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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Seed-cotton Cleaning Effects on Seed Coat Fragments

Author
item Boykin Jr, James

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2009
Publication Date: May 18, 2009
Citation: Boykin Jr, J.C. 2009. Seed-cotton Cleaning Effects on Seed Coat Fragments. In: Proceedings of Beltwide Cotton Conference. National Cotton Council, January 5-8, 2009, San Antonio, TX. CD ROM p. 483-486.

Interpretive Summary: Approximately 13 million bales of cotton were produced in the U.S. in 2008, most of which will be exported. It is important that this cotton is processed efficiently while maintaining the quality demanded by domestic and foreign consumers. One issue that is becoming increasingly important is problems associated with fragments of cottonseed that remain in cotton bales after ginning. These seed coat fragments (SCF) can cause the yarn to break resulting in costly down time in the mill. In addition, when the yarn or fabric is dyed, the SCF absorb the dye differently than the cotton lint and cause discoloration that is undesirable in the finished product. In the U.S., cotton is mechanically harvested and ginned which leads to the formation of SCF. In a saw-type cotton ginning facility, cotton containing seed (seed-cotton) is cleaned with cylinder cleaners and stick machines before being fed into a final cleaner called an extractor-feeder which feeds seed-cotton smoothly to the gin stand. The gin stand uses saws to separate fiber from the seed, and it is the major origin of SCF in a ginning facility. Seed-cotton cleaners have also been shown to damage seed. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to determine if the use of seed-cotton cleaners prior to the extractor-feeder/gin stand causes increased SCF levels in ginned lint. Samples of lint were collected after an extractor-feeder/gin stand when no additional seed-cotton cleaners were in use, and samples were also collected after an extractor-feeder/gin stand which was preceded by a cylinder cleaner, stick machine, or both. Comparing samples revealed that the cylinder cleaner, stick machine, or the combination of these machines did not increase SCF levels beyond that which was found with only the extractor-feeder/gin stand. These results show that increased levels of seed-cotton cleaning before the gin stand do not cause SCF. Future studies are needed to determine how SCF may be prevented such as improved cotton harvesters, cotton varieties, or production practices. Results from this report will be vital to future research aimed at preventing SCF contamination in cotton bales. Implementation of this knowledge will help to increase the competitiveness of U.S. cotton.

Technical Abstract: Processing problems in textile mills have been linked to seed coat fragments (SCF), so cotton ginning facilities should take steps to prevent them from forming. The objective of this experiment was to determine if the use of seed-cotton cleaners prior to the extractor-feeder/gin stand caused increased SCF levels in ginned lint. Cotton was processed with different seed-cotton cleaning sequences, and lint samples were analyzed for SCF. Manual removal and weighing of SCF from lint samples revealed that cotton processed with either a cylinder cleaner or stick machine before the extractor-feeder/gin stand was not found to contain larger quantities of SCF (mg SCF/g lint) than cotton processed with only the extractor-feeder/gin stand. The same was true for the number of SCF manually removed from lint (SCF/g lint) and the number of seed coat neps (SCN/g lint) measured with the Advanced Fiber Information System. Also, cotton processed with a standard machine sequence (cylinder cleaner, stick machine, cylinder cleaner, extractor-feeder/gin stand, and two lint cleaners) was not found to have an increased weight of SCF in comparison to lint processed with only an extractor-feeder/gin stand and two lint cleaners. Again, this was also true for the number of SCF (SCF/g lint) and the number of SCN (SCN/g lint). In conclusion, seed-cotton cleaners were not found to increase SCF levels in comparison to the extractor-feeder/gin stand.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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