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Cottonseed is the seed of cotton plant. The mature seeds are brown ovoids weighing about a tenth of a gram. They are densely covered with white or rusty, long and woolly hairs, called the lint, which is the main product used to make cotton textiles.
After being separated from the lint at the gin, cotton’s seed is made up of three parts: linters, which are short fibers still clinging to the seed; hulls, a tough, protective coating for the kernel; and the protein and oil rich kernel itself.
Linters are one of the finest sources of cellulose, used to produce a variety of things like plastics, rocket propellants, rayon, pharmaceutical emulsions, cosmetics, photography and X ray film, upholstery and fine writing paper and even paper currency.
The outer cover of the cottonseed is called hull and its recovery is about 2%. They are rich source of protein and fiber (cellulose). They are a cost effective animal feed.
The kernel contains oil, protein, carbohydrate and other constituents such as vitamins, minerals, lecithin, sterols etc. Kernels are crushed just like any other oilseed to produce cottonseed oil and meal.
Cottonseed oil, also termed as "Heart Oil" is among the most unsaturated edible oils. Refined and deodorized cottonseed oil is considered as one of the purest cooking medium available. Additional benefit that accrues from Cottonseed Oil is its high level of antioxidants - tocopherols.
Approximately 10-15 percent of a cotton producer’s income comes from cottonseed. Cottonseed value is determined by the value of its products. Therefore, world vegetable oil markets and markets for livestock feed ingredients play a major role in determining the value of cottonseed.
World production in cottonseed has declined during the past years from about 46.37 million tons in the 2012/13 season to about 36.81 million tons in 2015-16. China is the world’s largest producer of cotton seed with an estimated production of 12.32 million tonnes in 2014 season, according to FAO Statistics.
Production in India has increased rather steeply during the past years from about 6.38 million tons in 2005 to about 12.3 million tons in 2014. Gujarat is the largest producing state of cottonseed in India, followed by Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
India, China, United States, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Australia and Turkmenistan are the major cottonseed producing countries.
United States, Australia, Brazil, Ivory Coast, European Union, Benin, Mozambique and Argentina are the top cottonseed exporting countries.
Korea, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mali, European Union, South Africa and United States are the major cottonseed importing countries.
The major cottonseed trading hubs in India are:
Maharashtra (Akola, Parbhani, Nagpur, Yavatmal)
Andhra Pradesh (Guntur)