Edmund Albius: Inventor of the Manual Method of Vanilla Pollination

Vanilla is rated as the second most valuable spice after Saffron. One of the reasons for their being the most valuable species in addition to right kind of climate is its labor intensive farming. Vanilla is famous for essence and find used in numerous food items.

The flavor is imparted by a organic compound Vanillin which has chemical having the name 4-hydroxy-3 methoxy benzaldehyde. Some other compounds also make contribution. Vanillin is not present in the beans. Beans contain odorless compoumd vanillin glucoside which when fermented releases the oil.

Vanilla is a native of Mexico. The pollination is possible due to the symbiotic relationship of the plant with a Melipona bee which is endemic to Mexico. The crop takes a long time of nine months to mature. Due to this reason Mexico was the only place where vanilla was found.

The vine was brought to other regions to be cultivated. The vines grew very well but were sterile because of the absence of the pollinating bee. Particularly the vine was brought to Reunion near Mauritius. Now can you believe that creativity is God gift. There on one of the farms was a slave labor whose name was Edmund Albius. At the time he was a 12 year boy, he hit upon a method of pollination by hand dusting which made it possible to pollinate the flowers and yield the crop. This was in 1841.

After this the monopoly of of Mexico was broken and due to the method developed by Edmond Albius the Madagascar and Mauritius region has become the major producer.

After the abolition of the slavery, he left the farm where he worked as a kitchen servant. He was arrested and accuse of stealing jewelery and other valuables and was jailed but was pardoned and released on account of the immense contribution made by him in making it possible for the vanilla cultivation at other places in addition to its origin location of Mexico.

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