Impacts of Within-Plant Variability on Fiber Quality, Fiber Density and Ring Spun Yarn Quality of Upland Cotton Cultivars
Ayele, Addissu Gebre
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Within-plant variability of cotton is one of the natural sources of variability that could affect fiber quality, yield components, and the performance of cotton fibers in yarn manufacturing, and ultimately finished textile products. To investigate the impact of within-plant variability on fiber quality, a set of 12 upland cotton cultivars were grown in a randomized complete block design with three field replications, in Lubbock, Texas during 2012, 2013, and 2014. The result indicated that cultivars are significantly different for the within-plant fiber quality. Some cultivars such as DP 1219 B2RF, DP 1044 B2RF, and ST 5458 B2F showed highly variable within-plant fiber properties, while other cultivars such as FM 2484 B2F, PHY 499 WRF, NG 4111 RF and Nitro 44 RF showed relatively less within-plant variability. It stands to reason that genetic components play a significant role in the within-plant variability of fiber quality. The within-plant variability observed among the cultivars could be a potential source of variation for further improvement in cotton fiber quality. In cotton breeding programs, the use of yield components, such as the number of fibers per seed surface area (fiber density) and fibers per seed, as a selection criterion is vital to improve fiber quality and yield simultaneously. However, the parameters utilized to estimate fiber density and fibers per seed are calculated from fiber quality attributes that are sensitive to environmental variation, specifically fiber maturity. Thus, the impact of within-plant fiber maturity on the estimates of fiber density was investigated. The result revealed that cultivars with relatively less stable fiber maturity across the fruiting branches of the cotton plant tend to have more variable fiber density estimates, suggesting that the calculation of the number of fibers per seed surface area may be biased. Therefore, fiber maturity should be considered when screening lines based on fiber density as low fiber maturity can lead to unreliable estimates of fiber density. It is critical to understand the relationship between fiber and yarn quality for many textile industries. The yarn was spun from the 12 upland cotton cultivars exhibiting highly variable within-plant fiber properties. To evaluate the degree of genetic differences between cultivars for the within-plant fiber length distribution, multivariate response analysis was used. Based on the first and second canonical scores, cultivars were genetically different for the within-plant fiber length distribution. The canonical scores used to detect the within-plant variability of length distribution were used to demonstrate its relationship with yarn quality. The results revealed a significant negative relationship between canonical scores and yarn tensile properties. Low within-plant variability, explained by low canonical axis scores, results in better yarn tensile properties. Similarly, a significant positive relationship between the canonical scores generated for within-plant fiber length distributions, and yarn imperfections, yarn CV%, and imperfection index suggested that high within-plant variability reduces yarn quality. For the twelve cultivars tested, it appears that higher variability of within-plant fiber properties has a negative impact on yarn quality. Therefore, limiting within-plant variability may lead to improved fiber and yarn quality, and ultimately to fabric quality improvement.