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Natural dyes have been used since ancient times for colouring and printing fabrics. Until the middle of last century most of the dyes were derived from plants or animal sources using long and elaborate processes. Since the advent of widely available, cheaper, bright and fast shade producing synthetic dyes, the use of natural dyes declined to a great extent. Due to global awareness about eco friendly ‘green’ textile the demand for natural dyes is nowadays is increasing. In India and other countries, coloration of textiles using natural dyes has been done mainly by craftsman, khadi & village industries, small scale exporters those having high monetary value textiles, small scale dyeing units, NGOs etc. Due to ever-expanding demand for naturally dyed textile fabrics resulted from the adverse health and environmental impacts of synthetic dyes, production of natural dyes from plants and other resources are being explored across the world. However, limitation of colour shades and dwindling resource are considered to be major constraints in development of natural dye sector.

The Technology:

Chemistry Division, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun has developed natural dyes, from a wide array of abundantly available residual and underutilized biomass generated from the forests /agro forestry plantations which can be used for dyeing textile fabrics with various bright and fast shades. The conditions for pilot scale extraction of dyes and also for application of the extracted dye on textile have been optimized. Qualities ascertaining physicochemical traits of the extracted dyes have been standardized. Performance of the dye applied on the fabric has been evaluated for colour fastness against light, washing, rubbing and human perspiration and found to be comparable with the synthetic dye.


Natural dyes are not only having dyeing property but also having the wide range of medicinal properties. In several researches on natural dyes, many dyes are found to be non-irritant to the skin in the skin irritation test on rabbits, antibacterial activities of the dyed fabrics, aesthetically appealing and good feeling. The technology for production of natural dyes and their application on different fabrics is simple, rapid and eco-friendly. The technology has huge potential for natural dye based textile industries, Khadi and Village Industries, NGOs, etc.

  • A HERBAL PRODUCT FOR ENHANCED SILK PRODUCTION                                       


Sericulture signifies cultivation of silkworms which finally produce SILK (Queen of textiles). Sericulture, or silk production from cocoons of insect, Bombyx mori (L.), has a long and colorful history unknown to most people. Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, B. mori is the most widely used, intensively studied, and techniques for its rearing are the most improved ones. This insect is the sole living species in its family, Bombycidae which has been domesticated for so long that it is probably no longer survives in the wild.

Silk production today is a blend of ancient techniques and modern innovations. The first stage of silk production is hatching the silkworm eggs, mother moth of which have been previously examined and confirmed to be free from diseases. Larvae are then fed on mulberry leaves and after four molts and five stages climb on a suitable mountage twig placed near them and spins their silken cocoons. Silkworm breeding aims to achieve superior performances in respect of eggs per mother moth (fecundity), cocoon (raw silk) yield, cocoon crop stability and productivity followed by expansion to new areas besides traditional ones.

In Northern region of India, sericulture is a subsidiary occupation. In general, two to four crops are being practiced by the Sericulturist. Silkworm rearers often face the problem of shortage of leaf quality and quantity during fifth stage of silkworm larvae, which leads to poor harvest of cocoons that ultimately resulted in low economic returns to the farmers. Besides, at the time of spinning, the problem of synchronization led to extended and irregular spinning of worms that makes the entire process more labour intensive and causes deterioration in the cocoon quality.

Thus, the major problems faced by silkworm rearers are:

  • Shortage of Quality Mulberry Leaves
  • Prolonged Spinning among a batch of Worms
  • High Labour Cost in Leaf plucking

These problems are mainly due to adverse effect on the physiology of the silkworm and can be dealt through regulation in the physiological process. Juvenile Hormone Analogue (JHA) developed for control of pest in past were used by scientists and it was found that it is lethal when administered in higher dose, but in lower concentration it regulate the physiology of insects and induces growth, developments and enhancement in fecundity, but synthetic JHA is costly, therefore Scientists are trying to find cheaper and eco-friendly substitute of synthetic JHA.


Samriddhi: A Novel Formulation: A novel chemical formulation named as ‘Samriddhi’ as silk productivity enhancer for sericulture farmers and industry has been developed from the weeds.  The product was tested at Regional Sericulture Research Station, Sahaspur on Silkworm, Bombyx mori L. 100gm plant material will be required to make 10ml vial. Further 10ml Samriddhi will be dissolved in one liter water and this solution will be enough for 1.5kg of mulberry leaves which will give to 900 silkworms for feeding. The development of silk cocoons takes place in 24-36hrs for complete spinning (maturity) but after spraying of ‘Samriddhi’, on the food (mulberry leaves) of Silkworm, Bombyx mori, the development time of cocoon reduced exceptionally low duration i.e. 12-15hrs. only. The application of ‘Samriddhi’ reduced the cost of silk production in terms of cost of mulberry leaves, less manpower days (Labour cost), space, infrastructure and time (fig1-5).

         Therefore, it reduced the time period of spinning i.e. just half of the normal time taken for the same. Due to shortening of time period, consumption of mulberry leaf was less and uniform spinning was obtained. Labour cost and feed cost was also reduced. Precisely, Samriddhi has been established as a promising Silk Productivity Enhancer giving maximum output with significantly reduced input cost. The product will facilitate the farmers to improve their economic condition through increased silk production and high economic gain. The product will give edge to the farmers in terms of competitiveness, financial gain and economic upliftment.


The product is capable of cutting down the maturation period of larvae almost up to half that saves the labour and feed cost for the farmers. It increases the production of good cocoon percentage which ultimately gives good quality silk and also facilitates the farmers to improve their economic condition. It is extremely useful in terms of:

  • Reduces consumption of feed stock (Mulberry leaves)
  • Reduces labour cost
  • Reduces spinning time
  • Uniform spinning
  • Enhanced silk production

Marketing Potential:

The product is cost effective as it has been developed from the weeds, which are grown in surrounding areas or wastelands and the Sericulture being a farm-based enterprise is highly suited both for large and small land holdings, with low capital investment. Largely, the silk goods are purchased by the urban rich and middle-class consumers and it is estimated that around 57 % of the final value of silk fabrics flows back to the primary producers in the rural areas.

Economic model and commercialization:

Several socio-economic studies have affirmed that the benefit-cost ratio in sericulture is highest among comparable agricultural crops. Effective utilization of by-products for value addition is also available.

IPR status:

  • A patent Titled ‘A process for obtaining phyto ecdysteroids from weeds of amaranthaceae for the synchronized maturation of mulberry silkworm’ was filed vide Indian Patent application No. 1401/DEL/2013.

The Technology:

Indian soils are usually poor in organic matter as well as in nitrogen.  Phosphate deficiency is comparatively less widespread and potash deficiency is generally located in compact areas. Composts are primary soil conditioners if incorporated into the soil increase the organic content, improve texture, permeability and water holding capacity and thus can be used to maintain the soil fertility in long run. Abundantly available forest biomass such as bark, leaves, small branches and saw dusts are being used as low calorific value fuel. Their use as fuel has been reduced due to the availability of alternate sources of energy like L.P.G., kerosene, electricity and solar energy. Thus, these materials are available in plenty and at times create disposal problem for the want of their proper utilization. In view of the use of decreasing manure amounts and the hazards of continuous use of high amounts of mineral fertilizers, composting of forest biomass is of immense importance for forestry sector, agriculture and horticulture. Further a large quantity of plant biomass is becoming increasingly available on farms due to adoption of high yielding, intensive cropping system. Plant biomass such as farms waste, saw dust, peeled out bark, leaves and seed coats are available in plenty. Due to their high C: N ratio such waste is not suitable for application in farm field directly because this would reduce the availability of important mineral nutrients to growing plants through immobilization into organic forms and also produces phyto-toxic substances during their decomposition. The composting of these materials in traditional way takes about one year time and the product, thus prepared contains very low amount of mineral nutrients. Therefore, farmers generally prefer to use chemical fertilizers in spite of the high cost and the deterioration of soil fertility from their continuous use.

Taking the above into account, a new and short method for the chemical fortification of bark saw dust and leaves for its utilization as compost has been developed in the Chemistry Division of Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun. By this process it is possible to convert these materials to compost within a period of about 20-25 days. Several plant biomasses originated from forestry/agro forestry practices have already been converted to compost using this process. From one kilogram of air dried plant biomass about 1.5 kilogram of compost prepared having about 40-50 percent moisture. The key benefit of the process is it can produce high grade compost for sustainable higher production along with maintaining the soil and environmental health.


The process is easy, simple, very short and cheap method of compost preparation of plant biomass. Composting is completed in about 20-25 days. The Compost prepared using the above method has very good water holding capacity, increases the organic content of soil and makes it porous for better aeration and has the potential to be used in place of farmyard manure. Using this method, plant biomass including weeds can be converted into compost.


Ursolic acid is a bioactive molecule associated  with an array of biological activities such as anti-tumor, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antimicrobial, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti aging, and antiviral for medicinal and cosmetic uses. As emulsifying agent, it also finds uses in pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food preparations. Ursolic acid has been isolated from various plant species by different methods. However, the processes reported so far are uneconomic and the source plants are not abundantly available. A process has, therefore, been developed for isolation of ursolic acid from the abundantly available leaves of Eucalyptus hybrid. The process developed is simple and employs solvent extraction of the leaves and does not involve tedious chromatographic technique for separation of the compound. The technology developed is simple and adoptable, cost effective in terms of  abundantly available and low cost feedstock (leaves) and low capital requirements and has high market potential.



Leaf protein concentrate (LPC), a concentrated form of protein derived from the foliage of plants, a most abundant and inexpensive source is regarded as potential way out to tackle the protein crisis and malnutrition. Use of LPCs as a protein supplement in animal feed has also been demonstrated. Trees have been suggested as a potential source of LPC and the production of protein from tree leaves is advantageous over crops as they do not involve the recurring cost of cultivation.   The leaves of Poplar deltoides  (poplar) are left in large quantity  as residue after harvesting of poplar wood for pulp and paper production. The developed process for recovery of LPC from these leaves is simple, adoptable, and cost effective in terms of the low cost feedstock and low capital requirements. Globally there exists a potential market for plant based proteins. Food / feed manufacturers are looking for the alternative second generation protein sources that are more sustainable, vegetarian, Vegan friendly and non –allergenic. Therefore, poplar derived LPC represents a promising potential for the protein manufacturers to penetrate.


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