NDSU’s Environmental Nanotechnology group presented a workshop Feb. 6-9, on bio-nanotechnology at Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, India. The workshop was organized by AAU’s Biotechnology Research Center and Department of Biotechnology.
Civil engineering assistant professor Achintya Bezbaruah and NDSU alumnus Talal Almeelbi traveled to India to offer the workshop and six other members of the core group participated via video link. AAU is a premier research university in India and has research collaborations with institutions in Europe and Australia.
Bezbaruah coordinated the workshop, with the goal of introducing bio- and environmental nanotechnology to AAU students and faculty and identifying areas for possible research collaborations in the future. Most of the 70 workshop participants were from AAU, but other research institutes in India were represented as well.
During the workshop, Bezbaruah presented “What do engineers know about agriculture: Should agriculture scientists even talk to engineers?” on how engineering and agricultural sciences can complement each other in nanotechnology research
University Distinguished Professor of civil engineering Kalpana Katti introduced nanomaterials and their characterization techniques. In her presentation, Katti discussed the history and future challenges for nanotechnology research.
Almeelbi traveled from Saudi Arabia for the workshop and presented his dissertation research on nutrient removal and recovery from water, wastewater and agricultural run-off. His presentation highlighted NDSU research on bioavailability of iron, phosphate and selenium from nanoparticles.
In addition, civil engineering professors Dinesh Katti and Eakalak Khan participated via PolyCom. Katti introduced modeling in biological systems and talked about his group’s work on modeling efforts of plant-nanoparticle interactions. Khan discussed nanoparticles-microorganism interactions with special emphasis on carbon nanotubes, and he presented a number of research findings from his group.
Harjyoti Kalita, who recently completed his doctorate under Bezbaruah and Bret Chisholm, presented his dissertation research on plant-based polymer synthesis for the surface modification of nanoparticles. His soybean-based research created interest among participants, as he listed plant resins and polymers from northeast India that may have potential as nanoparticles surface modifiers and coatings.
Donna Jacob, research assistant professor of biological sciences, and Senay Simsek, assistant professor of plant sciences, participated in the workshop via video. Jacob presented an in-depth analysis of the results obtained during the research on interactions of titanium dioxide nanoparticles with wetland and dryland plants. In her presentation, Simsek explored the possibility of use of regular and modified food starches for nanoparticle dispersion in aqueous media.
Environmental nanotechnology is an emerging area and NDSU’s civil engineering department is spearheading an interdisciplinary research group, and is among the very few departments in the country offering an independent course on environmental nanotechnology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Bezbaruah said he hopes to organize more workshops and training programs aimed at global capacity building in environmental nanotechnology research and developing collaborations with other research institutions. He and Almeelbi also visited Tezpur University in India during their February visit and presented an invited lecture on environmental nanotechnology.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.