"We have standardised the process of making high value paper from the Banana fibre. The paper has has been tested in the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology," Dr B N Kolambe, a scientist at Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) told PTI.
"During the research it was found that paper made out of this fibre has shelf life of over 100 years as it is the strongest of the long fibres ever found amidst natural fibres. It can be folded for as many as 3,000 times," he said.
"This fibre has the potential to find application in making of the paper required for the printing of currency notes," Kolambe said.
According to references in few leading journals we found that Japan uses Banana fibre to manufacture the paper required to print its currency Yen, he said.
Seconding his views, a RBI official said, "Banana fibre as an input raw material could be the secret behind the lasting currency of Japan, whereas the Indian currency is quite prone to getting soiled during transactions and has lower shelf life."
In the present set up, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPCMIL) imports very high grade quality cotton rags and pulp to manufacture the paper required for currency, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
"If there is an indigenous alternative available which can reduce nation's dependence on imports of cotton rags, then possibility of its introduction should be explored," the RBI official said.
SPCMIL, manufactures the paper on which the printing of Indian currency notes takes place and then circulates it amongst the various secured printing units across the country."The commercial application of Banana fibre is viable as its availability is not a constraint. It is generated from stem of the plant which usually goes as waste and has no other application", Kolambe said.
"We estimate that from one hectare of Banana cultivation about 600 to 800 kilogram of fibre shall be available," he added.
The university has filed five different patents from various usage of Banana plant, which includes making of yarn for textiles, paper and candy.
The NAU has submitted the findings of its research on Banana plant to the National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP), quoting the reference from journals on Japan using Banana fibre to manufacture its currency Yen.
The project on Banana was funded by Indian Council of Agriculture Research. NAU was the lead university and CIRCOT, J K Paper Mills, Mantra Textile Institute, Surat were partners in the project with specific roles.