Nuclear Technologies Support the Textile Industry

Nuclear techniques are applied in a wide range of sectors, supporting the achievement of important results and progress in the research and development of each of them.

Beyond the well-known applications for medicine, energy, and space research, nuclear technologies support also the textile industry, so helping the production process, from the farmer to fashion studios.

Cotton, silk, linen … how does nuclear science impact their plantation?

First of all, seeds are exposed to irradiation with gamma rays and then planted in growth chambers or greenhouses.

Plants arising from the irradiated seeds are planted and advanced over three to four generations during which they are examined and selected for the traits targeted for improvement in the programme.

Once an advanced line/s has proven its performance in different locations, it is released as a variety for cultivation by farmers.

The seed of the variety is then multiplied so that farmers have access to sufficient amounts to plant.

Through implementing plant mutation breeding techniques, scientists can access novel genetic diversity, thus ensuring the identification of new and improved lines in a shorter time, enabling the development of improved plant varieties adaptable to climate change and tolerant to abiotic stresses, such as heat and drought.

For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is working in Pakistan with local experts to develop and introduce new varieties of cotton that are more resilient and better adapted to the new climate reality in the country.

Read the IAEA full story here.