Indian Institute of Spices Research

Parliament Questions
Indian Institute of Spices Research
1) Whether farm pacts to provide fillip to bio-tech, drought resistant seeds is being considered with US in Indo-US collaboration in agriculture
Ans) No. No such plans in spices.  
If so, whether magic seeds distributed by International Agricultural Research Centres of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations is focused on bio-technology and water stress resistant and higher longevity inputs in farm sector  
Ans) Not applicable for spices.  
Whether US analysis indicated that India could be a major wild card as in agriculture growth marked only if country's tariff levels are reduced and not replaced with new non-tariff barriers and  
Ans) Not applicable.  
If so, to what extent this Indo-US agriculture collaboration has helped improve agricultural production in the country  
Ans) Not applicable  
2) Whether any Non governmental Organizations are working in various states with regard to agriculture?
Ans) The Institute has not tie up with non governmental organization with regard to agricultural research development  
If so, the details thereof  
Ans) Not Applicable  
3) Whether it is a fact that women scientists in the country do not get timely funds to carry out the research work.
Ans) In IISR, Calicut all Women scientists are provided with sufficient funds to carry out their research activates  
If so, the details thereof  
Ans) Not Applicable  
The number of women scientists who have been provided with funds to carry out research in the last three years.  
Ans) 7 women scientists were provide with funded to carry out research in the last 3 years  
4) Whether the attention has been drawn to the article in the Dream 2047 (November 2004) brought out by Vigyan Prasar of DST on the Spices in out Diet-A role beyond food flavouring which highlights several beneficial role of spices in action as antidiabetic, anti-microbial and anti cancer
Ans) The Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut conducts research on cultivation, genetic improvement and processing of spices for use as food flavouring and spicing. We don not have the mandate to do research pm medicinal aspect of these spices on human beings.  
Whether any controlled trial has been conducted in the field  
Ans) This is not the mandate of IISR and we do not have competence to do such kind of research. The question pertains to field of medicine.  
If so, the details thereof  
Ans) Does not arise  
Whether these results will be made public through media; and  
Ans) This question pertains to BSI/ICMR  
If so, Whether such spices will be available in standard preparation from with certification by BSI/ ICMR.  
Ans) This question pertains to BSI/ICMR  
5) Whether it is fact that research work in the field of agriculture made by research institute are used by themselves at farms?
Ans) Once the technology is ready for release demonstration trials are conducted in research farms and demonstration plots are maintained.

Research trial cum demonstration plots of four high yielding varieties of black pepper, three varieties of ginger, five varieties of turmeric, two of cinnamon, one of nutmeg and plots of disease free nursery, integrated management of foot rot of pepper, cost effective propagation method of pepper cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon are maintained at IISR farm, Peruvannamuzhi.
If so whether farmers are getting the same quality and production in terms of quantity in their fields which is accessed at the time of trial faming of the same?  
Ans) When the technologies are tried out in multi locational trails and adaptive trials in farmers field, high yield of crops comparable to research station yield are recorded.  
If not Government reaction thereto  
Ans) Not applicable.  
To what extent average percentage of production is less  
Ans) The yield gap is wide incase of black pepper where the average national productivity is only 314.20kg/ha (1999) where as the research station and supervised farmers field trail yields are as high as 2600gh/ha. In case of ginger and turmeric the spread of improved high quality varieties have narrowed down the yield gap where in comparable yields of 22 tonnes / ha and 43-60/ha respectively are obtained in research trials and on farm trials. Concerted efforts are being taken to bridge the yield gap through transfer of technology projects.
1. Agricultural technology information centre, a single window delivery system of institute inputs, products and services.
2. Krishi Vigyan Kendra for imparting vocational training to practicing in farmers in agriculture and allied fields.
3. Production and distribution of nucleus planting material of released and improved varieties of major spice crops like, pepper, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.
4. Training courses on scientific management of spice crops for field extension functionaries of line departments, other research agencies and Non Government Organizations.
5. Field trails in farmers field before technology packages are released.
6) Whether synthetic vanilla is carcinogenic?
Ans) IISR is not working on this aspect. However, as per the information available from literature (Hand Book of herbs and spices Vol.2, written by K.V. Peter, Wood head Publishing limited, England 20004) synthetic vanillin can be extracted from eugenol, guaiacol, safrole or lignin as the starting compound. Other compounds utilized are veratraldehyde (methyle vanillin), piperonal (heliotropin), vanitrope (propenyl guaethol) and coumarin. Coumarin, because of its high level of toxicity, has been banned for use in food in USA (Rosengarten. F 1969, The Book of Spices, Pennsylvannia, Livingston Pub Co.)

Coumarin from which synthetic vanillin can be extracted is a derivative of the tonka bean, which comes from Dipteryx ordorata, a tree native to Brazil. Some of the organic constituents that make up its flavor are similar to, or the same as, those in pure vanilla. Coumarin is frequently found in synthetic vanillas from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean as it's cheap and it makes synthetic vanilla taste more like the natural. Unfortunately, coumarin is considered toxic, especially to the liver, and potentially carcinogenic, and has been banned from the United States since the 1950s. (Dicumarol, which is a derivative of coumarin, is the active ingredient in certain blood-thinning medications, and is legal in the United States).
7) Use of Natural Vanilla in place of Synthetic Vanilla in various products.
Ans) Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is cultivated in India under a total area of 15,812 ha. (Spices Board, 2004). The best quality beans contain 2.0-2.5% vanillin which is used as the major flavouring agent in beverages and other confectionaries. Natural vanilla is a complicated mixture of several hundred different compounds versus synthetic vanillin which is derived from phenol and is of high purity. However it may be difficult to determine the difference between natural and synthetic vanilla flavouring.

Various edible products can be prepared from natural vanilla as detailed below.

1. Vanilla Essence

It refers to the substance in the vanilla that contains the essential vanilla flavour. The essence is extracted from the bean in alcohol to make vanilla extract.

2. Pure vanilla extract

It is made from ripe vanilla beans containing over 250 organic components including glycosides, which are transformed by the essential curing process into "natural vanillin" and glucose, creating pure vanilla's unique flavour and aroma.

3. Vanilla powder

A fine off white powder made of sucrose or dextrose (sugars) laced with vanilla. They dissolve well and are perfect for use in beverages or mixed with granulated or powdered sugar for making 'vanilla sugar'.

4.Natural vanilla flavouring

A natural vanilla flavouring is derived from beans but has little or no alcohol typically a maximum of 2%-2%. This is a product preferred by many people not wanting to use alcohol based extracts.

5. Vanilla Paste – A concentrated vanilla extract that contains vanilla seeds.

8) Is it true that erosion and narrowing of the base of India's plant and animal genetic resources in the last few decades has affected the food security in the Country?
Ans) In respect of spices, there has not been much of genetic erosion reported. However, IISR and AICRP (S) have taken every care to conserve genetic resources of all the available spices in the Institute gene bank.  
9) Whether it is a fact that agriculture related research and field are being neglected?
Ans) No  
10) Whether the Government is aware that freezing temperatures and cold wave in many parts of the Northern India has severely affected most of the crops;
Ans) It pertains to North India  
11) Whether most of the affected farmers are not covered under the National Insurance scheme;