Kunal Ghosh obtained his BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees from the University of Calcutta, after which he worked there on humus chemistry for his PhD degree under the supervision of late Professor SK Mukherjee, FNA. Later he was awarded the DSc degree, the first in Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, of the University of Calcutta. From 1978 to 1980, he also worked at the Chemistry and Biology Research Institute, Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa as a NRC Visiting Research Scientist.
Academic and Research Achievements: Kunal Ghosh worked at all the three major interfaces of chemistry, viz., earth science, biology and technology. However, his primary activities are in humus chemistry, clay mineralogy and fertilizer technology. He developed the macromolecular structures of humic substances, which has become part of course curricula globally. The theory of humus formation as proposed by his group as well as the mechanism of chemical weathering of primary minerals by organic acids, have become textbook materials. He also worked extensively on the interaction of organics with soil minerals. Further, his group, developed several new analytical methods in soil and fertilizer research, viz., iron oxide dissolution, non-destructive separation of soil sesquioxides, total acidity of humic fractions, etc. Over the last three decades, he is associated with new fertilizer development, from chemistry to process development to field trials all across the nation.He also did detailed field studies in Simlipal National Park, Orissa on the effect of deforestation and cultivation on soil environment. In combination with laboratory studies on the changes in soil organic matter, these investigations provided new insights into soil degradation with implications for soil carbon depletion as well as organic farming.
Other Contributions: Dr Ghosh was also involved in the field of patents and intellectual property rights in the mid-eighties when there was little interest in the subject. He holds several patents, which his team drafted and successfully defended. He is also an early proponent of interdisciplinary research.
Awards and Honours: Among several honours and prizes that he received were the Calcutta University Gold Medal and 12th International Congress of Soil Science Commemoration Award, ISSS. Dr Ghosh is a Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), New Delhi, Indian Society of Soil Science (ISSS), New Delhi, West Bengal Academy of Science & Technology (WAST), Kolkata and the Asiatic Society, Kolkata. He was Secretary, WAST (2000-04). He was also President, The Clay Minerals Society of India, New Delhi, President, Society for Fertilizers and Environment, Kolkata and Council Member, INSA (2013-15). At present, he is INSA Senior Scientist with the Raman Centre for Applied and Interdisciplinary Sciences, Kolkata.