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Starch success for Siberian scientists in Thailand

By Svetlana Skarbo
19 September 2016

New project lays groundwork for future cooperation, says rector of Novosibirsk State University.

The Thai businessmen were specially pleased that as a result of waste recycling they got two sellable products - biofuel and bioethanol. Picture: Novosibirsk State University 

Russian scientists have pioneered methods by which Thai manufacturers of cassava starch can recycle waste producing sellable products. 

Rector Dr Mikhail Fedoruk said: 'Thailand is world's biggest exporter of high-quality starch made from a tropical plant called Manihot, with a world market share of 70% per cent. Another name of this product is cassava starch.  

'We in Siberia were interested in Manihot because we could use it as a connecting element in food industry, instead of a currently existing artificial component. 

'The Thai side wanted to find a way of recycling highly toxic cassava starch waste, which had piled up in great quantity all around the country.

'Our scientists analysed the work of 69 factories and suggested five ways of recycling to fit all currently existing enterprises, from small production lines to huge plants. 

'The Thai businessmen were specially pleased that as a result of waste recycling they got two sellable products - biofuel and bioethanol.'

The success can pave the way to new projects, he said. 

This was the first Russian-Thai deal that brought clear results. The Thai side received a solution to a major issue, and we in Russia got a very good experience of managing food industry recycling. 

'This project brought together our university's Food Security Research Centre in Novosibirsk and School of Bio-resources and Technology of King Mongkut's University of Technology. 

'Both sides were so pleased with each other, we decided to continue and improve co-operation into teaching students from Thailand in Siberia, and a number of new inter-disciplinary researching projects.'

While there is an agreement for Thai students to study in Moscow, he stressed that the distance between Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia and Bangkok, is 'closer'.

'As a result, I think that our projects have a very bright future indeed,' he said.

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