Shivali Banerjee is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), part of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry at Delhi University and IIT Delhi respectively, and her Ph.D. in bioprocess engineering and green chemistry at IIT Bombay and Monash University. The title of her award application is “Green process for enhanced recovery of anthocyanins as valuable co-products from bioenergy crops in a biorefinery”.
Increased awareness green chemistry and sustainability has shifted public interest from synthetic dyes to natural plant-based pigments such as anthocyanins. These natural pigments are known for their wide range of industrial applications and can be derived from berries, grapes, purple yams, purple corn, and black rice. However, exploiting high-value food sources for colorants is not likely to be economically advantageous. Fortunately, bioenergy crops such as miscanthus, sorghum, and sugarcane have also been found to accumulate anthocyanins. In her work, Banerjee has evaluated these latter sources as potential feedstocks for the recovery of anthocyanins and applied greener methodologies for the isolation and recovery of these molecules.