Oritain Introduces ‘Fingerprint’ ID Technology for Cotton Testing

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Oritain Global, a British company specializing in supply chain traceability, said it will implement its ‘fingerprint’ identification technology, currently used in the food industry, to improve transparency in the cotton industry.

The company, which analyses and compares crops based on the composition of the soils in which they are grown, has created new partnerships with U.S. Supima cotton grower J.G. Boswell, Australian upland cotton producer Auscott and home textiles firm Welspun India.

Oritain noted that the move comes as the authenticity of Indian organic cotton has recently been called into question, adding the the company is looking to capitalize on the high level of interest in the transparency and traceability of cotton supply lines.

[Read more about the cotton market: Global Cotton Output Seen Rising Amid Demand Fluctuation and Weather Woes]

Applied DNA Sciences in Stony Brook, N.Y. has developed systems for tagging and tracing cotton from the farm to the retail shelf to address similar concerns of authenticity and purity of cotton.

Oritain claims its fingerprint identification technology enables the origin of a sample of cotton to be scientifically verified through comparison of the intrinsic properties by measuring the natural properties that exist in the fiber and matching them with the claimed soils or origin to indicate the different geological and environmental conditions of the source.

These differences are then isolated and used to establish a chemical fingerprint of the sample’s provenance. Samples then claiming to be from that origin can be tested against the firm’s database.

This technology, now being applied to the cotton industry, has already been implemented across a range of food, fiber and pharmaceutical products.

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Oritain chief executive officer Grant Cochrane, said, “Manufacturers, brand owners and retailers are increasingly focused on ensuring there is transparency within their supply chains. A huge part of this is knowing and trusting where their product comes from.”

Oritain claims that as more samples are collected, the identification process continues to improve reliability and accuracy.

Arthur Spellson, Auscott’s marketing manager for cotton, said, “The distinct advantage of the Oritain technology is they test the actual fiber and don’t use any sprays, tags or bar codes.”

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