Production of Turmeric Powder From Fresh Turmeric Rhizomes by Innovative CSIR-CFTRI Method

a) Brief description of the innovation

CSIR-CFTRI process provides a newer method of turmeric processing. The process for obtaining turmeric powder directly from fresh turmeric rhizome has been achieved in a single step avoiding the labor-intensive batch type thermal treatment followed by drying in fields. This novel process enables the farmers to overcome labor & energy-intensive operation of cooking, which requires an enormous amount of agricultural fuel for boiling water and drying the cooked rhizomes for 20~25 days. This present novel process would encourage farmers, processors to think of mechanization the simplified process, which involves slicing of the rhizomes followed by drying all within 8 ~12 h, and reduce the cost of processing. Dried turmeric slices will have good keeping quality with a typical turmeric aroma and the finished hygienic turmeric powder is free from microbial load.

Advantages of this process are:

  • Reduction in drying time from several days (20-25 days) to a few hours (8-12 h) in case of the novel CSIR-CFTRI process.
  • Higher curcumin (20-25%) and volatile oil (40-50%) yield in the finished product from the novel CSIR-CFTRI process
  • Substantial decrease in labor cost because of a reduction in processing time.
  • Advantage of saving water 9000 KL of potable water per annum (45 L ton of turmeric rhizomes needs 9000K L at material to water ratio of 1:2)
  • Increased yield by 10% by the elimination of polishing of rhizomes. (Turmeric production is estimated at 9 lakh tons and polishing loss is ~ 10 which is about 90,000 MT).
  • Saving of 3,00,000 MT of agri-fuel by elimination of preliminary thermal treatment (cooking). For cooking fresh turmeric rhizomes 45 lakh tons consume 3,00,000 MT every year.
  • Novel CSIR-CFTRI process is hygienic, and products are free from microbial contamination

b) Technical challenges overcome

Hither to the process of conservation turmeric rhizomes to powder was time-consuming, energy intensive & labor-intensive. This also has the limitation of lower yield and lesser concentration of curcumin in the powder. This novel process helps production of turmeric powder directly from the fresh turmeric rhizome in a single step without labor-intensive, energy-intensive, time-consuming thermal treatment and prolonged drying in fields. The present process also provides scope for mechanization of the process. To add to the variation dried turmeric slices also have good keeping quality, with typical turmeric aroma and the finished hygienic turmeric powder, which is free from microbial load.

c) Positioning of innovation- is it an improvement over the existing one or a new one employing an original approach?

A significant improvement over existing traditional practice, which will provide an additional yield of 90,000 MT (based on current production figures) turmeric powder per year with a saving of 9000 KL of potable water, 3 Lakh MT of Agri-fuel in the country.

d) Comparative placement of the innovation in the specific area (National / International)

CSIR-CFTRI novel process is unique and there are no competing technologies existing elsewhere.

Table.1 Comparison of processes traditional and CSIR-CFTRI novel method
Process parameters Traditional process Novel method
Post -harvest storage in open fields 59 days 7 days
Loss 10-20% Polishing loss No polishing –no loss
Turmeric powder yield 80-90% 100%
Financial benefit Reduced return 10-20% additional
Cost of processing Rs. 75/kg Rs.78/kg
Hardship to the worker More NIL
Cooking/heat treatment of rhizomes Cooking rhizomes by use No cooking of rhizomes
of agri-fuel
Hygienic Practice Poor No human intervention as processed through machines

Fig.1 Quality parameters of Turmeric powders

e) Strategic impact

Indian Spice Industry is holding the top position in the world market in the export of spices and spice products. The IPR generated will not only provide technological and economic benefits to India, but also prevent undue exploitation offered unscrupulous agencies. In view of this, India will continue to be a global leader in the production of best quality/hygienic turmeric powder.

The results (Table.1 & Fig.1) clearly show the advantage of the novel technology in terms of high volatile oil content, curcumin content, & reduced total plate count.

Market potential

(a) Areas of application

Turmeric processing clusters/industries in India as well as processing units around the Globe

(b) What are the markets available for the innovation?

Turmeric processing by the traditional method is well established. Application of this technology is aimed at improving the overall productivity and thus innovation can be applied to upgrade the market potential.

(c) How is the CSIR-CFTRI planning to market the innovation?
  • Process know-hows developed and have already been transferred to 12 small and medium scale entrepreneurs including two Farmer clusters.
  • Many training/demonstration programmes under CSIR-800 has been at CSIR-CFTRI carried out to disseminate/popularize technology among turmeric growers (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka Tamil Nadu and Spice Board officials).
  • Also an MOU has been signed with a Turmeric cluster, Hardanahalli to establish turmeric processing center at Chamarajanagar District. Further, Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been submitted to M/s Kamadhenu Turmeric Growers Association, Haradanahalli, Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka to get required funds from NABARD
  • Also, we have conducted National Conference on Spices: Challenges and Opportunities (NCS-2017). About 300 participants including 100 farmers (Turmeric growers from various parts of the country) are participated in the conference. Turmeric process demonstrated in pilot scale and participants are well accepted this improved process.
  • Recently, Six days (January 18-23, 2021) Training programme to 50 Farmers on “Processing of Spices and Plantation Crops” under PM-FME Scheme sponsored by Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Karnatak and KAPPEC. The training programme was covered various aspects such as, overview of CFTRI technologies, specific to innovative turmeric precessing, and its value added products.
  • CSIR-CFTRI Participated in Capacity building program funded by NABARD on turmeric for FPO’s in Chamarajanagar district under PM-FME Scheme organized by College of Horticulture, Mysore, February 24th, 27th and 1st March 2021.

Fig.2 CSIR-CFTRI novel process demonstration to turmeric growers

(Content shared by Dr. M. Madhava Naidu, Chief Scientist & Head, Spice and Flavour Sciences, CSIR-CFTRI, Mysore)