GSFC Science Foundation research projects in the field of water and agriculture
Future three projects are carrying out in collaboration with various institutes.
The GSFC Science Foundation shared the details about their research projects carried out with institutes in the field of water and agriculture. The important research projects of NPK Nano Fertilizers and Arsenic Water filter are carried out in collaboration with the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Studies (JNIAS), Hyderabad and the Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU), Junagadh.
The GSFC Science Foundation, an autonomous scientific research organization registered as a Society and as a Trust, has a mandate to conduct, organize and promote research in science for the benefit of the public at large. Established about 25 years ago, the Foundation has carried out many projects in the fields of agriculture, biotechnology, environment, water management etc. tying up with universities, research institutes, NGOs and other such organizations.
A research project was carried out to study Arsenic water contamination problems in Hyderabad city , which has been facing severe water scarcity and water quality problems due to industrialization and urbanization. Analysis of ground water samples of industrial and nearby residential areas of Kattedhan and Patenchervu have confirmed contamination of ground water with presence of Arsenic with high to very high concentration limit, above acceptable limit. Moreover, with continuous use of Arsenic laden water for irrigation, Arsenic has entered into food Chain causing health issues.
With objective of developing a low cost and easy to use filter to address the issue of Arsenic contamination, GSFC Science Foundation jointly with the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Studies (JNIAS) have developed a Biobased Arsenic Water Filter.
GSF-JNIAS Filter uses medicinal plant powders as bio coagulants, which are extensively used as staple food or aromatic powders in the region. Water filtration technology is eco-friendly, low cost and does not require any electricity. It is based on conventional Coagulation-Flocculation technology. Moreover, this technology is maintenance free and doesn’t require any technical expertise for implementation.
The variation in filtration efficacy of different plant powders to remove Arsenic from water ranges from 80% to 100%. For treatment of 10 litres of water, about 10 grams of powder is required which can last for about 100 days making it one of the most cost effective treatment. For example, cost of treatment of water with most effective plant powder is only about Rs. 0.12 or 12 paisa per litre as compared to other commercial filters which work on reverse osmosis, adsorption, ion exchange treatment principles and are thus very expensive and beyond the reach of average common population.
In agriculture, loss of nutrient elements is one of biggest problems as it deprives plant of nutrients, increases process cost and pollutes the environment. Therefore, controlled release is a method used to solve this problem. With the use of controlled release systems, nutrients are released at a slower rate throughout the season and plants are able to take up most of the nutrients without any waste by leaching.
New trend is use of slow release nano fertilizers to minimise fertilizer consumption and environmental pollution. This will also, indirectly save the forex and contribute to strengthen the economy of nation. By using nanoscience, new forms of nanocomposites dispersed with nanoparticles can be developed to minimize migration of water through the polymeric package as well as to improve mechanical properties. The release and dissolution rates of water-soluble fertilizers depend on the coating materials.
GSFC Science Foundation and Junagadh Agricultural University had thus taken up a study which aimed to synthesis and Characterize polymer based NPKnanofertilizers. Selected polymer is available in abundance and it is also biodegradable, bioabsorbable, and bactericidal in nature.
NPK nanofertilizers (individual) developed have the unique properties of control release systems. It releases nutrients at a slower rate and make it available upto 135 days in situ soil under controlled release system compared to the NPK chemical fertilizers throughout the season and plants are able to take up most of the nutrients without wasting of fertilizers by leaching process.
Development of nanoproducts NPK nanofertilizers is an economically viable environment friendly and a scientifically advanced research output. Field trials taken have indicated that while maintaining the yield of crop, 45% of saving of fertilizers expenses is noted with 10 times low application of NPK nanofertilizers.
GSFC Science Foundation Chairman Dr. S.K. Nanda also shared the future research projects carried out by the foundation. He said with MSU they are developing a fungus which can destroy plastic, secondly they are working on potato cultivation without soil and the third is extracting Vitamin B12 from Marine Algae to mix with salt.