Cotton Incorporated’s mission is to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton through research and promotion. The research Cotton Incorporated conducts provides a solid foundation of data and facts to validate any claims made in promotional and marketing efforts. Additionally, and central to its mission, Cotton Incorporated looks for every way possible to increase profitability for cotton. This focus on profitability is the reason Cotton Incorporated will research opportunities beyond the lint and fiber produced by a cotton plant, such as market opportunities for the seed.
Although cotton is primarily grown as a fiber crop, it is regulated as a food crop by the Food and Drug Administration, and that is because cottonseed is a byproduct of cotton production. Cottonseed has many potential uses, both in food and non-food applications. Cottonseed oil is a popular cooking oil but can also be used in cosmetics and industrial applications. By researching new and innovative uses for cottonseed, Cotton Incorporated can help increase the demand and value cotton producers receive for their seed.
Looking Into Human Health
Cottonseed oil is a versatile, plant-based oil with a naturally high smoke point and neutral flavor. Those qualities have led American culinary experts and food brands to use cottonseed oil for more than a century. Cottonseed oil is found in various food products we eat daily, such as fried snacks, baked goods, and margarine.
Ongoing research supported by Cotton Incorporated is exploring any potential human-health benefits of consuming cottonseed oil. Dr. Evy Jaconis, Director of Ag & Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated and the organization’s primary cottonseed research program manager, recently presented at the Southern Cotton Ginners Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. In her presentation, she spoke about ongoing human-health cottonseed oil research being supported by Cotton Incorporated — specifically, research that investigates how cottonseed oil may help improve cholesterol levels.
According to Jaconis, an early study1 demonstrated that consumption of a high fat, cottonseed oil-rich diet over a one-week period, reduced total cholesterol in female participants. A team led by Dr. Jamie Cooper at the University of Georgia2 also found that a cottonseed oil enriched diet improved blood lipids in a study with healthy adult males. The newest study3, an eight-week research trial conducted by the University of Georgia team, investigated the effects of cottonseed oil in adults with high cholesterol, and again results showed improved blood lipid levels.
“When it comes to human health, we need a lot of research,” said Jaconis. “The next steps for us are to continue building a robust body of research regarding cottonseed oil and its potential health benefits. The research we conduct will help us understand cottonseed oil from a health perspective and expand what we can say in terms of marketing cottonseed oil.”
By exploring potential human nutritional benefits of cottonseed oil, including its potential role in reducing cholesterol levels, Cotton Incorporated is finding new and innovative ways to promote this valuable byproduct of cotton production. For more information on cottonseed oil, visit cottonseedoil.org.
¹Davis et al. 2012 – Texas Women’s University
²Polley et al. 2018 – University of Georgia
³Prater et al. 2022 – University of Georgia