In a resounding triumph for Centurion University, Dr. Pratyush Kumar Das, an esteemed Assistant Professor in the School of Agricultural and Bio Engineering, has secured the third prize in the ‘Ideation Category’ at the national-level ILS Innovation Challenge. The competition, organized by DBT – Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) and supported by BIRAC, DST-Govt. of Odisha, and Start-up Odisha, witnessed fierce competition from across the nation, with Dr. Das’s groundbreaking innovation, ‘Polymer-functionalized Bio Beads Enriched Soil Amendment (PBEA) for Paddy Cultivation in Cr (VI) Contaminated Soils,’ emerging as one of the top contenders.
The award ceremony took place on September 26, 2023, during the inaugural session of the Life Science Start-up Summit at ILS, Bhubaneswar. Dr. Pratyush Kumar Das, along with his teammate, Mr. Gyanendra Prasad Panda of DBT-ILS, was honoured for their outstanding contribution to the field of bioscience and biotechnology.
The ILS Innovation Challenge, hosted by the incubation centre at DBT – Institute of Life Sciences, marked a pioneering endeavour to encourage students, scholars, and scientists to explore innovative ideas and solutions in the realm of bioscience and biotechnology. This nationwide competition provided a platform for aspiring start-ups and individuals to showcase their innovations, engage with industry experts and scientists, and ultimately foster the development of entrepreneurial ventures aimed at societal benefit.
Dr. Das’s award-winning innovation addresses a critical environmental issue – the presence of toxic Cr (VI) in soil, primarily originating from mining and industrial activities. This contamination not only jeopardizes agricultural productivity but also poses significant health risks to humans through the consumption of contaminated rice crops. Dr. Pratyush Kumar Das’s pioneering solution involves the use of specific biodegradable polymers in conjunction with targeted microbial species. This unique blend serves as a soil conditioner or an additive to organic compost, enhancing rice growth by promoting nitrogen fixation at the root-soil interface. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in mitigating the accumulation of the toxic heavy metal, chromium, in rice plants, thereby ensuring the production of safe and uncontaminated rice.
Speaking about his achievement, Dr. Pratyush Kumar Das expressed his gratitude to Centurion University for its support and emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing pressing environmental challenges. He stated, “This recognition underscores the significance of interdisciplinary research and innovative thinking in the field of agriculture and environmental science. Our work holds the promise of sustainable agricultural practices and a healthier future for communities affected by heavy metal contamination.”
Dr. Das’s remarkable success serves as a testament to Centurion University’s commitment to nurturing excellence and fostering innovation in its academic community. His groundbreaking research not only advances the boundaries of science but also contributes to the well-being of society by addressing a critical environmental concern. His innovative solution holds the potential to transform farming practices and protect both the environment and human health.
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