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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.
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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)
Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."
Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.
The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: National hero of Barbados, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Prince Charles, Barbado, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister, Rihanna)
By Manav Bhatia
It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore. Manav Bhatia, Founder Trunkin shares some tablescapes for the season
Christmas Tablescapes: Whether it's cherry red tablecloths or plush green napkin rings, there's something for everyone. Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year.
Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year. | Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash
Finish it off with Royalty: Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. Jewelled beads in the centre of a napkin ring surrounded by metal carving can be combined in a variety of forms and sizes and gives a touch of glamour.
Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. | Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Touch of Smoke: Winter is the season when evening decor is especially important for parties, get-togethers, and bonfires. Colours in grey and ivory combine night with the day. Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening.
Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening. | Pxhere
Smearing of Wood: Nature's finish using ferns and drift wood for decor instead of flowers add to the winter feels.
Wall Hangings: Embroidered and beaded hangings add a touch of elegance and are traditional accessories for Christmas. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Wall Hangings, Wood, Winter, Smoke, Royalty, Christmas, Festivities, Perfect Setting)
Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the nerve of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye, which is known as intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve which is responsible for sending images to the brain. If the damage worsens, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even total blindness within a few years. According to WHO, there are different kinds of glaucoma, though, the two most common are, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and slow and asymptomatic onset, and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common, yet more acute. Hence, it is important for everybody over the age of 40 years to have a regular eye check-up.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. There are various options available to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. Depending upon the need of the patient, doctor may recommend combinations of eye drops, but it is of utmost importance to use the drops on a regular basis. However, consulting a specialist should be the first priority if diagnosed with glaucoma, but most of the population will first opt for home remedies then will consult chemists' shops for medicines and if the issue is still not resolved then will they think of a specialist. There is a need to modify the mindset of the people and when it comes to sensory organs zero negligence rule should be followed.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Awareness is the key to managing Glaucoma better. The need of the hour is to include eye care as part of the health check-up. Timely detection of Glaucoma will lead to proper medication and diagnosis by an Ophthalmologist. Talking about prevention, early detection will help in managing glaucoma before significant damage occurs. Glaucoma can be because of genetics as well hence knowing the family's eye history is important. Regular and moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure also eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high pressure will progress to glaucoma.
Also, there are few home remedies that anyone can follow to avoid glaucoma. Consuming healthy food, using eyewear, avoiding head-down position, keeping oral hygienic, and protecting eyes from sunlight are a few of such remedies. One should be mindful of the fact that Glaucoma is irreversible blindness and awareness can help us in fighting it. Depending on the condition an Ophthalmologist may prescribe an oral medication or may suggest therapies. In severe conditions, doctors can also recommend surgeries like Laser therapy, Filtering surgery, Drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: eye disorder, eye, India, World Health Organisation, blindness , foggy vision, eye redness, Glaucoma, Ophthalmologist