Moon man of India, Dr. Mylswamy, and NRCB, Trichy, come together to create a circular economy by using banana waste



In Tamil Nadu, banana is cultivated in more than one lakh hectares and more than 10 million tons of waste is generated after the harvest of bunches. To manage this humongous quantity of biowaste, a major initiative was launched by the National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy, in partnership with Dr. Mylswamy Annadurai, the Moon man of India, who is now the Vice President of Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology (TNSCST), Government of Tamil Nadu and Former Director, Indian Space Research Organization. Dr Mylswamy brought together academia, ICAR-NRC Banana, IIIT- DM, Kancheepuram and Industry Gencrest, Mumbai, as partners to manage this huge banana waste. At a function held at the NRCB, Trichy, on 10.2.21, an MoA was signed to develop pilot scale machinery for extracting more than three tons of banana fiber every day and utilize the sap, central stem and scutcher for producing a variety of products. On the occasion, Dr. Mylswamy recalled his association with the landmark Moon and Mars mission projects of the ISRO and wished to contribute his might towards sustainable waste management in banana. He highlighted that banana cultivation produces approximately 80 million tons of pseudostem waste per year, but it was not used well despite its huge industrial potential. He mentioned that banana fiber could be used in textiles and scutcher waste generated after extracting the fiber could be used as acoustic and aircraft panels and self-healing composites. He asked the industry partner Gencrest to adopt the products developed by the NRCB like central stem-based juices, biscuits, etc. for large scale production in view of their nutraceutical potential. He felt that this collaborative venture will hugely benefit the banana farmers in multiple ways and mentioned about the use of banana sap as an organic liquid nutrient for enhancing the yield of fruits and vegetables and further reducing the carbon footprint.

Dr. S. Uma, Director, ICAR-NRC for Banana, addressed the gathering and emphasized the need for latest technologies for waste utilization to promote a circular economy by converting waste into innovative, high value products. She highlighted the potential use of banana central core stem as a suitable candidate for the development of future food and functional foods as more than 150 tons of central stem will come out during the extraction of the fiber. During the occasion, Dr. Ravindra Naik, Principal Scientist from ICAR-CIAE, Coimbatore, demonstrated the high throughput semi-automatic fiber extraction on-farm machine which was developed by ICAR- CIAE Regional Centre, Coimbatore, in collaboration with ICAR-NRC Banana, Trichy, with technical support of industry based at Coimbatore. Dr. Ravindran and his team from Gencrest and Dr. Raghu from IITDM, scientists and staffs of the institute attended the meeting. Dr. Ravi, Principal Scientist, welcomed the gathering and Dr. P. Suresh Kumar, Principal Scientist, proposed a vote of thanks.




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