Dr Rakesh Kumar, Scientist, MFB Division of Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin, bagged the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for P.G. Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agricultural and Allied Sciences 2011.
DR RAKESH KUMAR studied the biochemical and molecular characterization of Salmonella serovars in seafood. He has isolated 268 Salmonella strains consisting of 32 different serotypes in seafood and six serotypes were identified which were not reported previously in seafood in India. Different molecular fingerprinting methods viz., plasmid profiling, characterization of virulence genes, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), PCR- ribotyping, and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus sequences (ERIC)–PCR have been used to determine the genetic variations in Salmonella serovars. He has developed the fingerprinting methods for Salmonella Weltevreden, Salmonella Rissen, Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Derby in seafood. An eight hour PCR method was developed for rapid detection of Salmonella in seafood and PCR assay was found to be far superior as compared to ELISA and culture methods. Novel PFGE technique for Salmonella fingerprinting and a rapid, quantitative real-time PCR assay detection was developed for enumeration of Salmonella in seafood. This method could quantify the level of Salmonella load in the naturally contaminated seafood samples within 3 hours. Dr Rakesh Kumar obtained his PhD from Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin.