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Banana fiber paper for lasting currency notes

In Madhya Pradesh, the sixth Jalabhishek Abhiyan has begun from 10th April this year.

Banana FibreThe Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) in Gujarat has standardised a process of manufacturing high value paper from Banana fiber, which it claims has the property of making currency notes lasting for about a century. The paper has been tested in the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology. During the research, it was found that paper made out of this fiber has shelf life of over 100 years as it is the strongest of the long fibers ever found amidst natural fibers. It can be folded for as many as 3,000 times. According to Dr B N Kolambe, a scientist at Navsari Agriculture University this fiber has the potential to find application in making of the paper required for the printing of currency notes and other valuable documents".

banana fibre paperDr B N Kolambe said that according to references in few leading journals, he found that Japan uses Banana fiber to manufacture the paper required to print its currency Yen. He said the commercial application of Banana fiber 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". Dr. Kolambe said, we estimate that from one hectare of Banana cultivation about 600 to 800 kilogram of fiber shall be available.

banana plantThe 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 fiber to manufacture its currency Yen.

Banana is one of the most important fruit crops grown in India. After harvest of fruit, huge quantity of about 60 to 80 tones per hector of waste biomass (pseudostem, leaves, suckers etc.) is generated. Presently, this biomass is discarded as waste. Present project envisages development of effective value chain for efficient utilization of each and every component of banana pseudostem. Considerable work has been done in the field of direct use and product development from banana fruits. However, not much attention has been focused on effective utilization of the huge biomass generated in the form of pseudostem, leaves, suckers etc.

bananaIn India, presently this biomass is dumped on roadside or burnt or left in situ causing detrimental impact on environment. Though, the technologies for extraction of fibers and paper making from pseudostem are available, yet it has not been adopted by the industries mainly due to high transport cost. However, there exist a vast potential of extracting fibers from pseudo stem. The quantity and quality of fibers show wide variability with cultivars. The fiber extracted from banana pseudostem could not command proper market owing to its restricted use in cottage industries. There appears to be good scope of profitable use of this fiber in textile and paper industries on commercial scale.

bananas on tree


Yogesh Panday, AIR correspondent, Ahmedabad

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