Home > Sponsored R&D Projects

Biomonitoring and Indexing of 56 rivers of Maharashtra at 156 National Water Quality Monitoring Programme Stations (Sponsored by MPCB) (Ongoing)

The study involves sampling of phytoplanktons, zooplanktons and benthic invertebrates in post monsoon and pre monsoon seasons. The diversity and saprobity indices will be calculated to evaluate the health of rivers as per the guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board.

Climate Change Adaptation of Onion Crop (Sponsored by DST) (Ongoing)

Development of Electrochemical Oxidation Methods for Treatment of Organic Radioactive Wastes (Sponsored by BRNS, DAE) (Completed)

Organic wastes arise in different industries including nuclear industry. Incineration is a traditional method for volume reduction and management of organic wastes. With the growing environmental concerns associated with incineration process, more eco-friendly alternatives are emerging. One such is mediated electrochemical oxidation process. The present project aims to develop electrochemical process for management of waste organic ion exchange resins and organic solvents employed in nuclear industry. The process occurs in water medium at near ambient conditions of temperature and pressure and converts organic materials into carbon dioxide, water etc. The process has the potential to address the issue of hazardous organic solid and liquid wastes which are difficult to incinerate.

Addressing Drinking water Issues in Slums in Greater Mumbai and Its Mapping using GIS (Sponsored by NRDMS, DST) (Completed)

In urban India, people living in slums are facing drinking water problems. An adequate supply of safe drinking water is a basic human need. More than 60% of the Mumbai city lives in slum communities. The present project aims at mapping and monitoring of drinking water quality in selected slums in Greater Mumbai. Since water quality is spatially variable in nature, therefore GIS will be used for mapping and analysis. Areas of poor water quality will be identified. Suitable low cost water purification technologies will be recommended accordingly. Dissemination of knowledge on the need for better management of urban water resources involving stakeholders like government departments, research and educational institution, NGOs, and local people will be done.

Mass Education and Awareness Generation on Plastic waste management (Sponsored by Indian Centre for Plastics in Environment) (2016-2017)

Plastics are integral part of our life. However, due to mismanagement of plastic waste it is becoming environmental hazard. To address the issues of pollution from plastic waste, awareness generation programmes were conducted in 4 different schools of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai by involving senior students and faculty through science and eco clubs in the month of November and December 2016. The effect of training on the improvement of knowledge on plastic waste management was assessed through questionnaires before and after the conduction of the training program. Pre and post knowledge questionnaires were filled by the students.Further to the training programme, workshop on "Plastics and its Management for Environment Conservation” was organized on 10th January 2017 to discuss about the measures that can be taken to manage plastic waste and to share significant observations that were made during the training programme. For workshop various stakeholders were involved from Industry, Plastic manufacturing Association, Recycling association, formal and informal sector, students and teachers. There were lectures from 4 invited speakers in this half day workshop followed by felicitation of students who actively participated and contributed in the training programme.

Testing, Development and Awareness Generation of Water Purification Techniques in Municipal Schools, Sponsored by- Mumbai Metropolitan Region- Environment Improvement Society (2014-2015)

Being financial capital of India, Mumbai’s population is rising rapidly. This is causing stress on limited resources such as water, power and living space enormously. A substantial group of our population in Mumbai is poor or live below poverty line in slum areas. People residing in such areas get water from various sources such as open tanks and wells, tanker supplies and common tap water supplies which could be possibly contaminated with physical, chemical and microbial impurities. Navi Mumbai is a fast developing satellite city spread across a wide area covering planned townships as well as villages. There are several villages in Navi Mumbai where people had to depend on various water sources such as open tanks, wells, and common tap water supply and tanker water supplies. Water quality assessment and awareness generation on water purification techniques and water conservation aspects among the school children and villagers is very important so that they understand that such a vital resource needs to be preserved and protected. This project is conceived to analyze the physical, chemical and microbial contamination of drinking water at selected villages of Panvel (Raigad).

Production of biosurfactants from marine bacteria using cost effective media by fermentation. Sanctioned under the Department of Science and Technology (SEED)-WOS B -2011(2012-2014)

Biosurfactants or microbial surfactants are surface-active biomolecules that are produced by a variety of microorganisms. The reason for their popularity as high value microbial products is because of their specific action, low toxicity, higher biodegradability, effectiveness at extremes of temperature, pH, salinity, widespread applicability and their unique structures which provide new properties that classical surfactants(chemical) may lack. Poor yields, large capital investment, difficulties in product recovery, purification and finished product analysis kept biosurfactants back from chemical surfactants. The project aims to overcome these problems by using cost effective raw materials as media components for fermentation purpose.

The societal aspect of the project deals with the potential use of biosurfactants for oil spill management in the marine environment wherein an eco-friendly technology in the form of biosurfactants will be made available to local people (coastal communities) and production of biosurfactants can be considered as an alternate livelihood method for these communities.

Optimization and Up Scaling of Fly Ash Utilization for Sustainable Production of Grapes and Onion. Sponsored by- Fly Ash Unit, Department of Science and Technology (2011-2014)

Disposal of fly ash is very difficult and at the same time it causes environmental pollution. Fly ash is a by product and has proved to be an economical soil amendment as well as have potential in crop productivity and soil fertility improvement due to the presence of many nutrients but is deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus. Excessive rains, humidity, temperature, pests and disease are critical factors of risk to the cultivation and productivity of onion and grapes. That needs proper cropping pattern with supplementation of organic material and N and P sources. In this study optimization and up scaling of fly ash with organic, chemical (NPK) and microbial inoculants like Azotobacter and AM fungi will be done for the enhancement of crop productivity, pest control, shelf life improvement of product and soil fertility.

Evaluation of comparative performance of available technologies for removal of pathogenic organisms and turbidity from drinking water (2011-2013)

Microbial activity and presence of objectionable turbidity constitute major sources of contamination of surface water bodies. A variety of pathogenic organisms find their way into drinking water sources causing frequent outbreak of water borne diseases. The susceptibility to disinfection varies from organism to organism and presence of turbidity often hinders their effective disinfection. This proposal attempts to take a systematic investigation of various available technologies such as chlorination, ozonation, solar disinfection (SODIS), disinfection cum sedimentation, use of copper pot, Ultraviolet irradiation, silver or iodine impregnated resin filters and ultrafiltration candles for their effectiveness in disinfection of potable waters contaminated with different microorganisms and turbidity loads. Sponsored by- Water Technology Initiatives, Department of Science and Technology (Ongoing)

Synthesis and characterization of bipolar ion exchange membrane sheets and performance evaluation for treatment of aqueous sodium nitrate streams by bipolar electrodialysis process. Sponsored by- Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, Department of Atomic Energy (2010-2012)

This project aims to synthesize bipolar ion exchange membrane sheets in laboratory scale, synthesize them and design a 6 compartment bipolar electrodialysis set up to study the salt splitting characteristics of the membrane synthesized.

Exploration of AM Fungi from Mangrove Forest of Western Coast in and Around Mumbai. Sponsored by- Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (2010-2011)

The study aims at the isolation, identification and assessment of potential of AM fungi from the rhizosphere of Mangrove trees of different ecological sites. The identified species would help in the restoration of degraded mangrove forests as well as in enhancing the productivity of commercial crops under salt stress conditions.

Study of ANAMMOX bacteria and their application in wastewater treatment. Sponsored by- Department of Science and Technology (2009-2012)

The project deals with isolation and identification of ANAMMOX bacteria which are obligate anaerobic autotrophs capable of oxidation of ammonium to nitrogen gas. These bacteria can be exploited for highly efficient, ecofriendly and economic treatment of high nitrogen containing wastewaters.

Design, biotechnological production, in-vitro evaluation of Camptothecin analogues for improved anti tumor activity. Sponsored by- Department of Biotechnology (2006-2009)

The purpose of this research project was to design, biosynthesis, and in vitro testing of camptothecin analogue(s). The rational behind structural modification is to improve the lactone ring stability of camptothecin at blood pH, while concurrently overcoming the drug resistance due to efflux of the drug caused by cell membrane bound proteins. Biosynthesis of camptothecin was conducted from suspension cultures of Nothapodytesfoetida, commonly found in the forests of Western Ghats in India.

Development of biotechnological process for production of cellulasebioplastics and carotenoids from Lignocellulosic biomass. Sponsored by- Department of Biotechnology (2005-2007)

The R & D project aimed at the transformation of the local biomass residues to derive value-added products - cellulase, carotenoids and bioplastics. Optimization and production of cellulose from biomass substrate Eichorniacrasipes was carried out and process of cellulose development from biomass was done.

Development of recombinant insulin like polypeptide –p from MemordicaCharatia. Sponsored by- Indian Council of Medical Research (2003-2006)

Diabetes mellitus is associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood due either to lack of insulin production (type I diabetes) or the resistance of target tissues to insulin (type II diabetes). The conventional treatment modalities, including chemically synthesized drugs and insulin obtained from non-human sources have inherent limitations and undesirable side effects. This has instigated research in alternate forms of medicine. The fruit of Momordicacharantia, also known as bitter gourd or karela, has been used extensively in traditional systems for treating diabetes. The blood sugar-lowering action of the fresh juice or unripe fruit has been established in animal experimental models as well as human clinical trials. Two independent reports have attributed hypoglycaemic activity to peptide components polypeptide-p and MC6, in the MomordicaCharantia fruit. The study aimed at molecular characterization of the peptide with antidiabetic properties from M. charantia for understanding the mechanism of action. The peptide gene will be cloned and expressed in a yeast system.

Sewage Treatment/ recycling plant at Seawoods Estate. Sponsored by- Seawoods Estate Pvt. Ltd. Navi Mumbai (2004)

The sewage recycle plant based on Phototrophic Bioreactor System was developed for a residential colony. This system is less expensive to implement, operate, thereby minimizing the level of skills required for operation & maintenance. The raw sewage from the existing sewage sump was pumped to the Phototrophic Bioreactor for biological treatment. This reactor was seeded with indigenous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria which mineralize organic compounds to hydrogen gas using sunlight as the energy source

Photoproduction of hydrogen by phototropic bacteria for fuel cell applications. Sponsored by- Department of Biotechnology (2002-2005)

The rapid depletion of the non-renewable energy sources has prompted worldwide investments on renewable energy alternatives. Hydrogen has long been accepted as an ideal and pollution free fuel of the twenty first century that yields only water vapour on burning unlike other fuels. Notwithstanding other means of producing hydrogen, biotechnological production of hydrogen utilizes organic wastes and reduced–sulphur-compounds containing waste as substrates and / or electron donors for hydrogen production with simultaneous treatment of wastes. The principal advantage that accrues from biotechnological production of hydrogen is low cost substrate (wastes), and low energy penalty compared to electrolysis route.

Consequence analysis of phumdi removal/utilization on Loktak lake ecosystem health with recourse to hybrid multi- layered neural network. Sponsored by- Wetlands International South Asia &Loktak Development Authority (2003-2004)

Development of hybrid neural network based modeling tool for the simulation of Loktak wetlands with a view to a priori evaluating the consequences of urgently warranted engineering and ecological interventions on the wetland ecosystem. This analysis requires cost: benefit framework to facilitate pragmatic decision making. The model developed in this exercise, comprises hybridization of fourteen neural networks at their rational hierarchical levels. The evaluation of consequences is based on changes in the catchment area, water quality and ecological indices.

Life cycle Assessment (LCA) of Thermal Power Sector Gujarat. Sponsored by- Ministry of Environment and Forest (2000-2002)

Identification and delineation of cost effective and pragmatic opportunities for minimization of environmental impacts across the life cycle of thermal power in the state of Gujarat was carried out through this project. Strategies were also developed for pragmatic and cost effective supply and demand side alternatives for power sector.

Development of market based instruments for Regional Environmental Management in the Kawas-Hazira Industrial Region, Gujarat. Sponsored by- Ministry of Environment and Forest (2001-2002)

Market based instruments were evaluated for their effectiveness and relevance for resource use tax, emission tax, user fees and emission trading with the criteria of minimum cost of the economy, stakeholders preferences, polluter pays and precautionary principles and positive effect on competitiveness.

Development and Implementation of Industrial Ecology Opportunities Plan in Ankleshwar Industrial Estate, Gujarat. Sponsored by- Ministry of Environment and Forest (2001-2002)

The industrial ecology mode of operation enables management of flows from the ecosystems to the industrial systems within the supportive and assimilative capacities of the region. In view of this study was conducted at two of the Gujarat Industrial Development Cooperation (GIDC) Industrial Estates, viz. Ankaleshwar and Nandesari that led to the delineation of implementation plans.

Green Corporate Account Framework for Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industries. Sponsored by- Indira Gandhi Institute of Development & Research, Mumbai (1999-2000)

Green Corporate Accounting (GCA) provides firms with true cost of their products and processes, thus leading to better business decisions and sustained profitability, over the entire life- cycle of the product/ services. In GCA, the natural resources are redefined as assets in company ledgers, and the environmental costs are built into a product’s cost. Through this project a green corporate account framework was prepared for pharmaceutical and chemical industries of Mumbai.

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