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Last Updated Monday August 20 2018 10:24 AM IST

Natural dye from water hyacinth project brings laurels for SD College

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Natural dye from water hyacinth project brings laurels for SD College

A burst of violet hues on the surface of the water is hard to miss when one takes a ride through the water bodies in Kuttanad. 

Also read: Around Alappuzha in 24 hours

This unique sight is devised by Eichhornia crassipes, commonly known as water hyacinth. Though this serves a pleasurable sight, the aquatic weed are harmful to the environment. But students of SD College, Alappuzha, have discovered a great use for these aquatic weeds, which could contain its spread. Their discovery of a possibility of using the bright color of water hyacinth to dye clothes has won the top award at the 27th Swadeshi Science Congress.

The experiment was done by the researchers at the Department of Zoology. They were successfully able to separate natural colors from water hyacinth, which could be used to dye clothes and fabrics. Out of the 35 thesis submitted for the award, this one was found to be path breaking. The project was completed under the guidance and supervision of Dr G Nagendra Prabhu, associate professor of Zoology and the head researcher at the Water Resources Research Center which functions as part of the Zoology department of the college.

The project was conceived by G Gopika, an MSc student, and V Anoop Kumar, a research scholar. The researchers separated the dyes in three different ways from the water hyacinths collected from varied water bodies around Kuttanad. Different colors were obtained as the mordents kept changing. Dr Sumi Sebastian of Coir Research Institute at Kalavoor in Alappuzha also helped the young researchers in the project.

The fact that this achievement comes for the researchers at SD College at a time when experiments are regularly conducted around the globe to find out more ways to extract natural dyes, makes it stand apart.

The importance of such a project is further enhanced when one knows that the authorities are forced to chemically destroy water hyacinths as the weed attract insects. The research center at the college also had earlier come up with projects which demonstrate that reuse of water hyacinths are actually possible.

A community training center has been opened at the college to educate the common people about the findings of the different experiments by the department, and make them a part in the initiative to carry it out practically for the benefit of the community.

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