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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 15-25

Algal biomass pellets as a possible remedy to reduce indoor air pollution from cookstoves in rural Pune

1 Microbial Diversity Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Institute, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Skövde, Sweden
2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Skövde, Sweden
3 System Biology Research Centre, School of Bioscience, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden
4 School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Neelu N Nawani
Microbial Diversity Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Institute, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Tathawade, Pune - 411 033, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_61_19

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Background: The present study accounts for measurement of indoor air pollution (IAP) owing to combustion of solid biomass fuels (wood, cow dung etc.) in traditional cooking stoves during rural survey of households of five villages around Pune city, India. The use of biofuels leads to serious disease burden among Indians and environmental hazards as compared to other countries, specifically affecting women and children indoors. Aims and Objectives: The main objective was to evaluate whether Algal biomass pellets acts as a possible remedy for reduction of IAP. Methods: The indoor air samples of kitchens from cook-stoves in the breathing zone were analysed for various toxic pollutants from the distance of 25 cm and indicated high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the range of 72.11-260.6 ppm, 0.72-1.84 ppm of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), 0.1-1.1 ppm of sulphur dioxide (SO2) compared to liquefied petroleum gas (1.0-5.28, 0-1.0, 0-0.15 ppm for CO, NO2, SO2 respectively) during cooking hours. Thus, to reduce the exposure to cook-stove generated smoke, it has been channelized for the cultivation of algal consortia under laboratory conditions. Studies on combustion of single biomass at a time demonstrated that emission of flue gas by burning of biomass was in the order, Algal biomass pellets (ABPs) < wood < cow dung < sawdust, this was analysed at 10cm distance from the source of combustion. Results: The inorganic carbon content from flue gas of algal biomass was four times less than that of wood which suggests its better combustion efficacy. Subsequently, ABP was assessed for its safety by comet assay in vitro to check its oxidative DNA damage effect on healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC's). ABP displayed no significant DNA damage (10.02% DNA in tail) when exposed to flue gas and exhibited 56.45% and 66.72% reduction in pollution due to cow dung and cigarette smoke. Conclusion: The results revealed that ABP could serve as possible remedy for reducing IAP. The study provides an alternative to biomass fuels in the form of ABP, which would act as sustainable energy source for the cook stoves in rural Pune.

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