The prickly pear may not be familiar as an edible fruit ready for consumption, but its juice might become the most-preferred ‘fruit beverage’ soon.
India’s National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has approved the application of Sri Venkateswara University’s Department of Science and Technology – Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (DST-PURSE) Centre for the process of manufacturing blended fruit squash with prickly pear. With this, the varsity has inched closer to getting the Intellectual Property Right.
The twin challenges ahead of the team include ensuring large-scale production of the plant that is currently believed to have no commercial value and the need to educate the public and promote the nutrition-packed fruit as a traditional, endemic and sustainable alternative to the foreign fruits that have flooded the market.
“[The] prickly pear is a under-utilised fruit, notwithstanding its widespread availability. It will become a hit just like kiwi and other fruits which were not popular till a decade back,” Dr. Chennakesava Reddy told thehindu.com.
The team has grand plans for commercialisation once the patent is sanctioned in the near future. This, the research team expects, would not only change the facade of the arid lands and the cropping choices of farmers, but also bring locally-grown nutritional supplements within the reach of the poor.