Agri Business

Now, an e-nose to rate jasmine fragrance

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 24, 2018

Breakthrough device will do the job in less than a minute

The Department of Floriculture at the Farm Varsity here is set to transform fragrance testing of the jasmine flower using electronic nose technology.

Developed jointly by C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), Kolkata and the Department of Floriculture, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, this handheld electronic device, will help assess quality of the fresh flower, determine harvesting time for extraction, assess industrial quality and identify ideal concrete extraction stage.

How it works

The extract of jasmine flower, called concrete, is highly valuable for perfume, confectionery cosmetics and toiletry industries.

“The fragrance assessment has more or less been subjective until now. The analysis was (and is still being) done using GCMS (Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrography) instruments. This not only requires technically trained hands to operate the instrument, but is time consuming and expensive. The instrument costs around ₹40 lakh and it takes about 5 hours to complete assessment of a sample,” M Kannan, Professor and Head of the Department, explains.

E-Nose, therefore, is expected to be a breakthrough. It is a sensor-aided handheld device with five sensors each – to assess the quality of fresh flowers and for identifying the compounds in concrete. The sampling time is less than a minute (40 seconds), said Xavier Alex Isac, a research scholar.

The Varsity has installed the new assessment tool at NC Aeromatics, Mettupalayam and at the Flower Market in Sathyamangalam.

The three-year project is nearing completion and we are waiting to get the feedback from the users, said KR Rajadurai, Assistant Professor, Department of Floriculture, TNAU.

Five sensors

Kannan said that the selection of sensors itself was a huge process. “We short-listed five sensors, such that each will respond to one compound and give the aroma index. Jasmine contains 120 compounds of which only 10 are prominent,” he said.

Asked how the flowers are priced, he said, “until now, it was done subjective. With the aroma index, the growers will be able to get better rates .”

Madurai Gundu Malli, which incidentally was accorded GI status in 2012, has the best fragrance followed by flowers from Sankarankoil and Sathyamangalam, Varsity experts said.

Published on July 09, 2015

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