Gorachand Dutta IIT Kharagpur
Amit Rastogi Coromandel International Limited, Secunderabad
Bernhard Wolfrum Technical University of Munich
Joachim Wiest cellasys GmbH, Kronburg
Fertilizers and pesticides can exhibit moderate to lethal levels of toxicity in humans. Although they are used in farm-fields to boost agricultural productivity, these chemicals move up through the food chain, which leads to biomagnification. Most of the reported methods for the detection of fertilizer and pesticides in the soil are expensive, have a short shelf life, and are difficult to realize as a device outside laboratories. By combining the complementary expertise of the Indian and the German partners, our project aims to address this unmet challenge by developing an efficient multiplexed device for the detection of nitrate (a major fertilizer-based soil/ground water contaminant in India and Germany) and organophosphates (a class of pesticides) in soil samples. The device will comprise a microfluidic platform integrated with printed electrodes based on analyte-sensitive ink formulations and will facilitate the regular screening of nitrate and organophosphates to monitor the quality of soil samples. Envisioned for commercial marketing, the device will be an important step towards sustainable agriculture, which will significantly improve the livelihood of rural farming communities in the countries and help in safeguarding water resources from pollution. Additionally, through the development of a user-friendly soil testing device in this project, awareness on environmental protection will be enhanced.