This mixture is shaken continuously for four to 16 hours and then centrifuged for 20 minutes.
Mumbai: Once you finish eating your favourite fruits, what do you do with their skin and seeds? Like every other individual, we dump the remains. But then there are people like Prof. Amit Arora of the Indian Institute of Bombay (IIT-B), who have decided to extract oil instead of contributing towards generating more waste. Mr Arora and his team have proposed a new cost-effective, zero-waste method of extracting oil from the seeds of tropical fruits like pomegranate, mangoes, oranges and cashew apples.
Talking to The Asian Age, He explained how processing the fruits would generate more waste in the future. “It is the central government's initiative to have more and more processing of fruits and vegetables. However, in the flip side of this initiative, this will generate huge amount of waste. Our idea is to generate high value products from these so called wastes through our developed green processes to extract very high value commodity,” he said.
This research began from pomegranate seeds, which is India's number one production. “In India, Maharashtra ranks first in producing pomegranates with a yield of 2.3 million tones in 2016 alone,” Mr Arora added.
In the method, proposed by Mr Arora and his team of scientists, the seeds are dried, powdered and added to sodium phosphate and incubated for 10 minutes at 45 degree celsius. After this process, to break down the covering of the seeds, the enzyme protease is mixed that helps the seeds to release its oil. This mixture is shaken continuously for four to 16 hours and then centrifuged for 20 minutes. After this, clear layers of pure oil, proteins and fibres are formed, which can then be extracted.
The oil extracted from the pomegranate seeds has high medicinal value due to its anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic properties and the by-products obtained during the extraction are also rich in protein and dietary fibres. “Generally these wastes are dumped, but what we have failed to understand is the usage of these valuable compounds,” he concluded.