Sri Lanka develops new cinnamon varieties

Oct 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has developed new varieties of cinnamon with higher yields and chemical properties that are sought after in the food, pharmaceutical and perfumery industries. Sri Lankan cinnamon industry experts said the island’s production is not enough to meet demand.

Production has been held back by a shortage of cinnamon peelers. The Department of Export Agriculture (DEA) said in a statement two new varieties of the spice, called ‘Sri Gemunu’ and ‘Sri Wijaya’, have yields of 1,100 – 1,300 kilos per hectare.

Existing varieties yield only about 500 kilos per hectare, according to W D L Gunaratne, director-general of the DEA.

Gunaratne said the new cinnamon varieties were the result of several years of research and development efforts by the department.

The new varieties have higher concentrations of chemicals that are used in the food, pharmaceutical and perfumery industries.

Gunaratne said the bark of the Sri Gemunu variety yields almost 75 percent Cinnamaldehyde, an important flavouring agent in food products.

The leaf oil of the Sri Gemunu variety also yields 88 percent Euginol used in making toothpaste, as well as in pharmaceuticals and pe