Over 99% of plastics are fossil fuel origin and their rapid increase has put tremendous pressure on the already limited non-renewable resources on earth. There is a worldwide concern regarding the development of biodegradable polymer materials as a remedy towards harmful effects caused by plastic waste on the environment. This provides researchers with a huge prospect of developing biopolymer-based functional ingredients to design improved or novel industrial applications. Meet Akola based Dr. Prasad Andhare, whose research opens up new possibilities of application of microbial biopolymers as emulsifier, thickener, viscosifier and stabilizer agent in various industries.
Dr. Prasad completed his BSc in Agricultural Biotechnology from Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola, Maharashtra in 2009. He completed his MSc in Biotechnology from Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, in 2011. He recently completed his PhD in Applied sciences with specialisation in Microbiology from Charotar University of Science and Technology (CHARUSAT), Anand, Gujarat. During his PhD tenure, he did teaching assistantship as well as he was selected as a Project Research Fellow in DST Inspire project titled Eco-friendly textile effluent treatment coupled to bio-electricity generation using Microbial Fuel Cell technology, at CHARUSAT in 2015.
I chose Microbiology because I was always fascinated towards microbes as human friends. Their application in food and biofertilizers always attracted my interest towards them.
Dr. Prasad Andhare
Research area – Production, Characterization and Potential application of Biopolymer from microbial source
Exopolysaccharides (EPSs) are natural polymers secreted by microorganisms into their surrounding environment. EPS is a commercially important product as it is widely used in various industries as gums, stabilizers, thickeners, emulsiﬁers, etc. Studies increasingly focus on bioprospecting new EPS and applications.
Dr. Prasad isolated an EPS producing bacterium, Rhizobium radiobacter CAS, from curd. The extraction of EPS and its analysis revealed that it is Succinoglycan. Succinoglycan EPS is already commercially valuable and marketed under various trade names. Hence, he investigated the rheological properties and potential biotechnological application as bioemulsifier of Succinoglycan from non-plant pathogenic Rhizobium radiobacter CAS.
The extracted biopolymer showed better viscosity and bioemulsifying activity than other commercially available products. It displays pseudoplastic behavior, typical shear thinning nature and can resist several thermal cycles, pH ranges and various salts at different concentrations. Dr. Prasad is confident that better emulsifying and rheological properties make CAS hydrocolloid a prospective alternative to commercial biopolymers and chemical surfactants. It can, therefore, be used as viscosifier, emulsifier, thickener and stabilizer in numerous food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications.
His guide in this research was Dr. Hilor Pathak from CHARUSAT university. He also received immense help in structural characterization of the microbial polymers from his colleagues Cedric Delattre, Guillaume Pierre, Philippe Michaud from University Clermont Auvergne, France. He also presented his research in several national and international conferences. One of them was 27th International Carbohydrate Symposium held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in Jan’14.
The process of structural characterization of my microbial biopolymers was quite costly in India. So I did international collaboration with France scientists and did my characterization successfully along with publication.
Dr. Prasad Andhare
Dr. Prasad was inclined towards research from his BSc days. Apart from Microbial Biopolymers and Exopolysaccharide (EPS), Dr. Prasad’s areas of interests in research include Microbial Fuel Cells, Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria, Biofertilizers and Synthetic Seeds. He has also researched on production of compatible biofertilizers for groundnut which is published in international journals.
I received immense support from my family during my education and research work. I owe my success to my mother Mrs Vijaya Andhare, my father Mr. Atmaram Andhare, my wife Mrs. Anuja Andhare and especially to my 1.5 year old lovely daughter Aayushi Andhare.
Dr. Prasad Andhare
Dr. Prasad aspires to continue with his research in developing novel applications of biopolymers for the industries. He also wants to pursue developing scientific knowledge and reasoning in children. He is planning to soon open up an education center Dr. Prasad’s Achiever Institute in Akola where he can train students from grade 1 to grade 12 on all subjects from different education boards. He also wishes to channelize the inquisitiveness of the young brains towards scholarship exams like NTSE besides preparing them for several national/international Olympiads such as NSEP/NSEB/NSEC/NSEA, IJSO, NMTC, RMO and private Olympiads like IMO, NSO, NSTSE, etc.
References – Global Biopolymer Market image source