• Award Category: Most Innovative Educational Project
  • Introduction: Ajay Pathak is a Class 12 Student from Shemford Futuristic K-12 School, Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh
  • Achievement: Developed a solution to deal with the problem of Black Frost (Pala) - one of the biggest problems faced by farmers in winter.

Agriculture fulfils the most basic of our needs, food. India is an agrarian country with about half of the country’s population engaged in agricultural activities. Ajay Pathak, a 16-year-old class 12 student from Bramhanagar, Auraiya, has developed a solution to one of the most recurring and concerning problems faced by Indian farmers in winter - Black Frost, also commonly known as Pala.

Ajay’s Solution to Pala

During winter, the liquid inside the cells of the buds freezes which increases the volume of the water, resulting in cell rupture. To prevent Pala, the buds must not be allowed to freeze. Ajay’s solution emphasizes the use of DMSO (Dimethyl Sulphoxide) because it is the only cryoprotectant which is effective, feasible and does not have any adverse effect over the plants. When introduced into the cells of the buds, DMSO prevents the buds from freezing thereby preventing the Pala/ Black Frost from forming. What further adds to its efficacy is that DMSO, pH level 7.2, has no adverse effects either on the soil or human health (upon consumption).

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Ajay, and his teammates, demonstrated his project on Food Sustainability under the category of Sustainability and Climate Change at B.M.L Munjal University, Gurugram. Ajay Pathak’s project won the first prize in the Delhi NCR region, defeating 20 others. The competition was organised by the Mechanical Engineering Department of the university on the theme of Food Sustainability. Ajay received a Rs 50000 cash prize and a 75 per cent scholarship, along with his teammates. 

Ajay Pathak is a finalist for Most Innovative Educational Project because of his innovative project to solve the minacious issue of Black Frost or Pala faced in agriculture during winters which does no harm to the soil and keeps the produce fit for human consumption. 

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