Counterfeit Clothing? Plant DNA Keeps Fabrics Genuine

Cotton Field Crop

(DGIwire) — Lots of things we see, touch and wear are not what they seem. That thick head of hair we admire could be a wig. We’re accustomed to seeing fake nails and fake handbags that pretend to be their upscale sisters. But—fake fabrics? That’s right: counterfeit textiles— and entire garments that are not what we think we’re buying—present a costly problem for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Common counterfeits involve high-quality fibers such as merino and Yorkshire wool, extra long staple and Pima cotton, cashmere, silk and certain high-performance polyester fibers. Is there some way to mark these fabrics without damaging the fibers, in order to link them to their original source or show that a bait-and-switch has taken place, and then be able to trace back the counterfeit and resolve the crime?

In fact, there’s an intriguing new solution. Applied DNA Sciences, Inc., based in Stony Brook, NY, is a company specializing in plant DNA-based product authentication and security solutions, including for the military. The company recently announced the rollout of their SigNature T®, a new security platform specifically for textiles and apparel. With this new product, fibers can be marked at the original point of manufacture, prior to baling. In fact, adding plant-based SigNature T requires virtually no change to the existing production process, and can be controlled so that each bale or batch can be marked and tracked throughout the supply chain.

“Counterfeiters increasingly deceive consumers with fake products that are virtually impossible to distinguish from real goods,” says Dr. James A. Hayward, CEO and President of Applied DNA Sciences. “Understandably, brand owners are looking for fast and cost-effective ways to detect the difference and stop revenue loss.” As Hayward explains, fibers, yarn, fabric and garments—including military protective wear—can be marked with unique, secure and enduring SigNature T, which is formulated to be resistant to wash out treatments.

“Botanical DNA-marked textile and apparel products are fully authenticated by our scientific team to ensure that they are truly genuine,” Hayward adds. “Instant field detection for the presence of SigNature T markers has also been made simple through use of a handheld device.”

Competitive methods for tagging textiles typically involve non-specific compounds that don’t stand up to the processing of textiles, multiple launderings or dry cleanings. These generic compounds also fail to provide the forensic precision of a DNA system for textiles to assure the quality and performance of products. “We believe our features far outmatch anyone else in this arena,” Hayward says. “We predict that manufacturers armed with SigNature T markers—a flexible, forensic, impenetrable product authentication tool—will gain the upper hand and protect their textiles and garments from fiber to hanger.”

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