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Telangana student wins global award in US for making bio-insecticide

Sarvesh Prabhu, a 17-year-old student from Hyderabad who won a US award for making an affordable bio-insecticide

Sarvesh Prabhu, a 17-year-old student who is a research intern from International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, Telangana has brought laurels for the country and the State.

Prabhu, who is a high school student from FIITJEE Junior College, Hyderabad, won third prize at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, US and was awarded $1,000 in the biochemistry category for developing cost-effective bio-insecticide. This insecticide is made from leaves of Ramphal or ‘Bullock’s Heart’.

Incidentally, ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science fair.

Prabhu’s project titled, ‘A novel study of bio-insecticidal properties of Annona Reticulata’ showcases the bio-insecticidal properties of Ramphal leaves. Extract of this plant is traditionally used to treat dysentery.

The study shows that the leaf extracts of this plant are very effective against three insects and can cause mortality of up to 88 per cent. It will be further tested in greenhouse and field conditions for its efficacy against different insect pests.

When chemical insecticides are used the cost of cultivation increases from Rs.2,000 to 4,200 per acre while they also destroy beneficial insects and contaminate the soil and food produce.

Sarvesh Prabhu2
The bio insecticide made by Sarvesh Prabhu does not harm the beneficial insects and eco-friendly

Bio-insecticide on the other hand cost between Rs.750 to 1,000 and are eco-friendly. The cost of making the insecticide from the leaves is merely Rs.27 per litre making it affordable and also motivating farmers to grow Ramphal as an additional source of income.

Apart from this international recognition, Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology awarded him the first prize and Rs.1 lakh as part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Innovation Award for Schoolchildren.