Development of processing technologies to add value to tuber crops and machinery for cost effective processing are the major activities of the Division. Technologies were standardized for making value added snack foods from tuber crops and commercialized to small scale entrepreneurs .Innovative technologies like bioethanol from Cassava, high fructose syrup from cassava starch, cold water miscible starch , solid adhesive for bonding applications, superabsorbant polymers, functional pasta products with low glycaemic index, leaf protein concentrate for fish feed, minimally processed cassava and elephant foot yam have been developed. Processing machinery like chipping machines, raspers, starch extraction units and feed granulators are in constant demand from clients.
With the rapidly changing life style of the people of India and the increased rate of migration to urban areas, there is a projected increase in the consumption of processed foods. Tuber crops especially cassava and sweet potato are amenable to processing and diversified value added products could be made from them. Besides, the high starch content of cassava makes it an ideal industrial crop for the manufacture of starch and starch based products like ethanol. The declining consumption of cassava and sweet potato in the form of cooked/baked tubers in various States, leading to shrinkage of area under these crops in India coupled with above positive processing attributes led to the development of several novel food and industrial products by the team. These are listed product-wise below:
- Value added fried snack foods (numbering ten) with enhanced nutritive value were developed from cassava flour, and four products have been given branded name and were popularized through exhibitions, training programmes etc. Sale of these products was initiated at CTCRI and henceforth has helped in revenue generation.
- Functional snack foods with high protein and high dietary fiber having prophylactic and therapeutic applications for diabetes, obesity and constipation etc. were developed from cassava flour. These include high protein and high fiber mini-papads, cassava popups etc.
- Pasta was developed as a novel instant cooking food item from cassava and sweet potato. Technology was perfected for the production of protein and dietary fiber enriched pasta from cassava and sweet potato. Besides, functional pasta having betanin and carotene were developed from cassava and orange-fleshed sweet potato which have high medicinal value due to the antioxidant potential. The products will be patented shortly to speed up commercialization
- An improved technology for making fried cassava chips having light color and crisp but soft texture was perfected and commercialized to two firms in Kerala. MoU signed with M/s Tierra Food Pvt. Ltd. Kerala to transfer the technology through the Institute Technology Management Unit.
- Quick cooking dehydrated cassava and Amorphophallus tubers were developed to reduce bulk during export and to increase the shelf life of the product with a cooking time of only 2-3min.