THE APPLICATION of tissue culture techniques and biotechnology in cultivating sugarcane is being mooted. While tissue culture techniques make the crop resistant to attacks of insects like shoot-borers, stem-borers, bacteria and virus, biotechnology ensures growth acceleration of the output.
Advocating the use of modern technologies in sugarcane harvest, joint secretary (Sugar) Dr Joy I Cheenath said India was second only to Brazil as a sugar producer but far behind the Latin American nation as an exporter. He said as the quality of Indian sugar did not match global standards it did not have a worldwide market.
In his presidential address at the 46th convocation of the National Sugar institute (NSI) here today, he said exports were affected as Indian sugar had high percentage of sulphur and was not white enough by global standards.
Dr Cheenath said it was the duty of technologists to reduce sulphur content in sugar and make it whiter to suit the export market.
He further said sugar industries should ensure profitable utilization of by-products like bagasse, molasses and press-mud as these products could fetch handsome revenue for the industry.
He advised that while stressing on raised production of sugar and its bio-products, due attention should be paid towards pollution control.
Water pollution was a major problem for the industry and steps should be taken to control it through biological control methods to make it reusable.
Referring to the research being done at the NSI to treat distillery spent-wash through bio-methanation and bio-compost would prove to be a major breakthrough. He suggested that technologists should now think of reverse osmosis, spent-wash concentration and incineration as future technologies to achieve zero discharge of effluent outside factory premises.
Earlier, NSI director Dr SK Gupta pressed for bring it within the ambit of national institutes of higher technical education and learning like IITs, central universities and select AICTE approved institutions so that it could also strengthen its infrastructure and faculty network.
He said the institute had got several patents based on researches on co-products of sugar industry.
Referring to ongoing research projects, Dr Gupta said scientists were working on projects to ensure white sugar with reduced percentage of sulphur, secondary and tertiary treatment of distillery effluent and on several other areas.