Solan-based research centre develops apple seed extractor

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, September 15

Separating seed from apple for germination on a large scale will now become easier as the Solan-based Centre of All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (PHET) at Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, has developed an apple seed extractor.

Scientists from the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST) had begun research work in 2012 to find a solution to the problem of low germination capacity and for the availability of good quality seeds for raising apple seedlings. Rigorous experimentation across four years, involving several modifications in the designs, led the scientists to finally achieve success in 2016.

Dr KD Sharma, Professor and Head of the Department of FST, said Dr Devina Vaidya, Dr Manisha Kaushal, Dr Anil Verma and Anil Gupta worked tirelessly to improve the efficacy of the machine.

Thereafter, field trials were conducted at nurseries and farmers' fields in Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts to gauge its efficiency. A patent application was filed in 2018 after receiving positive results from the trails. The patent was published last year.

Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice Chancellor, said, "Since the apple business in the state is worth than Rs 5,000 crore, one lakh new plants are planted every year. This machine helps in efficiently and safely removing seeds."

The machine will prove to be a boon to the apple growers. "The seeds are protected against mechanical damage owing to the presence of water in the centrifugation chamber which cushions the seeds and ensures their gentle removal. The viability of these seeds is up to 89.9 per cent, and the seedlings produced from these seeds are true to type," said Dr KD Sharma.

He added, "The limitation of seed separation from pomace after juice processing has also been overcome. This process was cumbersome as most of the seeds were crushed during grating and pressing of apple fruits, resulting in poor germination potential of seeds of as less as 45-50 per cent."

It weighs 53.5 kg and can be fabricated for Rs 30,000. It costs less than Rs 6 to run this machine for an hour. Chemicals to soften the apple core to release the seeds, will no longer be required.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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