anil k. sureshSRM University-AP is pleased to announce that Dr Anil K. Suresh, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a DBT grant for his project entitled “Pilot-scale ultra-efficient fixative sewage dye-degradation by our ‘3D-megacatalyst’ generated using intact eggshell waste”.

About the Project:

Catalysis is widely used in various industrial and pharmaceutical processes to fasters the production of the desired end products. The use of inert matrices or frameworks is emerging as a “supported catalysts” arena with the potential for efficient reuse and recovery of the catalyst. We have recently generated a wide area supported catalyst utilising intact eggshell bio-waste, and the process is autogenic, facile, cost-efficient and entirely biodegradable. This supported megacatalyst can be effortlessly removed from the reaction by hand.

The current DBT-funding through Accelerated Translational Grant for Commercialization (ATGC) program is to support the technological reediness of our project for its commercialisation as a measure of Technology Readiness Level (TRL), an estimation technologies maturity and readiness for its utilisation in the commercial market. By demonstrating proof-of-concept laboratory studies, we are currently at TRL-6, and through this project, we will demonstrate pilot-scale studies for reaching the TRL-9 (Market/Operational level).

The main objectives of the proposal are:

1. Demonstrating large-volume degradations of sewage dyes at 500 L to 1000 Litres volume capacities in custom-built batch reactors.

2. Gram-scale hydrogenation of nitroarenes for the production of ~500 grams of pharmaceutical derivatives.

Social Implications of the project by Dr Anil K. Suresh:

Thousands of litres of harmful textile, paper sewage dyes that are corrosive and toxic to the environment and are unintendedly released can now be degraded into detoxified colourless by-products and water by using our “Au@megacatalyst”.

Pharmaceutically important precursors such as 4-aminophenol, propargyl amines can be produced in milligrams of quantities by using “Au@megacatalyst”, which otherwise are expensive and hard to synthesise. And most importantly, such precursors are currently being procured from China and other countries that can be avoided, and indigenous make-in-India can be conceptualised using our catalyst.

Dr Anil K. Suresh would be the principal investigator of this project, with a total outlay of Rs. 31 lacs over two years.

Prof S Mannathan has added SRM University-AP to the list of those research-oriented Universities which try to direct their research to make the world a better place. With this new SERB-DST project of Rs. 44 lacs fund, Dr Mannathan and his team will be able to investigate into developing a strategy to prepare functionalized alkenes in a manner that is pro-environment and industrially economic.

Why functionalized alkenes? Alkene is a hydrocarbon with a C=C bond. It is readily available and a fan favourite among chemists. It reacts favourably with a variety of reactants and is a preference in the synthesis of bioactive compounds. This procedure aids in the preparation of several valuable compounds with a variety of uses from the manufacturing of antidepressants to the treatment of cancer.

What Prof Mannathan says about the project:

“We intend to develop a highly efficient, low-cost, environmentally-friendly strategy to prepare functionalized alkenes in a highly regio- and stereoselective manner. A step- and atom economic reductive coupling strategy will be employed by using a photoredox and a low valent metal dual catalyst to prepare such molecules. This novel approach avoids the use of any external reducing agent and generates the low valent metal species in situ using a photocatalyst.”

Dr Mannathan was granted a total of Rs. 44,11,264 for a period of 3 years. Dr Mannathan believes that with a SERB sanctioned fund of Rs. 44 lacs, he and his team will be able to design a new and revolutionary protocol. The newly designed protocol could be useful in the synthesis of various biologically active molecules and natural products such as aigialomycin D which is a helpful compound in inhibiting protein kinases that are related to cancer pathways.