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The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Pentagen Biofuels Private Limited, Pune, for commercialization of patented technology based on fungal consortium for degradation of lignin and silica. This technology has been developed by Dr Urmila Gupta Phutela, Principal Scientis, Department of Renewable Energy Engineering and Dr Karamjeet Kaur under the project “Development of novel lignin and silica degrading microbial consortium for enhancing paddy straw digestibility and biogas generation.” Dr AS Dhatt, Director of Research, PAU, Ludhiana and Mr Ujwal Athalye, Chief Operations Officer, Pentagen Biofuels Private Limited, Pune signed the agreement on behalf of their organizations.

Dr Rajan Aggarwal, Officiating Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, PAU and Head, Department of Renewable Energy Engineering; Dr Gursahib Singh Manes, Additional Director of Research (Farm Mechanization and Bio-energy); Dr Pushpinder Pal Singh Pannu, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management); and Dr Khushdeep Dharni, Associate Director, Technology Marketing and IPR Cell, congratulated the scientists for the commercialization of this technology.

Dr Aggarwal informed that the fungal consortium could be used for enhancing production (upto 15 %) of biogas from paddy straw to be further used as a fuel for thermal applications, compressed biogas (CBG) and power generation. The technology finds a variety of applications in diverse fields, he added.

Dr Phutela explained that the technology was useful for effective degradation of lignin and silica from paddy straw. The paddy straw with improved digestibility has been observed to enhance biogas production under controlled conditions, she observed.

Dr Dharni informed that PAU has been at the forefront in transferring technologies to industry for commercialization and has forged pan India linkages for serving the national interests.

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