Move over rubber, eucalyptus is here. Abundantly grown all over the country, eucalyptus is set to give serious competition to rubber and other trees as wood suitable for furniture and other timber products, something similar to the imported Malaysian rubber that is now flooding the Indian market. Indian scientistsí efforts had so far failed to make eucalyptus wood a source of durable timber. But now researchers at the Kerala Forest Research Institute in Thrissur have found a unique method of doing so. By treating it with chemicals such as boric acid and borax and using vacuum pressure impregnation, eucalyptus can be rendered as durable and strong as teak, they claim. Moreover, such treatment can be carried out at the truckload level, making the process cheaper and simpler, says T.K. Dhamodaran, leader of the study. The work, appearing in a forthcoming issue of the journal, Bioresource Technology, is significant because many states in India that have taken to eucalyptus planting as a source of pulp, a raw material for the paper industry, have been struggling to find any use for it following a slump in the demand for pulp.
Making rasogollas was never so easy
Making rasogollas may soon become automatic. Researchers at the National Dairy Research Institute, Bangalore, and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University have mechanised the process of making this much-loved sweet, whose demand is projected to exceed 6000 tonnes in 2009. The base material for rasogolla is chhana, a product obtained by acid coagulation of hot milk and draining the whey. Traditionally, chhana is manually kneaded and cut into lumps, and then shaped into small balls. The scientists have mechanised the process of kneading and also developed a ball former, which is capable of producing 200 to 250 rasogollas a minute, they report in the June issue of the Journal of Food Engineering.