BANGKOK, October 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Researcher at the Faculty of Sciences, Chulalongkorn University had the idea to produce 100% Made–in–Thailand cassava-based cat litter and aims to export it to the global market. The product effectively absorbs cat urine liquids and odors, breaks down.
With the prices of agricultural products falling, researchers in Thailand have found a way to add value to crops like cassava by turning them into cat litter which is a necessary commodity for pet care.
“I am a cat lover and have been using cat litter products for over a decade. I noticed that virtually 100% of the cat litter on the market is imported and wondered why we don’t “We weren’t making the product locally. I looked around at the products we had and tried various options like rice husk or sugarcane pulp and found cassava to be ideal,” Doctor. Lunjakorn Amornkitbamrung, postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University revealed to us the origins of the product now known by its trade name “hide and seek.”
“Cassava becomes very sticky when soaked. It is the required quality when it comes to cat litter which must solidify and be absorbent. It is also a natural substance which can be simply thrown in the flushing down the toilet.”
Not only has this innovation worked wonders in increasing the value of crops for cassava farmers, but it also reassures cat lovers who are looking for a safe, effective and environmentally friendly product. It is no surprise that cassava cat litter has received many awards such as of the Best Inventions in Agriculture and Biology of the Exercise 2022 organized by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT)the 2021 Young Scientist Prize from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology, and the Prime Minister‘s 2021 Export Prize from the Ministry of Commerce.
Cassava Cat Litter – a new and healthy option
There are many choices on the cat litter market today, from volcanic ash to pine pellets and even tofu litter. “Hide & Seek” Cassava Cat Litter is the final option Dr. Lunjakorn is confident about when it comes to cats kept in timeshare units or other limited spaces.
“Made from 100% cassava, our product is chemical free and is therefore safe for our feline friends and their owners. It also does not produce dust from soil, rocks or sand which can be toxic if inhaled. It solidifies easily, which means it can be cleaned and disposed of as it breaks down naturally. More importantly, cassava cat litter absorbs odors better than other products on the market made from other materials..”
Generating income for Thai farmers
As a chemical researcher, Dr. Lunjakorn was able to find the right technology to produce cat litter from cassava. The process started by breaking the root crop into small pieces and drying them before crushing them into a powder. The next step would be to use proper heat and pressure to get small pellets used for kitty litter.
“The benefit of using plant-based raw materials is that crops can be replaced. It’s quite different from products made from quarried bentonite clay which is a form of destruction to our natural resources.”
The cassava crop replacement provides farmers with a stable income throughout the year. Dr. Lunjakorn intends to set up a cat litter factory in Chon Buri province where cassava is planted.
“We had talks with the farmers and assured them that we would offer a price of more than 10 baht per kilogram which is higher than the normal price they get at 4-5 baht. For this, they must cooperate by planting cassava with the desired quality to be used for the manufacture of our product. »
Thai cat litter in the global market
The cat litter market is very competitive. The Thai market alone is worth 800 million baht per year while the global market revolves around 280 billion baht per year.
“The market is highly competitive. The challenge is to find the right strategies to make our product known so that more people buy it,” said Dr Lunjakorn.
“Hide&Seek” has been on the market for about 2 years. In its first year, its total sales reached 5 million baht and the amount doubled the second year. Besides the local market, the product has been exported to countries like Australia, Vietnamand Malaysia and will soon be available in Italy and Japan as well.
Plans are underway to turn other crops into kitty litter
With the success of cassava cat litter, other entrepreneurs are considering the possibility of adding value to their crops. According to Dr Lunjakorn, this might be possible with sugarcane pulp or paddy husk, but they don’t have the same level of stickiness, meaning some substances like tapioca flour might have to be added to the formula.
“Several people have consulted us on various possibilities of turning materials like hemp or paddy husk into kitty litter. These possibilities need to be investigated so that other formulas can be developed in the future.”
The Cat Litter of the Future Could Help Tell Your Cat‘health issues
Right now, Dr. Lunjakorn is hard at work on some improvements to his cat litter product.
“We hope to increase the value of our cat litter with an additional feature that will allow cat owners to detect anything unusual with their cat early before the condition worsens. The cat can then be taken to the veterinarian in time to receive treatment.
The product under study can check the pH and glucose levels of cat urine, which shows discoloration results for conditions such as kidney disease, urinary tract infections, and diabetes.
The expanded research project is funded by the National Research Council of Thailand Pilot project for the Thai Inventors / World Inventors Project for 2022 with Associate Professor Dr. Kanet Wongravee of the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Chulalongkorn University as project manager. The research is expected to be completed by the end of this year when a new product is introduced to the market.
A 2.seven– kilogram bag of “hide and seek” cassava cat litter cost 220–250 baht and can last 3 weeks per cat. The product is for sale in pet stores of various department stores and the product is also available at Thonglor Pet Hospital where it is branded as Dr.. Choice and produced by OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing).
For the full version and more images, please visit: https://www.chula.ac.th/en/highlight/87176/
About Chulalongkorn University
Chulalongkorn University sets the standard as a university of innovations for society and is among the top 100 universities in the world for academic reputation, in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021.
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