Q.1 Sir, could you please tell our readers about the market potential for the processing of Citrus-based products?

Citrus fruits are known for various benefits including their nutrient value; Vitamin-C which is best for the immune system of an individual. Considering the current scenario of COVID-19 and instructions by the World Health Organization, citrus fruits are high in demand for all age groups, as it is a great immune booster and provides natural antioxidants. Processing of citrus can make it available for off-seasons by increasing its shelf life and can be marketed in ready-to-eat forms. Another factor in the growth of the citrus industry is its nature of reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.

Citrus flavors are becoming increasingly popular in the food and beverage business. The most appealing and popular citrus flavors among consumers and manufacturers are lemon, orange, lime, and mandarin. This demand can be fulfilled by citrus-based products. Essential oil from the citrus peel has various qualities that make it useful in aromatherapy and herbal medicine, including antibacterial, anti-acne, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant.

The growth of the food and beverage industry as well as the increasing demand for fruit juice in every corner of the world is the factor driving the global expansion of citrus juice concentrated products. Citrus juice concentrates are three to seven times concentrated, resulting in very small quantities as compared to raw fruit juices.

Q.2 Could you please tell us about the support and facilities provided by ICAR-Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur to micro food processing enterprises?

ICAR-CCRI, Nagpur has the Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) project under NAIF which provides the basic training and skill development training to start-ups working on the value addition of citrus fruits. The institute has developed technologies for the production of ready-to-serve (RTS) beverages from acid lime juice; carbonated beverages from acid lime juice and Nagpur mandarin juice; production of acid lime nutri-gelly, etc. One start-up is already taking training under the ABI on the development of nutri-jelly from acid lime. ICAR-CCRI also provides facilities for flavonoid analysis used in the commercial extraction of hesperidin from citrus dropped fruits and services for enhancing the shelf life of fresh citrus fruits, for processed products, and analytical services for flavonoids and limonoids. With the help of the ABI project of the institute, there are immense opportunities for micro food processing enterprises to scale up their new ventures.

Q.3 What are the major value-added products that can be made from citrus processing?

There is a wide range of products that can be made from citrus fruits. Some major value-added products are viz. ready-to-serve (RTS) beverages, canned juices, juice concentrates, squash, juice powder, crush, cordial, carbonated beverage, canned mandarin segments, jam, marmalade, wine, pickles, santra barfi, etc. Further, waste from the citrus processing can be utilized for the preparation of different value-added products viz. peel oil, pectins, peel candy, carotenoid pigments, flavonoids, seed oil, encapsulated flavor, dry juice vesicles, cattle feed, citric acid, etc.

Q.4 Could you please tell us about the citrus based research and development carried out by ICAR - Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur and the interesting research outcomes that you have come across in all these years?

The following table consists of citrus-based products developed at ICAR - Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur:

S. No.

Product Name


Acid Lime RTS

RTS drinks were prepared from Acid lime. Acid lime is a rich source of ascorbic acid, pectin, citric acid, and minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Juice and Sugar syrup to maintain TSS of RTS 14˚Bx. As a class II preservative, 100 ppm of Potassium metabisulphite (KMS) is added to it and mixed and filled into PET bottles.


Acid Lime Fizzy Drink

Carbonation is the process of mixing sufficient CO2 with water. The juice is extracted and pasteurized (90oc, 10 sec).  The syrup is prepared with the addition of citric acid (0.25%). The mixture of acid lime juice, sugar syrup (16oBx in the final product), and potassium meta-bisulphite (second class preservative) is filled into PET bottles. PET bottles are filled with carbonated water and sealed immediately to avoid carbon dioxide loss.

Nagpur Mandarin Squash

Beverages when prepared from cloudy natural juice, are called ‘squash’. As per FSSAI specifications, squash contains minimum 25% juice, total soluble solids not less than 40%, 1.2-1.5% acidity, and preserved with sulphur dioxide using potassium meta-bi-sulphite (NMT 350ppm)




Lime juice cordial is prepared from clarified lime juice as a popular fruit beverage. The method of preparation is similar to that of squash preparation.  In cordial sparkling, the clear juice is used with pectolytic enzyme (1%). Mixing is carried out with sugar syrup (45%), preservative, permitted colour and essence. The mixture is filtered and stored for further 4 days at room temperature. The supernatant is taken and filtered to present lime juice cordial.


Acid Lime Squash

As per FSSAI specifications, squash contains minimum 25% juice, total soluble solids not less than 40%, 1.2 -1.5% acidity and preserved with sulphur dioxide using potassium meta-bi-sulphite (NMT 350ppm). Squash can be made from pulpy juice of any citrus fruit.


Candy (Nagpur Mandarin and Sweet Orange)

Fruits are blanched for 2 minutes in water at 800C. They are then cut into a ring shape and dipped in syrup with citric acid and kept for equilibration overnight until the total soluble solid content of the syrup is stabilized. Then, the syrup is drained and the drying of the candy is done at ambient condition for 48 hrs. The samples are vacuum-packed into polyethylene bags and stored.

Nagpur Mandarin Ice-cream


The ice-cream matrix might be a good vehicle for citrus juice and pulp, due to its nutritional composition. Milk cream, skimmed milk powder, sugar, milk, stabilizer, and emulsifier are initially blended to form a uniform mixture. Then, it is pasteurized and homogenized. This mixture is then left overnight for ageing at 40C. Then, color, flavor, juice/pulp is added and the entire mixture is poured into an aeration machine where low temperature is maintained. After rotation in the vessel, ice cream is ready to be served in cups.

Nagpur Mandarin Burfi


An estimated 54% of India’s milk production is converted into products, both traditional and western, with a 50% share of traditional products. Nowadays, barfi is incorporated with orange pulp and zest having high demand. It is prepared by addition of juice, pulp, and zest to give a specific orange flavor and also add nutritional value to traditional Burfi.


Carbonated Beverages

Carbonation is the process of mixing sufficient CO2 with water or beverages so that when served, the product gives off the gas in the form of fine bubbles and has the characteristic pungent taste suitable to the beverage carbonated. It is prepared by the carbonation of plane water with CO2 at a low temperature using a carbonation unit. This carbonated water is added to pre-filled bottles by syrup concentrate in a similar manner as the concentration in RTS beverage. For Nagpur Mandarin juice beverages, juice percentage will be 10-15%. 



It is prepared by boiling orange extract, orange juice with sugar, pectin, citric acid and orange peel. Thin slices of flavedo of whole citrus fruits are boiled in water for 2-3 minutes at 90-100 °C to remove their bitterness and also to make them soft. This soft and pre-treated peel is used in marmalade. 


Peel Candy

The nutritional benefits of citrus fruit peels can be utilized by the preparation of peel candy. The method of osmotic dehydration is used to remove water from the blanched peel. Sugar syrup is used as an osmotic agent.



Pectin is widely used as a food additive (E440) with gelling and stabilizing properties in jams, jellies, marmalades, milks and confectionery products. Citrus peel and pulp are a rich source of pectin so these can be utilized for production of pectin.


Essential Oils

The flavedo portion of citrus peel contains a varying range of essential oils. These essential oils can be separated by cold press and hydro-distillation methods from citrus peel and can be used as a flavouring agent in citrus-based products. It also has applications in medicinal and cosmetic usage.



Hesperidin and Naringin


Citrus peels are a rich source of flavonoids in which hesperidin and naringin are major compounds. Flavonoids are a class of polyphenolic secondary metabolites found in plants, and thus commonly consumed in the diet of human beings. Dropped citrus small fruit (Mandarin and Sweet orange) contains 10-20% hesperidin and in the peel, it is found in up to 1%. Naringin is dominant in grapefruit and pummelo fruits. So this citrus fruit waste can be utilized for flavonoid extraction.

Q.5 With the immense experience that you have gathered over the period, how do you think the PMFME Scheme would be able to empower micro food processing enterprises?

Taking cognizance of the contribution of the unorganized micro food processing enterprises and the challenges that impede their performance, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has launched the “PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme” through a package support and services like Capacity Building of entrepreneurs through technical knowledge, skill training and hand holding support services; increased access to credit to existing micro food processing entrepreneurs for technology upgradation; support to Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), Producers Cooperatives & Cooperative Societies along their entire value chain to enable microenterprises to avail common services etc. Further, the PMFME Scheme extends support for transition of existing enterprises into a formal framework for registration under regulatory framework and compliance; integration with organized supply chain by strengthening branding & marketing; Creation of Common Infrastructure etc. The two national level food processing technology institutions under MOFPI, National Institute for Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Kundli (NIFTEM-K) and National Institute for Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur (NIFTEM-T) are given the responsibility to spearhead capacity building and research. Training to individual and group beneficiaries will focus on entrepreneurship development, essential functions of enterprise operations, book keeping, registration, FSSAI standards, Udyog Aadhar, GST registration, general hygiene, packaging, marketing etc. Surely, this scheme will boost and promote the small scale food processing enterprises which will create job opportunities and wealth creation for our nation.

Q.6 What would be your advice to aspiring food processing entrepreneurs?

In recent past, Government of India has provided many schemes for promotion of the food processing sector and to provide financial support to start-ups. Individuals should come forward to set up small scale industries with proper training. Aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs who can help villagers and farmers to create awareness for the development of food products, can empower tribal and farmers by purchasing raw material directly from them and utilize branding and digital marketing. Entrepreneurs/Agri-preneurs have opportunities to develop value-added products and cost effective processing setups (solar driers, sorting machinery, etc.) or provide value-added and cost effective solutions to farmers like developing efficient and safe harvesting methods. Therefore, entrepreneurs must come forward to implement technologies that promote small scale industrial activity.

About Dr. Dilip Ghosh

Dr. Dilip Ghosh, Director, ICAR-CCRI, Nagpur, received his Masters and Ph.D degree in Plant Pathology specializing in Plant Virology from ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, and subsequently joined ICAR-CCRI, as a Scientist in 1995. He has made a significant contribution in the area of Citrus Pathology/Virology and citriculture. His research team has successfully implemented the Citrus Budwood Certification program and developed about fifty lakhs of disease-free certified planting material of different citrus cultivars for the citrus growers of the country. He has developed PCR/ Real time-PCR/ Duplex PCR/IC-PCR-based diagnostics of Citrus greening, Citrus tristeza virus, Citrus yellow mosaic virus, Indian Citrus ring spot virus, Exocortis viroid, and Citrus Phytoplasma for rapid and sensitive detection of these systemic pathogens in infected citrus plants.

He has developed and released five Citrus varieties viz. Cutter Valencia, US Pumelo-145, Flame Grapefruit, Nagpur Mandarin Seedless-4 and NRCC Pumelo-5 for commercial cultivation in India. He identified Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis as the causal organism of the Witches' Broom Disease of acid lime (WBDL) in India (New world report). Similarly, he was responsible for the first reportage of the hop stunt viroid infection of citrus in India. His research team is also working on the development of novel antimicrobials/therapeutics and also in the area of Genetic engineering for developing virus-resistant transgenic citrus plants. Dr. Ghosh has received numerous accolades including the Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award 2005 as a multidisciplinary team of scientists for outstanding contribution in the field of citrus production and processing.

About ICAR-Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur

ICAR – Central Citrus Research Institute (ICAR-CCRI), an ISO 9001:2015 certified research institute on citrus crops came into existence as a follow-up to the recommendations of the task force appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India to investigate the problem of citrus decline in Central India. The recommendation of the task force was further endorsed by Dr. D.J. Hutchison, a UNDP consultant and QRT of IIHR, Bengaluru to start focused research on citrus in Central India.

The foundation stone of the Citrus Research Station under IIHR, Bengaluru was formally laid at Amravati Road site, Nagpur by Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, the then Hon’ble Defence Minister, Government of India on 28th July, 1985. The station was upgraded to National Research Centre for Citrus in April, 1986 and was up scaled to an institutional level and renamed Central Citrus Research Institute (CCRI) in October, 2014. The Institute’s Regional Research Centre for Citrus (RRCC) started functioning in March, 2017 at Biswanath Chariali, Assam.


  • Basic, strategic, and applied research on crop improvement, sustaining productivity, crop protection, and utilization of citrus.
  • Repository for genetic resources and scientific information on citrus.
  • Nodal Centre for training, quarantine, certification, and supply of disease-free planting material of citrus.

Citrus nursery at CCRI, Nagpur is the only 5-star rated nursery in the country with an indexing facility for 6 important citrus pathogens namely-Tristeza, Citrus Mosaic, Ringspot, Exocortis, citrus greening and Phytoplasma. The Nursery Protocol Technology was commercialized with 8 nursery owners. CCRI is functioning as the Co-ordinating Centre for Citrus Research under AICRP (Fruits) since 2014. The Institute launched a mobile app on ‘Citrus’ in English, Hindi and Marathi on 10th February, 2017 for fast and accurate dissemination of the latest technologies among the farming community and the clientele groups.

(Content shared by ICAR-Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the above guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.