The “Hindu” in view of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India from 1962 to 1967

The “Hindu” in view of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India from 1962 to 1967

The term “Hindu” as explained by Dr.S. Radhakrishnan in his famous book entitled ” The Hindu view of Life”. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman. He was the second President of India from 1962 and 1967.

hindu

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Opening Black Box of Soil Microbial Diversity through Molecular Techniques

tree_of_life

Biodiversity is generally defined as the variety and variability of living organisms and the ecosystems in which this occurs. The variability of life in the soil encompasses not only plants and animals but also the invertebrates and microorganisms that are interdependent on one another and the higher plants they support. Biodiversity is composed of three interrelated elements: genetic, functional and taxonomic diversity as shown in Figure 1. Taxonomic diversity i.e. the number of species forms an important part of an ecosystem’s diversity and is controlled by the genetic diversity. Genetic diversity can be much more than the number of recognized species. Hence, several species may have the same functions, resulting in functional redundancy. Some species may also interact to perform functions not possible by any single species. Therefore, biodiversity is the interaction of all these elements.

Soil biodiversity is more extensive than any other environment on the globe when all living forms are considered. The soil biota contains representations of all groups of microorganisms, fungi, bacteria, algae and viruses, as well as the microfauna such as protozoa and nematodes. The total diversity is equal to greater than any coral reef or rain forest. Soil algae and protozoa, like higher plants and animals, can be identified by their morphology. Fungi and bacteria, however, require more extensive biochemical and genetic analysis to enable identification.

It has been estimated that only between 1 and 5% of all microorganisms on the earth have been named and classified. A large proportion of these unknown species is thought to reside in the soil. The possible numbers of existing species of different groups are 1.5 million species of fungi, 300,000 species of bacteria, 400,000 species of nematodes and 40,000 species of protozoa. New molecular techniques have been used to estimate that single gram of soil probably contains several thousand bacterial species.

 Opening Black Box of Soil Microbial Diversity through Molecular Techniques

 

 

Biotechnology for enhancing micronutrients (Zn, Fe) acquisition and uptake efficiency in plants

Improvement of micronutrient acquisition in area where micronutrients (Zn, Fe, Cu & Mn) deficiency in soils limits crop productivity is probably the most challenging and rewarding areas of research to achieve the sustainable productivity of agricultural crops. Progress made in recombinant DNA technology in recent years and the application of molecular techniques has advanced our understanding in unraveling the mechanisms of acquisition of micronutrients by the plants from less-labile of soil pools and role of genes involved in these processes, and have provided an altogether new dimension to agricultural research.

 

micronutrients

 

Biotechnology for enhancing micronutrients such as Zinc, Iron etc.

 

 

Intelligent Nano-Fertilizers

Many of anthropogenic activities modified the nutrient cycles of major and micro nutrients of worlds. The scale of these changes has massively accelerated since the industrial revolution throwing the equilibrium into disarray. Mineral nutrients  such as nitrogen, phosphorous potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, and other micronutrients are essential for plant growth and crop production.  Presently, we face a glaring contrast of insufficient use of nutrients on one hand and excessive use on another. Nutrients Use efficiency (NUE) represents a key indicator to assess progress towards better nutrient management. Fertilizers are chemical compounds applied to promote plant growth. It is applied either through the soil or by foliar feeding. Artificial fertilizers are inorganic fertilizers formulated in approximate concentration to supply the nutrients. Nitrogen is an important source which is essential for the growth of plant. Urea is the most wildly used water soluble plant nitrogen source. Due to leaching the nitrogen content in the soil get decreased leading to low nitrogen utilization efficiency. Nitrogen-use efficiency for most crops ranges from 30 to 50 percent, so researchers are developing intelligent nano-fertilizers to reduce the amount of nitrogen lost during the crop production.  The plant needs different amount of nitrogen depending on its growth stage. A new generation of fertilizers will increase this efficiency from 30 percent to upwards of 80 percent. The idea is to develop a product that will release nitrogen only when the plant needs it and in the amount the plant needs. The plants communicate their surroundings environment by producing all kinds of chemical signals. A plant synthesizes specific compounds to communicate with specific microbes. The microbes then go to work and free nitrogen that the plant uses to grow. Thus, roots send out signal that ask microbes to transform nitrogen in the soil into a chemical form the plant can use. Many chemical compounds that are associated  with nitrogen uptake have been identified. These compounds can be used to synchronize the release of fertilizer with nitrogen uptake by the crop. Similarly, a plant under attack by insects or soil pathogen triggers defense mechanisms that synthesize alkaloids or antibiotics emitted into the surrounds soil to defense itself. A biosensor is a device that combines a biological recognition element with a physical or chemical transducer to detect a biological product. In other words, it is a probe that integrates a biological one with an electronic component to yield a measurable signal. Several biosensors are being developed for different applications. Typically a biosensor consists of three components: the biological recognition element, the transducer and the signal processing electronics. Nano-biosensors that will bind to these compounds can be developed so as to control of the release of fertilizers. The polymers coatings that protects the fertilizers from the elements contains nano-sized biosensors which are made up of very specific chemical compounds that allow the fertilizers to be released into the soil when the plant needs it. These biosensors know when to release nitrogen because they are able to detect chemical signals released from the roots of the plant to the soil. Biosensors can detect when a plant requires more nitrogen and allow microbes access to the fertilizer-nitrogen inside the polymer protected particles.  As mentioned earlier that each plant species sends out its own variety of chemical signals. Keeping this concept in mind, an intelligent nano-fertilizer product could be tailored to respond differently to the needs of different crops. For instance, the nitrogen particles could be designated to become available to wheat, but not to the canola growing in the same field because of different compounds emitted by different crops. We can prepare different biosensors using different compounds and tailor the fertilizers to each different crop for different climatic zones and soils. Dr. Carlos Montreal of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa is one of the several research scientists developing a fertilizer that responds to organic compounds emitted by a plant’s roots. The research team is trying to make  intelligent fertilizers with the biodegradable three-dimensional polymer coating less than 100 nm  thick. Nitrogen-use efficiency for most crops ranges from 30 to 50 percent. Intelligent nano-fertilizers could be used to reduce the amount of nitrogen lost during the crop production.  The plant needs different amount of nitrogen depending on its growth stage. A new generation of smart fertilizers will increase this efficiency from 30 percent to upwards of 80 percent. Smart biosensors and smart delivery systems will help in enhancing productivity in agriculture. Hence, in coming years farmers could have access to an intelligent nano-fertilizer  that synchronizes the release of nitrogen with crop uptake.

intelligentnanofertm

Phytoremediation of toxic metals from contaminated soils via biotechnology

The major challenge facing society in the twenty-first century is to feed and provide for increasing numbers of people while protecting human health and the environment. To accomplish this we must combine traditional technologies with modern technologies. Contamination of soil and water by industrial effluents and sewage waste is one of the major problems faced by the modern world. The intensive use of potentially toxic compounds by industry and past failures to properly dispose of hazardous material particularly toxic metals now necessitate new methods for the remediation of polluted soil and water. Research efforts are currently being directed at the development of being less invasive, more economical plant-based phytoremediation technology in removing toxic pollutants particularly toxic metals. Plants have a remarkable ability to extract and concentrate elements and compounds from air, water, and soil. They spend most of their lives as solar-driven pumping stations and chemical factories. Recently, attempts have been made to harness this ability for purposes of environmental remediation. The term phytoremediation has been introduced to describe this process. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to remove pollutants from the environment or to render them harmless. This is being developed as a technology for remediating volatile and nonvolatile organic and toxic metal pollution. However, removal of toxic metals from soils is an area in which phytoremediation may have a particular impact because of the lack of alternative technologies that are affordable and effective. Plants that hyperaccumumulate toxic metals are rare. Such hyperaccumulators are taxonomically widespread throughout the plant kingdom. More than 350 species of plant are known to accumulate metal such as nickel, zinc, copper, cadmium, selenium or manganese in high levels. For example, naturally occurring hyperaccumulating plants like Thlaspi caerulescens, Serbetia accuminata, Alyssum and Astragolum species which acquire in their tissues high levels of metals such as cadmium, zinc, nickel, have been shown to sequester more than 1% of their dry mass of heavy metals from contaminated soil. Over the past 20 years, many crop and related weed species have been screened for metal uptake, translocation and tolerance. Much effort has been focussed on the Brassica family to which many hyperaccumulators species belong. However, the potential for application of hyperaccumulators in phytoremediation is limited by several factors such as slow growing, generate insufficient biomass for practical large-scale application, and demonstrate affinity for only one or two toxic elements.

A fundamental understanding of the biochemical processes involved in plant metal uptake, translocation and hyperaccumulation in normal and metals hyperaccumulators, regulatory control of these activities, and the use of tissue-specific promoters offers great promise that use of molecular biology tools can give scientist the ability to develop effective and economic phytoremediation transgenic plants for toxic metals. So, a long term effort should be directed towards developing a “molecular tool box” composed of genes valuable for phytoremediation.

Arsenic Speciation Analysis using High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry

Speciation is the analytical activity of identifying and/or measuring in a sample the quantity of one or more individual chemical species.  Arsenic has different toxicological properties dependent upon both its oxidation state for inorganic compounds as well as the different toxicity levels exhibited for organic arsenic compounds. HPLC is the technique of choice in modern speciation analyses due to their resolution and the ease with which they are coupled to ICP-MS, allowing for on-line separation and detection.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry

High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry

Metagenomics: New Challenges Ahead in Molecular Soil Ecology

metagenomicssoil

Metagenomics is the culture-independent analysis of a mixture of microbial genomes using an approach based either on expression or on sequencing. The term is derived and coined from the statistical concept of meta-analysis and genomics to capture the notion of analysis of a collection of similar but not identical
items. The meta-analysis is a process of statistically combining separate analyses, that is, analysis of analysis. Metagenomics is the application of the methods of genomics to microbial assemblages. It involves studying the genetic makeup of many microbes in an environment simultaneously, and makes accessible the
many types of microbes that cannot be grown in the lab and therefore cannot be studies using the central tool of classical microbiology. Metagenomics also enables the study of entire microbial communities,offering a window to intact microbial system. The emerging field of metagenomics presents the greatest
opportunity to revolutionize understanding of the living world.

biotecharticles-com-metagenomics_new_challenges_ahead_in_molecular_soil_ecology

Enhancing micronutrients acquisition efficiency in plants through biotechnological techniques

micronutrients

Micronutrient uptake and accumulation traits are inherited. Two distinct biotechnological techniques could be used to improve the micronutrient acquisition in crops. One is the use of DNA molecular markers (RFLP, RAPD) as genetic tags for the trait in plant breeding programmes and the second is the introduction of defined genetic material through transgenic technology. In this reviews, we will summarize current knowledge about genes whose products function in uptake, transport and accumulation of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese and copper in plants. Several genes have been identified on the basis of function, via complementation of yeast mutants, or on the basis of sequence similarity, via databases analysis, degenerate PCR. The recent progress in the area of recombinant DNA technologies, is likely to provide us an option to improve micronutrient acquisition.

For more details, please click here Enhancing nutrients

 

Nano GPS Chips

The Prime Minster of India, Shri Narendra Modi on 8th November, 2016 (Tuesday) announced that the Rs 500 and 1,000 notes will be invalid from the midnight. This means the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes would be in circulation and as per the RBI the same would be out by November 10th. It is because there are lot of fake 500 and 1000 currency notes in the market and it is causing endless problems for RBI to confiscate all of them. The best way is to introduce a new currency denomination which is difficult to create replicas. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be issuing Rs 2,000 currency notes, the highest to come into circulation. This was supposed to be one of the biggest news for banking sector, financial institutions and the common man – because it involved India’s largest currency denomination, Rs 2000. In 1938, and then again in 1954, then Governments introduced currency denomination of Rs 10,000 which was later put out of circulation in 1946 and 1978 respectively. If we leave aside Rs 10,000 currency, then Rs 2000 would be the largest denomination in the history of India. Soon after reports emerged that Rs 2000 currency notes would be introduced by RBI, another set of rumors emerged that these notes would be embedded with nano-GPS chips which can be traced all over the world.

Rumor only, no confirmation from GOI till now.

The Rs 2000 currency might be designed keeping in mind to eradicate the black money issues using state of the art indigenous nanotechnology, every Rs. 2000 currency note will be embedded with a NGC (Nano GPS Chip). The unique feature of the NGC is that it doesn’t need any power source. It only acts as a signal reflector. When a Satellite sends a signal requesting location the NGC reflects back the signal from the location, giving precise location coordinates, and the serial number of the currency back to the satellite, this way every NGC embedded currency can be easily tracked & located even if it is kept 120 meters below ground level. The NGC can’t be tampered with or removed without damaging the currency note. Since every NGC embedded currency can be tracked. The satellite can identify the exact amount of money stored at a certain location. If a relatively high concentration of currency is found a certain location for a longer period of time at suspicious locations other than banks & other financial institutions. The information will be passed on to the Income Tax Department for further investigation and action. As the new notes are loaded with nano-GPS chips (NGC) which will enable the Govt. to easily track these notes, hence controlling black money transactions. NGC chips are actually ‘signal-reflectors’ which would help satellites to track the location of the notes – even if they are ‘120 meters’ below ground level. The logic is that, the satellites will track heavy accumulation of such NGC enabled notes, and will take immediate action to track and seize such money (assuming they are black money).

notes

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