The Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) is one of the leading 13 Research Institutes of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the main Science and Technology Research and Development Institution of Ghana. The CSIR-IIR is Ghana’s foremost industrial research and development organization.

 

CSIR-IIR Projects

High Rate Low Temperature (HRLT) extraction Technology for Herbal Industry Project

Team Leader:  W. O. Oduro
Team Members: B. Mensah, M. Aggey

Sponsors: CSIR-TDTC (under COTVET GSTDP-COMPONENT 2 Project)

Introduction

The past decade had seen a global awakening to the truly curative powers of plant derived medicines. Currently, the herbal products market is a fledging business with the Government of Ghana policy on traditional medicine development providing the impetus for an open domestic market. The policy focuses on areas, which include research and product development, standardization, quality assurance and large scale production as well as technology transfer and commercialization of best products and practices. 


Current practices and challenges in the Herbal Industry

Taming wild medicine in the form of leaves, flowers, stem barks, root barks, fruits and seeds into western-style formats remain the key step to transforming the fledging botanicals industry in Ghana. Presently, most practitioners in herbal production use rudimentary processes in the extraction, preparation and packaging, which eventually lead to a loss of yield and quality of the products as well as a reduced shelf-life. The plant materials are soaked or boiled in water or ethanol using open vessels. The syrups, in dilute forms, poses an added challenge with storage as the final products tend to have high moisture content, which make it amenable to degradation (fementation) in a short time. Another challenge is with the high cost of production as large volumes of solvents need to be boiled at a relative high temperature with no solvent recovery systems leading to huge losses. Exporters of raw botanicals to China and Europe also have challenges with low pricing, freight cost as well as the short shelf-life of their products which lead to rejection of their products on the international market.

The CSIR-IIR Intervention

The Export Trade Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) founded a collaborative project between the CSIR-IIR and the Bioresources International (GH) Ltd to establish the pilot scale (500 L capacity) High Rate, Low Temperature (HRLT) botanical extraction facility. The pilot plant uses vacuum technology to process at low temperatures to ensure that temperature labile constituents were not destroyed in the extraction, concentration and purification process. This modern technique reduces the risk in respect of the short shelf life and poor product quality.
CSIR-IIR TDTC funded a current project to train 40 herbal products manufacturers and exporters in the Greater Accra Region on modern extraction techniques using high rate low temperature processes to produce high yield concentrates of phyto-chemicals from plant tissues like seeds, leaves, flowers, and stem and root barks.

The project goal

  • To enhance the value of herbal products on both the Ghanaian and International markets through targeted product development and improved packaging.
  • To establish a focal group for the extension of the clientele base that will promote the outsourcing of their extraction processes to the CSIR-IIR.

 

Outcome

A workshop was organized, which attracted thirty eight (38) participants from both public and private stakeholder institutions in the herbal medicine and botanical extract products industry in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. The public sector participants were from research and academia, and also policy and regulatory institutions, whilst the private sector participants consisted of herbal medicine producers, exporters of plant tissues, distillery companies, and manufacturers who use herbal products in their production line. The profile of the private sector participants included both top management personnel (CEOs, Presidents, and Managing Directors) as well as middle level managerial staff (Production managers, Engineers and Technicians). Participants were taken through demonstration of HRLT extraction and concentration techniques and product development through the provision of service of extracting 10 kg sample material and the qualitatively and quantitative assessment of the composition of active ingredients at a subsidized fee for the participants within a six month period.


 

 

 

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