Alcohol Production from Nipa (Nypa Fruticans Wurmb.): Preliminary Studies on Ecology and Chemistry

Rosendo G. Lorica, Miguel D. Fortes


Preliminary investigations were made on the ecology of nipa groves and the chemistry of the plant sap at Paombong, Bulacan. Nipa shoots tended to grow faster with a decrease in temperature and an increase in rainfall (wet season). At another station, however, there was an inversion in the response of the plants to temperature. The alcohol content of the sap showed a marked decline by about 33% of the highest values obtained as the colder and rainy season progress. Generally, shoot elongation and alcohol production were greater under the tidal conditions in Station 1, when compared to those in the more elevated, hence, drier conditions in Station 2. The extent of utilization of nipa and its products varied widely among the sites selected for the study.

Post-fermentation analysis revealed that nipa sap contained mostly sugar and solids. Under natural conditions, the pH changed slightly within the 15-day period. However, there was a mean increase in the percentage of alcohol, particularly after the tenth day of fermentation. The tendency of the alcohol concentration to increase with the days continued regardless of the amount of inoculum (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) introduced into the medium.

The problems encountered in the study are discussed and the necessity for more research on nipa is emphasized as an integral aspect of nonconventional energy-based development in the country.

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