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Manual ginger sorter/grading machine

Manual fresh ginger rhizomes sorter/grader was produced inorder to grade ginger according to three common sizes big, medium and small.

Photo of Gabriel Ifeanyi Okafor
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The manual ginger grader was evaluated and its performance was consistent with the earlier results. It also increased the sorting operation significantly. It will aid the quality of processed Nigerian ginger, which is one of the commercial varieties of ginger with the highest essential oil yield that is in great demand for oil distillation and oleoresin extraction. Ekundayo et. al 1988 in their study, concluded that compositional differences between the Nigerian ginger oil and those from Australian and India are minimal. Research work on Nigerian ginger has been centered on composition of volatile oils (Ekundayo 1988), bio-chemical changes in ginger during storage (Oti et al., 1988, Okwuowulu and Nnodu, 1986), development of ginger processing machines (Adeyemi and Onu 1997; Nwandikom and Njoku 1989; Onu, 1997, Onu, 1998; Onu and Okafor, 2002; processing (Akomas and Oti, 1988). But an integrated approach towards improving the traditional processing technologies, has received minimum attention and the impact of research findings are not being felt yet, by ginger processors and producers. Ginger is mostly sun dried without sorting, often under-dried and often found to be moulded after shipment. The major reason is drying of whole ginger without size sorting or grading. Whole dried ginger has the advantages of higher essential oil yield and reduced losses associated with peeling or splitting. Small ginger rhizomes dries faster than medium and big size grades.


Farmers, marketers, processors, food product developers, meat processors, pharmaceutical and fragrance industries. Government agricultural agencies, investors and other stakeholders. They will benefit by increased sorting/grading efficiency, faster drying and increased storageability of products. Proper use of the ginger rhizome. Small size is ideal for essential oil production, followed by medium size, while the big size is good for ginger powder making for meat tenderization.


Nigeria, Sierra Leonne, Ghana, Nepal and other ginger producing/processing countries.


  • Yes


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year


  • Yes, for more than one year.


I am a Lecturer in the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria. I long to have collaborators that would assist in further development and commercialization of this and other technologies being worked on, as well as mechanized ginger grader.

Ginger sizes are irregular and therefore necessitated sorting to enhance processing operations. Washed ginger rhizomes were graded according to three commonly occurring uniform sizes (big, medium and small) initially,  using a Vernier Calipher. The three sizes were whole-dried separately at the same conditions and their drying rates were found to be inversely proportional to the size grades. The fresh ginger rhizome size grades as well as their milled powders were subjected to aroma discrimination by sensory evaluation and an Electronic nose in order to identify possible headspace aromatic differences, among the three ginger grades.  Principal component analysis (PCA) maps of the data showed that the electronic nose successfully discriminated the aroma or volatile compounds of the three ginger grades in different clusters for each group, suggesting that they vary in chemical composition. Contrary to expectations, the flavour variations of the three ginger grades could not be detected by the human nose. The  essential oil yields of the fresh and dried ginger samples were done. Characterization and quantification of the volatile components was conducted using a Shimadzu Gas chromotograph equipped with a flame ionisation detector and integrator, while identification of the compounds was conducted with a Mass Spectrometer selective detector.

Electronic nose successfully discriminated fresh ginger rhizomes graded according to sizes  into small, medium and big, indicating different positioning of the headspace volatiles of the three ginger grades, in a pattern of signals from the 12 metallic oxide sensors. The signals were presented in coordinates and grouped together in a cluster of specific and separated coordinates for each grade (see fig. 1) in both the fresh and powdered ginger samples. This is an indication of the likely difference in chemical constituents and concentration of the volatiles of big, medium and small size grades.The  essential oil yield reduced with increase in  rhizome size, while the concentration of of chemical constituents of the essential oils increased with decrease in size grades. Backed with these findings,   a manual hand grader was designed and fabricated by the author.

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Hi Gabriel, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.