The waters of the Ganga do have unusual healing properties despite all its muck and pollution. Until now, these properties were believed to be in the realm of belief and myth. Scientists from the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, have for the first time validated that the water of Ganga does not putrefy easily and there is scientific evidence for it. They have identified new viruses, or bacteriophages, which mimic bacteria in the sediment of the river and
Scientists across the world have been baffled by the antiseptic properties of the Ganga’s water. In 1896, E Hanbury Hankin, a British physician, was the first to ob serve that cholera microbes died within three hours in Ganga water, but continued to thrive in distilled water even after 48 hours. It remained hypothetical until experts found the new viruses, which make the water a disinfectant. IMTECH is one of the laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
The study has revealed 20 to 25 types of bacteriophages in the river, which can fight microorganisms that cause tuberculosis, pneumonia, cholera and urinary tract infection, among others. “We analyzed the viral metagenomes from the sediments of the Ganga and found out different types of phages,” said Dr Shanmugam Mayilraj, senior principal scientist and professor at IMETCH. Senior principal scien tist Dr Shanmugam Mayilraj said the fresh water sediments from Ganga house several novel viruses, which were never reported earlier.
These are active against certain bacterial strains and can be used against multi-drug
resistant infections. “Bacteriophages were represented by the order Caudovirales which shared the 57% of the total viral community . Further analysis showed the presence of families Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Myoviridae,” said Mayilraj.
The IMTECH team has already collected samples during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon period from the Haridwar to Varanasi stretch. They would now collect water samples from Yamuna and Narmada rivers to see how the Ganga is different.
Giving a fillip to fish production in the country, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute will focus on popularising mariculturein all maritime States.
In its annual review meeting, the All India Network Project on mariculture (AINP-M) formulated an action plan to develop and popularise marine grow-out systems, farmer-friendly hatchery technologies for commercially important fishes, and establishment of a centre of excellence in mariculture research.
Coordinated by CMFRI, AINP-M is a major research programme with a financial outlay of ₹42 crore, with centres from all maritime States to strengthen mariculture initiatives.
Apart from the three species — cobia, seabass and pompano — for which commercial hatchery production is currently available, CMFRI is in the process of developing technologies for three more marine species.
CMFRI director A Gopalakrishnan said due importance would be given to popularise farming technologies and conducting demonstrations in farmers’ fields.
At a time when capture fisheries production is stagnating, mariculture can be considered as the only option to meet the ever-increasing demand for marine food products.
The open sea-cage farming method developed by CMFRI is one of the best farming models, and it can be effectively popularised among fishermen, Gopalakrishnan added.
The mariculture sector will address the ever-increasing demand for quality seafood for human consumption and, to some extent, bridge the gap between demand and supply in marine fish production, he said. Given the dwindling wild catch and limited scope for enhancing production from the fishing sector, he said mariculture can be considered as one of the best alternative livelihood options for the fishermen community.
Since non-availability of marine finfish seed is a major challenge for mariculture, the review meeting recommended developing hatchery technology for new species for farming. It also mooted having an extensive survey on the availability of natural seeds for cage farming and determining quotas and seasons for exploitation.
Indigenously developed LED navigation and landing lights for fighter aircraft will soon replace conventional halogen and filament lights. The new lights are not only light, but also consume less power.The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here has developed landing lights, which form part of the aircraft’s nose-wheel assembly and coloured navigation lights that are installed on wingtips and vertical tail fin.These were developed for indigenous Tejas aircraft, but the technology and specifications can be adapted to meet requirements for other fighter as well as transport aircraft. At present, imported lights are being used in IAF aircraft.The LED landing light, which illuminates the runway ahead while taxing, take-off or landing, weighs about 2 kg and consumes 150 watts while giving an illumination of 3.5 lakh candela. Conventional lights, on the other hand weighed 5 kg, including a power booster that also consumed extra space and consumed 1,100 watts for giving less than 2 lakh candela, according to scientists associated with the project. These also generated more heat.The LED wingtip lights weigh 150 gm each with a brightness of 60 candela, while the conventional lights weigh 400 gm each with a brightness of 20 candela, scientists claimed. Under international regulations, navigation lights are mandatory for all civilian and military aircraft on routine flights. These indicate the aircraft’s presence in the skies as well as the direction of its flight as a safety measure for other aircraft in the vicinity.CSIO said both types of lights were undergoing trials and these were expected to be operational by January. The project commenced in September last year.
NEW DELHI: Seeking to harness solar power without getting into the hassle of acquiring big tract of land, the CSIR-CentralMechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur has developed and designed a ‘Solar Power Tree’ which will help harness maximum solar energy by utilising minimum land.
One of such ‘Trees’, launched on Friday by the Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan at his official residence here on Tees January Marg, covers only 4 sq feet of land for producing 5 kilowatts (kW) of solar power as compared to 400 sq feet of land in case of the conventional solar photovoltaic set-up.
Stating that the ‘Solar Power Tree’ is an intervention against land constraints, the CSIR director general Girish Sahni said, “It harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells and thus reduces the requirement of land while keeping the land character intact”. He noted that the ‘Tree’ would even enable utilisation of the cultivable land for harnessing solar energy along with farming at the same time.
The ‘Tree’ holds the panels at a higher height and therefore it gets more sunshine (per hour) in a day in comparison to the one in conventional layout on ground. Scientists claim that it is possible to harness 10-15% more solar power through use of such ‘Tree’ in a particular day. The panel is designed in such a way that it can even be installed in paddy fields or gardens or on roads for generation of clean energy both in urban and rural areas.
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday ordered the removal of the toll booths at the Delhi-Noida-Delhi flyway. Though commuters welcomed the news experts said the traffic situation in south and central Delhi will be hit.
Dr S Velmurugan, senior principal scientist (traffic engineering and road safety division) at CSIR-Central Road Research Institute, said with the removal of the toll booth there will no longer be a controlled release of traffic into Delhi.
“The service time taken for vehicles to cross the toll will not be there now. Apart from this, now that people will not have to pay the toll tax they will prefer to take the DND-flyway. This will result in more vehicles coming on to the Ring Road,” Velmurugan said.
He said at the merging point of the DND flyway and the Ring Road there is no lane balancing. This means that the six-lane road suddenly becomes a five-lane road, which is likely to cause congestion on the stretch.
“When a road meets another road, it is mandatory that the transition needs to be smooth. Here, the six-lane road narrows into a five-lane road,” he said.
Velumurugan also said that the merging point needs at least 200 metres of a seven-lane road for the traffic coming from DND-flyway and Sarai Kale Khan loop to merge without problems. If not this, setting up a traffic signal at the point will also help.
Delhi Traffic Police, however, gave a different perspective.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic), Garima Bhatnagar, said the removal of the booth is likely to speed up traffic movement and ease traffic in the area.
“We are expecting traffic to be smoother because cars will no longer have to stop in the toll queue. The opening of this alternative route will also distribute vehicles,” Bhatnagar said.
A similar debate took place when the Gurgaon toll plaza was removed in 2014. Experts said the traffic chokepoint moved into Delhi and continues to clog National Highway-8, Rao Tula Rao Marg and Dhaula Kuan.
On the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the organisation had to gear themselves up to provide “time bound” delivery of solutions. Though the CSIR labs had immensely contributed to developing affordable technology — from tractors to diabetic drugs — for the country, it needed to ensure that there was no duplication of research efforts. “There should be a platform such that scientists learn what’s happening in one lab and then orient themselves to new challenges,” he told at the gathering of heads of CSIR labs and recepients of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, one of India’s most prestigious awards for scientists. He also exhorted scientists to be cognizant of technological solutions that needed to be immediately implemented, even as scientists worked on research that would yield fruit “50 or hundred years hence.”
The Prime Minister’s address was preceded by that of CSIR Director-General, Girish Sahni, who said that CSIR was launching a skill development programme that would see CSIR laboratories training the unskilled, in industrial applications. The CSIR, said Sahni, has identified 90 “fast track technologies,” developed by CSIR scientists that could be rapidly brought to market. Mr. Modi said concerns over water security were creating an atmosphere of “war brewing between countries over water” but said that it was scientists who had to come up with solutions. “Those who write about such things will write, but(CSIR) scientists have to do more over improving water security, ensuring that water can be used more efficiently and land used better to improve crop varieties.” Media reports said Mr. Modi is expected to be “briefed” on Monday by top government officials on the intricacies of India’s water treaty with Pakistan, The Indus Treaty. This discussion is in the context of the attack at Uri that saw 17 soldiers killed by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.