Scientist files for patent on Indian ‘Tequila’By Melita Kiely
A scientist has filed a patent on what has been described as the Indian version of Tequila made using a plant from the agavaceae family.
Mexico’s native spirit is made from agave americana, but scholar Sangati Chennakesava Reddy has found that agave albomarginata of agavaceae family – known locally as Naara Kalabanda or Kittha Naara – can be used to make ethanol.
Chennakesava Reddy, who studies food technology at Sri Venkateswara University (SVU), discovered the plant has high starch deposits in its collar zone – the part of the plant between the roots and leaves – that can be distilled to make pure alcohol.
“At 45%, the alcohol content in this plant is much higher than the 10%-13% found in other plant sources,” DVR Saigopal, coordinator of DST-PURSE programme and professor of virology at SVU, told The Hindu.
Agave albomarginata grows wildly in the arid Rayalaseema region of India, and is currently used by farmers as a natural fence for their orchards.
The plant, which takes around two years to grow, generates 45% alcohol that is suitable for consumption, and the scientist is currently in talks with a distiller for mass production.
“The plant witnesses huge growth in two to three years and the pith portion alone grows half the size of a rice bag, weighing more than 100kg,” commented Shaik Kaleemullah, professor of agricultural engineering at SV Agricultural College, who is involved with the project.