The Telegraph
Thursday , November 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

New tech for tea industry

Jorhat, Nov. 21: The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, is planning to apply shockwave technology to the tea industry, which scientists feel could bring about a revolution.

The institute is likely to work jointly with tea scientists to apply the technology soon.

“The application of shockwave technology could cut down the cost of making tea as well as help in increasing production in the long run,” an official of the Indian Institute of Plantation Management here told The Telegraph today.

The institute recently held a discussion at Tocklai Experimental Station here, with IISc scientists and tea scientists of Assam about the possibility of applying shockwave technology to the tea industry. Several planters were also present at the programme.

Shockwaves have been historically associated with supersonic flight, wherein waves are produced when an object moves at speeds of more than 8,000 km per hour.

At present, the nearly instantaneous changes in fluid velocity and pressure produced by these waves have been utilised to develop many innovative techniques, especially in biotechnology applications.

Prof. G. Jagadeesh, a senior scientist at IISc (department of aerospace engineering) told The Telegraph over phone from Bangalore that the tea industry could be a possible field to apply the technology.

“Shockwave technology could be applied to the tea processing unit. It could also help kill major pests, prepare land for cultivation, minimise overall time of withering and other costs in the tea factories,” Jagadeesh said.

He said the technology has already been applied to extract oil from sandalwood, which is less time-consuming and also used in bio-medial applications successfully.

IISc has also used the technology to design a needle-free drug delivery device for the first time in India, which will use supersonic shock waves for painless delivery of medicines. “Our institute has eight patents in various fields where these technologies have been applied with success,” Jagadeesh said.

He said it would be too early to say as to how the technology could help the tea industry unless a proper study was carried out jointly with tea scientists.

“We are willing to conduct research with tea scientists and we are sure the technology would be a great help to the industry,” he said.

C.D.K. Roy, manager, Bukhial tea estate, who had attended the discussions at Tocklai, said that there are various problems faced by the industry, which could be sorted out by proper scientific study. “IISc is willing to help the industry to make it easy to prepare the perfect cup and it is a very positive development,” Roy said.

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