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The Department of Processing and Food Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), organized a one-day training workshop on “Hermetic Storage of Food Grains Without Using any Hazardous Chemicals” in the Jacob Hall. This workshop was organized on the successful completion of two research projects funded by the Society for Mission Tandrust Punjab. Participants from different districts of Punjab attended the workshop.

The Director of Environment and Climate Change Dr Manish Kumar, while reviewing these projects in June 2023, had desired that the outcome be shared with the stakeholders. One of the projects funded was on the topic of safe storage of food grain without application of any type of poisonous chemicals for insect and pest control to store the food grain, especially those cultivated organically. The scientists involved in the project successfully stored 50 quintals of wheat and moong beans for more than 18 months in hermetic cocoon under modified environment of Carbon dioxide (35%) and oxygen (10%), he told. The second project had designed a rapid detection kit to check adulteration instantaneously on site in processed turmeric powder and quantify the adulterant using image processing technique in the lab using specially developed algorithm, he said.

Sh Gurharminder Singh, Joint Director, Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Chandigarh and Nodal Officer for Society for Mission Tandrust, Punjab, was the guest of honor. He expressed that his organization was always ready to fund research projects with useful and scalable outcomes for the society to promote healthy and safe environment. During his interaction with the Dean of the College Dr HS Sidhu, he congratulated him for the efforts of the scientists of the college for writing projects dealing with the concern of the society and providing a viable solution.

Dr Sidhu lauded scientists of the Department of Processing and Food Engineering for the outcome of the project. He desired that the generated technology be scaled up for commercial application. He also extended support and facilities for the benefits of organizers and participants.

Dr Tarsem Chand Mittal, Head of the Department, showed round the Agro Processing Center and explained the benefits of the establishment of such food processing units in the rural areas in raising the farmer’s income and generating employment through participatory agriculture.

Dr Mahesh Kumar, Principal Investigator of the project, demonstrated the method for the storage of harvested grains under hermetic conditions.

Dr Preetinder Kaur, Principal Investigator, demonstrated her newly designed turmeric adulteration detection kit and explained its working to the participants. She disclosed that to evaluate the extent of turmeric powder adulteration in the Ludhiana district, 80 samples have been collected and analyzed. Modern approaches such as machine learning, and data analysis techniques were integrated with colorimetry and spectroscopy to develop a sensitive platfrom, capable of detecting very low amounts of adulterants, she added.

Dr DK Sharma, Head, Department of Entomology, discussed important insects-pests and their post harvest management. The other scientists who contributed to these two projects included Dr Gagandeep Kaur, Dr Derminder Singh, Dr Maninder Kaur, Dr Damini and Er Gagandeep Singh Sra.

A grain storage kit containing one 50 kg capacity hermetic bag and related accessories was distributed to the participants for its use in grain storage. The post graduate students of the Department of Processing and Food Engineering contributed immensely in the smooth conduct of the workshop.

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