SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK
|Dr. J.B. Prajapati, Anand Agricultural University, Prof. Baboo Nair, Lund University, Dr. A.K. Pathak, Anand Agricultural University, and Dr. M. Abdulla, UNESCO Institute of Trace Elements, Lyon, France, during their visit to the SASNET office in Lund.|
• A delegation from Anand Agricultural University (AAU), consisting of Dr. A.K. Pathak, Director of Research at AAU, and Dr. J.B. Prajapati (who is the Coordinator of the SASNET Fermented Foods project) visited Sweden in the beginning of October 2007. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Varshneya, was also supposed to come, but had to cancel his tour at the last minute. The delegation mainly visited Lund University, where an extensive programme had been prepared for them to visit several departments, but also including an important meeting with representatives for the Rector’s office, Lund Institute of Technology. This meeting was aimed at facilitating a long-term collaboration between the Food departments of LTH/LU and related faculties of Anand Agricultural University.
if it develops well would/could be, included in the present Indian
national effort in establishing four centres of excellence in food
processing at different parts of the country, AAU being one of them.
The Ambassador of India to Sweden, Ms. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, and the First Secretary, Mr. Rajesh Vaishnaw, came to Lund to participate in this meeting, and since SASNET was instrumental in the creation of the SASNET Fermented Foods Network, giving initial funding, the delegation also made a courtesy call to the SASNET office on Tuesday 2 October 2007. The guest from India weere also accompanied by Dr. M. Abdulla, UNESCO Institute of Trace Elements, Lyon, France, who is also involved in the collaboration on fermented foods with AAU in India. An informal meeting was organised by SASNET (Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund) in the conference room at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE), Scheelevägen 15 D.
The visit to Lund included not only meetings with researchers at LTH, but also with representatives for Ideon Research Park, Lund Innovation and LUAB, and from Lund they also went to Stockholm, for meetings at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH
• The Fourth International Conference on Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well-being was held at Anand Agricultural University in Gujarat, India, on 11–12 December 2009. The conference was organised by the Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods (SASNET – Fermented Foods), in association with Anand Agricultural University, the National Dairy Development Board in Anand, and Lund University, Sweden. Full information about the 2009 conference.
• The fifth International Conference on Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well-being will be held at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore, India on 15th and 16th of December 2011. SASNET Fermented Foodsis a forum for scientists of the south Asian countries, Sweden and other countries for exchanging information in the field of food fermentation and its practical application. For more details around the 2011 workshop, please contact the organising secretary, Dr. G. Vijayalekshmi, Deputy Director, Food Microbiology Department, CFTRI. More information about SASNET Fermented Foods.
• Professor Nair
is also involved in a research project called ”Evaluation
of Salvinia Auriculata as a raw material for agro-food-feed industry”.
This is carried out in collaboration with the Krishi
Vigyan Bhavan, Vellanad,
India and the Kerala Agricultural University in
Vellyani, India, and has received funding from Sida/SAREC.
Abstract: Salvinia auriculata is an aquatic plant which grows quickly and well in competition with other plants, all over the backwaters, irrigation channels, water reservoirs and irrigated rice fields of Kerala State in India. Eradication of this weed by various means has not been very successful. The main objectives of the present project is to carry out chemical analysis of the vegetative parts of the plant to determine its economic value and suitable utilisation in food, feed and/or other agriculture based industries.
In February 2005 Prof. Nair received a SASNET planning grant related to this project, in order to organise a workshop on sustainable utilisation of tropical plant biomass as a raw material in an integrated agro-food process industry. The idea is to organise a workshop in Thiruvananthapuram inviting researchers from India and other South Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka and Maldives. The planning is made by Prof. Nair in collaboration with Dr. V. Shobha, Head of the Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr. G.M. Nair, Director of the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram; and Dr. Madhusoodanan, Head of the Dept. of Botany, Calicut University.
An international seminar and workshop on ”Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Plant Bio-mass” was held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State, India, 15–16 December 2008. It was jointly organized by the Centre for Bioinformatics, and the Department of Environmental Sciences of Kerala University; Kerala Agricultural University; Kerala State Council of Science Technology and Environment; the SASNET Fermented Foods (based at Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat); and the Dept. of Applied Nutrition, Lund University. Full information.
A second conference on the same theme was held at Kerala University, Karyavattom Campus 14–15 December 2010. It was organised by the same partners as the 2008 conference. The aim was to present a platform for discussing sustainable utilization of the tropical plant biomass addressing not only to the day to day needs of the human beings regarding food, shelter, health and social well-being but also covering aspects of biodiversity, environmental hazards and climatic changes in a long term perspective.
Delegates were expected from India, Sri Lanka, Sweden and many other countries. The scientific committee has included Dr. Rickard Öste, Lund University; Dr. Sagarika Ekanayake, Jayawardenapura University, Sri Lanka; Dr. Sasikumar Punnekkat, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University (MDH), Campus Västerås; and Dr. Rajiv Thottapallil, Division for Electricity and Lightning Research, Uppsala University. More information.
Read also an article on the conference in The Hindu, 18 October 2010.
• Professor Nair is finally involved in a research project titled
and nutritional value of Canavalia Gladiata”. This
project is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Sagarika
Department of Medical nutrition, Faculty of medical Sciences, Sri
Jayawardenepura University, Sri Lanka.
Project abstract: Legumes like Canavalia gladiata (Sword beans, a common vegetable in Sri Lanka) are important sources of protein in developing countries. Composition and physicochemical properties of the protein and starch in this legume are being studied for development of products of optimal quality for human consumption. Most of the leguminous seeds contain protein of high nutritional value, which can be complementary to cereal-based diets. Canavalia Gladiata is grown in Sri Lanka for its tender fruits/beans, which are usually consumed as a green vegetable. The dried seeds of Canavalia Gladiata could be used for production of flour for use as a food ingredient. The nutritional quality of the seeds are evaluated by chemical analysis as well as animal feeding experiments. Protein nutritional quality, anti-nutritional constituents like amylase inhibitors, phytic acid and protease inhibitors as well as nature and quality of starch and protein were also determined.
Dr. Ekanayake was a sandwich PhD student at Lund University, and defended her doctoral dissertation, called ”Potential of Canavalia gladiata as a food ingredient – nutritional and functional aspects”, on Wednesday 1 June 2005. Three years earlier Ekanayake defended her Licentiate thesis at Lund University on the same subject. The thesis deals with the tender fruits of sword beans (Canavalia gladiata), eaten as a green vegetable in Sri Lanka, and how methods could be developed to increase the utilization of sword beans for human consumption. Faculty opponent was Professor Ulf Svanberg, Division of Food Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg. More information with abstract.
A large number of Indian students, PhD candidates, post-docs and academic staff has come to Lund University during the academic year 2009-10, and anothre batch during the academic year 2010-11, as scholarship holders through the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window mobility programme Lot 15, coordinated by Lund University. This programme was announced in 2008, and out of a total mobility of 320 persons, 53 Indian students, researchers and academic staff were selected to come specically to Lund University. More information about the EMECW programme lot 15 (from 2009 renamed to be one out of four programmes under the mobility lot 13).
In 2009, Prof. Baboo Nair was selected by the consortium behind the mobility lot to go to India for two months as a scholarship holder being an academic staff at Kerala University. In 2010, he was again selected a scholarship holder, this time to spend three months at Anand Agricultural University in Gujarat.
In the other direction, Prof. Jashbhai B. Prajapati, involved in research collaboration with the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (see above), was selected to spend two months at the Dept. of Biotechnology, Lund University, also as an academic staff. While in Lund, he organises a mini course on Fermented Foods, and is also planning collaborative research projects. Prof. Prajapati is also coordinating activities of SASNET-Fermented Foods, the network of scientists, academicians, professionals, industry personnel and others interested in promoting fermented foods for public health and social well-being.
Another scholarship holder from India to get a temporary position as a post-doc at the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry in 2009 was Dr. Maya Raman, with a doctorate from the School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. Dr. Raman is engaged in a research study on Dietary fibers and Food Mutagens.
Her research work has focused on the role of collagen on texture of muscle tissue during freezing and cooking. She has selected three species viz., a fresh water fish (rohu), marine water cephalopod (squid) and an elasmobranch (shark). They differ in their collagen content; and squid and shark were found to contain highest concentration. The theory has been supported by Texture Profile Analyzer, Histochemistry and Electrophoresis. Dr. Raman has published a few papers in refereed national and international journals and symposia.
PhD candidate Bindu Sunilkumar came in August 2010 as a scholarship holder to spend three years at the department. She will be supervised by Prof. Rickard Öste. Her research work will focus on isolating and identifying Oat proteins and to create a best oat variety with high quality protein.