Prajwal Rajbhandari, President Of Research Institute For Bioscience And Biotechnology (RIBB) Bags First Prize At The ‘Elsevier Foundation Green And Sustainable Chemistry Challenge’


 The ‘3rd Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge’ held in Berlin, Germany from 13th to 16th May 2018 saw over 500 proposals that targeted the developing world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Among them, Mr. Prajwal Rajbhandari’s proposal, “Guava leaves as preservatives for farmers of Nepal” was selected as a top 5 contestant and eventually bagged the €50,000 first prize.

Up to one-third of Nepal’s food resources are lost in spoilage, which is hugely problematic for a developing country whose major economy relies on agriculture. In the lowland Terai region in southern Nepal, and especially in the mountain areas, long distances from local markets, strikes, and frequent power cuts create harsh conditions for farmers and vendors. To extend shelf life, fungicides and chemicals preservatives are commonly used – but there is increasing demand for natural alternatives. That is why Mr. Rajbhandari and his team at the Research Institute for Bioscience & Biotechnology are working on a project to formulate water-based leaf extract of guava plant, which possesses antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Juror Dr. Sam Adu-Kumi, Deputy Director at Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana and an Advisory Board member of Elsevier’s Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy Journal, loved the creativity of this solution which would help farmers have their products on the market for a longer period of time.

We would like to congratulate Mr. Rajbhandari and the team, and also wish them the best for the successful completion and application of guava leaves as preservatives. If applied on a large scale, it would be a prime example of the application of biotechnology in developing countries like Nepal. 

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