Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, visited the first production facility created by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, under the project“Value Chain Citrus Development” at Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Research Complex for North–East Region, Jharnapani earlier this week. The Minister, while addressing the scientists and staff working at the facility, appreciated the efforts being made by them in providing value addition by biotechnological intervention in the production of citrus products in Nagaland.
Dr Harsh Vardhan was apprised about the preliminary study that has revealed that the quality of Ready–to–Serve(RTS) beverage and squash, prepared from Assam lemon following the protocols developed by IIT, Kharagpur,was of a very good quality and free from bitterness immediately after preparation. He was also informed that the steps for raising of rootstock seedlings in containerized nursery and wedge grafting in Khasi mandarin and Sweet orange have been standardized. Further, a large scale study of the enzymatic de–bittering of Assam lemon juice has also been successfully conducted. Fizzy drinks, Pectin Extraction, Juice concentrates by Flash Evaporation and Freeze Drying, Cold press and Hydro distilled peel oil have also been standardized by the facility and an innovative approach for preparation of carbonated drinks has been initiated.
The Minister, impressed with the research achievements under the project, encouraged the scientists to come up with new research ideas leading towards employment generation and development of North-East Region of India. He assured full cooperation of his Ministry for further enhanced R&D and extension initiatives in the region.