Indigenous resin to filter bitterness from orange

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Nagpur, Oct 29 (UNI) The city-based National Research Centre for Citrus (NRCC) is making efforts to develop an indigenous variety of resin, that will filter out the bitterness from the famous Nagpur mandarin orange.

Speaking to newspersons here today, NRCC Director Dr Shyam Singh said a resin called XAD-16 RPT XAD-16 had been developed in the US for the same, but using it was very expensive.

Research was, therefore, on at NRCC to develop the technology in India so that it was available at a cheaper price, he said.

Nagpur mandarins or its juice were not very popular abroad as the bitterness was too high, Dr Singh said. One of the methods to counter this was to blend its juice with that of some other, sweeter citrus fruit like sweet orange (mosambi) or grape, he said.

However, blended juice was not allowed to be sold in US, although it was accepted in some countries in Europe, the NRCC Director said.

Dr Singh said it would require considerable research to develop a transgenic variety of Nagpur mandarin with lesser or no bitterness.

''However, it is not possible to do so immediately because we at NRCC are working in the field right now. Besides, the research would require considerable technological inputs and infrastructure, which we do not have access to right now,'' he said.

NRCC was also thinking of developing an indigenous 'pre-immunisation technology' to help citrus plants build resistance to diseases through the 'vector' method, Dr Singh said. ''Under the technology, vectors, or insects, are released over plants with mild strains of a virus. Once the insects infect themselves, they are released over 'healthy' plants to infect them with the mild strain in turn. The plants, thus, develop resistance to virus itself. This is similar to inoculation of children for protection against diseases,'' he said, adding that the technology was already being used in Brazil, the world's largest producer of citrus.

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