Mahua (Madhuca indica) is one of the forest based tree-borne non-edible oils with large production potential of about 60 million tons per annum in India. Virtually being the lifeline of tribal belt in central India, the tree is culturally most identified with Indian life in the plains. Its flowers are sweat, delicious and are consumed besides tasty fruits. But the tree wins in fame due to the liquor distilled from the flowers, which are used to make vinegar. The seeds yield fat known as Mahua butter used in cooking, adulteration of Ghee, manufacturing chocolates and even soaps, besides treatment of rheumatism and constipation. Mahua cake is insecticidal and also used for fishing. The timber is useful variously but neglected.
The mahua tree belongs to the genus Mahuca. The tree, its seed and flowers have been very useful in Indian economy for a long time. The flowering season extends from February to April. It is rich in sugar (73 %) and next to cane molasses; it constitutes the most important raw material for alcohol fermentation. The yield of alcohol is 405 litres from one tonne of dried flower. The kernel of the mahua fruit contains about 50% oil. The oil yield is 34-37% by small expeller. The expelled cake is relevant to recover the residual oil. Fresh oil is yellow in color, while commercial oil is generally greenish yellow with disagreeable odour and taste. As this tree grows mainly in forest area and also in waste and fallow land, its cultivation would not produce any impact on food production but would in long way improve the environmental condition by massive aforestation.
Considering Mahua’s potential as an oilseed feedstock for biodiesel CJP has honor to establish this untapped resource as alternative source for Bio- Diesel industry of future.
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Assistant Director Moringa, CJP
B-132, Sainik Basti, Churu-331001