The Cotton Foundation
Addressing PM Emission Issues That Are Currently Facing U.S. Cotton Gins

This new project, a collaboration of USDA-ARS and Texas A&M University researchers, has the following goals: 1) develop estimates of PM2.5 emission factors, ratios of PM2.5 to PM10,  and ratios of PM2.5  to total suspended particulate for typical cotton gin PM emissions; 2) characterize cotton gin PM emissions (particle size, shape and density); 3) determine the over-or-under-sampling rates associated with current EPA approved stack sampling methods; and 4) develop a scientifically sound point source and receptor concentration data set that can be used to evaluate current dispersion models.

A minimum of six sampling gin sites -- one during the 2008 ginning season -- will be evaluated in Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina and California. Every effort will be made to select gins with similar process system designs. All raw data will be organized for outside review.


Scientists evaluate PM10 and total suspended particulate samplers in the wind tunnel.

Evaluations of EPA Approved FRM PM 2.5 and PM10 Samplers

The goal of this ongoing project is to develop an EPA-sanctioned process that will result in correction of “over-estimation” of PM10(particulate matter size) and PM2.5concentrations of PM emitted by agricultural operations. The assumption made by most regulators is that the EPA-approved PM10and PM2.5samplers accurately measure “true” PM10and PM2.5concentrations no matter the source of PM. This assumption is not correct. As a consequence of measurement errors of PM10and PM2.5concentrations associated with agricultural operations, those operations are being inappropriately regulated.

Texas A&M University researchers have been able to demonstrate to EPA the errors in sampling agricultural dusts with EPA approved samplers, when the samplers meet EPA performance criteria, with the help of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. Analysis of field data and preliminary laboratory data suggest that the samplers are not meeting EPA performance criteria when exposed to sources of large PM. The researchers also designed a wind tunnel to allow more accurate quantification of the overestimation associated with EPA-approved samplers. Evaluation of total suspended particulate samplers using the tunnel is underway.

Modern Reference Method for Moisture in Cotton

Knowledge of the actual moisture content in cotton is an important financial consideration and can help the National Cotton Council carry out its mission of providing the U.S. cotton industry a world marketplace advantage. This project’s aim is to develop a rapid, reliable and modern reference method for moisture in cotton with up-to-date precision and bias data.

Previous research conducted in 2007 at USDA’s Southern Regional Research Center led to development of the Karl Fischer (KF) water determination apparatus for use with cotton. In 2008, they are applying the new KF test method for moisture in cotton, to both U.S. and international cottons with the aim of submitting a draft of the KF procedure to ASTM International for acceptance as a standard method for cotton moisture content.

Gin Management & Technology (GMT) Program and Mini-gin Enhancement Completion 

Engineering students at Mississippi State University will continue making improvements to the Mini-gin at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station/Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. 

Specifically, this project will allow for modifications to be made to the Mini-gin’s lint cleaning system and the feeding of seed cotton from the last cleaning machine to the extractor feeder. Gin Management Technology (GMT) students have helped on past improvements and will assist on these modifications – a process that provides them with invaluable experience in installing, adjusting and maintaining gin equipment. 

These and other improvements will keep the Mini-gin “up-to-date” and make it similar to commercial gins. Another of the project’s objectives is to assist in the professional development, recruitment and placement of GMT students.


Two lint cleaners have been installed in the Mini-gin at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

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