Creating wealth from waste, the CTCRI way

The ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) has come up with a solution which illustrates how wealth is created out of something that is normally dumped as waste.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institute based at Sreekaryam here has developed protocols for transforming waste generated in the production of starch and sago from cassava (tapioca) into a nutrient-rich organic manure.

Rigorous tests have proven that it can serve as a substitute for chemical fertilisers, according to CTCRI scientists.

Starch and sago are the two most important value-added products developed from cassava tubers. Once the starch is extracted, production units are left with effluents and a solid residue which is known as 'thippi.'

“Management of 'thippi' poses a serious problem for cassava starch factories. It has a foul smell and the leachate from 'thippi' heaps can pollute the environment,” Dr. K. Susan John, a Principal Scientist with the Crop Production Division, CTCRI, who developed the technology, said.

This residual matter, with a wide carbon-nitrogen ratio of 82:1, is poor in nutrient content and therefore finds no use. What the CTCRI has managed to do is develop techniques to compost the waste, turning it into a nutrient-rich organic manure.

Field tests on cassava crop over two seasons have shown the ‘thippi’-based manure to be an able substitute for chemical fertlisers, Dr. Susan John, whose specialisation is in soil science, said.

“Though tapioca is cultivated widely in Kerala, it finds industrial use more in Tamil Nadu, especially for preparing starch, and from it value-added products such as sago. But disposal of the the residual 'thippi' is a major problem,” she said.

Over the years, the CTCRI has developed several high-yielding varieties of tropical tuber crops, especially cassava and sweet potato varieties.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 8:57:09 PM |

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