By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 21 Oct: A two- day National Conference on Advancement in Food Microbiology was organised by the Department of Microbiology and Horticulture at Dolphin PG Institute, here. The aim of the workshop was to discuss and contemplate agricultural production world wise, food supply, food processing industr y, quality of food products, etc. As many as 300 participants from educational institutes, research centres, and scientific organisations participated in the conference. The Chief Guest at the valedictory function, Dr S Sengupta Pandey, Additional Food Commissioner, Uttarakhand, said that the common people were facing problems like malnutrition, poverty, water scarcity, unemployment, etc. Solutions had to be found. She encouraged the participants to use their skills and knowledge to find solutions to these basic problems so that innocent lives could be saved. Efforts had to be result oriented. Ashok Kumar Windlass, who was the Guest of Honour, advised the students to be ethical in pursuing their careers. He advised students to get their concepts clear and develop a clear understanding of their subjects, which would help them find solutions to the various problems. Principal Dr Shailja Pant elaborated on the aim and importance of the national conference. She informed the gathering that microbiology had revolutionised the food processing industry, agriculture, medicines, and the environment. It was helping bring down malnutrition and food scarcity. Arvind Gupta said that such conferences are an effective medium for professionals and students from different institutes to share their views on finding solutions. The keynote speaker, Prof SK Sharma, discussed in detail the “Challenges and Opportunities in Food Safety”. He said that around a large proportion of the human population was starving due to shortage of food, while on the other end another section was becoming obese and overweight. This was the major contradiction. He addressed the defects in the public distribution system of food in the country. Principal Scientist of CFTRI, Dr SVN Vijendra, delivered a lecture on “Microbial Metabolites of Commercial Importance”. Dr Diwas Pradhan, Scientist, Dairy Food Division, spoke on “Probiotics – Health Benefits & Challenges”; Dr Anil Kumar, Department of Food Science and Technology, GB Pant University, on Food Analysis & Quality Management; Prof Garima Mittal, SRMU, Dehradun, on food borne diseases; and Prof SK Soni, Punjab University, Chandigarh, on “Thermal Processing in Food Industry”. Dr Anupama Ponghal, Department of Food Business Management, NIFTEM, Sonipat, Haryana, shed light on “Emerging Business Models in Food and Agri Business and the Road Ahead”. Swapnil Bhardwaj, Manager, Quality Chocolate & Coffee division, ITC, Haridwar, delivered a lecture on “Job Prospects in Food and Confectionary Industries”. A poster presentation by students was organised on the subject of fermented food, functional food, processed food and probiotics. The 1st prize was secured by Prashant Singh Bisht, Prapti Talukdar, Pawan Kumar and Mohit Yadav. The poster made by Deep Nithun, S Shaikh Riazuddin and Mansi Chauhan of SGGR University was judged second best, followed by Shikha Sharma and Atul Singh of Sai Institute of Paramedical & Allied Sciences, Dehradun. Prizes were also distributed for the poster presentation held on 15 October on the occasion of ‘World Sanitation Day”. The first prize was secured by Ankpriya, Alis and Osian of BSc Medical Microbiology 3rd Year. The 1st runner up was Kartik of BSc Medical Microbiology 2nd year, and the 2nd runner up was Pakhi of the same class. Certificates were distributed to all the participants. Present on this occasion were Dr Ashok Singh, Dr Ritu Pandey, Dr Gauri Singh, Dr Tripti Ahuja, Dr Pankaj Gupta, Dr Kanika Issar, Sachin Devlal, Sanjay Singh Negi and Dr Shruti Sharma along with HODs and faculty members from other departments.