Make in India, 21st Century’s green revolution: A pesticide spraying equipment

Are the farmers using pesticides efficiently and economically to their crops? Gone are the days when crop protection was a difficult issue for farmers. Coming face to face with problems like pest attacks and diseases, ignorant farmers across Indian sub-continent often use pesticides on their crops in excessive quantity without thinking about its harmful impacts on the environment and human health.

Manoj Kumar Patel, a 29-year-old young and enthusiastic scientist from department of Agrionics of a renowned research laboratory of India, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, Chandigarh, has developed a revolutionary spraying technique for the crops, orchards and high range trees protection from many dreadful pests, mites, insects and rodents harming the crops and causing various diseases in crops as well as human beings.

a pesticide spraying equipment

 “The problem identification was the major difficulty as we are into pesticide spraying for past decades but are unaware of the fact that not all the pesticides are sprinkled on the entire crops and backside of the leaves are left devoid of pesticide through which the pests escape and harms it” as told by Patel. The conventional spraying technique involves the spraying of pesticide using a hand pressure swirl nozzles, bulky knapsack worn manually. However, most of the pesticide is used in spraying, approximately 30% of the pesticide reaches onto target surface of crops and plants and a lot more is wasted polluting the environment.

Patel has always defeated the problems came across throughout his life whether professional or personal. He hails from a small village in Uttar Pradesh and is the first most eligible bachelor of his village who could make it to the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award 2016.

pesticide equipment He has developed an Electrostatic Nozzle for uniform pesticide spraying while using very least volume of the pesticide so that a better crop protection with good grain quality can be achieved with increased yield.

“The applied high voltage to charging electrode creates a high electrostatic force field around the liquid surface, results into small mist of negatively charged droplets which surround the crops and application of the pesticide from the front covers the leaves at the back as well. This innovation is very efficient, cost effective and environment friendly” Patel said.

Patel has brought so many laurels to the Organisation including the SKOCH Smart Technology Award 2015, Order-of-Merit Award 2015 and Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2016 awarded at President Bhawan on March 13, 2016. 

Manoj kumar patel

Patel and his team has spent almost all the nights and days in the laboratory for a period of almost 18 months to bring about this innovation into reality. He gives credits to his mentors Dr. C Ghanshyam and Dr. Manoj Kumar Nayak and teammates Ms. Sudeshna Bagchi, Mr. Hemant Kumar Sahoo, Bushra Parveen without whose contribution and support he was not able to complete this work in a very short time-span.

The project has been patented and reached to the industrial level and soon it will be implemented and employed in the farms of India and other world’s developing and rural economies for the pest control. Surely, this will lead to the 21st century’s revolution in crop protection. 

 

Bye Bye to CANCER without Pain

Cancer is killing more than 8 million people worldwide and given the current lifestyle of this generation, the numbers are only bound to rise.

bye bye cancer without painThere are many tried and tested techniques for the treatment of cancer: chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, to name a few. However, these treatments are no short of side effects – loss of appetite, nausea, hair fall, and not to mention the cost and time factor! The worst part is that when a repeated dose of the drug is given to the patients, they might become immune to it, something known as “drug resistance”.

This calls for a suitable therapeutic modality which is not only less toxic to the body, but is also non-invasive so that the malignancy of the tumor can be controlled. One such extensively researched technique these days is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). It involves activating the drug at the cancer site by irradiating it with light.

Photofrin® is already a clinically approved drug having spatial control in its mode of action but it is, again, laced with limitations. It decomposes in the body to form two jaundice causing chemicals called bilirubin and biliverdin. Also, patients treated with Photofrin® could also become sensitive to visible light!

Aditya GaraiTo overcome such shortcomings, Aditya Garai, a 26 year-old Ph.D. student from the   department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in IISc Bangalore, is working on       metal based drugs that are much better targets against cancer. For one, metals have a versatile coordination geometry and the drug can readily produce agents (known as ROS) that kill cancer cells when the tumor is exposed to light. Aditya is working on iron based anti-cancer drugs as 30-40 mg iron is already present in our body.  

Interestingly, the metal complex he has prepared: Benzhydroxamate Fe (III)  selectively localizes in the mitochondria a.k.a the powerhouse of the cell. When red  light is shone on the tumor, ROS gets generated and – Voila! The cancer cells die. The  significance of light in the whole process can be understood by the fact that the  complex will not kill the cells in dark conditions.

Aditya GYTI Award

Aditya has recently received the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award for his line of research. He says “PDT for cancer is an exciting new technology with minimal side effects and developing cost effective drugs is my ultimate goal”.

And who knows this drug might be the next big thing in cancer treatment! As Edward Muller said “The science of today is the technology of tomorrow”.

You can read the scientific paper on his work here:

Reference
Garai, A.; Basu, U.; Khan, I.; Pant, I.; Hussain A; Kondaiah, P.; Chakravarty, A. R. polyhedron 2014, 73, 124-132.

Soya Nuggets, not only a delicious curry maker, but also an efficient drug carrier

Think of soya nuggets, and the first thing that strikes, is the delicious curry prepared out of it. Soya nuggets are used to prepare mouthwatering recipes in our homes, but in this innovation, researchers from IIT Hyderabad have used it for making capsules.

Utkarsh Bhutani Ph.D Chemical Engineering, guided by Dr. Saptarshi Majumdar is working on innovative drug delivery vehicles. These vehicles are prepared to carry medicines that can be taken by humans orally.

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The idea originated one fine day when Dr Majumdar was having soya nuggets in his lunch, and was in deep thought of coming up with better delivery vehicle properties in less cost. Both the student and the guide were not so happy with existing state of the arts. The properties were their biodegradable nature, stability in different pH conditions, porosity and property to swell which basically controls the drug encapsulation, drug release and all these at lower price. Suddenly he saw soya nuggets that fortunately had all the above properties. They are protein rich, biodegradable, well accepted food throughout the world. Moreover, they could swell when kept in water. This was a ray of hope that these soya nuggets could be seen from a different perspective. Thus, from there began the series of tests and experiments to prove soya nuggets as an efficient drug carrier.

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The most important factors those put soya nuggets top of the league are its worldwide acceptability and the low cost. 200g of nutrila soya nuggets cost around Rs 40. During the experiments it was found that these nuggets could swell 300 times their original weight. This was very promising but at the same time, it should have a controlled swelling only at the right environment and the right time. Utkarsh, having worked on hydrogels previously had used sodium alginate, a biodegradable polymer that could control this swelling. He used this to coat soya nuggets which perhaps controlled the rapid swelling of these nuggets. These nuggets were further tested for many other properties like its porosity, morphology, rheology and chemical interactions to finally get convinced about its potential as a cargo.

These nuggets were tested with important drugs like metformin, ibuprofen and anti-cancerous drugs like curcumin and were successfully found to encapsulate these drugs and release them at a controlled rate for 24 hours. The uniqueness of this research lies in its impact on the society. The processing cost is very less, which could turn out to be a boon for the society once accepted by the pharmaceutical industry.

Utkarsh has published his innovation in one of the journals of Royal Society of Chemistry, UK and also received the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award for the year 2016. Currently he is in the quest of some more innovative drug carriers that could revolutionize the research in this area.

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GYTI 2016 award ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan

PYRO – Know your water

Some rainy day in the month of August 2015 Mr. Vijay Yadav (appreciation awardee GYTI 2015) was working in the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology laboratory at Institute of Chemical Technology when his colleague Mr. Uday Koli was autoclaving water for his microbiology experiments. Autoclaving of water, which is very common practice for carrying out majority of the biological experiments made Vijay wonder about the fate of dead bodies of the microbes which get killed after autoclaving but still remain in the water. “Though the microbes are killed, will they not interfere when the water is used for performing different experiments? After all the cell wall and the microcellular components are chemical in nature!” he thought. “Can’t we have a technology that can completely eliminate these microbes from the water in an energy intensive way??”

These dead bodies a.k.a. Pyrogens are a source of trouble in various fields that require water of the highest quality and purity. Elimination of these Pyrogens could potentially open doors to several opportunities. Thinking on these lines Vijay realized that the solution to the problem can make way for this microbe free water in different fields such as bio pharmaceutical industries, water for genetics, water for injection, sterile water for inhalation, water for research, waste water treatment and so on.

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Prototype of the product

Vijay began his trial experiments with some of the basic concepts in chemistry. Simply put, the method can assemble these light and tiny microbes together as if it's a get together party and neatly tie them together making it easy for removal, otherwise it is difficult to separate them..

Being a part of an interdisciplinary research group, Nano Medicine Research Group, Vijay was able to put up a technically sound team which was backed by the supportive supervisors Dr. Prajakta Dandekar Jain and Dr. Ratnesh Jain. The simple yet elegant idea soon germinated into a technology which had a great scope of transforming into a startup.

They as a team have a goal to bring turbulence in the water oriented market with this disruptive technology. The team consists of Mr. Rohan Chhabra, Mr. Nikhil Kalane, Miss Tejal Pant and Miss Anomitra Dey.

Vijay and team grabbed the 3rd prize at BEST 2015 organized by ABLE India, presented their business model at Bio Invest by India Bio 2016 and were awardees for GYTI 2016, an initiative of SRISTI.

GYTI 2016 Award at Rashtrapati Bhawan

GYTI 2016 award ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan