Possibilities of Utilizing Oil Palm (Elaeis guieneensis) Trunk as a Solution for Sustainable Agricultural Waste Management
Oil Palm covers nearly 9600 hectares of Sri Lanka. The replacement process occurs once for 25-30 years creates nearly 200 tons of agricultural waste per hectare. The normal procedure of uprooting un- economical plantations is by using bachore machine. Conventional methods of clearing oil palm trunks after remaining materials in the field cause problems such as increasing breeding places for pests like rhinoceros beetles and rats increase the disease incidents in immature plants, hindering field operations and taking long time to decompose remains. Therefore, sustainable utilization of oil palm trunk bio mass is important. Oil palm trunks from Elpitiya plantation were used for the experiment. A trunk has an average biomass of 1550kg with an 8m mean length. The average number of trees per hectare is 125 per one replacement cycle. Bark is removed from trunks and cut into pieces and chopped by using an electrical chopper. The chopped pulp (initial pulp) was grinded by mortar and pestle and blender separately to produce pulp 1 and pulp 2 respectively. Molasse produced using pulp 1 and pulp 2, give final brix values of 58 and 54.4 respectively. Vinegar was produced using pulp1 and pulp 2 shows an undesirable light brown suspension with an alcohol percentage of 2%. Pots and planting containers for nurseries prepared from initial pulp can be used for nurseries and effective in direct field planting. The study revealed there is a possibility of preparing molasse and planting containers from oil palm trunks. Vinegar production process needed to be further studied.
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