| The inaugural session of the workshop in Jorhat on Wednesday. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Feb. 6: In a bid to explore avenues where nano-technology can be used in biotechnology, experts from all over the world have congregated at a three-day workshop, which got under way at the Assam Agricultural University here today.
Bidyut Kumar Sarmah, centre director of the department of biotechnology, AAU, said the experts had been called in so that students, research scholars and professors could interact and gain from their expertise.
“The main aim of the workshop is to bring international and national experts working in fields of nano-technology and agricultural biotechnology closer to the students, researchers and scientific community of the nation as well as the Northeast, in particular, so they can actively engage more in biotechnology initiatives and come up with new solutions that, we, as a country, have never thought before,” he said.
“In our department we have developed a nano-technology course within the biotechnology courseware but would like to get a wider perspective,” Sarmah said.
He said to provide food and nutritional security and feed the fast-growing population, nano-technologists have to join hands with biotechnologists to address problems of agricultural and horticultural crops.
“In other places of the world, nano-technology in biotechnology is being used to increase production. First it was conventional agriculture for production, second it was application of biotechnology to production and now it is nano-technology to help in production to feed the burgeoning world population,” he said.
Citing an example, Sarmah said one of the ways to increase better absorption of phosphorous in plants, which was imperative for the growth nano particles of phosphorous, aided in better nutrients to the plants. Another use of nano-technology was in transporting tomatoes, which had low shelf life that could be increased by coating with a nano material, Sarmah said.
AAU registrar Krishna Gohain, in her inaugural speech, underscored the significance of the workshop, saying the twin concepts of nano-technology and biotechnology hold primary importance in the improvement of agriculture not only to the country, but also to the world at large.
Over 60 participants from academic and research organisations across the nation have been selected to participate in the workshop. The international experts present during the opening ceremony included renowned nano-envirologist Achintya Bezbaruah, North Dakota State University, USA, N. Lawo, Syngenta, Switzerland, P. Vikram, IRRI, the Philippines and Talal Almeelbi from the UAE.
Apart from them, Kalpana Katti, Eakalak Khan, Dinesh Katti and Harjyoti Kalita from NDSU, USA, Donna Jacob and Jose Gonzalez, SDSU, USA, will deliver lectures in the workshop through video conference.