Development of Rapid and Non-destructive Method for Detection of Insect Infestation in Stored Cereal Grains

Student of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Gayatri Mishra and Ranjana Rani won the award for research work of Development of Rapid and Non-destructive Method for Detection of Insect Infestation in Stored Cereal Grains. They carried their project work under the guidance of Dr H N Mishra and Shubhangi Srivastava.

India is the second-largest producer of cereal crops in the world but, with the existing facilities, negligible part contributes to post-harvest losses. In this aspect, insect infestation is an alarming concern, accounting for losses in quality as well as quantity. A major portion of the post-harvest losses can be saved by detecting the insects in their early developmental stages and subsequent application of suitable disinfestation approach is undertaken for their control. The current scenario demands rapid methods for insect detection, which can take a lead over conventional methods, on the ground of promptness, usability, non-destructiveness, affordability of start-up cost, and implementation feasibility beyond the laboratory domain. In this study, rapid methods were developed using Fourier transform near-infrared spectroscopy (FTNIR), electronic nose (E-nose), and hyperspectral imaging techniques.

The methods were then statistically compared to select the most suitable technology for the development of a portable sensor assembly for detection of insect infestation of stored cereal grains (i.e. rice, wheat, and maize). E-nose was chosen among the various techniques and the experimental findings were adapted for the development of a low-cost portable sensor. Based on the findings, alcohol and ammonia sensors were integrated with a microcontroller unit to fabricate the sensor assembly, which was effective enough to detect the level of infestation based on the headspace gas composition. The outcome of the project will lead to a convenient, rapid yet nondestructive approach for quality determination of insect-infested cereal grains at various stages during the storage. The sensor will be a boon for developing countries like India to rapidly detect the infestation precisely and support the ideology “saving a grain is producing a grain”.

The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award to Gayatri Mishra, Ranjana Rani  Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur at the GYTI 2019 Awards function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on July 06, 2019.

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