Posted by Douglas Gray on June 20, 2014
It is true that almost everyone in the world knows that cotton is spun into thread and is used in the making of fabrics for a wide variety of cotton clothing and decorating items.
One of the most used items of the cotton plant that has been considered a waste for centuries is the cotton seed. This little seed is more by weight than the cotton fibers that are produced. For each 100 pounds of fiber there is 155 pounds of cotton seeds made.
From the cotton seed comes a wide variety of products with many uses in very different fields of commerce. The majority of it is the production of cottonseed oil. This oil is created by pressing the seed to extract the oil from inside. It is a common cooking oil today in America. It is also the main ingredient of Crisco shortening. Other applications include use in the making of potato chips, cereals, breads and snack foods. The cotton seed oil can also be turned into a margarine for human consumption. This oil is high in poly-unsaturated fats and vitamin E.
While the cottonseed oil is safe for humans to use, it is toxic to insects. It has been used for centuries by farmers to control insects and mites around the farm. It is considered the most toxic of the vegetable oils against pest. More common items where cottonseed oil is used include soaps, cosmetics, the pharmaceutical industry, rubber paint and as a water proofing ingredient. Much of the cottonseed and its husk is ground into animal feed and fed to livestock across the regions of the world where cotton is grown.
Everyone knows the fiber of the cotton plant is made into threads and fabric. As with all creations of nature, the cotton fibers are grow inconsistent in length. The longer ones are used in the textile industry, but the shorter ones are used else ware. Most of the shorter ones are used in the manufacturing of paper. The most common one that everyone had handles is paper money. 75% of the paper money made in America is cotton with the remainder being linen. This cotton fiber is generally 3 mm or less and is gathered as a waste product from the cotton gin process.
Only 65% of the world production of cotton is converted into fabrics and cloths. The remainder is used in other industries that include tire cords, tents, book bindings, coffee filters and fishing nets. They are also used for medical supplies including bandages and in x rays.
Today the cotton plant and the products produced from them vary more widely than most consumers are aware of. This is a flexible and durably all nature fiber that withstand heat and actually increases in strength when wet. The wondrous cotton plant is another generous gift nature has bestowed on this plant earth.
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