Cotton seed facts and health benefits
Cotton plants are an annually growing herb belonging to the genus Gossypium of the Malvaceae family (mallow family). Cotton is an essential fiber plant native to tropical and subtropical Americas, the Caribbean, and questionably some Pacific islands. It is cultivated for its fiber used by the textile industry to produce a great variety of apparel and fabrics. Cotton seeds containing 20 to 28 % oil are used to produce oil and are a valuable source of protein. It is quite unusual in that it is concurrently both a food and fiber crop. Apart from cotton it is also known as upland Cotton, Mexican Cotton, American cotton, American upland cotton and Bourbon cotton.
Cotton is an annual or perennial herb or shrub which grows from 40 to 45 cm to 1.5 to 2 m tall. The plant requires a long frost-free period, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall and tolerant of a wide variety of soils, but thrives best on deep, friable, moisture-holding soils with good humus supply. It has a well-developed taproot with numerous laterals penetrating as deeply as 3 m. Branches are of two kinds: vegetative and fruiting. Leaves are broad and heart shaped three-segmented greenish leaves, which are about 2 inches to 6 inches in length and emerge alternately on the stem. Flowers are cup-shaped with big and flashy petals whose hue ranges from white to yellow. The flowers have a purplish or reddish spot close to their base.
Fruit of cotton is actually a leathery capsule called boll. Capsules are up to 4-6 cm long, spherical, smooth broadly ovoid to sub globose; beaked at tip; 3-5-celled, each cell contains up to 11 copiously hairy and fuzzy seeds. They are normally green while young turning to brown as they mature. Seeds are usually ovoid, 3.5–10 mm long, acute at the hilum, black or brown with a dense covering of white or rusty, long, woolly hairs (lint or floss) and with a fine, short tomentum (fuzz) everywhere or only at the hilum, about 36 per fruit. The weights of 100 seeds are about 10–13 g. By weight, they are 60% cotyledon, 32% coat and 8% embryonic root and shoot. Cultured cotton varieties’ fiber is mostly white. However, some varieties have colored fiber, which may be brown, green or creamy-colored. Technological properties of cotton fiber depend on the following values: fiber length, thinness, strength, breaking length, elasticity, crimpiness, and maturity.
Cottonseed, which must be removed from the fibers during “ginning,” is processed into oil by crushing, and is also used as a supplement for dairy feed, especially in California. Cottonseed oil is used in the industry of food (as an ingredient of margarines) and in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. It is also used for the production rubber and plastics.
No one knows exactly how old cotton is. Scientists searching Open Cotton Bollcaves in Mexico found bits of cotton bolls and pieces of cotton cloth that proved to be at least 7,000 years old. They also found that the cotton itself was much like that grown in America today.
In the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun and woven into cloth 3,000 years BC. At about the same time, natives of Egypt’s Nile valley were making and wearing cotton clothing.
Arab merchants brought cotton cloth to Europe about 800 A.D. When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he found cotton growing in the Bahama Islands. By 1500, cotton was known generally throughout the world. Today it is grown throughout the world due to its use in various uses in our regular life.
Apart from their wonderful uses, cottonseed is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. 218 gram of cottonseed offers 218 g of Total Fat, 76.95 mg of Vitamin E, 53.8 µg of Vitamin K and 0.4 mg of Cholin