By Assoc. Prof. Dr. Unchalee  Sanguanpong

Award  Gold  Prize : Korea International Women’s Invention Exposition 2009 (KIWIE  2009)

A pilot plant that produces 25 ton per year (250 working days) of a “Ready-to-use” formulated neem insecticide was set up in Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT). Mass production of Thai neem seeds (Azadirachta indica var. siamensis (Valeton)) involves a long chain of operations. Defatted neem cake is extracted with methanol by the moving-bed contacting technique. After decantation, neem solution is filtered and evaporated to a specific volume, the so-called Concentrated Neem Extract. Before packing into containers, the extract is analyzed for azadiracthin (C36H44O16) content by HPLC. Furthermore, the concentrate is also formulated for specific purposes as different “Ready-To-Use” products. Eventually, the product is bottled and shipped to the consumer.

The described processing requires a set of special equipment, such as seed decorticator, pulverizer, oil expeller, filter, agitated-extraction vessel and evaporator. However, the actual yield of different neem-based extracts by all equipment and processes was compared with yield of laboratory scale, which was used as standard method or control treatment. The data obtained are  discussed in terms of  development and improvement for further manufacturing.