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sexta-feira, 27 de abril de 2012

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University project seeks to extend shelf life of fruits

Arun P Mathew, TNN
COIMBATORE: The sight of rotten mangoes and bananas may soon be a thing of the past according to P Murugesa Boopathi, vice-chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). He was delivering the presidential address at the Inception Workshop of a two-year project pertaining to Enhanced Preservation of Fruits in South Asia, at the university on Tuesday. 

At present India is the second largest producer of fruits and stands first in producing mangoes, bananas, and a few other fruits. About 40 percent of our fruits are lost during transport and storage. To prevent this from happening, we are working on a project based on nanotechnology which will help increase the shelf-life of fruits," he said. 

K S Subramanian, head of the department of Nano Science and Technology, who is involved in the project said that the University of Guelph, Canada discovered that hexanal, a chemical extracted from plants could successfully enhance the shelf-life and quality of fruits and vegetables. A researcher at TNAU has come with a nano-film, he said. 

"A combination of these two technologies could help develop a nano film with hexanal, which will improve the longevity of these fruits.
Through this technology, around 30 percent of the losses could be avoided. This will improve the export of fruits and vegetables and increase the sales of fruits making farming more economically viable," he said. Subramanian said that they would first be applied on mangoes and later on other fruits, based on its success. 

He said that this will be an eco-friendly product. "Hexanal has been approved by United Statesbased, FDA ( Food and Drug Administration). This has gone through the most stringent process of verification. The chemical which will be packaged into a nano-film here which may be developed from bananas or coconuts and will be bio-degradable and eco-friendly," he stressed. 

Murugesa Boopathi said that the project which will be funded by the Canada-based International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) will be conducted in association with theUniversity of Guelph Canada, and the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), Sri Lanka. He said that they expect the project to bear fruit in two years. "We hope this will help farmers," he added.

Public Private Partnerships best for farmers 

Public Private Partnerships (PPP) will help agriculture sector to progress, said Vijayan Nair, director, Sugarcane Breeding Institute. He was delivering the keynote address to the industry meet of state agriculture universities, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to discuss possible collaboration between the industry and agricultural institutions at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). Vijayan said as farmers nowadays are willing to invest in technologies related to agriculture, the private sector can help in taking the developments to the farmers. P Subbian, registrar, TNAU, said "industries by cooperating with the academia can come up with solutions for farmers. They can take the developments of the academia to the markets."

Fonte: The Times of India