Guwahati, Jan 7: In a bid to enhance the shelf life of climacteric fruit, Assam based scientist Dr Sanjib Kumar Paul was recognized for his work by the Indian Patent Office, Government of India, thereby granting him the patent titled 'Copper (nanosized)-Chitosan-Menthol Edible Conglomerate Enrobe for Prolonged Shelf-Life of Climacteric Fruit'.
Dr Paul had carried out the work at the Department of Agricultural Engineering under the Triguna Sen School of Technology at Assam University, Silchar, under the supervision of Dr Sudipto Sarkar. Prof L N Sethi, Dean and Head of the Department and Dr SK Ghosh were the co-supervisors of the project.
Dr Paul is currently working as a scientist at the CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad. He was awarded PhD in 2018 by the same department while he completed his post-graduation in Food Processing Technology from Tezpur University in 2010.
The project was conceptualized when it was observed that most of the fruits and vegetables were wasted due to lack of technological know-how on the storage and processing techniques available to the producers or the low-level farmers
Need to Enhance the shelf-life of climacteric fruit
Fruits being a perishable commodity get wasted due to lack of proper storage and transportation, this also incurs a huge loss on the commercial aspect. Hence to maintain the quality of the fruits for prolonged periods, a coating was developed that would slow down the ripening of the fruits, thereby increasing their shelf life.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, Dr Paul said, "India is the third largest producer of most of the fruits and vegetables produced in the world. But the daily dietary intake requirement of individuals is largely inadequate due to certain factors in the population as per WHO."
"Northeast is a biodiversity hotspot and as such there are many fruits grown across the region. Our work was conceptualized way back in 2012, when we observed that most of the fruits and vegetables were wasted due to lack of technological know how on the storage and processing techniques available to the producers or the low-level farmers," said Dr Paul.
How will the coating increase the shelf life?
While explaining the process of coating Dr Paul stated, "We observed that if we can extend the shelf life of the vegetables and fruits for 28 days without harming the consumers, the growers will be benefitted immensely in terms of commercialization of their produce."
The parameters developed in the coating are as per the recommendations of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) parameters have also been mentioned, informed Dr Paul.
He added that they looked for ways to apply coating on the vegetables and fruits that would slow down their ripening, thereby increasing their shelf life.
Speaking about the project, Prof Sethi termed it as a path breaking achievement not just for the department and the university, but for the whole State, the country and the world at large.
Vice Chancellor Dilip Chandra Nath also said, "It is a positive beginning… Innovative thinking with proper implementation of the application based work will deliver the results."