Uses for Cotton Seed

Cotton is commonly produced in the South, where the air is warm and moist and the soil is rich with nutrients. The plant is harvested for the use of the lint, or, cotton fiber, and the cotton seed. Here are some uses for cotton seed.

  1. Feeding Livestock

    • After the lint is removed from the cotton plant, the seed is crushed at the mill. These crushers, like the cotton gin, further remove any leftover linters, or strands of tiny cotton fibers. Now the seeds can be hulled and cleaned as they reveal the tender, high-protein meat inside. The hulls of the cottonseed are sent out to be mixed with other forms of grain to produce livestock feed.

    Seed Oil

    • The seeds that are left behind after being hulled are sent to an extractor that will pull out the oil within. This oil is refined and further processed until an edible, nutritious oil remains. This product is then sent to companies for addition to their salad dressings, cooking oils and margarine.

    Lotions and Soaps

    • Cottonseeds are cold-pressed to extract the finest quality of oil for use in cosmetics. Cottonseed oil has health benefits for the skin because it has a 50 percent omega-6 fatty acid content and is rich in natural antioxidants. The use of cottonseed oil in lotions will leave a smooth, silky feeling that will absorb into the skin and leave it well-moisturized.

    Fertilizer

    • Once the cottonseeds have been extracted of their oils, they are then steamed to remove the residue of hexane, the chemical used to pull out the oil. After all of the chemical has been steamed away, the seeds are then dried out and ground up to use as livestock feed. A portion of this cottonseed meal is also used to fertilize fields since it contains 41 percent protein and is rich in other natural nutrients like oleic acid, a beneficial omega-9 fatty acid.

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References

  • Photo Credit cotton field in contrast with blue sky image by lulu from Fotolia.com

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