Breakthrough in Jute Retting by ICAR – CRIJAF .

India is the largest producer of raw jute and jute goods in the world, contributing about 60% of the global production and providing livelihood support to about 5 million people in farming, trade and industry.

India today earns about Rs 2200 crores per annum through jute goods export because of bio-degradability and ecofriendly nature of this versatile natural fibre.

However, to be suitable for high valued diversified products, the quality of fibre needs further improvement through evolving better varities and efficient retting process.

Research has been initiated by ICAR – Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres, Barrackpore to improve fibre quality and to make the jute fibre internationally competitive through retting with free flowing water, in situ retting tank based farming with a microbial consortium ‘CRIJAF SONA’.

Application of ‘’CRIJAF SONA’’ microbial consortium during retting improved fibre quality by 1-2 grades, reduced duration of retting by 7 days and also reduced retting water requirement by 75%.

Recently a breakthrough in jute retting has been achieved by scientists of ICAR – CRIJAF who have decoded the genome sequences of jute retting microbes by high throughput genome sequencing.

The in-depth genomic analysis significantly revealed three different species of Bacillus constitute the consortium strains.

The sequence data has been submitted to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database of NIH, USA.

Genome sequencing also confirms that retting bacteria degrades pectin, hemicellulose and other non-cellulosic materials, non-harmful for fibre. The bacterial strains are also non-toxic and thus the retting water with microbial strains can successfully be used for irrigation purpose.  

Investigators of the findings opined that these breakthrough findings will help to further the knowledge on the unique microbial retting process in jute and will accentuate the improvement in this microbial formulation. For example, the genes for degrading pectin, hemicellulose and other non-cellulosic materials can be altered for enhanced retting efficiency and shortening the retting duration with minimal water usage

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