Improved testing methods for cotton breeders: Calibration of the high volume instrument (HVI) elongation measurement



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The United States is currently the world leader in cotton exports. Spinning mills desire high quality fiber in order to maintain maximum efficiency. As machinery throughput increases, the machinery becomes more aggressive and will break more fibers. Therefore for the U.S. to remain competitive in the world market, higher quality fibers must be produced and marketed to mills to withstand processing stresses. In order to do this, breeders need to have the best tools available to them to test the quality of lines in their breeding programs. The main tool utilized by breeders to analyze fiber properties is the High Volume Instrument (HVI) that reports measurements such as micronaire, color grade, length/uniformity, and strength. The HVI also has several other measurements, direct or indirect, that are not calibrated. One of those measurements is fiber elongation. Both elongation and strength factor into the work-to-break of fibers, the total energy needed to break a bundle of fibers and is a measure of the toughness of the fibers which plays a direct role in how the fibers will perform in spinning. Recent research indicates that fiber elongation is a heritable trait and that it can be improved through breeding without diminishing other fiber qualities, specifically fiber strength. This research also demonstrated that using a single HVI line to estimate fiber elongation was possible and allowed for rapid testing of the samples. However, this was for just one project in one breeding program. If a full breeding program or multiple breeding programs wanted to incorporate selection for elongation, it would be necessary to test samples on multiple HVI lines which currently is not possible due to a lack of calibration standards and procedures. The stelometer is a much slower method to measure bundle strength and elongation of a fiber sample, but is the reference method. With the use of the Stelometer to develop calibration standards, it is possible to calibrate the HVI elongation measurement, thus making it possible to use multiple HVI lines to collect fiber elongation data.



High volume instrument, Cotton, Fiber elongation