breeders to select bolls by hand that most accurately represents the true fiber quality of a genotype when picked by stripper or picker mechanical harvesters. This accomplishment will directly benefit cotton researchers who use hand-harvested cotton boll samples to measure fiber quality. Cotton bolls harvested from the top half of the plant generally have lower fiber quality than bolls harvested from the bottom half of the plants. A sample that combines bolls from all regions within the plant provides the best estimates of fiber quality.

Technical Abstract: Within plant fiber variability has long contributed to product inconsistency in the cotton industry. Fiber quality uniformity is a primary plant breeding objective related to cotton commodity economic value. The physiological impact of source and sink relationships renders stress on the upper branches leading to reduced genetic potential. Objectives of this study were to quantify variability within the top and bottom halves of the plants and evaluate various boll sampling protocols for efficient fiber quality estimation. This research was conducted in College Station, Texas for three years in 2009, 2010 and 2011 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research farm. Ten fiber samples were collected from each plot varying in boll numbers and regions within the plant and compared against a machine harvested sample. Fiber quality testing was done using High Volume Instrument and Advanced Fiber Information System. Statistical analyses inclusive of Analysis of Variance and Best Linear Unbiased Prediction and fiber correlations were performed. It was concluded that the best boll sampling method for accurate fiber quality estimation included a mixed sample of at least 25 bolls picked from all regions of the plant. A statistic to identify the least variable genotype was calculated using the difference in the top bolls and bottom bolls sample data. It was concluded that the extent of variability within a plant for fiber length and uniformity are genotype dependent. Correlation analyses revealed strong relationships among fiber length uniformity, strength, UHML, maturity ratio, and fineness. Strong negative relationships of fiber length measurements with short fiber content and immature fiber content were observed. Correlation analysis within the bottom and top bolls of the plants revealed opposite trends in fiber relationships.