Monday, April 26, 2010


Hunger for publicity and attention can be a disease with some people including scientists. There have been many instances in the past that based on half baked research, tall claims are made in the media which ultimately fizzle out. Human memory being extremely short when it comes to subjects of no immediate concern personally, many such habitual "loud mouths" get away unscathed to repeat the same after some time. Here is an example of a scientist from Bihar "claiming" development and transfer of a technology for making wine from litchi fruit!

"It's sweet, pulpy, juicy and perfect wine material. The litchi may soon be seen in a new avatar as two private companies are keen to use the fruit - that grows in abundance in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district - to produce wine.Kingfisher and Litchika International have approached Muzaffarpur-based National Litchi Research Centre to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to use its technology for making litchi-flavoured wine, said K.K. Kumar, director of the centre. Kumar told IANS that scientists at the centre had developed litchi-flavoured wine by mixing pulpy extracts of the fruit with various types of spirits. They replicated the technology after conducting preliminary laboratory experiments in Thailand and Beijing. The union agriculture ministry recently approved the litchi centre's proposal to transfer its technology of making litchi- flavoured wine".

In what way Litchi wine making is different from wine processing from other fruits such as grapes is not clear. Why preliminary experiments were carried out in Thailand and Beijing is also some thing which does not make any sense. During the peak prohibition days in nineteen sixties, there were many bootleggers in Bombay, with illegal cottage scale breweries in their backyards fermenting practically any sugary material into readily acceptable liquor products with varying alcohol concentration. They neither were technologists nor had any technical help from scientists. Assuming that Kingfisher really approached the above Center for buying the so called technology, it is a mystery as to what such a well established liquor giant, is going to gain from the above government organization when the company has some of the top brewing experts in their fold, capable of making wine from Litchi in their existing facilities.


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