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Innovative Antimicrobials from New Zealand Labs Could Help ‘Make in India’

By IANS Updated: Dec 29, 2016 12:48 am

Eco-friendly antimicrobial agents that are being developed by a team of researchers at New Zealand’s University of Auckland could contribute in some of the key identified sectors in ‘Make in India’, says an Indian-origin member of the scientific team.

Scientists associated with the Biocide ToolBox (BTB) programme are targeting the discovery and invention of eco-friendly biocides – chemical agents which control or kill bacteria – to design a range of products and solutions like antifouling coatings and food packaging.

The programme, funded by the nation’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), is a major antimicrobial research programme hosted by the University of Auckland and closely networked with the University of Otago, Scion and the Cawthorn Institute in New Zealand.

“The initiatives taken in BTB programme could contribute in some of the key identified sectors in ‘Make in India’ , for example, chemicals, biotechnology, food processing, smart textiles. Joint R&D partnership between BTB and corporates in India could enhance the scope of developing customised biocidal products particularly important for Indian market and possible manufacturing of some of these products in India,” Sudip Ray, a senior research fellow in the School of Chemical Sciences with the MBIE Biocide Toolbox and Product Accelerator Programmes at University of Auckland, told IANS.

BTB aims at the development of a toolbox of new greener biocides applicable in commercial and healthcare contexts which contribute to NZ export growth.

Ray was in Kolkata for a series of lectures.

Describing the initiative, he said the current research is focused on developing a suite of biocides which constitute practical solutions for a range of products like decorative paints, antifouling coatings, food packaging, cleaning chemicals, air conditioning tunnelling/filters, medical equipment, in various healthcare settings requiring a safe and clean environment.

“These biocides developed by BTB in New Zealand could be exported in India as chemicals and then incorporated in products which utilise biocides and thereby the final manufacturing of the biocidal products could be performed in India. This will fulfil the key focus of aMake in India’ and also enhance the possibility of exports from New Zealand,” he explained.

One of the innovations is turning wine waste into biodegradable plastics with usable anti-bacterial properties for use in food packaging and storage.

Recently India and New Zealand discussed the promotion of FDI in India in support of India’s Make in India campaign and development objectives.

“So, R&D partnership could further strengthen the growing bilateral relationship between India and New Zealand,” Ray added.

By IANS Updated: Dec 29, 2016 12:48:37 am