In 2018, Dr. Prajwal Rajbhandari was awarded the first prize of the Green Chemistry Sustainable Challenge of EUR €50,000 for his project, “Guava leaves as natural preservatives for farmers of Nepal.” Due to a lack of viable non-toxic preservatives, or cold chain technologies, one-third of Nepal’s produce is spoiled before it reaches market each year. Dr. Rajbhandari’s project taps the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of guava leaves to make a water-based, sprayable natural preservative.
“Using guava leaves as a natural preservative replaces toxic chemicals and can be easily implemented at a local level involving local people; directly allowing for the safe transport of fruits to the local market without any residues being dangerous for the consumer and the farmers,” noted Dr. Küemmerer (add titles).
“Winning the Challenge is more than I could dream of. I can now scale up the project, and work with local teams to turn it into a success.” said Prajwal Rajbhandari.
Two years later, we interviewed Dr. Rajbhandari about his experience as a winner, as well as the upcoming steps for his project.