Environmentally Friendly; Bioproducts offer new opportunities for cotton
By: Seshadri Ramkumar
Texas Tech University researchers are using waste and low-grade cotton to develop bioproducts that could find many nonconventional applications for cotton. The effort is part on an ongoing research trend in cotton focusing beyond yield and quality issues.
There are multiple opportunities for bioproducts derived from waste cotton such as biodegradable films and porous materials, said Noureddine Abidi, the Leidigh Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, and managing director the university's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute.
Abidi and his team has been working for the past five years to derive cellulose-based bioproducts with the aim of developing environmentally-friendly materials.
Conventionally, regenerated cellulosic materials use wood pulp as starting material. The researchers at Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute are using cotton as base material to develop regenerated cellulose. Solvent separates cotton into cellulosic chains without degrading the cellulosic component, resulting in cellulosic gels.
With heightened awareness about microplastic issues in the environment, cotton-based biomaterials may offer a better solution in the near term, Abidi said. Looking ahead, he hopes process efficiencies can be improved leading to cost effective biodegradable products.
The research complements work carried at Texas Tech's Advanced Cotton Laboratory that focuses on the application of low micronaire cotton as environmentally friendly oil absorbents. Texas State Support Committee - Cotton Incorporated is supporting these novel projects that enable industrial applications for cotton.
CONTACT: Noureddine Abidi, Leidigh Professor and managing director, Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1127NM18 / Editor's Note: Seshadri Ramkumar's article recently appeared in the on-line edition of TexSnips. Ramkumar is a professor in Texas Tech's Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Environmental and Human Health.
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