A team of eight girls from Ramnarain Ruia College, Matunga including Aishwarya Rajurkar, Anjali Vaidya, Komal Parab, Nishtha Pange, Maithili Savant, Mitali Patil, Sanika Ambre, and Shrutika Savant with the guidance from faculty members Dr Anushree Lokur, Dr Mayuri Rege, Sachin Rajgopalan, and Mugdha Kulkarni found a cost-effective and eco-friendly method of removing paan stains from roads, railway stations and monuments. The team won a gold medal at the Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) 2018 held in Boston, US, and was the only undergraduate college among the 300 global teams to get a prize for best integrated human practices.
During the project, the students had met paan shop owners, station managers, government officials and conservancy staff, and combined their feedbacks into their final product design. The students discovered microbes and enzymes that turn the red paan color into a harmless colorless product. With help of articles they realized that railways use 60,000 litres of water to clean trains in the car shed every day. The product proposed by the students will require less water. The team got a grant of Rs 10 lakh from department of biotechnology to participate in the event and are now looking forward to getting grants to take their project forward.
The team of students and faculty from Ruia met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and were felicitated for winning the international award.