Can cotton be a food of the future?

It’s not exactly a question that’s perplexed mankind for millennia, but blogger Janice Person writing at a colorful adventure examines the idea of whether cotton or cottonseed is edible.

Short answer “yes” with an “if,” long answer “no” with a “but.”

Seriously, Person points out that there is no simple answer to the question, other than at present it’s best not to try eating cotton or cottonseed. (Cotton candy doesn’t count.)

Of course, the agriculture industry has long made use of cotton byproducts for things other than simply using the cotton fibers for textiles.

Cottonseed is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. Also, cottonseed meal left over after processing can be fed to some livestock and cottonseed hulls can be added to dairy cattle rations for roughage.

But the main problem that keeps cottonseed from being a food source for humans is a natural chemical produced by cotton plants called gossypol.

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