- Course: PhD in Food Science and Nutrition
- PhD title: Anticariogenic efficacy of industrial sweet orange waste
- Nationality: Indian
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suvro-saha/
Suvro Saha is studying for a PhD as part of the Nutritional Epidemiology research group. He is supervised by Dr Christine Bosch from the School of Food Science and Nutrition, as well as Drs Simon Wood and Thuy Do from the School of Dentistry. His research experimentation contributes to the CITRUSAFE project, which aims to explore different applications of citrus wastes. His PhD focuses on transforming industrial sweet orange waste into a natural solution to treat tooth decay.
Using orange waste in dentalcare
There are two avenues to the research, Suvro explained. First, his project aims to repurpose lost industrial sweet orange products to reduce food waste and environmental pollution. Second, it aims to provide a commercial solution within dentalcare, treating ‘dental carries’ which are a form of tooth decay. The results could also help to alleviate antimicrobial resistance.
“The global production of citrus fruits is in the highest position among all fruits, with more than 124.3 million tons per year,” said Suvro. Sweet orange does not only have the highest percentage for cultivation, it is also highest for processing into juice. Juicing results in the generation of waste which makes up to 50% of the original processed whole fruit mass.”
He continued: “This waste could cause environmental pollution if not treated properly, leading to economic liability to the processing units. Therefore, converting this low-value product into a high-value commodity will help in both sustainability and economic approach.
Converting this low-value product into a high-value commodity will… help to utilise the potential of natural compounds to support dental treatment, and could potentially alleviate antimicrobial resistance.
“Establishing effectiveness of the industrial sweet orange waste extract against dental caries will not only help in meeting the huge interest in utilising the potential of natural compounds to support treatment, but also it will also potentially alleviate antimicrobial resistance.”
Deciding to study a PhD
Suvro decided to study for a PhD because of his passion for the subject. Studying microbiology at Masters level confirmed that further research was the right choice for him. His PhD continues the topic of his Masters research at a more advanced level.
Suvro said: “When I applied for my PhD, I had an interest within the particular research area of antimicrobial potential of bioactive components. The University of Leeds was my top preference, given its worldwide reputation and being a Russell Group university.
“I was mesmerized by the power and beauty of the world of microorganisms ever since my undergraduate studies, which is why I chose to study an MSc in Microbiology. On this course my projects were aimed at providing sustainable solutions through a microbiological approach. My PhD research is continuing this trajectory, as it involves exploring the antimicrobial efficacy of industrial sweet orange waste against the pathogens causing dental caries.”
Growing in confidence
Conducting multidisciplinary research is supported by the help of three supervisors, who all have relevant expertise from different areas. This is an element which Suvro finds very helpful, he explained. Carrying out research in a lab makes up a large part of Suvro’s working day.
“My supervisors have differing expertise which enable me to address this multidisciplinary topic. It involves aspects of extraction and characterization, microbiological and molecular properties as well as oral biofilms,” Suvro said.
“Before applying for my PhD, I grew even more confident and comfortable with Leeds when I reached out to my former main supervisor Dr Joanne Maycock with whom I share common research interests. She offered support in shaping my research proposal and also helped me to construct my supervisory team in order to strongly fit with my research proposal.”
Suvro continued: “My current lab work mainly involves working with the pathogens causing dental caries and I have established an in vitro model to mimic the impact of a sugar-rich diet on oral health. I am using this model to explore the efficacy of the industrial sweet orange waste as an anti-cariogenic agent. I am also checking the impact of the sweet orange waste extract on the molecular level on caries causing pathogens.
I have also been involved in the CITRUSAFE project, which aims to explore different applications of citrus wastes.
“Besides my research work, I am involved in demonstrations where I support undergraduate and masters students in weekly practical classes and I also guide them for their final year projects. I am also involved in CITRUSAFE project which aims to explore different applications of citrus wastes. Besides these, I worked on a project related to the valorisation of waste generated from soybean processing and this project was guided by Dr Linda Pravinata and Dr Brent Murray.”
Fantastic support and opportunities
Suvro explained that another reason for choosing the University of Leeds for his PhD was the good experience he had from the beginning with the administration team. They responded very quickly to his queries, Suvro said. Throughout his studies, he has enjoyed having the opportunity to deliver presentations in Germany and Japan. He is currently the postgraduate research representative in the School’s Equality and Inclusion Committee, and a member of the International Student Advisory Board at Leeds University Union.
Suvro said: “One of the best things I have experienced in this university is the wide accessibility of support. From my personal experience, I can say every staff member, including technicians, teaching staff and my fellow colleagues, all of them are ready to help with their expertise and resources.
I must say joining this university is one of my best decisions with regard to my academic life. This university is not only enriching my technical skills but is also broadening my horizons.
“In addition, Leeds Doctoral College has offered me the platform to showcase my work at the annual conference. Throughout my PhD, I was also given the chance to present my work at international conferences in Germany and Japan.”
He added: “I must say joining this university is one of my best decisions with regard to my academic life. This university is not only enriching my technical skills but is also broadening my horizons. My adaptation to the UK working culture was very smooth due to the warm and accepting attitude of every member of this university.”
Regarding the future, Suvro is flexible with his career goals and is ready and excited to accept new challenges. He added:
“I would love to pursue a career in Research and Development in the food industry, as I can bridge my love for food and my passion for microbiology. Equally, I could image to continue working in quality control in an industrial environment as I have enjoyed my previous role as a Quality Control Manager before starting my PhD.”