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New method quantifies GMOs for organic cotton claims

Textile testing partner Hohenstein has developed a new quantification method specifically for genetically modified cotton. One of the first labs with this ability, Hohenstein uses DNA analysis to identify known genetic modifications and calculate their percentage in organic cotton. Stakeholders will use the data to distinguish between minor contaminations and mixtures, control quality and verify claims.

First step: qualitative screening
For qualitative screening, Hohenstein previously developed a molecular biological detection system. This method provides reliable evidence of the presence or absence of genetic modifications (GMOs) in cotton. Uniquely, testing can be applied at stages beyond the seed level, such as raw cotton and chemically untreated yarns and fabrics. Hohenstein is also one of the few laboratories in the world with ISO 17025 accreditation to test for GMOs in accordance with the ISO/IWA 32:2019 protocol.

Second step: identification and quantification of genetically modified cotton
Once qualitative analysis detects genetic modification, Hohenstein experts can identify the type and proportion of the GMOs. DNA analysis is used to search for cotton lines with known genetic alterations and quantify their proportion in the sample. This precise information is essential to determining whether an extremely small proportion of GMOs is due is to contamination, or whether genetically modified materials have been mixed in. This knowledge offers clear benefits to manufacturers, brands and retailers when it comes to supply chain transparency and fraud prevention.

There has been a sharp rise in demand for organic cotton products. In the cultivation of organic cotton, genetically modified seeds, chemical pesticides and fertilizers are prohibited. Nevertheless, genetic modifications are repeatedly found in textiles that are labeled with organic claims. Only claims and certifications backed by reliable testing should be trusted.

More information: Hohenstein.US/GMO

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About Hohenstein
With more than 40 offices and laboratories, Hohenstein is an international partner for independent testing, certification and applied research around the human-textile-environment interaction. They develop science-based methods and standards that consider the user in real life, not just in the lab. Through standard or customized testing, and interpretation of the results, Hohenstein experts solve problems, verify claims and help partners bring better, safer products to market – more sustainably. Hohenstein is a founding member and leading provider of the OEKO-TEX® portfolio of services, and is certified by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC ID #1058) as a third-party, independent laboratory for CPSIA compliance verification. Hohenstein.US