IIT KGP researchers develop betel leaf oil extractor

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Kolkata, Apr 10 (PTI) Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a novel betel leaf oil extraction technology that can improve the efficiency of the process and reduce wastage, an official said on Saturday.

The extractor is capable of saving 30 per cent of energy and increasing the betel oil yield by more than 16 per cent, as compared to the current process and apparatus popularly used.

However, the extraction processes suffer from low economic viability and wastage in the value chain of betel leaves, an IIT Kharagpur spokesperson said.

Addressing this issue, Professor Proshanta Guha and his research group from IIT Kharagpur's Agricultural and Food Engineering Department have developed the technology.

Describing the equipment, Guha said, 'It is a distillation unit with special modifications for recycling evaporated water which carries the vapour of essential oil from the distillation flask to the condensation unit.

'The extractor is affordable to the betel leaf growers as the cost of its assembling and fabrication is estimated at Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 for 10-litre and 20-litre units respectively.' Extracted oil from betel leaves has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties and is used in the manufacturing of medicines and cosmetics.

'The extractor could be easily maintained by the small farmers. About 10-20 ml of essential oil can be extracted by a person a day using an extractor in three shifts. The price of the oil varies from Rs 30,000 to about Rs 1,00,000 depending on the quality,' Guha added. PTI SUS BDC BDC