South Asian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 1, No 1 (2011)

Feb 26
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Current and Prospective Competence of Agro‐waste and Biomass Feedstock in North Eastern India with Special Emphasis to Alternative Energy Source

A. Bora, J. Purkayastha, H.K. Gogoi, L. Singh


North East India is rich in natural resources including various plant‐based biomasses. The plant biomass includes forests, energy crops, crop and agroprocessing residues, animal manures and algal biomass. Organic debris can be recycled and reused and have many possible uses depending upon size, quality, species and volume of the material. Biomass as an alternative energy source has received much importance in terms of future energy security. Biomass based energy technologies may be a viable option considering the availability of rich bioresources in North East India. The production of biodiesel from the seeds of oil bearing plants and microalgae is also one form of biomass utilization. Several species of microalgae are present in the wetlands of this region which however
have hitherto remained untapped. Many microalgal strains have been collected and research has been undertaken to screen the biodiesel potential of isolated and identified strains of microalgae native to this region. The abundant biomass of this region also offers suitable substrates for production of mushroom. Moreover, several varieties of edible mushrooms grow wild in this region, which are being domesticated and cultivated for large‐scale production. Availability of large amount of crop and other plant residues offers ample scope for conversion of these biomasses into useful products such as vermicompost and other biofertilizers. The rationale behind this type of approach is to focus on judicious utilization of natural resources towards sustainable development of the country in general and the North East India in particular. This review highlight the potential biomass resources of Northeast Indian region, the challenges and opportunities arising from increasing demands for biomass as well the current technologies available for exploring these biomass resources towards sustainable utilization.

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