The Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) has developed a method that allows for the reliable detection of cashmere wool falsification.
Due to the fact that only a small amount can be won from each animal, cashmere wool is an expensive resource for the textile industry, which makes it susceptible to falsifications.
Instead of cashmere, the cheaper sheep wool is used and the product is then declared as genuine cashmere.
In other cases, products only contain a small amount of cashmere while the rest is wool from other animals that is processed without declaration.
Therefore, the textile industry and testing laboratories require detection methods that guarantee reliable testing of cashmere products.
The basis of the IME's method is a procedure that has been developed to differentiate animal species and has been used successfully since 2002 for the analysis of food and feeds.
Dr Bjoern Seidel, project manager at the institute, said: 'For this, we extract the DNA from the wool.
'A difficult task as hair only contains traces of DNA.
'Moreover, wool is partly treated with chemicals and heated for dyeing, which in turn destroys a great part of the existing DNA material.
'We have to multiply the DNA that we extract from the wool one million fold before we can analyse its origin, for example, goat, sheep or even camel.'