Back to nature- TNAU gets patent for ‘ready- to- cook mix from pearl millet’
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Patent on this new technology which was granted on January 12, 2012 is claimed to be the first of its kind to get a patent grant, credit goes to R Kailappan, professor, department of food and agricultural process engineering, TNAU, who has developed this new technology.
Pearl millet (cumbu in Tamil and bajra in the North) is an important and healthy food grain which is rich in fat (5%), protein (11.8%) and minerals like calcium and iron and vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. However, because of the availability of rice in ready-to-cook form, the usage of pearl millets has got decreased. Moreover, the traditional method of preparing food from pearl millet involves a cumbersome process, which is another reason for decline in consumption of pearl millet.
The new patented technology by Prof. R. Kailappan has been developed to overcome the problems associated with the traditional process of preparing food using pearl millet. Further, while explaining about this new technology Prof. Kailappan told, “The mix has to be mixed with water and cooked as per the instructions given on the pack. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker. There is no need to wash it or follow any of the pre-cooking steps”. From the explanation of this technology by Prof. Kailappan, it could be predicted that this new process of preparing food using pearl millet will stick fairly close to the process of preparing food using rice.
Further, obtaining IPR is not new to the university (TNAU), which has applied for 31 patents in the field of agro-technologies and products, and has obtained nine patents so far. Therefore, we can expect for some more inventive technologies from the university. Furthermore, the university is keen on commercializing this patented technology on “ready to cook mix and food from pearl millet”. Speaking on commercializing this new technology, R Viswanathan, professor and head, department of food and agricultural process engineering, TNAU, had told “Those interested in purchasing the rights for the technology for commercial use may contact: the director (Agri Business Development), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003. Phone: 0422 – 6611377”.
Further, with extensive commercialization of this new technology, we can expect the age old food grain (pearl millet) to make a mark in the field of food technology again, thereby adding nutritious value to our meals.