Aarsha Surendren

Role: HQP Scholar

Degree: PhD

Primary Faculty Advisor: Amar Mohanty

Project: Development of Biopolymeric Composites made with Ontario Biomass for Engineering Multi-Layer Cast Film in Packaging Applications

Department: Department of Plant Agriculture, OAC

What inspired you to pursue your current degree?  

I have completed my master’s from India in Biopolymer Science. The wide research opportunity of biopolymers in Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, construction, and Automobile have encouraged me to do Ph.D. in relation to Biopolymers. The Research and development of biobased Polymer products from a different source of Agricultural products/ by-products and microorganisms are eco-friendly and sustainable replacement for petroleum-based polymers. The research carried in the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) of the University of Guelph was related to bioplastics and biobased polymers and would be a great platform for my research carrier. In addition, the experienced professors of BDDC can provide great support, guidance, and inspiration throughout my research.

What about your research area excites you? 

My research is to develop a biodegradable multilayer film for food packaging applications. By finding an alternative for current fossil fuel-based packaging film with the biobased polymeric film would be a great achievement in reducing the accumulation of plastic waste and environmental pollution.

What challenges do you find in your research, and how do you try to overcome them?  

To find an optimum composition of individual film layers in the multilayer film. Optimization of film thickness and number of layers. Doing multiple trials.

How would you describe your research and the implications of your project?  

My research is to develop biobased and biodegradable multilayer films that can replace the current fossil fuel-based films. As an alternative to fossil fuel-based polymers, this can reduce the issues related to fossil fuel depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. The development of biodegradable Multilayer film for packaging applications could be an eco-friendly and sustainable material for industrial bioproducts and valuable addition to the co-products.

What do you see as your next steps after completing your degree?  

My ambition is to continue my research in biodegradable packaging film after my doctoral degree.

What role has the HQP scholarship played in your academic journey so far? 

HQP course has given an opportunity to learn more about the Canadian Agriculture system and provided an insight into the importance of Food and Agriculture Government /NGO organizations.

The partnership program with cellular Agriculture Canada was a great exposure for me in knowing new technology development in the food sector and the Project conducted with the colleagues has enhanced my communicational and social skills.

What are three of your favourite activities outside the lab?  

  1. Travel
  2. Watching online movies and dramas
  3. Meditation

What is one important thing you have learned during the pandemic? 

A healthy mind and a healthy body are important.