LIT college students develop new natural spice extracts, capsules

NAGPUR: Two master of technology students of have developed four new from ginger, red chilli, turmeric, curry leaves, and a mixture of fenugreek and stevia that could be used as food additives.
Liquid extract of curry leaves, chilli, ginger, and turmeric can be used during off-season and have a longer shelf life as compared to when the spices are used in their natural form. Similarly, the capsules made from the mixture of stevia and fenugreek have nutritional values and maybe used by health conscious or diabetes patients.

Final-year chemical engineering students Ravina Sonone and Chirag Chandaliya said concentration and ease of application is the main advantage of their product.

Their guide, associate professor Shekhar Pandharipande, believes that curry leaves’ extract is a rare discovery while other products too have immense potential to add flavour to each morsel.

Ravina, who belongs to Yavatmal, worked on chilli, curry leaves, ginger rhizomes and turmeric. Her study on ginger is still underway, while she successfully developed the extracts having medical properties, increased potential and lower inert (unwanted) material.

Sonone said the products would come handy when the spices are not available in market. “But they have the potential to replace the original products too. If produced on large scale, the cost would come down. Storage too won’t be an issue,” she said.

Regarding ginger, she said the currently available products were too costly and she would work to bring down the price.

Chirag, who is from Aurangabad and plans to set up a packaged food unit there, said his mixture of stevia and fenugreek can be added to any beverage, chocolate, candies, sweet dishes etc as sugar substitute. “Stevia doesn’t have any nutritional value while fenugreek is rich in medical properties but bitter in taste. The mixture now made in capsule form overcomes both the shortcomings,” he said.

Pandharipande said the innovation in curry leaves is unique. “As far as I know, no work was done on curry leaves. We were able to retain taste and scientific ingredients after the experiment. There are always chances of losing the balance between ingredients and taste in labs,” he said.

He added that the products need to be further explored but in the given set up excellent results were achieved. “At undergraduate level, we had attempted but couldn’t succeed,” he recalled.

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