Agriculture

Sweetener-Xylitol Production from Biomass
Speaker: Dr. Meena Krishania Choudhary
Registration Fee: FREE
Language: English
Time Length: ~60 Min
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Description: Rice straw is one of the most common biomass sources, more than 580 million tons available worldwide every year. Presently, there is very limited use of rice straw (RS). First, most of the rice straw available after harvest is either left on the ground or burnt. The present talk is on the production of Xylitol, which is a sweetener and has wide applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries, from rice straw. The parameters were optimized for involved process, the pretreatment of rice straw via dilute acid-catalyzed steam pretreatment method. The impact of feedstock size, presoaking time at room temperature, acid concentration, and steam treatment’s duration on the efficacy of RS pretreatment were studied till scale-up. Fermentation of the pretreated RS hydrolysate (pre-hydrolysate) and semi-defined medium (control) for xylitol production in a 14 L fermentor also investigated. This study produces a sweetener-xylitol from rice straw, which have the potential for scalable to an industrial level, and simultaneously minimize the pollution problem caused by rice straw.
Speaker: Dr. Meena Krishania is currently a Faculty of Center and Applied Bioprocessing Center, Mohali, Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. In 2007, she obtained her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Biotechnology Engineering from Rajasthan University. In 2009, she received her M.Tech in Chemical Engineering at MNIT, Jaipur. In 2013, she completed her PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. After completing her PhD, Dr. Meena accepted a faculty position at the University of Amity, Haryana, where she taught students of B.Tech and M.tech. In 2014, she began working in CIAB, Mohali, where she has been since then. Dr. Meena has broadened her vision and continues her work on the valorization of biomass. Her work contributes to an appreciation of industrial constraints by continuously developing technology and offering better solutions. She filed 6 patents, wherein one is granted and one technology transferred to the industry. She has more than 20 publications in reputable national and international journals, one book, and 3 chapters. She also delivered many presentations at national and international conferences in India, Thailand, Malaysia, London etc.

BioPlastics for Agriculture Application and Benefits
Speaker: Mercedes Jiménez Rosado
Registration Fee: 50 US$ / Person
Language: English
Time Length: ~60 Min
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Description: Bioplastics have become a potential alternative to the use of plastics. More specifically, they will contribute to reducing the high accumulation of the latter, which is caused by their low biodegradability. In addition, these bioplastics can be obtained from waste and by-products from other industries (mainly agri-food), which not only lowers their costs but also allows them to make the most of the available resources, contributing to supporting the circular economy. In the horticultural sectors, these bioplastics provide new alternatives that reduce the use of resources. Thus, superabsorbent bioplastics can be used as a complementary water source, since they can absorb and retain a large amount of water, supplying it to crops in drought times. In this way, the water cycle is improved, by rationalizing crop irrigation. Moreover, these bioplastics can also be used for the controlled release of nutrients and can be modulated with their biodegradability. Thus, the efficiency of assimilation of these by crops is improved, avoiding the excessive use of fertilizers. However, to achieve these benefits it is important to study the processing of these materials so that they can have the required functional characteristics. Therefore, this webinar would focus on highlight the principal applications of bioplastics in horticulture, paying great attention in the novel tends and latest research in this area.
Speaker: I started the Degree in Industrial Chemical Engineering in 2013. In June 2016, I enjoyed a Research Initiation Scholarship in Technology and Design of Multicomponent Products group (TEP-229) granted by the Universidad de Sevilla, where I developed superabsorbent soy protein-based matrices with micronutrients necessary for horticulture. I continued this line of research with a Collaboration Scholarship form the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte of Spanish Government, combining it with the Final Degree Project, so I finished the degree in June 2017 obtaining the awards from the Real Maestranza de Sevilla and Excellency Seville City Council for the best academic record. Then, I completed the Master in Food Technology and Industry and worked as Support Researcher in the TEP-229 group in the project “Development of superabsorbent and biodegradable materials processed by agro-industrial by-products”. Actually, I am hired by a fellowship for Training of University Teachers (FPU2017/01718) of the Ministry of Education and Professional Training in the Chemical Engineering department of the Universidad de Sevilla under the doctoral program “Installations and Systems for Industry” where I continue to develop my career as a researcher and as a teacher. All this has resulted in the publication of 23 articles in indexed international journals, as well as 15 book chapters and participation in 40 congresses.