Castor Seed Output in India to Decline 40%

Castor seed output in India is likely to decline by 40 per cent this year on lower acreage and unfavourable climatic condition in major producing states at the beginning of the sowing season.

Traders estimate total availability at 1.4 million tonnes this year, as compared with 2.4 million tonnes in the previous year. The crop sown in September is harvested through picking of seed in five–six trenches, the first of which begins in January.

Sowing area was lower this year by 35-40 per cent, coupled with decline in estimated yield due to inconsistencies in the monsoon in major growing regions. Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, the two largest growing states, witnessed shortage of rainfall during the sowing period.

“Farmers could not sow castor seed even in their usual area, resulting in lower acreage. Yield is also expected to remain lower. Consequently, castor seed output is estimated to remain lower this year,” said Manoj Agarwal, director, Shivam Oil Mills, a Palanpur-based (Gujarat) edible oil producer and retailer.

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Toyota Develops Castor Derived PA11-based Plastic Alloy with High Impact Strength

Toyota Boshoku Corporation, premier manufacturers of automotive interior systems, and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.,have developed an original technique to realize a bio-based plastic alloy with top-class impact strength. The bio-based plastic alloy (bio-alloy) is made from polyamide 11 (PA11), a 100% bio-based resin originating from plants and synthesized using castor oil extracted from Ricinus Communis (castor bean plant) as a raw material, and polypropylene (PP) derived from petroleum-based resin.

The performance of this high impact bio-alloy surpasses polycarbonate alloys.

The impact strength of the bio-alloy was achieved by controlling the phase structure of PP and PA11 at the nano level through a “salami structure*2” mixture (dispersion) resulting in the world’s first “salami in co-continuous phase structure*2”. To improve the chemical characteristics (affinity) of raw materials, a special reactive compatibilizer was added to the raw materials and a molten blended technology was carried out to lead to a chemical reaction. By utilizing this technology, Toyoto has achieved an impact strength bio-alloy that is 10 times greater than that of PP conventionally used in car interior decoration parts and 13 times greater than that of bio-based plastic (PP/PLA).

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DSM’s EcoPaXX polyamide 410 in Salomon’s Snowboard Bindings

In Singapore, DSM announced another application for its EcoPaXX polyamide 410, with the adoption of this high performance bio-based engineering plastic for Salomon’s snowboard bindings made by Amer Sports. Next year, Amer Sports will debut a new range of high-end Salomon bindings for snowboards that for the first time are made from DSM’s EcoPaXX bio-based polyamide 410.

Until now, Salomon snowboard bindings have been made in polyamide 6 or 66, but the new series has improved sustainability and equal or better performance, most importantly at low temperatures.

The EcoPaXX bindings have been on test in real-life conditions at Salomon for a year, and have performed extremely well,” says Henri Rançon, Advanced R&D Manager for snowboard bindings and boots at Salomon. “They suffered no damage at all, so we are very confident EcoPaXX is the right material for the job”

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Castor-Oil Stocks Seen Declining 16% Amid Reduced Indian Supply

Stockpiles of castor oil, used as a laxative and a lubricant in race-car engines, are set to drop 16 percent by the end of September as lower supply from India forces demand rationing, Oil World said.

Global production will slide to a four-year low of 624,000 metric tons in the 2013-14 season through Sept. 30 from 648,000 tons a year earlier, the Hamburg-based oilseed researcher wrote in a report today. Ending inventories will fall to 97,000 tons from 116,000 tons, it showed.

India grows more than three-quarters of the world’s castor seed, and farmers in the country were discouraged from sowing after a record 2011-12 crop pushed down prices, Oil World said in May. China is the biggest importer of castor oil, followed by the European Union and the U.S.

“For the supplies in 2013-14, it will be decisive to what extent the sharply lower plantings in India will be offset by a recovery of yields,” Oil World said. “We assume a setback in Indian production and exports of castor oil, necessitating also some rationing of import demand.”

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