Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
A three-way industry-institute-Tamil Nadu government organisation-collaborative effort to increase the value-added products from the banana plantation is expected to make the banana farmers in the country go bananas.
The faculty and the students of the Kancheepuram-based Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM) have come out with an integrated machine that can process the banana trunk or pseudo-stem to make fibre yarn, sap water and other products.
Please Follow NewsGram on Facebook To Get Latest Updates!
The Mumbai-based company Gencrest part of the Samta group will be putting up a mini-plant with such machines. Curiously the initiative is not spearheaded by any agriculture scientist or technocrat but by M. Annadurai, a former space scientist who headed India’s first Moon and Mars space mission.
Annadurai is now the Vice President, Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology, Chennai and Chairman, National Design and Research Forum, Bangalore. “Banana crops can become like sugarcane in terms of byproducts-fibre yarn for textiles, sap for nutraceuticals and fertiliser, balance waste for acoustic panels and bio-fertiliser,” Annadurai told IANS.
Nothing goes waste in the case of sugarcane as its juice is used for making sugar/jaggery, ethanol, the bagasse is used for making paper or fired in a boiler to generate power. Presently, the banana growers are having disposal problems with the pseudo-stem and incurring heavy expenditure on the disposal without getting any income.
“One of the stumbling blocks to utilise the full potential of the banana plantation is the absence of an automatic plant to process the trunk. There are small manually operated machines that extract banana fibre to make products like textiles and other handicrafts,” Annadurai said.
To solve the problem, the faculty and students of IIITDM have designed and built an integrated machine that can peel, press and extract banana fibre from the pseudo-stem. In the process the machine also separates the core stem that can be processed as ingredients for making biscuits, ice cream and others.
“The concept to realisation of the integrated machine took just three months and three days for our team,” Dr. M. Raguraman, Assistant Professor at IIITDM told IANS. The IIITDM team that developed the machine consisted of Assistant Professors Dr. P. Kalpana and Dr. A.V.S. Sivaprasad, students Manonmani, Mohammed Yusuf and 12 others and two project engineers were also hired, he said.
“We have also developed technology for banana tree cutting and loading them on to a vehicle at the farm,” Raguraman added. The trunk peels are pressed to extract the excess water or sap. The water-rich in potassium can be used for making nutraceuticals, bio-fertiliser or bio-ethanol. The core stem can be pressed to get the stem juice and the remaining fibre can be dried and powdered to be used in making biscuits and ice cream, he said.
According to him, a manually operated banana fibre extractor can give only 15 kg raw fibre per day but the IIITDM designed machine can give an output of about three ton per day. The first prototype of the IIITDM built machine was recently tested and the second prototype which will be for industry use is getting ready incorporating minor suggestions, Raguraman said.
“The banana fibre yarn is eco friendly and can replace 70 per cent of the synthetic fibre in the textiles. For one kg of cotton fibre about 60,000 litres of water is spent whereas the water usage in the case of banana fibre is far less,” Annadurai said.
After extracting the raw fibre yarn, sap, the balance waste or pith can also be used for making acoustic panels. Lab-scale testing of the acoustic panel made with banana pith has been made. The panels can also be used in high-end car interiors, Raguraman said.
According to Annadurai, the Mumbai based Gencrest has developed a process using enzymes to convert raw banana fibre yarn into textile grade yarn. Banana fabric is a sustainable green apparel of the future and an alternative solution to synthetic and other resource intensive fabrics like cotton.
“Our project envisages scaling up the entire process as a national effort,” he added. Annadurai also pointed out Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami talking about the government’s interest in increasing the income of banana farmers by encouraging production of value-added products.
According to officials, India is the largest banana producer producing about 25 million ton out of about 8.30 lakh hectares under cultivation. The major banana producer states are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
“In Tamil Nadu alone about five lakh ton of banana stems are cut and thrown away as waste,” Annadurai said. The IIITDM developed integrated banana trunk processing machine will be first put to use at the small plant to be set up by Gencrest.
“We are planning to set up a 300 ton per annum (tpa) banana fibre yarn plant in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The venture is challenging as what is seen as a viable venture at lab level may not be so commercially at industrial scale,” Vinay Gupta Chief Executive Officer, Gencrest told IANS.
Queried about the market potential for the various byproducts Gupta said it has to be studied and seen. He said Samta group has five business verticals viz mining, solar power, bio-technology, information technology and foundation.
Barring the solar power, all other verticals are in the start-up stage and the group’s focus is on sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint. The group’s 25MW solar power project located in Gujarat has been generating power since 2012 onwards. (IANS)
Apple has updated its App Store rules to allow developers to contact users directly about payments, a concession in a legal settlement with companies challenging its tightly controlled marketplace.
According to App Store rules updated Friday, developers can now contact consumers directly about alternate payment methods, bypassing Apple's commission of 15 or 30%.
They will be able to ask users for basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses, "as long as this request remains optional", said the iPhone maker.
Apple proposed the changes in August in a legal settlement with small app developers.
But the concession is unlikely to satisfy firms like "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, with which the tech giant has been grappling in a drawn-out dispute over its payments policy.
Epic launched a case aiming to break Apple's grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in its shop for digital goods or services.
In September, a judge ordered Apple to loosen control of its App Store payment options, but said Epic had failed to prove that antitrust violations had taken place.
For Epic and others, the ability to redirect users to an out-of-app payment method is not enough: it wants players to be able to pay directly without leaving the game.
Both sides have appealed.
Apple is also facing investigations from US and European authorities that accuse it of abusing its dominant position. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Apple, App store, Epic, Games
Instagram (often abbreviated as IG or Insta) is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the market. It was a huge success right from the start, with more than a million users in only two months after it was launched. With individuals from all over the world posting photographs practically every second of the day, it is also one of the most popular social media platforms available. It is a picture and video social networking website based in the United States and owned by Facebook.
Instagram was created in San Francisco by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who worked together. Systrom was employed in marketing at the time, but he would learn how to code at night. He developed a prototype app for the concept, originally called "Burbn"; people could use this app to check-in to their location. Systrom attended a party where he met individuals who worked for venture capitalist firms and persuaded them to meet with him to promote Burbn. As soon as the first meeting concluded, he stepped down from his job, and two weeks later, he had collected $500,000 in funding from companies.
Instagram (often abbreviated as IG or Insta) is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the market. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
At this time, Systrom decided to form a team to help him further, so Mike Krieger chose to join. They concluded that the app was too similar to other preexisting mobile applications; therefore, they emphasized exclusively on visual communication. Apart from posting pictures, commenting, and liking, they removed all other services from the app. "Instagram" was chosen as the app's name since it corresponded to the fact that users were sending a kind of "instant telegram."
Instagram was launched on the 6th of October, 2010, and its popularity grew almost immediately. It quickly rose to become the most popular photography app following the launch, gaining 100,000 users in one week and reaching 1 million users within two months. Later, in 2012, it was purchased by Facebook for 1 billion dollars. Currently, it has more than 600 million active users, and the number is still steadily growing.
Keywords: Instagram, Instagram login, telegram, facebook, history, social media
India is known for its pickles, popularly called 'Achaar', even across the world. But who thought about the idea of pickles in the first place? Apparently, the idea of making pickles first came from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, where archaeologists have found evidence of cucumbers being soaked in vinegar. This was done to preserve it, but the practice has spread all over the world today, that pickles mean so much more than just preserved vegetables.
In India, the idea of pickle has nothing to do with preservation, rather pickle is a side dish that adds flavour and taste to almost anything. In Punjab, parathas are served with pickle; in the south, pickle and curd rice is a household favourite, and in Andhra, it is a staple, eaten with everything. The flavour profile of pickles in each state is naturally different, suited to each cuisine's taste. Pickles are soaked in oil and salt for at least a month, mixed with spices and stored all year round. Mango season is often synonymous with pickle season as a majority of Indians love mango pickle. In the coastal cities, pickles are even made out of fish and prawns.
The Indian Achaar Image credit: Photo by Rahat Hossen on Unsplash
In other cultures, the pickling process has more to do with preservation. Cold countries, where temperatures drop to very low levels, pickle their vegetables in brine, vinegar, or salt. Sweden is famous for pickled herring, because fishing all year round is hard with all the snow and ice. The German Sauerkraut, originally composed of rice, cabbage, and wine, is now made using salt instead of wine. This gives it a sour flavour that is characteristic of the beloved German delicacy.
In Korea, kimchi is the national delicacy. It is a pickle that is made from pickled cabbages with a distinct mix of spices. Kimchi is made with various core ingredients, and is gaining popularity these days with the Korean Wave hitting the globe. It is a practice that represents the Korean winters, which are too harsh to grow anything. The Kimchi business is one of the largest in Korea, while the individual family recipes are also well-preserved as it is believed that each is unique in its own way.
The pickles made from dill and vinegar are most famous in America. It was introduced to the Americans by the Jewish immigrants. Dill pickles are best paired with sandwiches.
Keywords: Pickles, Culture, Brine, Vinegar, Preserves