Revolutionizing Food Preservation: Breakthrough Study on Chenopodium Album (Bathua) by Researchers from Banaras Hindu University

Revolutionizing Food Preservation: Breakthrough Study on Chenopodium Album (Bathua) by Researchers from Banaras Hindu University

A pioneering study led by Prof. Dinesh Chandra Rai, Vice Chancellor of BRA Bihar University, and his team of researchers from the Department of Dairy Science and Food Technology at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, has unveiled a groundbreaking technology for the long-term preservation of the underutilized agricultural crop Chenopodium album, commonly known as Bathua. Collaborating with Mr. Sunil Meena, Assistant Professor, Ms. Keerthi Reddy, and Dr. Kamlesh Kumar from MPAUT, Udaipur, along with Dr. PB Gautam, the team's findings have been published in the prestigious June 2024 edition of the Microchemical Journal.

In response to the pressing global challenge of food insecurity exacerbated by climate change and urbanization, Prof. Rai emphasized the significance of harnessing neglected and underutilized crop species to combat malnutrition and poverty, especially in rural and low-income communities. Bathua, a nutrient-rich leafy vegetable abundant in the winter season, often faces rapid spoilage due to its high water content, leading to substantial wastage. To address this issue, the research team explored various preservation techniques, focusing on drying methods such as sunlight, tray, and freeze-drying.

The objective of the study was to assess the nutritional composition and storage stability of Bathua powder produced through different drying techniques. By evaluating the efficacy of dehydration and storage conditions, the researchers aimed to develop a viable solution for extending the shelf life of Bathua, thereby enhancing its availability during off-seasons and mitigating food scarcity.

Prof. Rai expressed his gratitude to the Institution of Eminence (IoE) Scheme, Banaras Hindu University, for funding this transformative research initiative under the "IoE Seed Grant-II" Development Scheme. He underscored his commitment to fostering a research-friendly environment at BRA Bihar University, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing societal needs in academic research. Prof. Rai emphasized that the university's focus would be on promoting high-quality research publications, securing research funding, and fostering a culture of innovation and excellence.

In light of the study's potential to address global nutrition and food availability challenges, university officials and faculty members, including Prof. Omprakash Roy, Prof. Sanjay Kumar, Prof. BS Roy, Prof. Rajeev Jha, Dr. Navin Kumar, and others, extended their heartfelt congratulations to Honorable Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dinesh Chandra Rai for his leadership in advancing research with profound social implications.