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Updated: November 23, 2011 15:20 IST

Bio-pesticide innovation wins her a global berth

Special Correspondent
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Sindura Saraswathi from Vivekananda English Medium High School, Mangalore, is one of the 11 students who have been selected to represent India at an international young innovators meet to be held in the U.S.

Sindura has developed a biopesticide for the control of Helopeltis antonii, a disease afflicting the cocoa plant. The innovation was selected at a competition held by the Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS) 2011. She will represent India at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2012 to be held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from May 13 to 18, 2012. IRIS is a partnership between the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Intel, and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) to foster research-based thinking in students.

The biopesticide has been developed to counter a disease (called “kajji keeta” in Kannada) in cocoa plants. Blackish-brown patches appear on the skin of the cocoa pod, deforming the pods if they are tender and drying them out if they are mature, finally leading to loss of the crop, she said. “My grandfather started it (the developing of the biopesticide), my father developed it, and as we are from an agricultural family, I was also interested in it. The data has been collected in our farm in Mundur, Puttur,” she said.

The winning projects and innovations were selected from a range of diverse disciplines, including Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Behavioural Science, Botany, Chemistry, and Environmental Science, said a release.

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