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Chemistry and Bio prospecting Division
India possesses a rich variety of soils, climate and other ecological factors which have endowed with its vast forest wealth and is therefore recognised as one of the 12 mega bio diversity nations. According to recent studies, Indian flora is estimated to contain about 50000 plant species. Apart from wood , plant also give us other valuable products such as medicines, edible and non edible oils, gums, resins and oleo resins, perfumery oils, spices, insecticides tannins and dyes, edible and industrial carbohydrates and other products known as non wood forest products (NWFPS).

The estimated value of most economically important NWFPs in world trade is about $ 11 billion annually. The revenue generated from NWFPs is mostly from their unprocessed and raw forms. The income generated through such NWFPs will be several times higher if proper technologies are developed for their conversion to value added products. Value addition of non wood forest products provides sustenance to 20-30 % of rural people.

In view of the above, the erstwhile chemistry branch under Forest Research Laboratory existing since 1938 was reorganized and upgraded as Chemistry of Forest Products division (CFP) in the Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bangalore when ICFRE was setup in 1988. The vision of division is to achieve excellence in research on extraction, identification and utilization of wood and non wood forest products. The division has been focusing mainly on Sandal wood, Eucalyptus leaf oil, Jigat bark, Honne, Red sanders wood, Garcinia spp and Myristica fragrans.

The division is also taken up experimentation on phytochemistry of species like. Nothapodytes nimmoniana, Garcinia indica, Avicinia and mangrove species for their biocidal / medicinal properties.


  • Phyto-chemical investigation and value addition for efficient utilization of forest phyto-products and biomass residues from plantations and forest based industries

  • Bio prospecting for new products for various applications

  • Development of technologies for conversion of renewable biomass into bio energy

  • Dissemination of the knowledge, expertise, technologies and services for strengthening bio economy.

Research Activities
  • Value added products from Eucalyptus hybrid leaf oil
  • Scientific removal of bark to save Machilus macrantha - a dwindling forest resource
  • Preparation and screening of compounds of biocidal activity
  • Red sanders - the tree of great export value
  • Studies on Pterocarpus marsupium wood
  • Research on sandal

Ongoing Research Programmes

  • Chemical investigations and anti-microbial activities of a wild edible plant of Western Ghats, Baccaurea courtallensis Muell.Arg.
  • Investigations on chemical composition and utility of AESP oil from exhausted sandalwood powder.
  • Isolation and Estimation of L-DOPA from Mucuna pruriens Linn. collected from South India.
  • Synthesis of organo-metalic complex replacing arsenic component in CCA preservative by organic ligand (plant extractive) and evaluate as semi bio preservative.
  • Garcinia indica : Identification of high yielders of fruits/ L- hydroxy citric acid, pharmacological evaluation of the extract/active principle for anti diabetic property.
  • Fatty oil composition and utilization of lesser known tree borne oil seeds (TBOs)- Givotia rottleriformis, Madhuca insignis, Shorea tumbuggaia, Poeciloneuron indicum, Hopea parviflora, Mesua ferrea and Balanites roxburghii.
  • Production of synthetic bio-diesel from the producer gas.
  • Screening of plant species having adhesive property to substitute jigat as agarbathi binding material.

Completed Research Projects

  • Assessment of fruit characters in Garcinia cambogia and gender identification of economically importantforestry species using isozyme studies – Garcinia cambogia and Myristica fragrans. ( KFD funded project)
  • Natural products evaluation of extractives of plant origin for biological and pharmacological activity.
  • Chemical induction of heartwood in sandal.
  • Development of colouring reagents based on enzyme – substrate reaction for differentiating oil yielders of sandal in field.
  • Standardization of anti-leaching treatment for Pterocarpus marsupium
  • Development of methods for detection of adulterants and determining purity of sandal oil.
  • Development of methods for detection of adulterants and evaluation of quality parameters for assessing purity of jigat
  • Extraction and separation of the chemical constituents of Dysoxylum malabaricum Bedd. wood.
  • Analysis of active principles in Gymnema sylvestre and Phyllanthus amarus from the forest of southern India.
  • Screening and Evaluation of wild varieties of Emblica officinalis fruit in various agro-climatic zones of Western ghats
  • Investigation on lesser known aspects of mangrove biodiversity and ecology in the states of Goa , Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (chemistry component)

Highlights of the completed projects

  • Two new aroma (acidified exhausted sandal powder, AESP, 0.6 % yield and sapwood acidified, SWA, 0.9 % yield ) have been obtained from chemical conversion of exhausted sandalwood powder and sandal sapwood powder. Both these oils were found to exhibit strong and heavy almond like note and different characteristics and composition from those of natural sandalwood oil. They have potential for exploitation in the fragrance and other allied industries
  • Paraquat and Etheral were found to be effective in inducing early heartwood formation.
  • Methanol extracts of Persia macrantha bark, Nothapodytes nimmoniana wood and Garcinia indica fruits were found to possess medicinal property.
  • A simple field method has been developed for gender identification of dioecious forestry species.
  • A simple field method has been developed for identification of high oil yielders of sandal.
  • An UV spectroscopic method has been developed for determination of % of sandalwood oil and jigat material in respective adulterated mixture.
  • Binding property of the jigat has been optimized by measuring its viscosity. This property of jigat raw material is very useful to prevent peel off of finished bathis. ( 150 -225 cp is ideal for making dough )
  • In Pterocarpus marsupium, 1% (w/v) solution of chromium trioxide was found to be most effective to prevent extractive leaching followed by 5% (w/v) solution of stannous chloride. In both the treatments the optimum treatment duration was found to be 24 hours. Chromium trioxide treated wood became light green in colour while the original wood colour was retained by stannous chloride treatment.
  • Dysoxylum malabaricum Bedd, Hydro-distillation of powdered Dysoxylum malabaricum wood yielded an essential oil=0.6% W/W. GC-MS analysis of the essential oil showed the presence of 28 important Chemical compounds of which five are major compounds

Expertise available with the CFP division

  1. Estimation of sandal oil content by non destructive method
    This is a simple and rapid method of estimating sandal oil content in small sample of sandalwood by UV spectroscopy. It will help in screening large number of trees by taking (core) samples instead of cutting the trees to get the heartwood for oil analysis.
  2. Method for detection of adulterants and determining purity of sandal oil.
    This is a simple method using UV spectroscopy for estimation of sandal oil in adulterated mixture .
  3. Quality parameters for assessing purity of Jigat
    This is a simple standardized method to estimate adhesiveness of Jigat by measuring its viscosity.
  4. Gender identification of dioecious forestry species
    This is a simple user friendly, field method to identify gender of following dioecious forestry species. Garcinia gummigatta, Garcinia indica, Myristica ragrans and Simoruba glauca

Services Rendered

Sl. No.

Name of the Tests



Oil percentage by solvent extraction

Rs. 600/-


Isolation of the oil

Rs. 1,000/- per sample upto 250 gm


Estimation of any one constituent

Rs. 5000/-


Chemical processing of natural products (plant dye etc) lab level (max. 1 kg plant material) other than essential oil.

Rs. 1,000/- per sample


Distillation of essential oil using field distillation unit (upto 10 kg)

Rs. 2,000/- per sample


Specific information by post

Rs. 500/-

Consultancies :-


Consultancies for routine matters at headquarter

  • Scientist
  • Supporting staff


Rs. 1,000/- per day

Rs. 300/- per day


Consultancies at outside station by inviting Scientist/Staff

  • Scientist
  • Supporting staff


Rs. 2,000/- per day

Rs. 500/- per day

Facilities and Equipments

The Division has the following facilities and equipments for rendering services to user industries and Government and non-government organisations.

  • Preparative HPLC
  • FT-IR
  • Gas chromatography
  • UV spectrophotometer
  • Brookfield Viscometer
  • Digital Polarimeter
  • Abbe’s Refractometer
  • Digital pH meter

Research Staff

  1. Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Scientist - E & Head of the Division

  2. Mr. K.T. Chandrasekhar,  Chief Technical Officer

  3. Mr. G. Ravi Kumar, Assistant Chief Technical Officer

  4. Ms. Mamatha Ravindra, Technical Officer

  5. Sri. B.C. Ramakrishna, LDC

For Further Information, Please Contact:
The Head
Chemistry and Bio prospecting Division
Institute of Wood Science and Technology
P.O. Malleshwaram
Bangalore-560 003 (India)
E-mail: cfp_iwst@icfre.org
Ph: 080-22190191

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  Last Updated on 25-07-2019