Curtin Sarawak academic wins Saudi science agency’s Best Paper Award

MIRI: A scholarly paper on sustainable water treatment by Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) senior lecturer of geology Dr M V Prasanna has won him a Best Paper Award from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia.

Dr Prasanna, from the Department of Applied Geology in Curtin Sarawak’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, received the award for the paper entitled ‘A Study on the Defluoridation in Water by using Natural Soil’.


Dr M V Prasanna posing with the certificate and medal awarded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Dr M V Prasanna posing with the certificate and medal awarded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.


The paper was co-authored by fellow academics S Chidambaram, S Manikandan, C Thivya, U Karmegam and R Thilagavathi of Annamalai University and AL Ramanathan and K Rajkumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University in India.

The high quality paper discusses a research project involving the removal of fluoride from water using locally available red soil by adopting the column method for an effective rural water supply scheme.

The paper was published in the Applied Water Science Journal in 2013. The articles in the journal are published in collaboration with Springer, a global publishing company that publishes original and reviewed articles as well as book reviews.

The KACST Best Paper Award included certificate and medal for all the contributing authors and USD5,000 cash prize for the article.

According to the paper, 80 percent of the diseases in the world are caused by poor quality drinking water. Fluoride, an ion in water, has been proven to cause negative impacts on human health. Excess fluoride in groundwater has become a threat in recent times due to the unavailability of potable groundwater resources.

Different methods of defluoridation, such as ion exchange, precipitation and adsorption have been implemented by researchers in the past. Among those methods, adsorption is most widely used because of its practical applicability, and furthermore, is very cost effective.

When adsorption is used in the column method, it becomes more adaptable for field utility. Since the water supply is moved via gravitational force, the method requires no power supply, thus making it more cost-effective and easier to handle by local communities. In this method, the technology is transferred from the laboratory to the field. It is also considered a green technology, being very environment friendly.

Dr. Prasanna said the KACST award has inspired him to carry out further research to find innovative solutions to challenges faced by rural communities.

KACST is an independent scientific organisation administratively reporting to the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. It is both the Saudi Arabian national science agency and its national laboratories.

KACST partners with Springer to publish a collection of international journals that provide a forum for the dissemination of research advances worldwide. The first five journals were launched in 2011. These journals focus on the key technology areas of oil and gas, water, petrochemicals, nanoscience and biotechnology. The KACST 2013 Best Paper Awards were based on a selection process by the editorial boards of each journal for articles published in 2013.

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1 Response

  1. Minakshi says:

    Nice to see and very encouraging

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