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Natural Colour Cotton Textiles

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The Exciting Hues of Colourgrown Cotton

Naturally colored cotton is cotton that has been bred to have colors other than the yellowish off-white typical of modern commercial cotton fibres.

From Wikipedia

Colors grown include red, green and several shades of brown. The cotton’s natural color does not fade. Yields are typically lower and the fiber is shorter and weaker but has a softer feel than the more commonly available “white” cotton.

This form of cotton also feels softer to the skin (this statement is subjective and needs verification) and has a pleasant smell. Naturally Colored Cotton is still relatively rare because it requires specialized harvest techniques and facilities, making it more expensive to harvest than white cotton. By the 1990s most indigenous colored cotton landraces or cultivars grown in Africa, Asia and Central and South America were replaced by all-white, commercial varieties.

Naturally colored cotton is believed to have originated in the Americas around 5000 years ago in the Andes. Naturally colored cotton today mostly comes from pre-Columbian stocks created by the indigenous peoples of South America (Vreeland, 1999). Mochica Indians could be attributed with growing naturally colored cotton of myriad hues, which they maintained for over the last two millenniums on the northern coast of Peru.

Natural color in cotton comes from pigments found in cotton pigments and produce shades ranging from tan to green and brown. Naturally pigmented green cotton derives its color from caffeic acid, a derivative of cinnamic acid, found in the suberin (wax) layer which is deposited in alternating layers with cellulose around the outside of the cotton fiber. While green colored cotton comes from wax layers, brown and tan cottons derive their color from tannin vacuoles in the lumen of the fiber cells.

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