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  December 1999    

News from India's CFTRI
The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore, India - one of some 40 laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India - has been associated with the UNU for more than 20 years. During the past two decades, numerous trainees from ASEAN countries have studied at CFTRI on UNU Fellowships, primarily in the areas of appropriate food science and nutrition technologies for developing countries and entrepreneurship development.

According to Dr. V. Prakash, CFRTI Director, "Every year we take a number of students as recommended by the United Nations University, and train them in the area of food science and technology. The problems that are selected by these students pertain to their own countries and interactions with the agencies which can further their programmes."

On 11 May 1999, CFTRI celebrated India's National Technology Day in an innovative fashion by releasing to entrepreneurs several technologies that have been developed at the institute. These technologies, ranging from time-tested manufacturing techniques for several popular food products to the institute's recently developed automatic Dosa and Chapathi machines, were transferred through licensing agreements to local entrepreneurs.

The day also saw the launch of CFTRI's "Pioneer's Gallery," featuring photographs of such eminent and pioneer Indian scientists and innovators as Sir C.V. Raman, Sir J.C. Bose, Sir M. Viswesvarayya, and Dr. S.S. Bhatnagar. "The gallery reminds us how these innovators did fabulous research of more from less," said CFTRI Director Prakash.

Following in this pioneer spirit, CFTRI has recently developed a number of useful technologies and efficient processes for the rural sector. These include development of:

  • A low-cost sambar mix using defatted soya flour, and standardization of a process for the commercial manufacture of the instant mix. Sambar forms an essential part of the daily diet of many low-income Indian households. CFTRI commissioned four trial plants and trained 45 personnel in production of the sambar mix in rural areas of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. This project was funded by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

  • An innovative, efficient, low-cost technique for extracting commercially viable amounts of astaxanthin from a green alga as an alternative to and augmentation of the traditional source, shrimp waste. Astaxanthin is an important source of pigmentation for preparation of attractively coloured products by fish and poultry meat producers. The CFTRI method, which is being patented, treats the algal cells with acids and then extracts the pigment using suitable solvents.

  • The mini dhall mill, a small-scale pulse processing unit that can dehull conditioned pulse (seeds) and separate the husk and broken pieces from the clean dhal. The unit runs on a 1-horsepower motor and can process from 100 to 120 kilograms of bengal gram, peas, soybeans, etc. per hour, making it suitable for rural conditions. Some 100 mills have been distributed to selected beneficiaries, including NGOs, self-help groups and farm and village cooperatives, in seven states. This project was funded by the UNDP and the Government of India's National Technology Mission on Oil Seeds, Pulses and Maize.

  • An integrated automated sunflower seed dehuller that includes a pre-cleaner, grader, de-stoner, de-corticator, and air cleaner. Development of the dehuller, which produces export-quality kernels and helps in manufacturing good-quality poultry feed, was funded by the National Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize. ? Standardized laboratory-scale protocols for processing, packaging and storing 25 commercially important vegetables so that they retain a state of "near freshness." The CFTRI-developed technique enables the vegetables to be stored without spoilage for from 10 to 30 days, versus just 1 to 4 days under natural conditions. The protocols were developed under a research project funded by the India Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

UNU/INWEH targets continued network and project development Contents 1999 trade report released at UNU/WIDER