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USPTO Publishes PU Scientists’ Work to Utilize Agri Waste

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LAHORE– The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has published the technology aimed at converting agricultural waste into chemicals important for industries, developed by a female scientist of Punjab University.

The technology entitled “Extraction of Lignin from Lignocellulosic Waste Material using Pyridinium Ionic Liquids” is developed by Punjab University Institute of Chemistry’s Assistant Professor Dr. Maliha Uroos as a lead scientist. The other co-inventors include her PhD student Azmat Mehmood and collaborator Dr. Nawshad Muhammad.

In a statement, Dr Uroos said that Pakistan being an agricultural country produced a massive amount of waste each year including wheat straw, rice husk, bagass, etc., which were mainly burnt that led to creating environmental problems in the form of smog.

She said that they had developed the process through which agricultural waste could be converted into industrially important chemicals at ambient conditions using green solvents, without heating or burning the waste. She said that by the use of this process, not only the waste material could be effectively utilized but it might also prove a very good way of import substitution for some very useful chemicals like cellulose and carboxymethyl cellulose.

She said the technology was developed as part of her research project “Technology Development Fund” granted by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan worth Rs 14 million, which is a triple helix industrially linked project.

She said that in the same context, her project under HEC NRPU worth Rs 7.28 million was already underway. She said that the results of research work were being published in leading high impact factor international journals and her cumulative impact factor to date was 93.

She said that the project had met success due to encouragement of PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmed Akhtar and his constant support had uplifted the research culture in Punjab University. The team is also thankful to HEC for research funding, she added. The entire research work for the development of this technology was conducted in her laboratory at Institute of Chemistry, Punjab University.

Dr. Maliha Uroos is the first female scientist at Punjab University to publish a US Patent Application as a lead scientist. She has been awarded the grant of US $ 8000/- by the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan to file her patent. She was amongst one of the three scientists from the entire country in 2019-20, who received this highly competitive grant.— PRESS RELEASE