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Vol. LI No. 5 (December’16 - January’17)


Dr. Ashok K. Patra (Bhopal) Editor-on-Chief

Dr. Ashok Kumar Saxena
Prof. B.B. Kaliwal (Davangere)
Area Editors
Prof. Subho Roy (Kolkata)
Dr. (Mrs.) Vijay Laxmi Saxena
Prof. Raj Nath Yadava (Sagar) (Biological Sciences)

Dr. Onkar Singh Chauhan (Goa) Prof. Arun Kumar

(Earth Sciences, Engineering & Materials Science)
Mr. Sisir Kr. Banerjee (Kolkata)
Dr. Manoj Kumar Chakrabarti
Prof. Swati Gupta-Bhattacharya (Kolkata) (Medical and Animal Sciences including Physiology)

Mr. Devaprasanna Sinha (Kolkata) Prof. H.P. Tiwari

(Physical Sciences)
Dr. Durgesh Nath Tripathi (Kanpur)
Dr. Rashmi Sinha
Prof. Tarun Kumar Das (Delhi) (Social Sciences)

Prof. Somnath Roy (Midnapore) General Secretary (Membership Affairs)

Prof. Gangadhar
Prof. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay (Kolkata)
General Secretary (Scientific Activities)
Prof. Sugriva Nath Tiwari (Gorakhpur) Prof. Premendu P. Mathur

Prof. Vijai Pal Singh (Bareilly) Editorial Secretary

Dr. Amit Krishna De
Past General Presidents of ISCA
Printed and published by Dr. Ashok Kumar Saxena
1. Prof. P. Rama Rao (1998) on behalf of Indian Science Congress Association
2. Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma (1999) and printed at T. C. Dutta Merchants Pvt. Ltd., P-
3. Dr. R.A. Mashelkar (2000) 23/24, Radha Bazar Street, Kolkata - 700 001 and
4. Dr. R.S. Paroda (2001) published at Indian Science Congress Association,
5. Prof. S.S. Katiyar (2002) 14, Dr. Biresh Guha Street, Kolkata - 700 017, with
6. Dr. K. Kasturirangan (2003) Dr. Ashok Kumar Saxena as Editor.
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Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Oral Rehydration Therapy: Gaps and Challenges
S. Kanungo and M. K. Chakrabarti 284


Scientific Inspirations from Nature

Partho Pratim Chatterjee 286

Agroforestry: A Sustainable Land-Use System for Food and Wood

Alok Kumar Patra 290

Silvipasture Model of Agroforestry in Augmenting Fodder Production and

Livelihood Improvement
S.Gunasekaran and K.Viswanthan 297

Prospects of Noni Cultivation in North East India

TN Manohara, Jesminwara Begum and Gayatri Gogoi 300

Molecules Behind Flowering

Sanjukta Mondal Parui and Amal Kumar Mondal 306

Non Apparel Uses of Textile – A Different Perspective

Madhu Sharan 311

Vermicomposting at Dairy Farm for Sustainable Agriculture

Sanjay Kumar, Kaushalendra Kumar, Rajni Kumari, R. R. K. Sinha and Chandramoni 317

Chemicals What Life is All About

Prasanta Kumar Ray 320

104th Indian Science Congress Awardees for 2016-2017 328




Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


President Title of Presidential Address*

Prof. P. Rama Rao Science and Technology in Independent India: Retrospect

85 Indian Science Congress and Prospect
1998, Hyderabad

Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma New Biosciences: Opportunities and Challenges as We move
86 Indian Science Congress into the Next Millennium
1999, Chennai

Dr. R.A. Mashelkar New Panchsheel of the New Millennium

87 Indian Science Congress
2000, Pune

Dr. R.S. Paroda Food, Nutrition and Environmental Security

88th Indian Science Congress
2001, Delhi

Prof. S.S. Katiyar Health Care, Education and Information Technology

89th Indian Science Congress
2002, Lucknow

Dr. K. Kasturirangan Frontier Science and Cutting-Edge Technologies

90th Indian Science Congress
2003, Bangalore

* Available in the Book “The Shaping of Indian Science” Published by University Press (India)
Pvt. Ltd., 3-5-819 Hyderguda, Hyderabad 500 029.

A per decision of Council meeting held on May 03, 2014, Presidential Address will not be
printed henceforth in Everyman’s Science as they are already printed in the above mentioned

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Oral Rehydration Therapy: Gaps and Challenges

Nearly nine million children under five years of pot to prevent dehydration. ORS, however, is the best
age die each year throughout the world. Diarrhoea is to treat dehydration when it occurs, as well as to
second only to pneumonia as the cause of these prevent it.
deaths, most of which occur in the developing S e v e r a l f o r m u l a t i o n s w i t h d i ff e r e n t
countries. This is an alarming reminder of the concentration of salt have been developed which
exceptional vulnerability of the children in these showed equal efficacy regarding reduction of
countries, where lack of safe drinking water, mortality, especially in children. Oral rehydration
sanitation and hygiene, along with poor overall salts contain a variety of salts (electrolytes) and
health and nutritional status put these children at sugar. During the 1980s, UNICEF launched a
higher risk. comprehensive program to save children's lives,
The dehydration caused by severe diarrhoea targeting four areas such as growth monitoring,
requires fluid replenishment, either by intravenous breastfeeding, immunization, and the use of Oral
route or by mouth. But intravenous route requires Rehydration Salts (ORS) -- the best way of
intervention and that too through an expert medical combating the dehydration caused by diarrhoea. .The
hand. Thus it seems almost impractical and difficult Lancet hailed ORS as "potentially the most
to combat childhood dehydration at large scale using important medical advance of this century."ORS is
intravenous fluid alone. It was in the late 60s and available in the market in a powder form in sachets/
early 70s, researchers could show that the fluid when readymade solutions or one can also easily make it at
mixed with glucose and salt in appropriate home as well. ORS Day is celebrated every year on
proportion can be absorbed through intestinal wall. 29th July to highlight the importance of Oral
The combination of electrolytes and sugar stimulates Rehydration Salts (ORS) as a cost-effective method
water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. It of health intervention. Around half of all diarrhoea
therefore prevents or reverses dehydration and cases in the world's poorest countries are now treated
replaces lost salts in conditions such as diarrhoea and with Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT). This is a vast
vomiting. It is an epoch making concept in a way improvement in usage at the beginning of the 1980s.
that anyone suffering from diarrhoea could replace But there is still an urgent need to make ORT more
the lost fluids and salts simply by drinking this accessible.Not only that, there also exists a gap in
solution. This concept of oral rehydration was knowledge about ORS and its actual use, both among
successfully implemented in early 70s among the the medical fraternity as well among primary
war displaced refuges in Bangladesh war, where caretakers.
more than 90% of the patients suffering from In India alone it saves the lives of over 500,000
dehydration due to diarrhoea could be saved through children every year. Despite this great impact,
this simple oral rehydration solutions. Not only that, diarrhoea still accounts for over 600,000 deaths
home-made versions of ORS are not difficult to make every year (1,666 deaths every day) in India. Many of
and can help prevent diarrhoeal dehydration. these lives could have been saved had these children
Families can also use the rice water from the cooking been given ORS from the onset of diarrhoea. The

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Diarrhoeal Disease Control programme envisioned NFHS-2 conducted during 1998-99. Even the use of
that improvement in caregivers' awareness about home available fluid is not great. As World Health
home management of diarrhoeal illnesses through Organization suggested for intake of an increased
the use of ORS and appropriate food would be the amounts of almost any fluid which can also help
key to reduce diarrhoea-related mortality. In prevent dehydration, when ORS is not available, in
practice, however, it did not turn out to be such a India, on the contrary, less than 10% of children with
simple solution. For example, although women's diarrhoea actually received an increased amount of
knowledge about ORS packets in India increased fluids, as revealed by World Health Survey
substantially over time, as revealed by different 2003.Moreover, during 2000-2007 the UNICEF also
rounds of National Family Health Survey (43% in noted that when ORT was considered along with
NFHS-1, 62% in NFHS-2 and nearly 75% in NFHS- continued feeding for under-five children suffering
3), it did not translate into action. The National from diarrhoea, India's performance was the poorest
Family Health Survey (NFHS-3, 2005-06) showed among many of its neighboring countries. Thus,
that 39% of under-five children suffering from despite our strong evidence-based knowledge that a
diarrhoea received ORT; in fact, ORS solution was simple measure like ORT can save lives of children
received by only 26%, which again varied greatly suffering from diarrhoea, more stress should be put
from state to state (65% in Meghalaya and 58% in on its use, through inter sectorial approaches,
Tripura to 15% in Assam and 13% in Uttar Pradesh). combining several intervention programs.
This scenario remained practically unchanged since
S. Kanungo
Dr. M. K. Chakrabarti
NICED, Kolkata

A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from

others, Be a carrier.
- Tom Stoppard

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Partho Pratim Chatterjee

Emulated from nature, many materials can be developed for scientific applications. In this back drop, the
paper dwells upon few nano structured materials found in nature whose emulation for scientific
applications could prove indispensable for benefit of the mankind. A few such inspirations include lotus
leaf, chameleon's colour change, moth's anti reflective eyes, gecko (wall lizard) feet, salvania's leaf,
Namib desert beetle's water harvesting mechanism, etc. The paper attempts to establish that there could
be amazing applications of these bio mimicked imitations in real-life scientific applications if harnessed
techno- economically. The article is followed by possible future applications and suggestions in real life


N ano structured materials are materials

having properties defined by dimensional
strength, optical properties and local surface
features smaller than 100 nm. Aerogel, graphene, Lotus leaf, chameleon's colour change, moth's
nano bonded refractories, carbon nano tubes, smart anti reflective eyes, gecko (wall lizard) feet,
dust, photonic crystal, etc., are some of the salvania's leaf, Namib desert beetle's water
commonly used nano materials. These materials harvesting mechanism, etc., are few naturally
offer exciting properties like fracture strength, occurring nano structured materials whose imitation
toughness, reflectivity, electrical conductivity, etc. in scientific applications could prove indispensable.
These properties can be controlled by altering the Replicating their excellent properties in real life
nano scale dimensional features. The advantages of applications may be of widespread scientific interest.
nano structured materials is that the small elements As we all know, ductility and strength do not go hand
allow better control of size, which leads to better in hand. To obtain high ductility, strength has to be
hierarchical organization and structuring. As compromised and vice-versa. However, in human
smaller object occupies lesser volume and hence bone, both high strength and ductility are found. This
more elements can fit into the given space. Also, in may be attributed to the presence of hydroxyapatite
the case of small spaces, the proportion of empty and collagen in bones. The hydroxyapatite gives rise
spaces is less. Hence strength of the nano material is to excellent strength whereas the collagen gives rise
more as dislocations face more obstruction in their to excellent ductility. Emulating the structure,
motion because of less empty spaces. The better materials having both high strength and ductility can
optical properties in nano materials may be attributed be developed. Similarly, lotus leaf possesses
to the fact that the empty spaces in nano structured excellent hydrophobic and self cleaning properties
materials are of the dimensional order of the which can inspire water-resistant structures. The
wavelength of visible light, therefore, diffraction and excellent anti-reflective properties of moth's eyes
selective scattering become easier which is not can inspire better efficiency in solar cells. The
possible in large materials. The improved properties excellent adhesion properties of geckos (wall lizard)
manifest themselves in the form of better fracture feet can be emulated to give rise to pads which can
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, adhere to all types of surfaces, whether smooth or
Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad- 502285, E mail : rough. The combination of hydrophobic and
hydrophilic properties in Salvinia's leaf can lead to

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

the development of air trapping mechanisms in deep The size of the guanine crystal does not change
water. A similar combination can also be used for in case of a stimulus, but the distance between the
effective water harvesting in desert areas, as in guanine crystals changes. The natural pigmented
Namib Desert Beetles. skin colour of chameleons is yellow. In the non-
LOTUS LEAF exited state, the distance between the guanine nano
Lotus leaf has excellent self-cleaning and crystals is less. Thus, the light that is reflected from
water repellent properties. The water repellent the guanine nano crystals present in chameleon is of
properties are attributed to the combination of shorter wavelength i.e blue. Blue combines with
epicuticular wax and the epidermal hairs of the naturally present yellow coloured pigments to form
papillae. The roughness of the hydrophobic papillae green colour. But in the exited state, the spacing
reduces the contact area between the surface and a between the guanine nano crystals increases. This
liquid drop with droplets residing only on the tips of causes the selected wavelength to be longer i.e. red
the epicuticular wax crystals on the top of the colour. Red combines with naturally present yellow
papillose epidermal cells1. coloured pigments to exhibit orange/ reddish orange
This is because as the roughness increase,
coefficient of friction increases, which promotes Chameleon's colour change from green to red
rolling motion of the droplets instead of sliding. can be emulated to make cloaks for soldiers and
Lotus has the highest density of papillae. Lotus robots for defence applications where the idea of
papillae have much smaller diameters which reduces camouflaging with the surroundings can be used to
the contact areas with the water droplets. The contact circumvent the enemy. Other applications of this
area between the droplet and the lotus leaf depends inspiration include torches which can produce
also depends on the velocity with which the droplets different colours from the same incident beam.
strike the surface of the lotus leaf. Further, the MOTH'S ANTI-REFLECTING EYES
varying height of the papillae also reduces the Moth has anti-reflective eyes on its rear part of
contact area of the droplets, as an inhomogenous the body, which helps it to disguise itself from
structure prevents the droplet from sticking easily on predators. Moth eyes have very fine nanostructures,
the surface. and distance between the nanostructures is
The hierarchical nanostructure of lotus can be comparable to the wavelength of visible light3. This
emulated to make superhydrophobic steels. The hot results in diffraction of the incident light instead of
dip Galvanized steel or electro galvanised steel can reflection. Diffraction and the subsequent reflection
be coated by nanowires structures of irregular from these fine nanostructures confines the incident
lengths having a Poly Di Methyl Siloxane (PDMS) light beam to the nanostructure and results in 99.9 %
coating. These steels will possess excellent self- absorption.
cleaning and superhydrophobic properties. These This structure can be emulated for development
steels will find uses in structural steels in humid of more-efficient solar cells as almost all the incident
areas. The lotus leaf structure can also be copied to sunlight is absorbed instead of getting reflected. This
produce anti-fogging glasses, car screens which do augments the efficiency of the solar cell. It may also
not get wet even during heavy inundations. lead to the development of invisible armours and
CHAMELEON'S COLOUR CHANGE cloaks because almost no light is reflected back to the
Chameleon is known for changing colour from observer.
green to red when it encounters dangerous situation. GECKO (WALL LIZARD) FEET
The colour in chameleon is attributed to the change in Gecko (wall lizard) has structure called spatula
the distance between guanine nano crystals present in its feet to increase contact area and maximize
in its skin2. adhesion. Gecko has spatula in the setae which

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

remain parallel to the contact surface to maximize troughs give rise to hydrophobicity (i.e water
adhesion. The reason for adhesion is Van Der Walls repulsion)6 . The bumps captures the water droplet
Force which acts between the spatula and the which gets propelled by the hydrophobic troughs to
surface4. This enables the gecko to firmly adhere to its mouth. During the morning fog, the beetle tilts its
any surface (smooth or rough) irrespective of its back at different angles with the ground. Greater the
nature. Thus, the gecko can easily climb on walls angle of tilt, higher is the probability of adhesion of
swiftly against gravity. The detachment mechanism the water droplets. Due to higher probability of
in gecko is equally interesting. The feet of the gecko adhesion of the water droplets, the probability of
make an acute angle with the surface during blowing away of water droplets by wind is less. This
detachment and this leads to stress concentration at ensures that the removal of the water droplet by wind
the tip of the spatula, which leads to easy detachment. is more difficult because higher velocity of the wind
The attachment and detachment mechanism of is required for large angle of inclination. Also, the tilt
gecko can be emulated to build human fins, special causes the water droplet to trickle down easily from
gloves, etc. for defence applications. It can also be the fore wings to the mouth.
used to make robotic arms and feet fins which can This arrangement can be emulated in making
easily move in any terrain, whether rough or smooth, desert water harvesters like aquatic mats and desert
dry or moist. water bottles used by military personnel. It can also
SALVANIA LEAF be used to make turbines which generate electricity
Salvania leaf shows an exemplary inspiration from atmospheric moisture.
of retaining air in water. Salvania has hydrophobic CONCLUSION
structure consisting of waxy coating, which prevents The nature inspired materials could be the
water from entering within the structure and elixir for next generation science and technology if
subsequent damage. On the upper part, Salvania has harnessed techno-economically.
egg-beater like structure in which the terminal cells ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
of the four hairs are compressed to form a patch of The author gratefully acknowledges the
four dead cells5. This results in the formation of a valuable suggestions and insights provided by Dr.
hydrophilic end at the top and a hydrophobic end at Mudrika Khandelwal, Assistant Professor, Dept. of
the bottom. This causes the droplets to remain on top Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering,
of the hydrophilic end without penetrating into the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad during
structure. This arrangement prevents air bubbles her classroom lectures which greatly influenced the
from escaping the structure and gives a silvery formulation and shaping of the article. Also, the
appearance to the salvania leaf. author express his heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Pinaki
The Salvania leaf structure can be emulated to Prasad Bhattacharjee; Head and to all faculty
make air retaining apparatus in under water and other members of the Department of Materials Science and
marine applications. Metallurgical Engineering, Indian Institute of
NAMIB DESERT BEETLE Technology, Hyderabad for their support.
Namib desert beetle uses its forewings for REFERENCES
water harvestation, whereas the hind wings are used 1. A. Marmur, Langmuir, 20, 3517–3519, 2004.
for flying. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) 2. J. Teyssier, S.V. Saenko, D.V. Marel, M.C.
analysis of the beetle shows that it has waxy troughs Milinkovitch, Nature Communications, March
but wax free bumps. The wax free bumps give rise to 2015.
hydrophilicity (i.e water attraction) and the waxy

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

3. K.H. Kim, Q.N. Park, Scientific Reports, 5. W. Barthlott, T. Schimmel, S. Wiertz, K. Koch,
August 2012. M. Brede, M. Barczewski, S. Walfeim, A.
4. GS Watson, D.W. Green, L. Schwarzkopf, X. Weis, A. Kaltenmier, A. Leder, H.F .Bohn,
Li, B.W. Cribb, S. Myhra, J.A Watson, Acta Advanced Materials, April 2010.
Biomaterialia, July 2015. 6. T. Norgaard, M. Dacke, Frontiers in Zoology,
July 2010.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Alok Kumar Patra

The enormous population growth during the last few decades has caused considerable reduction in both
crop and forest area, and the requirement of basic needs seems to be inadequately met through the
existing land use system. Agroforestry, a combination of agriculture and forestry, is now recognized as a
land-use system which is capable of yielding food, fruit, fodder, fuel and timber, and at the same time
conserving and rehabilitating the ecosystems. With the modern day crisis of shortage of agricultural and
forest land, agroforestry is well positioned to provide a perfect balance and a solution.


M an's association with forest is much older

than with agriculture. First man was a food
these circumstances agroforestry has shown that
besides sustainable agriculture it can also help
gatherer and hunter in forests. Then he realized that promote a better environment. Agroforestry has been
the seeds of the fruits he collected germinated, grew recognized as a land-use system which is capable of
into plants and bore the fruits again and thus man yielding both food and wood and at the same time
started to cultivate foods. Thus, the process of human conserving and rehabilitating the ecosystems. It has
evolution has been from forests when man learnt the the capability to increase the productivity, maintain
art of domesticating plants and animals. Man's desire the nutrient balance in the soil as well as protect the
to live in a community created settled agriculture. nature. It has two major roles to play, the productive
But acceleration in growth of human and livestock role and the service role. Trees have the dominant
population necessitated acquisition of more and role to play in all agroforestry systems for sustainable
more forest land for cultivation. So the origin of agriculture and environmental protection.
agroforestry practices, i.e. growing trees and shrubs PREMISES OF AGROFORESTRY
with food and fruit crops and grasses is traditional The premises on which the concept of
and very old. Since then the pressure on the agroforestry is based are partly biological and partly
agricultural lands has increased manifolds due to socioeconomic.
urbanization and industrialization process.
Biological premises
Gradually soil is losing its productivity, and the
Agroforestry has a beneficial effect on the soil
biodiversity is threatened. To increase the land
through efficient nutrient cycling. The roots of trees
productivity, chemical fertilizers and pesticides are
take up nutrients from the soil, convert and utilize
applied in higher proportion, causing environmental
them for the production of plant material and then
pollution hazards.
return them to the soil in the form of tree litter. This
In these rapidly changing situations, man has
litter is transformed into humus and later
two ways to live – one is to tolerate the conditions and
incorporated into the soil. In a well managed
the other one is to change them. Now the existence of
agroforestry system, the relatively more efficient
life is in danger due to pollution, climate change,
nutrient cycle minimizes the leakages of nutrients
disease, loss of biodiversity and so on. Under all
from the system. Trees are generally deep-rooted
Directorate of Research, 2nd Floor, Administrative Building,
Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, than agricultural crops and are often able to trap and
Bhubaneswar- 751003, Odisha. E-mail:alokpatra2000@yahoo. utilize nutrients that have been leached from the / upper layers of the soil. Some tree species have the

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

capacity of 'pumping' nutrients from layers that are influences and services of forests are considered
not normally tapped by agricultural crops. The along with the specific socioeconomic problems of
compacting effects of falling rain on the soil are those who exist in marginal areas, the technological
reduced in an agroforestry system decreasing soil package should include agroforestry systems. If the
erosion and thus another possible source of leakage economic returns from the agroforestry systems are
of nutrients from the system is plugged. significant and if these are designed to optimize the
Agroforestry is a system of land management joint productivity of wood and food from the same
in which tree crops are grown together with unit of land with careful choice of agricultural and
agricultural crops, one of its objectives being to forest species and suitable management practices,
optimize and sustain the total yields of the the socioeconomic developmental problems of the
component crops. Competition among the different area would be addressed adequately.
components of the system is not great enough to BENEFITS FROM AGROFORESTRY
affect the total productivity of the system in an Benefits from agriculture and forestry are
adverse manner. Water, nutrients and light are the limited. But benefits from Agroforestry are infinite -
limiting factors in an agroforestry system. The forest food, fruits, feed, fodder, fuel, fiber, fertilizer,
and agricultural species that are utilized in the system favourable climate and many others.
should be compatible and should complement each l Reduction in pressure on forest
other during most stages of their lives. More
l Efficient recycling of nutrients through mining
specifically, with respect to water they should be
by deep- rooted trees
unequal in competitive ability; with respect to
l Better protection of ecological systems
nutrient, they should vary in ability to utilize the
nutrients in different forms; and, with respect to light, l Reduction of surface run-off, nutrient leaching
those species should be selected which display and soil erosion
growth patterns, rates of growth, phenology, and l Improvement of microclimate, such as
architecture permitting maximum interception of lowering of soil surface temperature and
light by both the agricultural and forest crops at any reduction of evaporation of soil moisture
one time. through mulching and shading
Socioeconomic premises l Increment of soil nutrients through addition
Forests are being felled in by farmers who and decomposition of litter-fall
require the land to produce food for their very l Improvement of soil structure through
existence. These areas are basically unsuitable for constant addition of organic matter from
arable agriculture, either because of the inherent decomposed litter
infertility of the soils, or because the sites are prone to l Increment in outputs of food, fuel wood,
accelerated erosion, or because of a combination of fodder, fertilizer and timber
these two factors. The people who clear the forests to l Reduction in incidence of total crop failure,
produce food are often aware of the possible common to single-cropping or monoculture
deleterious effects of their practices upon the systems
ecosystem. But they persist with such practice due to l Increase in levels of farm incomes due to
lack of suitable alternatives for their survival. improved and sustained productivity
The failure to develop the marginal lands often l Improvement in rural living standards from
leads to retardation in the rate of improvement of the sustained employment and higher incomes
general economy. The developmental and
l Improvement in nutrition and health due to
technological options are fewer in marginal areas
increased quality and diversity of food outputs
than in most other ecosystems. When the biological

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

NEED OF AGROFORESTRY land upgradation is a continuous process. It restores

Decreasing land resources soil and conserves moisture and thus, there is a gain
The land resources are decreasing due to from all angles. Taking advantages from both forest
various reasons and there is hardly any scope to and agriculture, agroforestry concept itself becomes
increase food production by increasing the area a profitable enterprise.
under cultivation. A management system therefore, Fuelwood crisis
needs to be devised that is capable of producing food There is a global crisis of energy and man is
from marginal agricultural land and is also capable of striving hard to find out some alternative source of
maintaining and improving the environment. The energy. Fuelwood is one of the established sources to
shrinking of per capita land availability, huge meet energy requirement. About 90% people in the
demand supply gap of various kinds of woods, food developing countries depend upon wood as source of
products as well as fodders are making agroforestry fuel. But in these regions deforestation is five times
viable and an alternative land use option. more than afforestation. So the only solution is to
Limiting carrying capacity of the land promote tree plantation through agroforestry.
The carrying capacity of the arid and semiarid Depletion of forest
regions is overstressed. The consequence Forest area is decreasing alarmingly due to
is destruction of environment leading to population growth and infrastructural developments
desertification. Agroforestry interventions hold the causing thereby environmental pollution, ecological
key to check soil erosion and leaching loss of imbalance, global warming and climate change. The
nutrients and to improve the soil productivity per capita availability of forests in India is one of the
through biological nitrogen fixation, organic matter lowest, 0.08 hectares as against an average of 1.07
addition and efficient nutrient cycling. hectares for developed countries and 0.64 hectares
Overgrazing for the world as a whole. Thus, if both agriculture and
The problem overgrazing is acute in arid and forest are integrated then farmers can very easily
semiarid regions. Integrating cultivation of fodder adopt it as there will be no substantial reduction in
tree species with suitable grasses in the wastelands agricultural output.
would address the problem of overgrazing and thus LIMITATIONS OF AGROFORESTRY
check the desertification effectively. l Trees in agroforestry systems often compete
Soil erosion and pollution with agricultural crops for light, water and
Soil erosion is the major cause of land nutrients from the soil which may reduce crop
degradation and loss of productivity. Trees fight soil yields.
erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce water runoff. l The use of farm machines is more difficult in
Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the the confined space in an agroforestry field.
force of wind and rain on soil. Trees also absorb l This system is very difficult to manage and
dangerous chemicals and other pollutants that have needs more accuracy with highly skillful
entered the soil. Trees can either store harmful management practices.
pollutants or change the pollutant into less harmful l Increased susceptibility to pests and diseases
forms. Thus, agroforestry practices are most suited often leads to dependence on potentially
for sustainability of soil productivity. harmful pesticides.
Overexploitation of land resource l Some of the ecological functions played by the
Heavy fertilization coupled with high trees in the natural forest may be lost when
irrigation frequencies leads to soil loss, nutrient loss trees are used in an agroforestry system.
and degradation of land whereas under forest cover

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

l Damage to food crops during tree harvest lLarge area is available in the form of farm
operations. boundaries and field bunds, where also
l Trees serve as hosts to insect pest and diseases agroforestry systems can be adopted.
that are harmful to agricultural crops. lSince land holding is becoming smaller and
.l Rapid regeneration by prolific trees which may smaller due to demographic pressure, forest
displace food crops and take over the entire area in the vicinity of the thickly populated
field. villages is diminishing with increasing human
l Agroforestry systems are very labour intensive demands for fuel, fodder, small timber and
which may cause labour scarcity at times of other minor products met from the forest.
other farm activities. Thus, by adopting agroforestry in the
community lands near the villages, the
l Longer period is required for tree components
pressure on natural forest could be greatly
to mature and acquire an economic value.
l Farmers are usually unwilling to displace food
lThe agroforestry plot remains usually
crops with trees, especially where land is
productive for the farmer and generates
continuous revenue, which is not feasible in
l Agroforestry is more complex, less understood
arable land. Agroforestry also allows for the
and more difficult to apply as compared to
diversification of farm activities and makes
better use of environmental resources.
lAbout 87% of the annually harvested wood in
l Forest cover in the country is 67.71 million ha, India is used as firewood. In addition, at
constituting 20.60% of its total geographical present in rural India 60-80 million tonnes of
area against the ideal coverage of 33.33%. Out dry cow dung is utilized as fuel, equivalent to
of this, very dense forest (>70% canopy 300-400 million tonnes of freshly collected
density) constitutes 5.44 million ha (1.66%), manure. Thus, there is a vast scope to meet the
moderately dense forest (40-70% canopy acute shortage of fuelwood through
density) 33.26 million ha (10.12%) and open
forest (<40% canopy density) constitutes
lThe grazing lands in almost all parts of the
28.99 million ha (8.82%). The forest cover in
country have to support animals beyond their
the hilly districts is only 35.85% compared
with the desired 66.66% area. Thus to bridge carrying capacity. Repeated grazing by
the gap between desired and available forest animals hardly leaves any vegetational
coverage in the country, agroforestry is the best element to survive unless specially protected.
intervention. Inclusion of fodder tree species with suitable
grasses in the agroforestry system will check
l Areas presently not available for arable
cropping can be put to agroforestry practices.
According to the estimation of National lAgroforestry provides employment with
Wasteland Development Board, 123 million relatively less investment and that too for
hectare area of land is lying as wasteland in unskilled rural community. It has a tremendous
India. The extent of degraded forests in the potential for rural employment generation due
country is more than 40 million ha. Besides, to great diversity of products from
about 50 million ha area is degraded due to homegarden which provides opportunities for
mining activity. These areas can be reclaimed development of small scale rural industries and
by adoption of suitable agroforestry practices. creation of off-farm employment and
marketing opportunities.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Based on the nature of components,
agroforestry systems can be broadly classified into
agrisilvicultural (agricultural crops + trees),
silvipastoral (trees + forage crops), agrisilvipastoral
(agricultural crops + trees + forage crops) and other Fig.3. Acacia mangium + Aloe vera
systems like aquaforestry, mushroom in mixed tree nutrients, moisture and light. Alley cropping usually
species and apiculture with trees. A few common includes leguminous trees to improve soil fertility
through nitrogen fixation. The suitable species are

Fig.1. Gmelina arborea + Arrowroot

agroforestry systems practiced in our country are Fig.4. Acacia mangium + Guinea grass
given below. Cassia siamea, Leucaena leucocephala, Glyricidia
Multispecies tree gardens sepium, Calliandra calothyrsus and Sesbania
In this system of agroforestry, various kinds of
multipurpose tree species (MPTS) are grown. The Multipurpose trees and shrubs on field bunds
major function of this system is production of food, MPTs like Acacia nilotica, Acacia albida,
fodder and wood products. Major woody species Casuarina equisetifolia, Azadirachta indica, Acacia
planted in this system are Acacia catechu, Phoenix senegal, Cocos nucifera, Leucaena leucocephala
and Acacia mangium are planted on field bunds and
Agroforestry for fuel wood production
In this system, fuel wood species are planted in
or around agricultural lands. Tree species commonly
used as fuel wood are Acacia nilotica, Albizia
Fig.2. Acacia mangium + Pineapple
dactifera, Artocarpus spp, Cocos nucifera,
Mangifera indica, Syzygium aromaticum, etc.
Alley cropping
Alley cropping, also known as hedgerow
intercropping, involves managing rows of closely
planted (within row) woody plants with annual crops Fig.5. Aquaforestry (Coconut + Rice + Pisciculture)
planted in alleys in between hedges. The primary lebbeck, Casuarina equisetifolia, Prosopis juliflora,
purpose is to maintain or increase crop yields by Cassia siamea, Eucalyptus tereticornis, etc.
improvement of the soil and microclimate and weed Protein bank
control. Tree products are also obtained from the In this silvipastoral system of agroforestry,
hedgerows. Right kind of tree species is to be planted MPTs (protein-rich trees) are planted on or around
at right spacing, with proper management to reduce farmlands and rangelands for fodder production to
competition between trees and agricultural crops for meet the feed requirements of livestock during the
fodder-deficit period in winter.
Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Trees and shrubs on pasture planted on the boundary of the agricultural field. The
In this silvipastoral system of agroforestry, primary purpose of this system is to produce honey.
MPTs are scattered irregularly or arranged according Api-silviculture with Eucalyptus, Glyricidia,
to some systematic pattern, especially to supplement

Fig.8. Acacia mangium in rice field bunds

Fig. 6. Acacia mangium + Guava + Colocasia Grevillea, Gmelina, Leuceana and Albizia species
forage production. Perennial woody fruit crops may were more remunerative and a good source of
also be included which is called hortisilvipastoral generating additional farm income in rural areas.
system. Aquaforestry
Home gardens In this system, various trees and shrubs
This is the oldest agroforestry practice. Home preferred by fish are planted on the boundary and
gardens are characterized by a high species-diversity around fish ponds. Leaves of these trees are used as
and usually 3-4 vertical canopy strata. Many species feed for fish. The primary role of this system is fish
of trees, bushes, vegetables and other herbaceous production and bund stabilization around fish pond.
Ex. Leucaena leucocephala, Morus alba, etc.
Institutional constraints
All the forest lands including hilly, deforested
and degraded lands that deserve rehabilitation
Fig. 7. Multistoried agroforestry through agroforestry systems are under the
plants are grown in dense and random arrangements. jurisdiction of state forestry departments. In many
But some rational control over choice of plants, and cases, the forestry officials stick to the classical
their spatial and temporal arrangement should be forestry concept and regard agroforestry systems as
exercised to reduce competition among the plants incompatible. They believe that farmers'
and to increase the production. Most home gardens participation is neither suited nor needed. However,
also support a variety of animals (cow, goat, sheep, people's participation through agroforestry practices
pig) and birds (chicken, duck). Fodder and legumes could be a potent means of restoring both protective
are widely grown to meet the daily fodder and feed and productive woody vegetation in barren areas.
requirements. Thus, home gardens represent land-
Government policy related constraints
use systems involving deliberate management of
In India, there is no well defined agroforestry
multipurpose trees and shrubs in intimate association
policy either by the state governments or the central
with annual and perennial agricultural crops, and
government. Even there is no specific policy for
livestock within the compounds of individual
felling of trees. Very often the private growers are not
houses, the whole crop-tree-animal unit being
allowed to harvest the trees from their own lands at
intensively managed by family labour.
their need which discourage strongly to go for tree
Apiculture with trees
cultivation. A clear-cut government policy is also
In this system, various honey or nectar lacking for inter-state transport of forest products
producing trees frequently visited by honeybees are including timber, small timber and other minor forest

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

products. Although tree farming requires high initial AGROFORESTRY AND THE FUTURE
investment and return is usually delayed there is no National Agricultural Policy, 2000 underlines
policy for financial support to the tree growers or the need for diversification in agriculture which will
agroforesters through nationalized banks. ensure protection of environment, food and
Sociocultural constraints livelihood securities, poverty alleviation and
Majority of farmers in developing countries mitigation of the adverse impacts of pollution and
own or cultivate small sized farms. Their immediate health hazards. In spite of the limitations and
priority is food production from each inch of land. constraints, agroforestry has now been recognized as
They resist displacing food crops with trees. Farmers an effective tool to meet these needs. The only
prefer only high utility perennial species like weapon that can be used in the war against hunger,
bamboo and coconuts. Agroforestry systems are also inadequate shelter and environmental degradation is
very labour intensive which may cause scarcity at the adoption of agroforestry practices. With the
times for other farm activities. Farm families have modern day crisis of shortage of land for forestry and
traditionally developed labour strategies to use agriculture, agroforestry is well positioned to
family members at various times of the year for provide a perfect balance and a viable solution.
different tasks. Thus, they resist changes in the Agroforestry today has become a sustainable method
labour practices of the farming system into which to manage forest and agriculture together, while
they are introduced. being economically and environmentally viable.
Socioeconomic constraints This has the potential to reduce regional disparity,
Social acceptability of agroforestry is very bring desirable peace, prosperity and happiness and
closely linked to the economic feasibility of the ensure an optimistic future for the generations to
system. Direct and immediate income that can be come. Thus, the need of the hour is to invest in further
derived from a land-use system will be an important research and development in this new science.
criterion in the appraisal of its social acceptability. REFERENCES
However, a longer period is required for trees in an 1. A. K. Patra, Agroforestry: Principles and
agroforestry system to grow to maturity and acquire Practices, 248, 2013, New India Publishing
an economic value. The traditional farmers also do Agency, New Delhi.
not prefer agroforestry as it requires high initial 2. A. K. Patra, Science Horizon, 1, 7, 24-27, 2011.
investment and risk factors are involved for 3. A. M. Filius, Agroforestry Systems, 1, 29-39,
economic returns. 1982.
Market related constraints 4. D. E. Mercer, and R. P. Miller, Agroforestry
There are no adequate wood based enterprises Systems 38, 177-193, 1997.
with low to medium range investments which affect 5. K. G. Tejwani, Agroforestry in India, 233,
the farmers the most. Marketing is a big issue for 2001, Concept Publishing Company, New
forest products as no privilege is allowed in tree Delhi.
marketing like in case of agricultural marketing.
6. P. K. R. Nair, An Introduction to Agroforestry,
Usually minimum support price for the tree products
499, 2008, Springer (India) Pvt. Ltd., New
and other forest products is not fixed by any
government agency.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


S.Gunasekaran* and K.Viswanthan

This article deals with fodder production for livestock through Silvipasture model of Agroforestry.


L ivestock rearing is one of the major

occupations in India and is making
namely silvipasture is commonly defined as growing
ideal / suitable combination of grasses, legumes and
significant contribution to the country's GDP. The preferably fodder trees for producing forage, timber
livestock population has shown a steady growth (i) and firewood on a sustainable basis by optimizing
increase in the number of stall feeding based land productivity, conserving plants, soils and
livestock viz. buffaloes and hybrid cattle, and (ii) nutrients. This system combines livestock and trees
increase in the number of free grazing based that offer two main advantages for the animals. First,
livestock like goats and sheep that can survive on the trees modify microclimatic conditions including
fast degrading pasture. India has a long history of temperature, water vapour content or partial
shortage of fodder for livestock which is the result of pressure, and wind speed, which can have beneficial
low productivity, ruthless exploitation of available effects on pasture growth and animal welfare.
grazing resources and preference by the farmers in Second, trees also provide alternative feed resources
raising cash crops than fodder crops. during periods of low forage availability.
To overcome this shortage, growing food and A significant role of woody vegetation is its
fodder crops on the same unit of land in rain fed contribution to a pastoral economy by providing
situations and integrating trees and grasses with crop arboreal fodder. Among the various sources of feed
farming on marginal and sub marginal land with for livestock, tree fodder is the cheapest one. Tree
improved technology deserve high priority. The leaves are useful as protein supplements for ruminant
solution to combat the challenge of sustained food animals. So the concept of integrating the fodder
security and meet the energy requirement for tress in the above land without affecting the cash crop
domestic purpose lies in encouraging scientific production (agroforestry system) is getting
agroforestry techniques in available land resources. momentum.
Agroforestry will play very effective roles in the ANIMAL INTEGRATION STUDIES IN
utilisation of the natural resources in a most effective AGROFORESTRY
manner for sustainable crop production and socio – The project AICRP on agro-forestry with
economic upliftment of farmers. integration of livestock was initiated at Institute of
S I LV I PA S T U R E M O D E L O F A G R O - Animal Nutrition, Kattupakkam, is the only centre
FORESTRY where a livestock is integrated in agroforestry system
Important agroforestry models are agrisilvi which is coordinated by National Research Centre
culture, silvihorti culture, silvi pasture, hortipasture, for Agroforestry, Jhansi, during the year 1996.
agrisilvi pasture. One of the agroforestry models Tree Fodders
*Institute of Animal Nutrition, Kattupakkam, Tamil Nadu, Depending on rainfall and soil fertility, fodder
Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Email: gunaj2 trees like Acacia nilotica, Acacia leucocephala,, / Albizzia lebbeck, Leucaena leucocephala, Lannea

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

coromandalica could be integrated in silvipasture. sheep when compared to 35g daily weight gain in
These trees / shrubs grow well even under drought natural grazing land without supplementation.
conditions and produce fodder in two years. About Leuceana leucocephala leaves and grass were fed at
10 MT of leaf fodder can be obtained annually from 50% level each, the sheep gained 49.1 g body weight
trees raised in one hectare. The shrubs like Leucaena per day against 41.5g when fed with grass alone.
leucocephala, Gliricidia etc could be harvested for ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
leaf fodder for 6-7 times annually. As leaves and pods Alternate land use systems such as
of Acacia trees contain about 11-15% of crude agroforestry, agro-horticultural, agro-pastoral, and
protein, such fodders are very good for livestock, agro silvipasture are more effective for soil organic
especially sheep and goat. matter restoration4. Tree -based agro ecosystems
Pasture grasses have more closed nutrient cycles that help conserve
Cenchrus grass can also be grown in rainfed soil productivity. Planting and pruning N-fixing
condition between the fodder trees. They can be legumes is a feasible way to add nitrogen to the
raised with seeds or slips. As seeds fall down and systems .There is robust evidence that agroforestry
grow on their own, no reseeding is required. Initially, systems have potential for improving water use
about 7-10 kg of seeds is required per hectare. This efficiency by reducing the unproductive components
grass yields forage of about 15-20 t/ha. As it contains of the water balance6. Trees and shrubs in
9% crude protein and sufficient amounts of calcium, agroforestry models play a vital role in maintaining
it is a good source of green fodder for livestock. an ecological balance and improving the livelihood
Leguminous plants like Stylosanthus can also be of people in the arid regions. These prevent soil
integrated along with fodder trees. About 20-25 kg of erosion supply, forage for livestock and act as source
seeds is needed per hectare. About 10-20 MT of of fuel wood and timber.
forage per hectare can be obtained in drylands. This LIVELIHOOD IMPROVEMENT
fodder contains 18-20% of crude protein. The livelihoods improvement through natural
In silvipasture, it is possible to get about 18-20 resource management seeks to understand individual
MT of green fodder per hectare by integrating or household strategies through which they make
Cenchrus with Stylosanthus together with fodder long term progress towards a better quality of life2,5.
trees. With this about 12-16 sheep/goat can be raised The adverse impact of climate change may be more
annually which will fetch Rs. 36,000 income per severely felt by poor people who are more vulnerable
hectare to the farmers. than rich. Appropriate policy responses combining
Animal integration the agro ecosystems as key assets can strengthen
Browse from trees and shrubs plays an adaptation and help build the resilience of
important role in feeding ruminants in many parts of communities and households to local and global
the World, particularly in the tropics, and there has change1. It has been shown in different studies that
been considerable research into the nutritional the multiple use silvipastoral system is more
potential and limitations of many tropical fodder economically attractive in addition to multiple
species3. Feeding mixture of tree leaves containing ecological benefits. Leucaena leucocephala
equal proportion of Albizia lebbeck, Ficus ,Gliricidia sepium and Cenchrus ciliaris silvipasture
bengalensis and Leuceana leucocephala along with in dry land yielded 10.47 t dry fodder biomass/ha.
green grass at 1:1 ratio significantly improves the When 30 lambs were fed with the fodder harvested
feed efficiency by 27 percent in sheep. Mixed from silvipasture for 9 months, the growth rate of
silvipasture (Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia lambs was increased by 68% and the animal holding
sepium, Azadirachta indica, Stylosanthus) system capacity was increased by 50% as compared to
was able to support about 53g of daily weight gain in natural grazing land. By integrating the livestock

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

with agroforestry the farmers can improve their 3. C. Devendra, Nutritional potential of fodder
livelihood by increase in their revenue. trees and shrubs as protein sources in ruminant
CONCLUSION nutrition. In: Speedy, A., Pugliese, P.L. (Eds.),
l Popularising the agroforestry models among Legume Trees and Other Fodder Trees as
farmers can reduce the fodder shortage crisis Protein Sources for Livestock. FAO, Rome,
for livestock 1992.
l Agroforestry model can bring about better 4. M. C. Manna, P. K. Ghosh and C. L. Acharya,
livelihood in farmers. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 21, 87-
116, 2003.
5. J. N. Pretty, J. I. L. Morison, and R. E. Hine,
1. AFD, ADB, DFID et al., Poverty and Climate
Agricultural Ecosystem Environment, 95,
Change: Reducing the Vulnerability of the
217-234, 2003.
Poor Through Adaptation, DFID, London,
2003. 6. N.C Turner, and P.R. Ward, Agricultural.
Water Management, 53, 271-275, 2002.
2. B. M. Campbell and J. A. Sayer (eds.),
Integrated Natural Resource Management:
Linking Productivity, the Environment and
Development, CABI Publishing, Wallingford,
UK, 315 pp, 2003.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


TN Manohara, Jesminwara Begum and Gayatri Gogoi

Morinda citrifolia L. popularly known as 'Noni' is an important food and medicinal plant. It contains
about 196 nutraceuticals and has good antioxidant potential. It is reported to have antidiabetic,
anticancer, anti arthritis properties and help to reduce the blood pressure. Rain Forest Research Institute
has introduced some elite planting materials of noni from Central Agricultural Research Institute
(CARI), Port Blair in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura and they are showing promising results. North East
India has a rich diversity of medicinal plants and a majority of the rural population depends largely on
herbal medicines. As noni has huge market potential and health benefit, promoting its cultivation and
consumption of noni juice will help the farmers to increase their income on the one hand and also gain
health benefits.


M orinda citrifolia L. (Noni) Family:

Rubiaceae is an important food and
Recently, under National Medicinal Plant
Board, New Delhi funded project Rain Forest
medicinal plant, native to Indonesia and Australia. Research Institute, Jorhat, has introduced some elite
Noni has a long history related to medical uses in clones of noni from Central Agricultural Research
Southeast Asian countries. In India it is found Institute (CARI), Port Blair in Assam, Mizoram and
naturally in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is Tripura. The plants are showing promising results.
introduced to Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and RFRI has standardized the nursery techniques and
Andhra Pradesh. Different parts of the plant such as developed package of practice of noni cultivation. As
leaves, stem and roots are used as medicine. In noni is new to this region, RFRI is making efforts to
Polynesia and Southeast Asia it is used to cure cough, popularize noni among the local populace and to
cold, pain, liver disease, malaria and blood pressure1. promote noni cultivation in NE India.
Considering the medicinal value of the plant, PROPAGATION OF NONI
National Medicinal Plant Board, Govt. of India, has
included noni in the list of plants approved for Noni is propagated through seeds or stem
cultivation. Noni is found to contain 196 cuttings.
nutraceutical compounds, is rich in health attributes NURSERY AND CULTURAL PRACTICES
as antioxidant, antidiabetic, anticancer and has Seed collection and storage:
vitamins and amino acids. Noni is also useful for
Noni fruits are climacteric and mature on plant
relieving the misery of rheumatoid arthritis. There is
itself. Only soft, ripened noni fruits should be chosen
a great demand for noni products- noni juice, noni
for seed collection. The seeds must be separated from
capsules and noni creams in the market and their cost
the fibrous fruit flesh by rubbing the fruit fragments
is very high. Noni juice is available in market for @
and vigorous washing with water. One kg of fruit
Rs. 1500/- per 800 ml. In North East India there is no
commercial cultivation of noni. NE India with yields around 200g of clean seeds. Noni seeds are
tropical humid climate is very much suitable for noni reddish-brown, oblong-triangular, and have a
cultivation. conspicuous air chamber. They are buoyant and
hydrophobic due to this air chamber and their
Rain Forest Research Institute, Jorhat, Assam -785001. Email: durable, water-repellent, fibrous seed coat. The seed

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

coat is very tough, relatively thick, and covered with during the early stage of the planting enables the
cellophane-like parchment layers. Germination plant to establish better.
percentage ranges from 65-90%. The viability of the Weeding: It can be controlled by intercropping and
seeds can be prolonged for one year if stored in weeding when necessary.
sealed bottles and kept in refrigerator. Harvest: Noni plant starts flowering 8-10 months
Seed treatment: Mechanically scarified seeds after planting. Seed raised plants will start flowering
treated with 800 ppm GA3 for 24 h will shows 80- and fruiting after 3 years. But it is suggested for
85% germination in 20-30 days. Nursery beds with removing all the flowers up to 18 months for better
Sand: Soil: FYM in 1:2:1 ratio will be ideal. 30 days growth and bushy plant. Flowering and fruiting
old seedlings (~10 cm in height) can be transplanted occurs from April to November. But 60% of the yield
to the poly bags with sand: soil: FYM in 1:1:1 ratio. will be from August to October. Noni Plant (3 years
Vegetative propagation: Semi-hard stem cuttings old) is capable of giving up to 5-7 kg/plant under
(5-7cm dia, 12-18cm length with 2-3 nodes) with a ideal cultivation as observed in RFRI noni
dip in IBA (4000 ppm) for 15-30 seconds shows good plantation. It is a perennial crop and gives yield up to
rooting and shooting in about 3-4 weeks. 90-120 40 years and yield will be maximum during 10-25
days old seedlings (20-25cm height) and cuttings are years age (as observed in other parts of India). Noni
ideal for field transfer. The best season for planting is fruits can be harvested when they change their colour
May-July. from green to yellowish green or creamy white.
RAISING OF PLANTATIONS Fruits are at this stage harvested by hand picking the
Noni cultivation individual fruits with pedicel from the branches.
Soil: Noni can be grown in a variety of soils and Noni fruits do not bruise or damage easily and need
environmental conditions except water-logging and not be refrigerated.
frost. Well drained sandy loam soil rich in humus is Nutrient management: Noni requires only limited
ideal. application of fertilizers. Use of 20-30 kg Neem cake
Climate & Temperature: Noni can be grown in and compost per hectare in two doses per annum
wide climatic conditions such as tropical, once during February – March and again in
subtropical, dry and humid climates. It comes up September-October will be effective.
very well between 20-38oC temperatures. It can be INTERCROPS
grown from sea level to 2000 m above mean sea Noni cultivation should be purely organic. In
level. order to diversify the income sources as well as
Planting Season: The ideal season for planting is permit polycultural options it is suggested to grow
May to September or it can be planted in February to beneficial companion crops and / or intercrops which
April where irrigation facilities are available. do not demand pesticide- insecticide application.
Plantation practices Depending upon their tolerance to root and light
competition, the compatible crops can be grown.
Planting design: Block planting at 3m x 3m spacing
Farmers are suggested to grow intercrops such as
is preferable. Needs about 1111 seedling / hectare
Areca nut, Ginger, Turmeric, Stevia, Gymnema,
and pit size is 1 cubic foot (length x width x height).
which are used as additives in various beverages and
Preparatory Cultivation: Ploughing and leveling
also the rare wild fruit plants like Flacourtia
the land to optimum field condition is necessary.
jangamos, Garcinia semialata, Dimocarpous
Irrigation: Noni plant thrives with moderate longan, Rhus semialata on the bunds, as they are in
irrigation and can survive even in drought conditions great demand, thereby helping in conservation and
once the plant is established. Regular irrigation sustainable utilization of bioresources.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


MANAGEMENT Black flag outbreaks occur during prolonged
Plant protection: Noni is resistant to pests and periods of wet weather. The disease subsides during
diseases. Grass-hoppers, larvae of moths and dry spells. Water congestion of tissues enhances
coleopteran beetles are the common insect-pests infection and disease development. Sporangia and
encountered which feed on leaves. The damage is zoospores of the pathogen are dispersed between
negligible. Regular weeding and application of neem plants by flowing water. Noni plants can recover
cake and sprinkling with neem cake soaked water from the disease during dry periods by resprouting
will help to deter the pests. In case of severe attack of new growth from previously diseased stems.
insect-pest neem oil (15ml/L+ 2-3 drops of Epidemiology
detergent) spray will be effective. Phytohthora has the ability to infect plants during
DISEASES OF NONI very wet periods and to survive over dry periods by
Noni anthracnose producing oospores.
Pathogen: Colletotrichum sps. Control: By integrated cultural and preventive
Symptoms methods such as pruning, sanitation, avoidance, and
Large expanding leaf spots with dark to tan centres an appropriate cropping system, providing good air
and diffuse irregular margins. Infected leaves may circulation to ensure rapid drying of leaves and fruits,
drop prematurely. Fruits and stems are not by maintaining wider spacing between the plants;
susceptible to infection. reducing relative humidity; planting of disease-free
plants; maintaining good plant nutrition and foliar
spray application of phosphorous acid.
This disease is likely to become established
wherever noni is grown in areas that receive frequent
or high rainfall.
Molybdenum (Mo) deficiency: Narrow leaves
with interveinal yellowing on older leaves.
Noni anthracnose is favoured by warm, wet weather
Treatment: application of Ammonium molybdate /
and high relative humidity. The fungal spores are
Sodium molybdate.
dispersed primarily by wind and splashing rain
Output /Return:
Control: Sanitation, moisture and humidity
management, protective spray applications of Harvest starts from 24th month onwards (seed
approved fungicides and avoiding spread of raised plants) with increased fruit yield year after
pathogen through hands and tools during harvest year. Noni plant yields up to 40 plus years. Noni is a
operations. highly profitable crop compared to other commercial
BLACK FLAG OF NONI orchard crops like mango, sapota, etc.
Pathogen: Phytophthora sps. Table. 1. Estimated yield of noni plants
Symptoms: Severely diseased plants have Month Yield per tree
Up to 24 months No
characteristic “black flags” wherein the blackened,
nd 5 - 6 kg
wilted, or completely necrotic leaves hang from 2 year
blackened petiole and stems. Advanced fruit rd 10 - 15 kg
3 year
infections may result in dry, shrivelled fruit th 15 - 20 kg
“mummies”, they may have a fuzzy or silvery 4 year
surface. th 25 - 30 kg
5 year

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Table 2. Estimated expenditure of noni cultivation per hectare of land

Planting Land Manure Weeding Total Total Total Profit
cost preparation (Compost and expenditure values of values of (?)
Seedling and + Neem watering fruits (? ) Juice
@ making cake 2:1 02 labours (? ) (? )
? 10/- plot ratio 500 once in 15
and ready; pit - 1000g days= 40
transpor- digging per plant labours
tation and in two (Winter
planting dose. months
cost. (20 Neem- Dec. -
labours cake ? January
@ ? 300/-) 40/- Kg) weeding
1st year ? 15,000 ? 6,000 ? 15,000 ? 12,000 ? 48,000 Nil NA (-)
? 48,000
2nd NIL NIL ? 15,000 ? 12,000 ? 27,000 Nil NA (-)
Year ? 27,000
3rd Year NIL NIL ? 15,000 ? 12,000 ? 27,000 5500 kg 500-600 (+)
onwards fruit @ L juice ? 3,13,000
? 1,10,000 ? 20 per valued at
(procuring kg ? 7,25,000
of fruits) ? 1,10,000
? 2,00,000
tion, value-

UTILITY AND POTENTIALS The Polynesians utilized the whole Noni plant in
Noni is distributed in more than 50 countries various combinations for herbal remedies5,6 such as
across the globe. Its health benefits have been arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle aches
realized by millions of consumers. All parts of noni and pains, menstrual difficulties, headaches, heart
are marketed as different products sold as noni juice, disease, AIDS, cancers, gastric ulcers, sprains,
soap, capsules, cosmetics etc. Over 200 companies mental depression, senility, poor digestion,
are marketing the noni products. As there is antherosclerosis, blood vessel problems and drug
substantial profit to the farmers who cultivate noni, it addiction. The damnacanthol, a compound found in
can be considered as blessing for the farmers of all noni is able to regulate certain types of malignancies.
categories. Noni is one of most important botanical Noni also finds application in treatment of arthritis,
and dietary supplement traded in international as a pain reliever and as detoxifier. Noni proved that
market. Noni is considered as miracle drug plant. it is the most powerful antioxidant because it
Different parts of the tree, including the fruit, have contains all the antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-A,
been used traditionally as a folk remedy for many vitamin-E, vitamin-C, and rich with antioxidant
diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer 2,4. betacarotenoids.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Fresh ripened fruit
Preparation of Noni juice:
Freshly harvested ripened fruit can be directly
used for the preparation of juice or it can be subjected Washing with clean water and surface sterilizing with ozone
to fermentation/aging to give good quality juice.
Freshly picked noni fruits after washing are allowed Air dying at room temperature
to air dry and they are processed for juice. Fruit juice
is extracted by crushing the fruit pieces and straining Storage in air tight glass container for 3-6 months
the pulp through muslin cloth. The Total Dissolved
Salt (TDS) can be recorded with TDS meter and
adjusted <500 ppm with suitable dilution. The pH of
juice is to be recorded with pH meter. The pH of juice
shall be 3 to 4. If the pH of the juice is >5 it indicates Noni Juice ready to use- after dilution and value addition
contamination. Product development, value addition
and by product utilization and developing quality Flow chart of Noni juice preparation.
standards needs to be looked. The ripe fruit is
characterised by a large amount of carboxylic acids, especially octanoic and hexanoic acids. During aging
a large percentage of the over-ripe fruit simply
disappears into the juice; the residual fruits are
mashed into a puree, and the juice is filtered to
remove any remaining sediment. The dark brown
juice is then ready for use. The changes which take
place during the fermentation/aging process are
gradual. The major acids, octanoic and hexanoic,
and methyl esters gradually decrease in their
concentration, while alcohols and ethyl, butyl and
hexyl esters increase during the process. At 60 days
there occurs stability in the composition (volatile
compounds). The noni juice contains a low amount
of oil, simple sugars mainly glucose and fructose and
traces of sucrose besides many minerals, alkaloids,
active molecules and protein.
The cultivation of Noni in NE India has a huge
potential to generate livelihood and impart health
benifits to the local populace. However, there is need
for greater support from all stakeholders, farmers,
NGOs and other enthusiasists in popularisation and
large scale cultivation Noni in NE India.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 3. Y.C. Blanco, et al. Journal of food Composition

The authors are grateful to the National and Analysis, 19, 645-654.
Medicinal Plant Board, New Delhi, for providing 4. O. Potterat and M. Hamburger, Planta Med,
grant-in-aid to carry out the research work on Noni. 73, (3), 191-199, 2007.
Thanks are due to Director, RFRI, for the 5. M.Y. Wang, et al. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica,
unwavering support and facilities. 23, 1127-1141.
REFERENCES 6. W. McClatchey, Integrative Cancer Therapies,
1, 110–120, 2002.
1. A.R. Dixon, H., McMillen and N.L. Etkin,
Ecological Botany, 53, 51–68, 1999.
2. S. Sang, et al. Chemical components in noni
fruits and leaves (Morinda citrifolia L.). p. 134-
150. (ACS Symposium Series, 803) ACS
Publications, Washington: 2002.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Sanjukta Mondal Parui* and Amal Kumar Mondal**

Florigen the flowering hormone has long bedeviled and tantalized our scientists. Earnest efforts are being
made to identify and characterize this flowering stimulus. The following paper reports the recent
developments into the identity of the chemical nature of this floral stimulus, the mechanism of its
functioning and the genetic basis of flowering.


A mong God's most beautiful creations are the

colourful flowers blooming around us,
patented a method of extracting florigens. However
in spite of his prolific scientific effort, he did not
adding to the ecstatic beauty of our surroundings. But succeed in the chemical identification of florigen.
what is it that makes the buds bloom? Is it 'Florigen' – The question that arises now is what exactly is
the signal that causes plants to flower? The identity florigen? Is it a peptide, a protein, a nucleic acid, or
of this putative stimulus - 'Florigen' is still one of the any other molecule? Is it synthesized as such or as a
closely guarded secrets of Nature. larger precursor? Is it modified later after synthesis
The subject of flowering has long fascinated or does it consist of two molecules? The only thing
our scientists because of its considerable theoretical that we knew about the florigen hypothesis is that
as well as practical significance. Understanding the sunlight invokes a leaf-generated stimulus and there
flowering concepts has immense importance in is simultaneous availability of an active meristem for
agriculture, as flowers are the precursors of fruits. If evocation and flower induction. Thus, an analysis of
flowering can be controlled, plants can be the phloem sap could give an answer to our queries.
manipulated to remain in the vegetative or flowering Recent advances and development of new
state. Not only that, flowering can be accelerated, sophisticated and sensitive techniques such as
which can eventually lead to a much shorter growing microbore, capillary HPLCs (high performance
season, an important advance for plant breeders as liquid chromatography) and mass spectrometers
well as growers. Last but not the least, understanding have helped in detection and identification of small
flowering has no doubt immense significance for the molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids apart
floriculture industry. from sugars in the phloem.
Florigen is the term used for the hypothesized
hormone-like molecules that control and/or trigger
flowering in plants. Florigen was first described by
Russian plant physiologist Mikhail Chailakhyan in
1937, who demonstrated that floral induction can be
transmitted through a graft from an induced plant
(flowering plant) to one that has not been induced to
2 Box 1. The effect of a brief exposure of red light
flower (non-flowering plant) .He first coined the during dark and light periods on flowering in a
name 'florigen' and it was 46 years later that he short day plant.
*Department of Zoology, Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata-700 Majority of the grafting experiments in
017, Email:,**Department of Botany Nicotiana sp. proved the existence of florigen – the
& Forestry, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore-72112, Email: signal necessary for stimulation of flowering or for, suppression of flower formation, and generated

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

within the leaves. Nicotiana sylvestris is a long day

plant and Nicotiana tabacum var. Maryland
Mammoth (M.M.) is a short day plant. Most other
Nicotiana tabacum species are day – neutral . It was
found that if N. sylvestris was cultivated under short-
day conditions, it did not flower. However if a leaf of
N. tabacum M.M., that was cultivated under short-
day conditions is grafted to N. sylvestris, then it was
stimulated to flower. This result shows that the leaf of
Box 3. Structure of the phytochrome dimer, based
N. tabacum M.M. had produced a substance that was on a type of X-ray scattering that does not require
transferred to the recipient N. sylvestris after crystallization. The monomers are labeled I and
grafting, and that caused its flower formation. This II. Each monomer consists of a chromophore-
proved the existence of florigen. Similar results were binding domain (A) and a smaller protein domain
obtained by grafting leaves of N. sylvestris grown (B). The molecule as a whole has an ellipsoidal
under long day conditions on to N. tabacum M.M. rather than globular shape.
cultivated under long day conditions. Not only this, (at 730 nm). The chromophore of phytochrome
experiments with other species from several other absorbs light, and as a result changes conformation,
genera also yielded similar results. thereby changing from one isoform to the other.
During the day, as sunlight contains a lot of red light,
the Pr form is converted to Pfr form. Alternatively,
during night, as moonlight produces a greater
percentage of far-red light than sunlight, Pfr form is
slowly converted into its inactive Pr form. Thus more
phytochrome is converted to its inactive form in a
longer night, allowing the plant to measure the length
of the night. This is how phytochromes helps in.
Box 2. Structure of the Pr and Pfr forms of the detecting the length of day and night. The
chromophore (phytochromobilin) of phyto- phytochromes are synthesized in the cytosol as Pr,
chrome and the peptide region bound to the which is inactive. When Pr form is converted to its
chromophore through a thioether linkage.The Pfr form on light illumination, it is translocated to the
chromophore undergoes a cis-trans isomerization cell nucleus. This implies that Pfr passes on a signal
at carbon 15 in response to red and far-red light. to other biological systems in the cell and has a role in
Plants use the phytochrome system to sense controlling gene expression.
day length or photoperiod. Many flowering plants So the florigen hypothesis implicates three
use this system to regulate the time of flowering crucial factors for flowering. Firstly, the synthesis of
based on the length of day and night floral stimulus, which is synthesized in a cyclic way
(photoperiodism) and to set circadian rhythms. in the leaves. Secondly, the preponderance of the
Phytochrome is a pigment, which acts as a floral stimulus over the flower inhibitors. After the
photoreceptor, and the plant uses it to detect light. It onset of the floral cycle, flowering is delayed or
is sensitive to light in the red and far-red region of the prevented if the inhibition activity is stronger than
visible spectrum. Two isoforms of phytochrome the stimulus. Thirdly, the activity of the bud in
have been identified5. These are Pr (inactive form) synchrony with the floral cycle. The role of
and Pfr (active form). Phytochrome is synthesized in phytochromes thus being established, the question
the Pr form in plants. The Pr isoform absorbs red light that now arises is, what exactly is this floral stimulus
(at 660 nm) while the Pfr form absorbs far-red light or florigen?

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

A major breakthrough in the identification of

florigen has recently come from the studies of Brian
Ayre, a faculty member at the University of North

Box 4. The absorbance spectra of the two isoforms

of Phytochrome (Pr and Pfr).
Studies of Anton Lang and others in the 1950s,
put forward gibberellins (GAs), a candidate for
florigen. However this view of the role of
gibberellins as floral stimuli, has been disputed on Fig. 1. The mystic beauty of the rose in full bloom.
the grounds that flowering occurred under conditions Texas and his postdoctoral advisor, Robert Turgeon,
where there was no stem elongation, thus no Cornell professor of plant biology. According to a
gibberellin action. However measurements of the report published by them in the journal Plant
changes in endogenous content of gibbererellin at the Physiology in the August, 2004 issue, a plant protein
minute apex of the grass shoot of Lolium CONSTANS may be the signal florigen or plays an
temulentum 4, support the claim that gibberellins are important role in generating the signal. Turgeon's
at least one of the floral stimuli in long day flowering research focus has been to understand how
responses. Of the various bioactive gibberellins Ga5 molecules move in the phloem1. He was working
and GA6 have been found to meet the requirements with the promoter of the galactinol synthase gene, a
to be called floral stimuli in grasses and increase in genetic factor that drives expression of genes
the apex at the time of long day – induced floral specifically in the vein of the leaf so that they can
evocation. Later Chailakhyan proposed two classes enter the phloem. Their studies involved two
of flowering hormones in his florigen hypothesis. approaches, from which they finally concluded that
These include gibberellins and anthesin. He
postulated that during noninducing photoperiods,
long-day plants produce anthesin, but no gibberellin
while short-day plants produce gibberellin, but no
anthesin. The floral stimuli are generated in the
leaves and move to the shoot apex where they evoke
flowering. Although the florigen hypothesis has been
tested in several herbaceous, photoperiod-sensitive
species, this hypothesis has not been generally
accepted for the woody perennial species because Fig. 2. The full bloomed flower of Hibiscus
flowering almost round the year
flowering in trees is regulated in several ways
different from the herbaceous annuals. However, CONSTANS is a signal involved in flowering. In the
strongest support for the florigen hypothesis in tree first approach, they introduced a copy of the
fruits has been provided in mango. Experiments have CONSTANS gene under the control of the galactinol
shown that vegetative receptors of several cultivars synthase promoter, which causes the protein to be
can be graft-induced to flower in off-season by synthesized only in a leaf, into an Arabidopsis plant
grafting on donor, off-season cultivars. The flower- in which all CONSTANS protein had been
inducing stimulus has been found to emanate from abolished. They found that CONSTANS was
synthesized in the Arabidopsis plant and had a
the leaves to the donor.
dramatic effect on flowering. Their results suggest

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

that either CONSTANS is moved to the site of non photosynthetic. The floral stimulus is labile and
flowering through phloem or CONSTANS reacts during the floral cycle if the buds are not active to
with another factor inside the phloem that is perceive it, they escape the stimulus resulting only in
transported to the site of flowering. In the second vegetative flush later. Florigen thus conducted to the
approach they grafted Arabidopsis plants that shoot meristems stimulates them to pass
contained no CONSTANS protein onto plants fromvegetative growth to flower formation .
synthesizing CONSTANTS in their leaves. They
found that CONSTANS or another factor that it
interacts with moved through the graft junction to
signal flowering in parts of the plant that previously
did not contain any of the protein. From these studies
it is clear that CONSTANS, or another downstream
factor such as a protein called FT with which it reacts,
is an important factor in generating the flowering
Fig. 4. The buds of Fuchsia hybrida- yet to receive
the message to flower.
Florigen is not species- specific. It can be easily
transferred to members of the same species, or from
members of one genus to members of different
genera. Florigen is also physiologically not specific.
It can be easily exchanged between short-day, long-
day and day-neutral plants. It also seems quite likely
that another transferable substance called
Fig. 3a. The seasonal flowers of (a) Chrysanthimum- antiflorigen, which appear to be an antagonist of
short day plant. florigen, exists in several long-day plants that is
Flowering is thus caused by a stimulus produced under short-day conditions and suppresses
generated in the leaves in a cyclic way. This stimulus flower formation.
is transmitted across phloem to the site of flowering. There is another aspect to this flowering
The actual result depends on qualitative/ quantitative process, which cannot be overlooked. One may
strength of the inhibitory and promontory factors. wonder how plants know that it is time to bloom. This
Sunlight is one of the common factors necessary for question has also long baffled plant scientists. From
the synthesis of the floral stimulus and the inhibitory the genetic point of view, two phenotypic changes
factors seem to be the light. However, light effect is that control vegetative and floral growth are
programmed in the plant. The first genetic change
involves the switch over from vegetative to floral
state and the second involves the commitment of the
plant to form flowers. This sequential development
of the various organs of the flower suggests that there
exists a genetic mechanism, in which a series of
genes are turned on and off sequentially. Coming to
the first genetic change i.e. switch over from
vegetative to floral state, scientists have reported a
Fig. 3b. The seasonal flowers of Dahlia – short day gene VIN3 in the plant Arabidopsis, which is widely
plant. used as a model organism in plant biology and

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

genetics. This VIN3 gene is expressed only after of petals and stamens. An analogous gene of LEAFY
plants are exposed to cold i.e. to conditions effective has been identified in snapdragon called floricaula
for vernalization. Once activated, the gene starts the (flo). The flo mutants fail to undergo the transition
process of vernalization whereby the plant becomes from inflorescence to floral meristem and the flowers
competent to flower after exposure to cold. This have the appearance of an inflorescence shoot.
suggests that VIN3 gene functions as an alarm clock Similar other mutants have also been discovered like
rousing biennial plants to bloom. Similarly scientists
at CSIRO Plant Industry have recently identified a
gene called WAP1, which is the major gene
responsible for determining the timing of flowering
in cereal crops, like wheat and barley. Likewise FLC
gene is the master flowering gene that operates in the
Brassica family including canola and mustard. Both
WAP1 and FLC genes respond to information about
the plants developmental stage and external Fig.6. Arabidopsis- A plant Guinea pig.
environmental conditions like temperature changes CAULIFLOWER, APETALA1, etc., which do not
and day length, to determine when to trigger show the normal floral development.
flowering. Coming to the second aspect i.e.
With so many questions yet to be answered and
commitment of the plant to form flowers, similar
with such a wide lacunae still remaining in the
responsible genes have also been identified,
physiology of flowering, the search for florigen and
its identity has thus become the 'holy grail' for our
plant scientists.
1. B.G. Ayre and R. Turgeon, Plant Physiology,
135, 2271–2278, 2004.
2. M. K. Chaïlakhyan, Biologia Plantarium,
27,4–5, 292–302, 1985.
Fig. 5. A flowering twig of Fuchsia hybrida showing
both the buds and a flower in full bloom. 3. D. H. Kim, and S. Sung, Plant Cell, 25, 2,
particularly in Arabidopsis3. Researchers have 454-69, 2013.
identified a mutant in Arabidopsis called LEAFY, 4. K. E. King, T. Moritz, and N.P. Harberd,
which do not develop floral meristems and when the Genetics, 159, 2, 767-76, 2001.
commitment to a floral meristem is made, flower 5. T. S. Walker, and J.L. Bailey, Biochem J. Apr;
develop but they partially resemble normal flowers. 107, 4, 603–605, 1968.
The flowers contain sepal and carpel-like structures 6. J. A. D. Zeevaart, Annual Review of Plant
but lack petals and stamens. This suggests that the Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 27,
LEAFY gene is responsible not only for the floral 321–348, 1976.
meristem development but also for the development

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Madhu Sharan

Textile has been invented, researched, modified for apparels initially. Its versatility has extended the
application to many other areas. This article gives an over view of the non apparel use of the textiles.


“T extile is a global text which has the extra

style of applications in all fields-feel it and
stimulus ad /or chemical stimulus caused by different
constraints. On the other hand function is the action
endure it”. Mankind knows textiles by generations. of induction or conversation of quality under the
The history of textiles can be traced back to the age influence of an outer stimulus. Today applications of
when human beings tried to cover their body for textiles have crossed many barriers beyond the
safety and protection- even well before the regular use which man never expected. What has
production of fabrics and other products started on turned the textile materials to be in demanding
machines. On a broad outlook it appears that textiles position for out of home articles? It is the functional
have no application other than apparel purposes. The character in producing the desired performance.
time of thinking fibres as a source of producing There are several factors supporting the increased
clothing and home textile products is still vibrant in consumption of textiles in special applications. Over
the market, however, the wave of innovation is the past several decades, textile fibres have captured
inundating higher. Land, water and air all are an inevitable position in composition and as an
witnessing the fascinating services of textiles1 . integral part of product structure. In the near future,
Today, it is one of the gigantic disciplines of product almost all textile products including what we wear
development for non-apparel applications. In terms and walk on, seem destined to be transformed from
of the material performance, textiles can be seen their present to multifunctional, adaptive and
working at the interdisciplinary level by offering the responsive systems. It is well known that textiles
several technical advantages that may not be have their own language that is tactile, sensorial as
accumulated in a single material traditionally known. well as visual, which textile and fashion designers
But as a matter of fact, there are also non-apparel uses have traditionally exploited to engineer or express a
of textiles such as technical applications. look, a concept or idea, by carefully composing and
Textile materials are generally lightweight, manipulating the many facets of its special
flexible and unique in many ways as compared to vocabulary.
other materials. Most importantly, they are All textile materials possess some type of
omnipresent in our lives. Textiles are necessary next performance and function. Based on the performance
to our skin as well as in our environment. They are and function, the textiles can be classified into four
used for comfort and protection as well as for categories, which are;
fashion. All the textile materials possess some type of 1) Apparel textiles,
performance and function2. Performance is generally 2) Home textiles,
defined as the resistance against a physical
3) Interior textiles,
Clothing and Textiles Department, Faculty of Family and
Community Sciences, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of
4) Technical textiles.
Baroda, Vadodara, E-mail : madhusharan @ Textiles that is primarily used for its

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

performance or functional not for its appearance or AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY

aesthetic is known as technical textile3. The market Application of textile materials in agriculture
of technical textile is significant and expanding as field is known as agro textile. The practice of textiles
the products are being put to and even increasing is also now widen to safeguard the agro products like
umber of end uses in various industries. Technical plants, vegetables and fruits from weather, weed and
textiles in the form of fabrics account for about birds. Agriculture and textiles can play a duo by
70%of product consumption. Of this, nonwovens complementing the strengths of each other, to
have the lion's share due to their better economy and produce a new evolution of 'agro textiles' revolution.
suitability for varied applications. Fiberfill is popular Applications of agro textiles:
for residential and industrial applications where 1. Sunscreens
unspun fibers are used. Only about 29% of technical
2. Bird protection net
textiles manufactured worldwide are made from
3. Plant net
natural fibers such as cotton, silk and wool. The rest
is from man-made/organic fibers. The projected 4. Ground cover
global market size of technical textile by 2010 is in 5. Windshield
the region of $20-$130 billion. The technical textiles 6. Insect meshes
industry is growing. The textile industry of 7. Turf protection net
developed countries are focusing on technical 8. Packaging material for agricultural products
textiles for high-specification products partly in
Wide varieties of agro textile products are available
response to the approaching end of the multi-fiber
and the selection of suitable type of products depend
arrangement. The integration of smart functionality
on the protection that the crop requires and is greatly
into clothing and other textile products will
influenced by the geographical location. For
fundamentally change cultures of clothing and
agricultural products man made fibres are preferred
interior products. As an emerging economic power,
over the natural fibres due to their favourable price
India has tremendous potential for production,
performance ratio, ease of transport, space saving
consumption and export of technical textiles.
storage and long service life.With the use of high
Presently technical textiles are classified into 13
quality agro textiles quality and yield of agro
groups as per their field of application. They are:
products can be enhanced.
1. Agriculture and forestry,
Properties required for agro-textiles:
2. Air and space,
1. Withstand ultra- violet radiation,
3. Armaments and defense,
2. Withstand solar radiation,
4. Construction,
3. Bio degradability,
5. Engineering works,
4. High potential to retain water,
6. Fisheries and marine,
5. Protection property.
7. Health and medicine,
Man made textiles in the form of knitted
8. Information and communication,
fabrics are extensively used for many agricultural
9. Packaging and conveyance,
end uses. Warp knitting is the major technology route
10. Production, for Agrotech. Nylon, polyester, polyethylene and
11. Traffic and transport, polyolefin are the fibre materials for agro tech.
12. Sport and leisure, AIR AND SPACE
13. Smart textiles. The design, manufacture and applications of
textile composites in space and aerospace have
become one of the most predominant aspects in

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

present-day textiles. 3. Nonwoven felt liners are used as fire barriers to

The astronauts travel to the space with the help cover the urethane foam seats on all the
of spacecraft, which is designed using high aircrafts.
performace metals and textile composites. Based on 4. Carbon and other high performance fibres are
3D reinforcement, a narrow range of materials is used in the rocket exhausts and nose cone
used as textile composites. Today almost all covers for space shuttles.
commercial jets, military aircrafts and space crafts ARMAMENTS AND DEFENCE
encompass a wide range of textile composites in With the new advancements, the utility of
them. The aer spacing uses the broad range of textile composites in various aircrafts predominantly
polymer composite materials with textile increased. These textile composites are reinforced in
reinforcements from woven, non-crimp fabrics to 3D the chasis, seats, wings, fans and other parts of the
textiles. aircraft. Though the percentage of usage may vary,
The most required properties of textile they vastly improve the strength, performance and
composites in aerospace structural applications are: fuel economy which are the basic for the aircraft.
1. High specific modulus Armaments include the weapons and supplies
2. High specific strength of war with which a military unit is equipped and the
act of defending or the state of being defended
3. Resistant to chemicals and organic solvents.
,protected is the defence. Textile products for
4. Good fatigue defence and armaments includes: Bulletproof
5. Thermal insulated and thermal resistant jackets. Helmet, armor, ballistic vest etc.
6. Impact and stress resistant Packaging and conveyance: Textiles have been
7. Better dimensional stability and used for packaging since ages. It ranges from heavy
conformability weight woven fabric used for bags, packaging sacks,
8. Low flammability flexible packaging, wrapping for textile bales and
9. Non-sensitive to harmful radiations carpets to the light weight non woven used as durable
papers, tea bags and other food and industrial
Va r i o u s r e s e a r c h e r s , d e s i g n e r s a n d
products wrapping.
manufactures are involved in the development of
The demand for packaging material is directly
new products with textile composites. Some of the
proportional to economic growth, industrial
textile materials are used for manufacture of
production and trade as goods are produced and then
aerospace structure are carbon fibres. kevlar fibres,
distributed both locally and internationally.
alumina-boria-silica fibres and Nylon6,6 material.
Industries which uses packaging textiles are: cement,
Based on the properties like strength, resistance to fertilizer, chemical, paper, sugar etc
heat and chemicals, these textiles have a wide range
Packaging textiles are also known as packtech
of applications when concerned with aerospace
and it includes :
structures e.g.
1. Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC)
1. Carbon fibre, which is lightweight and non-
for powdered and granular materials.
flammable, with it's advantage of the stiffness
and strength can be used for construction of 2. Laundry bags and other bulk packaging
light weight aircraft combined with other high
performance fibres. 3. Sacks for storage
2. Jets have their brakes made from carbon 4. Woven fiber strapping, lightweight mailbags.
composites as they are the only ones which can 5. Soft luggage.
withstand the high temperature generated, if 6. Twine and string for tying packages (non-
the take off is aborted all of sudden. agricultural).

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

7. Non-paper tea bags and coffee filters. from other source.

8. Food soaker pads. The promise of smart fabrics is that every day
9. Net packaging for storing, packing, clothing will be able to perform the task of comfort
transporting, retailing foodstuffs and toys. and protection more effectively . The role of smart
The current wave of economic developments textiles have now come along far away from only
in India is being seen from all over the world. As protection of body from harsh temperature. These are
infrastructure, manufacturing ,agriculture and next generation textiles.
services grow at high rates the packaging industry is Smart textiles can be constructed from almost
also showing great variety and depth in its growth. any kind of textiles-from organza to lycra.
Today, packaging is produced more quickly and Conductive polymers and nanocomposites are used
efficiently. It is generally lighter in weight, uses less to make sensors. The sensors placed anywhere on the
material, is easier to open, dispense from reseal, store garment that's logic can take readings of a person's
and dispose. Packaging has evolved from a relatively heart rate, body temperature, odor etc. and then users
small range of heavy, rigid containers made of glass, can manipulate that data to be used for any purpose
steel or wood to a broad array of rigid and flexible they would like.
packaging options increasingly made from New smart textile and clothing systems can be
specialized lightweight material. developed by integrating sensors in the textile
FISHERIES constructions. Application fields for these added-
The term fishing is applied to catching of fish value products are protective clothing for extreme
and aquatic animals. In addition to providing food, environments, garments for the health care sector,
modern fishing is also a recreational sport. Materials technical textiles, sport and leisure wear, wearable
required in fisheries include – Nets, hooks, floats, technology for bio-chemical analysis of body fluids
reels, rods, ropes, wire and line. Textile components during exercise, electroactive fabrics for distributed,
in this industry include : comfortable and interactive systems, health
monitering fabric,clothes that sense and interprets
1. Fluorocarbon and nylon filaments ---- for
movements, clothes that relieve itch and prevents
fishing reels
bacteria build up, intelligent clothing inspired by
2. Fiberglass and carbon fiber ---- for
pine cones to control body temperature, clothing that
fishing rods
shields from germs, smart fabric glowing in response
3. Nylon, wool and silk fiber ---- for to allergens and strain sensing fabric for hand posture
fishing net and gesture monitoring Some products have already
SMART AND INTELLIGENT TEXTILE been introduced on the markets, but generally it can
Shifts in the textiles, electronics and be stated that the development is only in its starting
information and communication technology sectors phase, and the expectations for the future are big. The
have given rise to the area of smart, intelligent integration part of the technologies into a real SFIT
textiles and clothing. There is a substantives product is at present stage on the threshold of
difference between the terms. The material and prototyping and testing.
structure which have sense or can sense the ELECTRONIC TEXTILE
environmental conditions or stimuli are smart Electronic textiles can be described as textile
textiles whereas intelligent textiles can be defined as products with integrated electronic capabilities. It
textile structures which not only can sense but also involves the use of conductive fibres to produce
react and respond to environmental conditions or fabric in many applications. Conductive fibre as
stimuli. These stimuli as well as response could be electric yarns is used where a polymer fiber is given a
thermal, chemical, mechanical, electric, magnetic or metalized coating. Multiple fibre are then wrapped

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

together to form light, supple strands that conduct l Clothing for protection from fire, bullet etc.
electricity. These fibres can carry virtually any l Special jackets, attire to combat severe
necessary current. Coupled with lightness and temperatures.
flexibility, this is very useful in space applications l Fabrics for disposable garments worn to provide
where electronics battle small space and severe protection against harmful chemicals and gases,
stress, these properties are also ideal for EMI pesticides etc.
shielding, aerospace wiring and other applications
l Fluorescent and phosphorescent fabrics for
that need strong, lightweight conductivity.
Conductive fibres also reduces the cost of metal
wiring, maintenance cost of commercial planes,
military aircraft and missile guidance wires. These Geo textile is a synthetic permeable textile
are used in powerlines, lightweight deployable material used with soil, rock or any other geo
antennas and airbag wiring in cars. Textile product technical engineering related material. The needle
and fabric level integration of electronics seem to be punched, staple fibre manufacturing technique
more common today. Electronic textiles are being produces geo textile which exihibits high strengths,
developed for many applications, including superior puncture resistance and greater
biomedical sensing, wearable computing and large survivability.
a r e a s e n s o r s . These are generally made up of woven, non-
Based on the current state of electronic textiles wovens and knitted type of fabrics. Geo-textiles are
research it can be assumed that in the short term, the the largest group of geo-synthetics in terms of
field of electronic textiles would involve attachment volume and are used in geo-technical engineering,
of electronic devices, sensors etc. to conductive heavy construction, building and pavement
elements integrated into a textile to form flexible construction, hydro-geology, environment
electronic products. The future electro textiles engineering.
products not only include wearable to address Uses of different types of geo-textiles
individual needs but also sensor arrays useful for 1. Woven geo-textile- are generally preferred for
civilian and military applications. applications where high strength properties are
SAFETY TEXTILES needed, but where filtration requirements are less
Not only the defense but the safety clothing critical and planar flow is not a consideration.
covers garments and accessories intended to protect Under heavy traffic and construction loads,
people from dangerous or hazardous materials and woven geotextile reduce localized shear failure in
processes during the course of their work or leisure weak subsoil conditions, improving construction
activities. These textiles enhance performance by over soft subsoil and providing access to remote
ensuring wind or water proofing, flame retardancy , areas through separation. Concrete bases used
breathability lightness etc. in the clothing4. The for coastal works, water ways, and in forming
major applications are: geo cell for roads.
l Tents, sleeping systems, weapon rolls, 2. Non-woven geo-textiles- is needle puched,
bandoleers to combat foul weather. continous filament engineering fabric capable of
providing palanar water flow in addition to their
l Fire service equipment, bullet-proof jackets,
soil stabilization and separation functions. used
army tents, parachutes, extinguishing blankets.
for filteration, drainage, reinforcement between
l Fabrics with waterproof and breathable
soil stone and aggregate ad in roads, railways
works, erosion prevention and separation, as the
l Mountain safety ropes, climbing harness. filter fabric for dams, under drainage system
liners for pile foundatio.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

3. Knitted geo-textiles- Knitted bags for protection Nanotechnology in Sports Equipment

of dams riverbank. Warp knitted fabric used in A high-performance ski wax, which produces a
automobile and marine application. hard and fast-gliding surface, is already in use. The
NANOTECHNOLOGY ultra thin coating lasts much longer than
Already nanotechnology is being used to conventional waxing systems. The racket
improve the functionability of many consumer manufacturers have introduced a racket with carbon
products. Nanotechnology improved products rely nanotubes, which lead to an increased torsion and
on a change in the physical properties when the flex resistance. The rackets are more rigid than
feature sizes are shrunk. current carbon rackets and pack more power. Long-
Nanotechnology in Textiles lasting tennis-balls are made by coating the inner
core with clay polymer nanocomposites. These
One trend in the textile industry is that more and
tennis-balls have twice the lifetime of conventional
more clothes are manufactured in low-cost countries.
High-cost countries like western Europe can only
compete in this industry if they produce high-tech CONCLUSION
clothes with additional benefits for users. This Each new step forward is paving the way to
includes windproof and waterproof jackets, where further advancements. At the present time, these
nanotechnology already plays a role. For the future, kinds of textiles are making a significant
clothes with additional electronic functionalities will contribution to the increasing market of textiles.
be“smart clothes,wearable electronics”, etc. Hence, with the progressing steps and emerging
Nanotechnology, could provide features like trends in the textile industry, greater attention will be
sensors (which could monitor body functions or drawn from every nook and corner of the world,
release drugs in the required amounts), self-repairing which ultimately improves the economic strategy of
mechanisms or access to the internet. Simpler the world to a larger extent, proving that textiles are
realisations are readily available, which make not only linked to the regular use of protection and
clothes water-repellent or wrinkle-free. A ski jacket safety but also to technological advances satisfying
based on nanotechnology is produced . The the needs of mankind globally.
windproof and waterproof properties are not REFERENCES
obtained by a surface coating of the jacket but by the 1. P. Ghose, Fibre Science and Technology, Tata
use of nanofibres5. Mc Graw Hill, Publishing Company Ltd, New
Wrinkle Resistant Nanotechnology Fabrics: Delhi.
Wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent fabrics are 2. L. Jules, Textile origins and usage, The
produced by attaching molecular structures to cotton Macmillan Co., New York.
fibres. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can 3. S. Mishra, Fibre Science and Technology, New
be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. age International publisher, New Delhi.
High-performance functional clothing is an
4. S. Roy, Fundamentals of Textile Fibre,
increasingly important feature of the workplace.
Random Publications, New Delhi.
Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny
5. V. Arora, Textile Chemistry, Abhishek
carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-
Publication, New Delhi.
surface protection from electrostatic charges for the

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Sanjay Kumar, Kaushalendra Kumar, Rajni Kumari1, R. R. K. Sinha2
and Chandramoni
In India, the integration of crops and livestock and use of manure as fertilizer were the basis of farming
systems. But development of chemical fertilizer industry during green revolution period created
opportunities for low-cost supply of plant nutrients in inorganic forms which led to rapid displacement of
organic manures derived from livestock excreta. The deterioration of soil fertility through loss of
nutrients and organic matter, erosion and salinity, and pollution of environment are the negative
consequences of modern agricultural practices. Animal wastes also significantly contribute to the excess
bacteria and nitrates that are frequently found in ground water.


V ermicomposting is a simple biotech-

nological process of composting in which
Eutrophication from animal waste run off has been
linked to the outbreak of toxic microorganisms and
certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the has been implicated in massive destruction and
process of waste conversion and produce a better end diseases. Animal wastes also significantly contribute
product. Vermicomposting differs from composting to the excess bacteria and nitrates that are frequently
in several ways1. It is a mesophilic process, utilizing found in ground water.
microorganisms and earthworms that are active at Soil fauna and dairy farm waste play a
10-32 C (not ambient temperature but temperature prominent role in regulating soil processes and
within the pile of moist organic material). The among these the earthworms play a vital role in
process is faster than composting ; because the maintaning soil quality and managing efficient
material passes through the earthworms gut, a nutrient cycling. Microorganism and earthworms are
significant but not yet fully understand important biological organisms helping nature to
transformation takes place, whereby the resulting maintain nutrient flows from one system to another
earthworm castings (worm manure) are rich in and also minimize environmental degradation.
microbial activity and plant growth regulators and Earthworms from a major component of the soil
fortified with pest repellence attributes as well. In system have been efficiently ploughing the land for
short, earthworms, through a type of biological millions of years assisting in the recycling of organic
alchey are capable of transforming garbage into nutrients for the efficient growth of plants. The
“gold” . effects by earthworms on plant growth may be due to
Million tons of livestock excreta are produced several reasons apart from the presence of
every year in India. This is causing concern due to macronutrients and micronutrients in their secretions
odour and pollution problems. The US geological and in vermicompost in considerable quantities.
survey found that the increase in in-stream loads of Certain metabolites and vitamins release into the soil
nitrogen and phosphorous was strongly correlated by earthworms may also be responsible to stimulate
with increased animal concentrations. plant growth. Now there is a growing realization that
Department of Animal Nutrition, BVC, Patna-14, 1DLFM, the adoption of ecological and sustainable farming
ICAR-RCER, Patna-14, 2Department of Livestock Production practices can only reverse the declining trend in the
and Management, Bihar Veterinary College, Patna-800014, global productivity and environment protection4,5,6 .

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

It is estimated that in cities and rural areas of India THE STEPS FOR PREPARATION OF
nearly 700 million ton organic waste is generated VERMICOMPOST ARE AS FOLLOW
annually which is either burned or land filled . I. Selection of site:
In recent years efforts have been made by It should preferably black soil or other areas
scientist to exploit earthworms in recycling of with less of termite and red ant activity, pH
nutrients, waste management and development of should be between 6 to 8.
vermicomposting systems at commercial scale. The II. Collection of wastes and sorting:
benefits and preparation of vermicompost at dairy
for composting, raw materials are needed in
farm presented in brief.
large quantities. The waste available should
BENEFITS OF VERMICOMPOST be sorted in to degradable and non-degradable
1. When added in clay soil, vermicompost (be rejected) parts.
loosens the soil and provides the passage for III. Pre-treatment of waste:
the air. a. Dungs and waste materials dumps in layers,
2. The mucus associated with the cost being sandwiched with soil followed with watering
hygroscopic absorbs water and prevents for 10 days to make the material soft and
water logging and improves water holding acceptable to worm.
capacity. b.Mixing animal dung properly for
3. In the vermicompost, some of the secretions vermicomposting.
of worms and the associated microbes act as IV. Insecticidal treatment to site:
growth promoter along with other nutrients. Treating the area as well as beds with
4. Improves physical, chemical and biological chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 3.0 ml/ litre to reduce
properties of soil in the long run on repeated the problem of ants, termites and ground
application. beetles.
5. The organic carbon in vermicompost releases V. Filling of beds with organic wastes:
the nutrients slowly and steadily in to the Wastes are to be filled in the pits layer by layer
system and enables the plant to absorb these and each layer should be made wet while
nutrients. filling and spray water as per the requirement
6. The multifarious effects of vermicompost continuously for next 10 days.
influence the growth and yield of crops. A thick layer if mulch
7th layer (Top of bed)
7. Earthworm can minimize the pollution with fodder straw
hazards caused by organic waste by 6 layer A layer of fine soil (Top of bed)
enhancing waste degradation. th
5 layer A layer of Dung (Top of bed)
DAIRY FARM 4 layer Waste of a green fodder (Top of bed)
In general, following method of vermi- 3 layer Dry fodder waste material (Top of bed)
composting at dairy farm using dung and other waste nd
(Top of bed)
2 layer A layer of Dung
is most common.
(Bottom of
Pits: The optimum sized of ground pits is 10 X 11 X 1st layer Dry and green fodder
waste material bed)
0.5m (L X W X D) can be effective for
vermicomposting bed. Series of such beds are to be Excepting 3rd and 4th layer (which is the
prepared at one place as per the requirement / waste material to be degraded) each layer should be 3 to 4
materials availble at farm.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

inch thick so that the bed material is raised with botanicals, Promising products: Leaf
above the ground level. Sufficient quantities dust of neem, Acorus calamus rhizome dust,
of dry and green wastes are to be used in the neem cake etc.
beds. IX. Harvesting of vermicompost and storage:
VI. Introduction of worms in to beds: Around 60-90 days after release of worms,
The optimum number of worms to be the beds would be ready for harvest. Stop
introduced @ 100 No. / m. length of the bed. watering 7 days prior to harvest so that worms
The species of earthworms that are being used settle at the bottom layer. Collect the compost,
currently for compost production world wide shade dry for 12 hours and bag it in fertilizer
are Eisenia foetida, Eudirlus eugeniae, bags for storage.
Perionyx excavatus, Lumbricus rubellus etc. X. Harvest of worm bio-mass:
The worms are to be collected and used for
subsequent vermicomposting.
1. M. Gandhi, V. Sangwan, K. K. Kapoor and N.
Dilbaghi, Environment and Ecology, 15, 432-
434, 1997.
4. Jim.Aveyard, Journal of Soil Conservation,
VII. Provision of optimum bed moisture and New South Wales, 44, 45-51,1988.
temperature: 5. S. P. Wani, and K. K. Lee, Fertilizer
Bed moisture: By watering at regular Development and Consultation
intervals to maintain moisture of 60 to 80% Organisation, New Delhi, India, 91-
till harvest of compost Temperature 112,1992.
requirement for optimal results is 20 to 30 C 6. S. P. Wani, O.P. Rupela and K. K. Lee, Plant
by thatching (during summer). and Soil, 174, 29-49, 1995.
VIII. Monitoring for activity of natural enemies 7. M. R. Bhiday, Indian Farming, 43, 12, 31-
and earthworms and management of enemies 34,1994.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17


Prasanta Kumar Ray


C hemistry and chemicals are very

fundamental to our understanding of Life.
chloride, also known as common salt, has unique
properties that differ from the elements they were
All living matters are composed of chemical formed, such as Na and Cl.
elements, in pure and/or in compounded form1 . Let us try to know why we need various
a. There are 92 naturally-x occurring, Oxygen (65%) and hydrogen (10%) are
biologically important elements like Sodium predominantly found in water, which makes up about
(Na), Calcium (Ca), Potassium (K) etc. 60 percent of the body by weight. It's practically
b. At least 25 of them are very essential for our impossible to imagine life without water.
lives. Carbon (18%) is synonymous with life. Its
i. It has been learnt that elements like C central role is due to the fact that it has four bonding
(Carbon), O (Oxygen), H (Hydrogen) and sites that allow for the building of long, complex
N (Nitrogen) make 96% of all living chains of molecules.
matters. Nitrogen (3%) is found in many organic
ii But Ca ( Calcium), P (Phosphorus), K molecules, including the amino acids that make up
(Potassium), S (Sulphur), Na (Sodium), Cl proteins, and the nucleic acids that make up DNA.
(Chlorine), Mg (Magnesium) and other Calcium (1.5%) is the most common mineral
trace elements—are also needed by the in the human body — nearly all of it arefound in
remaining 4%. bones and teeth. Ironically, calcium's most important
iii.Trace elements—A group of element role is in bodily functions, such as muscle
which are needed in very low quantities, contraction and protein regulation. In fact, the body
but are absolutely essential for the will actually pull calcium from bones (causing
sustenance of life processes. Some of problems like osteoporosis) if there's not enough of
themare –B (Boron), Cr (chromium), Co the element in a person's diet.
(Cobalt), Cu (Copper), F (Fluorine), I Phosphorus (1%) is found predominantly in
(Iodine), Fe (Iron), Mn (Manganese), Mo bone but also in the molecule ATP, which provides
(Molybdinum), Se (Selenium), Si energy in cells for driving chemical reactions.
(silicon), Sn (strontium), V (Vanadium) Potassium (0.25%) is an important electrolyte
and Zn (Zinc) etc. apart from others. (meaning it carries a charge in solution). It helps
The elements gradually made complex regulate the heartbeat and is vital for electrical
compounds by combining two or more elements signalling in nerves. Sulphur (0.25%) is found in two
together, but in a fixed ratio, such as water (H2O) with amino acids that are important for giving proteins
two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. their shape. Sodium (0.15%) is another electrolyte
Interestingly, compounds, such as NaCl - sodium that is vital for electrical signalling in nerves. It also
Ex- Director, Bose Institute, Kolkata, E-Mail: pkray2000@ regulates the amount of water in the body. Chlorine (0.15%) is usually found in the body as a negative

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

ion, called chloride. This electrolyte is important for EVOLUTION

maintaining a normal balance of fluids. Magnesium The modern theory of evolution was
(0.05%) plays an important role in the structure of the developed by Charles Darwin3, an amateur English
skeleton and muscles. It also is necessary in more naturalist, in the 19th century. He proposed that all of
than 300 essential metabolic reactions. Iron the millions of species of organisms present today,
(0.006%) is a key element in the metabolism of including Humans, evolved slowly over billions of
almost all living organisms. It is also found in years, from a common ancestor by way of Natural
haemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrier in red Selection3. This theory further explained that the
blood cells. Half of women don't get enough iron in individuals best adapted to their habitat passed on
their diet. Fluorine (0.0037%) is found in teeth and their Traits ( Genetic Characteristics) to their
bones. Zinc (0.0032%) is an essential trace element offspring.
for all forms of life. Several proteins contain Over a period of time these advantageous
structures called "zinc fingers" help to regulate qualities accumulated and transformed the
genes. Zinc deficiency has been known to lead to individual into a species entirely different from its
dwarfism in developing countries. Copper ancestors (e.g. humans from apes, birds from
(0.0001%) is important as an electron donor in reptiles, whales from bears etc.).
various biological reactions. Without enough copper,
iron won't work properly in the body.Iodine
(0.000016%) is required for making of thyroid
hormones, which regulate metabolic rate and other According to the theory of evolution, earth
cellular functions. Iodine deficiency can lead to was formed 4.6 billion years ago. Its atmosphere
goiter and brain damage. Selenium (0.000019%) is probably contained very little of free oxygen, but a
essential for certain enzymes, including several anti- lot of water vapour and other gases, such as carbon
oxidants. Chromium (0.0000024%) helps regulate dioxide and nitrogen were there. The atmosphere
sugar levels by interacting with insulin. Manganese was extremely hot at that time. By about 3.9 billion
(0.000017%) is essential for certain enzymes, in years ago, earth cooled down enough for water
particular those that protect mitochondria. vapour to condense, allowing millions of years of
rain that formed the Earth's oceans3.
Molybdenum (0.000013%) is essential to
virtually all life forms. In humans, it is important for THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
transforming sulfur into a usable form. In the 1930s, a Russian Scientist, Alexander
Cobalt (0.0000021%) is contained in vitamin Oparin4 hypothesized that life began in the Oceans
B12, which is important in protein formation and on early earth between 3.9 to 3.5 billion years ago. He
DNA regulation. suggested that first, simple organic molecules
containing carbon was formed.
Some terminologies would help in our
understanding the topic we are discussing here. Today we know that Carbon is the most
Matter - anything having mass and occupying space important element to living organisms because it can
is called matter. form large compounds by joining one carbon with
another through its four bonds.
Mass - it is a measure of the amount of matter that an
Mass Weight - Weight is the measure of how strongly
an object is pulled by the Earth's gravity and Carbon is the primary component of
consequently varies as a function of distance from macromolecules (larger molecules) including
the Earth's Centre. Mass does not vary with its proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates. All
position. of them are very large compounds.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Carbon's molecular structure allows it to bond The diagram above shows the movement of
in many different ways and with many different carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans in
elements. billions of tons per year. Yellow numbers are natural
The carbon cycle shows how carbon moves fluxes, red are human contributions, white indicate
through the living and non-living parts of our stored carbon. Note this diagram does not account for
Environment. volcanic and tectonic activity, which also sequesters
CARBON CYCLE and releases carbon.
The physical cycle of carbon through the CARBON IS PRESENT IN ALL LIFE-
earth's biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and FORMS
atmosphere etc. includes such processes as Carbon exists in many forms in a plant leaf,
photosynthesis, decomposition, respiration and including in the Cellulose to form the leaf's structure
carbonification. Carbon is one of the most and in Chlorophyll, the pigment which makes the leaf
How does the Chlorophyll molecule (the
green colouring matter) on the plant leaves make
plant foods (carbohydrates) using carbon dioxide
and tapping energy from the sun, has been a mystery
before the scientists for a long time.

Fig. 1. shows how the carbon is cycled from one

form to another- From atmosphere plants fixes it
through a process called Photosynthesis. Through
microbial decomposition and respiration carbon
dioxide is released in the atmosphere. Ocean
uptake of carbon dioxide is returned again in the Fig. 2. Chlorophyll molecule on the plant leaves
atmosphere. make plant foods using carbon dioxide and
abundant element in the Universe and is the building tapping energy from the sun.
block of life on earth. On earth, carbon circulates CARBON IS IMPORTANT TO LIFE
through the land, ocean, and atmosphere, creating In its metabolism of food and during
what is known as the “Carbon Cycle”. respiration, an animal consumes Glucose (C6H12O6-
In a non-living environment, carbon can also the energy- giving molecule), which combines with
exist as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbonate rocks, coal, Oxygen (O2) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2), water
petroleum, natural gas, and dead organic matter. (H2O), and energy, which is given off as heat. The
Plants and Algae convert carbon dioxide to organic animals have no need for the carbon dioxide and so it
matter through a process known as Photosynthesis, releases it into the atmosphere.
the energy from light is drawn in the process. A plant, on the other hand, uses the opposite
reaction to that of an animal through a process called

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Photosynthesis. It takes in Carbon dioxide, water, dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Chloro-fluoro
and energy from the sun to make its own Glucose carbons, and other gases.
(food or energy giving molecule). Thisglucose is
used for chemical energy, which the plant
metabolizes in a similar way to an animal. The plant
then emits the remaining Oxygeninto the
environment. We use this Oxygen during our
Respiration. Nature has made this system of GIVE
and TAKE for the living beings.
The carbon dioxide and oxygen cycle is
critical to life on Earth. Humans, and most
Fig. 3. Major Greehouse gases from People`s
otherorganisms, need oxygen to survive. When we
inhale, oxygen moves from our lungs into ourblood.
Oxygen travels through the blood to all the cells in
the body. The cells use oxygento complete important
jobs. For example, you are using oxygen right now as Animal and Plant Cells are made up of many
you read thissentence. The muscles that control your complex molecules called Macromolecules, which
eyes use oxygen. Without oxygen, you could notuse include proteins, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA),
any of your muscles. In fact, our cells die quickly if carbohydrates, and lipids. The macromolecules are a
they do not receive oxygen. That iswhy it is so subset of organic molecules (any carbon-containing
important to help someone who cannot breathe by liquid, solid, or gas) that are especially important for
providing them with oxygen. life. The fundamental component for all of these
macromolecules is Carbon as have been said above.
Plants and other organisms that perform
photosynthesis rely on animals for carbon The carbon atom has unique properties that
dioxide.Every time you exhale carbon dioxide, you allow it to form covalent bonds to as many as four
are providing a plant with a building block itneeds to different atoms, making this a versatile element ideal
make its own food.So you can appreciate that to serve as the basic structural component, or
MotherNature balances itself by absorbing the toxic "backbone," of many different macromolecules.
carbon dioxide from the environment that we release STRUCTURE OF CARBON
during our respiration and gives us back Oxygen that The Carbon atoms can form up to four
we breathe in for our very survival. covalent bonds with other atoms. The Methane
GLOBAL WARMING molecule provides an example: it has the chemical
Human usage of fossil-fuel burning, plying formula CH4. Each of its four hydrogen atoms forms
too many vehicles on the roads, increasing industrial a single covalent bond with the carbon atom by
operations, cement-industry operations, petroleum sharing a pair of electrons. This results in a filled
industries etc. are causing serious damages to our outermost shell.
environmental conditions, releasing Green- house Structure of Methane molecule (Fig 4) where
gases (see diagram below). As a result, the World is with one Carbon four Hydrogen atoms are bound
facing “GLOBAL WARMING” phenomenon, due to It has been learnt that Energy from the sun,
the increase in various harmful gases such as Carbon lightning, and earth's heat triggered chemical

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

reactions to produce small organic molecules from Plants and fruits which we use as our food are
substances present in the atmosphere. These composed of a large number of chemical
molecules were organized by chance into complex compounds. They provide us with vitamins, proteins,
organic molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, minerals etc. These are all chemical
and nucleic acids that are essential to life. compounds. Many of them have also medicinal
values. In fact, all the biological molecules are
composed of chemical compounds.
Right from the animals, plants and humans,
all of our foods are composed of complex chemical
molecules like Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins,
Fats and Oils and various minerals - all are nothing
but chemical compounds including Spices, Fats and
Oils which we use every day to cook food, in order to
Fig. 4. Pictorial Demonstration of the Structure make it delicious and palatable .
of Methane. We use Pesticides/insecticides/weedicides/
Thus, there exists tremendous importance of rodenticides etc. to kill cockroaches, mosquitoes,
Chemicals and Biochemicals and their reactions and insects, mice etc. to save our produce in the field as
interactions, not only in the very early formation of well as ourselves from various types of infections.
matter, but it has also tremendous importance in our We use soaps, detergents, paints, varnishes,
everyday life. In fact, Life itself started through steel, various engineering goods etc. almost every
reactions and interactions between and among day. These are all chemicals and everything comes
chemical elements and compounds3. under the science of Chemistry. In fact, Chemistry
From time immemorial, and during the early forms the very root of life. Without chemicals we
stage of EVOLUTION, there existedsome basic would not be where we are today.
elements, such as Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, We use ink to write and paper is used for
Carbon, Sulphur and Phosphorous. Simple molecule printing books; pencils, rubber, various colours etc.
like Water was formed by combining Hydrogen are used by every of us every day. These are all
withOxygen. Carbon did bind with Oxygen to form composed of chemicals. We use preservatives to
Carbon dioxide; and Nitrogen bound with hydrogen store our food items for a long time. These are all
to form Ammonia, hydrogen also formed hydrogen chemicals.
sulphide binding with sulphur. These are known to be It is quite apparent that chemicals have made
some of the early and simple forms of chemical our life possible and made us comfortable as well.
compounds. Sometimes these chemicals become responsible for
Gradually, as a result of chemical reactions rendering various types of toxicities in our body as
and their interactions, large number of chemical well, and could be very dangerous at times.
molecules came into existence which supported the HOW DOES LARGER CHEMICAL
life processes. It took hundreds and thousands of MOLECULE LIKE PROTEINS ARE
years when smaller animals, plants and then larger FORMED?
animals, and ultimately human beings surfaced on
Please note that larger chemical compounds
this planet, earth.
like Proteins, Carbohydrates, Nucleic acids, Fats and
IN OUR EVERYDAY LIFE MOLECULES as they occur in the biological
Drugs we use are nothing but chemical compounds. systems like animals, plants, microbes etc.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

It is now known that smaller molecules like lforming structures in the cell -- Ribosomes --
amino acids join together to form larger molecules that are critical for the 'manufacturing' of
like Proteins. proteins
HOW DO FATS AND OILS ARE FORMED? ltransporting amino acids (known as TRNA)--

These are formed by joining various fatty the building blocks of proteins -- to ribosomes
acids .
How do the carbohydrates form? They are
formed by joining sugar molecules (known as
glucose, fructose, mannose etc.).
Larger molecules were intriguing the minds
of scientists for a long time .Large molecules like
haemoglobins, which supply oxygen in each and
every of our cells are nothing but proteins, so also are
various hormones that transmit instructions from the
glands and brain to carry out certain operations in the Fig. 5. Structure of the Wonder Molecule DNA.
body; Thyroid hormones, Sex hormones etc. have The molecular structure of DNA forms a double helix
individual functions in the human body. They with a "backbone" of each strand of the helix
transmit orders to ask cells either to do something or consisting of a repeating ...sugar-phosphate-sugar-
not to do. phosphate... polymer; the sugar is deoxyribose
Modern knowledge in Biotechnology and (James Watson and Crick Model). Watson and Crick7
Genetic Engineering helped considerably in the received Nobel Prize for their work describing the
understanding of how to manipulate many wonder double helix structure of DNA molecule.
molecules to our advantage.
We now know that Genetic information is
stored in the DNA (Deoxy-Ribo-Nucleic Acid)
molecule, and the expression of this information
requires several steps that flow in one directionas
shown below:

India-born Scientist, Dr.Hargovind Khurana

received Nobel Prize for synthesizing a Gene
(segment of DNA) structure in the laboratory for the Fig. 6. A-T and G –C Base Pairs.
first time6. Various genes direct the production of Attached to the sugar ring is one of four
RNA (Ribo Nucleic Acid) molecules from DNA to nitrogen-Containing bases: adenine (A), guanine
serve a variety of functions that include- (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T) (Fig 6). Adenine
ldictating the synthesis of proteins as per
binds with Thymine and Guanine binds with
instruction received from segments of DNA Cytosine in the long chain of DNA structure. (For
to perform a wide variety of functions in the details the readers may consult any text book of
body. Biochemistry).
lregulating (turning on or turning off) the
Scientists later got interested to study the
expression of other genes. human DNA structure. The famous Human Genome

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

Project8,9 (where many countries were involved to (or 3,000,000,000 bp) in their genome (the
work together) has revolutionised the DNA studies complete set of genetic information);
and has confirmed that the human DNA contains a lthe complementary structure allows for the
little over 3 billion bases, and over 99% of them are faithful replication of DNA as cells divide --
the same in all people. one strand serves as a template for the
In 2001, a detailed working draft of the synthesis of the other;
sequence of human DNA was published7. The lA mechanism for preventing loss of

combination of one of these nitrogenous bases, a information is built into the structure -- a base
sugar molecule, and a phosphate molecule is called a that is lost or altered on one strand can be
nucleotide -- the basic building block of the DNA replaced using the complementary strand to
molecule. direct its own repair.
The two strands of DNA wind around each You may know that we all carry our familial
other, forming a double helix structure that is held chemical/biochemical messages with us. This gives
together by weak hydrogen bonds between each us the pride of either having blue blood or keeps us
thymine and adenine base, as well as between each behind many others because of the caste system
guanine and cytosine base; each of these pairs of prevailing in various parts of the world. It is the
bases is called a base pair, or "bp" for short. The two DESTINY!
strands of DNA, then, are complementary; that is, if DNA is the Software of life. DNA pack all the
one strand has the sequence GCATGCCTA, the genetic information of a cell. DNA and the genes
other strand would be CGTACGGAT. DNA is within it are where mutations (changes in DNA
coiled very tightly -- in order to fit into the nucleus of structure) occur, enabling changes that create new
a cell -- into structures calledChromosomes. The species.
DNA from an adult human would actually stretch out RNA is the close cousin to DNA. More
to be more than 5 feet long though only 50 trillionths accurately, RNA is thought to be a primitive ancestor
of an inch in width. of DNA. RNA can't run a life-form on its own. But 4
billion years ago it might have been on the verge of
creating life, just needing some chemical fix to make
the leap. In today's world, RNA is dependent on DNA
for performing its roles, which include coding for
RNA to DNA --Some scientists believe that
RNA is in fact the ancestor to DNA, and then they
have figured they could get RNA to replicate itself in
a lab without the help of any proteins or other cellular
Some researchers synthesized RNA enzymes
Fig. 7. Double Helix structure of DNA. that can replicate themselves without the help of any
The DOUBLE HELIX structure of DNA proteins or other cellular components, and the
(Fig 7) has several important features: process could proceed indefinitely. The scientists
lit offers a means of storing and coding vast called them "Immortalized" RNA at least within the
amounts of information captured by the limited conditions of a laboratory. The scientists then
sequence of bases present in the DNA strand; mixed different RNA enzymes that had replicated,
humans have about 3 × 109 base pairs along with some of the raw material they were

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

working with, and let them compete in what's sure to somebody else's “Conceptus” etc. are some of the
be the next big hit: "Survivor: Test Tube."When these realities in modern Biology, Genetic Engineering,
mutations occurred, "the resulting recombinant Biotechnology and Medicine to-day. Next
enzymes also were capable of sustained replication, generations will see many miracles of these
with the fit replicators growing in number to techniques to cause both benefits as well as harms to
dominate the mixture. mankind.
ON THE DOOR OF LIFE My heartfelt thanks are due to all those whose
Professor Gerald Joyce10 , under whom this work were consulted during the preparation of this
work was going on, reiterated that while the self- manuscript.
replicating RNA enzyme systems share certain REFERENCES
characteristics of life, they are not life as we know it. 1. Pearsall, Judy; Hanks, Patrick, eds..
"What we've found could be relevant to how life "Abiogenesis". The New Oxford Dictionary,
begins, at that key moment when Darwinian Earth's Beginnings: The Origins of Life,
evolution started," Joyce said in a statement. Joyce's 1998.
restraint, clear also on a report of the finding, has to
be appreciated. He allows that some scientists 2. Eric McLamb, September 10, Dictionary of
familiar with the work have argued that this is life. English (1st Ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford
Another scientist said that what the researchers did is University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-19-861263-X,
equivalent to recreating a scenario that might have 2011.
led to the origin of life.
3. Charles Darwin, "On the Origin of Species by
Joyce insists he and Lincoln have not created Means of Natural Selection, or the
life: "We're knocking on that door," he says, "but of Preservation of Favoured Races in the
course we haven't achieved that.” Struggle for Life,", John Murray, London, p.
“Only when a system is developed in the lab 155, 1859.
that has the capability of evolving novel functions on 4. A. Oparin and V. Fesenkov. Life in the
its own can it be properly called life”, Joyce said. In Universe. New York: Twayne Publishers,
short, the molecules in Joyce's lab can't evolve any 1961.
totally new tricks. He said. “Search is going on and
5. Boundless. “The Chemical Basis for
Life.”Boundless Biology. Boundless, 20 Sep.
Principles of chemistry and /or chemical/ 2016. Retrieved 13 Oct. 2016 from https://
biochemical reactions, therefore, are guiding us in
every moment. It is because of that we are what we boundless-biology-textbook/the-chemical-
are. However, sometimes the chemicals may be foundation-of-life-2/carbon-52/the-chemical
harmful and dangerous too as has been discussed -basis-for-life-288-11421.
6. H. G.. Khorana, Science. 203, 4381, 614–625,
7. J. D Watson and F. H. C. Crick, Nature 171,
These days, with the advent of Genetic 737–738, 1953.
Engineering and Biotechnology, scientists are able to
8. Eric S. Lander, et al, Nature, 409, 860- 921,
insert genes from one species to another and get them
expressed. These technologies have opened a new
9. Svante Pääbo, Science, 291, Feb. 16, 2001.
chapter in the areas of Biology as well as Medicine.
“Test-tube baby”, surrogate mothers carrying 10. MP Robertson, G. F. Joyce, Chem Biol. 21,
238-245, 2014.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17




Dr. I. Sathyamurthy
Dr. Ashok Kumar Saxena Interventional Cardiologist, Director,
Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Fellow (ISCA) and Department of Cardiology, Apollo Hospitals,
Former Emeritus Fellow, U.G.C., Kanpur. Chennai.


No Award.
Professor K. Byrappa
Vice Chancellor, Mangalore University, 11. PROF. R. C. MEHROTRA MEMORIAL

3. S R I N I VA S A R A M A N U J A N B I RT H Prof. B. P. Chatterjee
CENTENARY AWARD Emeritus Professor, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
University of Technology, Kolkata.
No Award.
12. J A W A H A R L A L N E H R U B I R T H

No Award. Dr. Baldev Raj

Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies,
5. S. K. MITRA BIRTH CENTENARY Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore.
Prof. Om Prakash
Dr. N. R. Jagannathan Kurukshetra.
Professor and Head, Department of N.M.R. &
MRI Facility, All India Institute of Medical 13. MILLENNIUM PLAQUES OF HONOUR
Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi.
Prof. Appa Rao Podile
6. BIRBAL SAHANI BIRTH CENTENARY Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad,
AWARD Hyderabad, Telangana.


Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur
University, Imphal. Prof. Ramachandra Mohan M
Department of Zoology, Bangalore University,


8. V I K R A M S A R A B H A I M E M O R I A L Dr. B. B. Kaliwal
AWARD Vice – Chancellor, Davangere University
Shivagangothri, Davangere.
No Award.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17




C O M M E M O R AT I O N L E C T U R E –
A G R I C U LT U R E A N D F O R E S T R Y No Award.
23. E X C E L L E N C E I N S C I E N C E A N D


Dr. P. Venkatesu
Department of Chemistry, University of Delhi, Dr. Supriya Tiwari
Delhi. Department of Botany, Institute of Science,
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
18. P R O F E S S O R R . C . M E H R O T R A
No Award. No Award.
Dr. Biswajit Pal
Prof. Mohammed Hafeez Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry,
18-1-589/B, I Floor, NAZ VILLA, St. Paul's Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata.
Bhavani Nagar, Tirupati – 517 501.


Dr. Jitendra Kumar Thakur No Award.

Staff Scientist IV, National Institute of Plant
Genome Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg,
New Delhi. 28. P R O F E S S O R U M A K A N T S I N H A
Staff Scientist – V, Molecular Oncology
Prof. K. R. Shivanna Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology,
INSA Honorary Scientist & ATREE, Honorary Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi.
Senior Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in
Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



29. P R O F. R . C . S H A H M E M O R I A L 31.D R . ( M R S . ) G O U R I G A N G U LY
Assistant Professor (Organic Chemistry),
Department of Chemistry, M. M. University, No Award.
Mullana, Ambala, Haryana.
Prof. J. P. Shrivastava
Dr. Sibnath Deb Professor, Department of Geology,
Professor, Dept. of Applied Psychology,
University of Delhi, Delhi.
Pondicherry University ( A Central University),
V. R. Nagar, Kalapet, Puducherry

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



S. No. Section Name of the Awardee

1 Agriculture and Forestry Sciences Bappa Das
G-7, Natural Resource Management,
ICAR – Central Coastal Agriculture Research
Institute, Old Goa.
2 Animal, Veterinary & Fishery Sciences Sreekanth G. B.
Fisheries Sciences, ICAR – Central Coastal
Agriculture Research Institute, Old Goa .

3 Anthropological and Behavioural Nivedita Som

Sciences (including Archaeology, Biological Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
Psychology, Education and Military
4 Chemical Sciences Satyabadi Martha
Centre for Nano Science and Nano Technology,
ITER, Siksha O Anusandhan University, Bhubaneswar.
5 Earth System Sciences Shital P. Godad
CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.

6 Engineering Sciences Nandini Bhandaru

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur.

7 Environmental Sciences Praveen Dhyani

G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan
Environment and Development,
Kosi-Katarmal, Almora.
8 Information and Communication Science Abhirup Banerjee
& Technology (including Computer Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
9 Materials Science Anjilina Kerketta
Defence Materials & Stores Research & Development
Establishment, G.T. Road, Kanpur , U.P.

10 Mathematical Sciences (including No Award.

11 Medical Sciences (including Physiology) Sabyasachi Das
Immunology and Microbiology Laboratory,
Dept. of Human Physiology with Community Health,
Vidyasagar University, Paschim Medinipur.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



S. No. Section Name of the Awardee

12 New Biology (including Biochemistry, Bodhisattwa Saha
Biophysics & Molecular Biology and Bose Institute, Division of Plant Biology, Kolkata.

13 Physical Sciences Dharmendra Pratap Singh

Liquid Crystal Research Lab, Department of Physics,
University of Lucknow, Lucknow.

14 Plant Sciences Neha Pandey

CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic
Plants, Lucknow.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



S. No. Section Name of the Awardees

1 Agriculture and Forestry Sciences 1. Ganajaxi Math
University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad,

2 Animal, Veterinary & Fishery Sciences 1. Yashika Awasthi

University of Lucknow, Lucknow

2. Yogita Y. Falak
North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon

3 Anthropological and Behavioural 1. Sangeeta Dey

Sciences (including Archaeology, University of Delhi, Delhi
Psychology, Education and Military
Sciences) 2. Nandini Ganguly
University of Calcutta, Kolkata

4 Chemical Sciences 1. Aarti Dalal

Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.

2. Pradeep Kumar Brahman

K L University, Guntur.
5 Earth System Sciences No Award.
6 Engineering Sciences No Award.

7 Environmental Sciences 1. Partha Karak

Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan.

2. Priyanka Priyadarshani
ICFAI University of Jharkhand, Ranchi.

8 Information and Communication 1. Mayank Agarwal

Science & Technology (including Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi.
Computer Sciences)
2. Ajish K. Abraham
All India Institute of Speech and Hearing,
Manasagangothri, Mysore.

9 Materials Science No Award.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



S. No. Section Name of the Awardees

10 Mathematical Sciences (including 1. Rishikesh Dutta Tiwary
Statistics) Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad.

11 Medical Sciences (including Physiology)

No Award.

12 New Biology (including Biochemistry, 1. Nandini B.

Biophysics & Molecular Biology and University of Mysore, Manasagangotri, Mysuru.

13 Physical Sciences 1. Swarniv Chandra

JIS University, Agarpara, Kolkata.

2. Ajaz Hussain
University of Lucknow, Lucknow.

14 Plant Sciences 1. Debleena Roy

Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata.

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



Sl No. Name of Student Name of School

1. Tushar Agarwal Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Kanpur.
2. Sheen Parimoo Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Kanpur.
3. Shourya Singh Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Kanpur.
4. Subhanjali Saraswati Mahadevi Birla World Academy,Kolkata.
5. V. Manaswini Montessori English Medium High School, Mahabubabad.
6. Sanjay Bhartiya Vidyabhavan, Tirupati.
7. S. Vidhayini Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Tirupati.
8. Jithendra Bhartiya Vidyabhavan, Tirupati.
9. Praneeth Kumar G Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Tirupati.

10. P. Kapileshwar Marg Chinmaya Vidyalaya,Tiruchnoor Byepass Road,


Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17




Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research (Joshimath) at an altitude of 3142msl, Harshil

(DIBER), erstwhile Defence Agricultural Research at3243msl and Field Research Station, Pithoragarh,
Laboratory, (DARL) is working under the aegis of located at an altitude of 1524msl for multi-location
Defence Research & Development Organisation trials.
(DRDO), Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Conscious of its societal mission as well as the
It has a glorious history of beginning high altitude requirement of progressive farming communities at
agricultural research in India. It was started at forward areas to adopt the evolved technologies that
Almora as Technical Cell in April 1960 and was in turn can ensure availability of fresh food items to
transferred to DRDO in July 1962, thereby heralding the troops, the Institute has been disseminating the
a new approach in the endeavours of DRDO in technologies to local farmers and had also adopted
support of men behind the machines. In January few villages for technology demonstration. The
1970, the Technical Cell was upgraded to an institute is dedicated to undertake research and
independent Agricultural Research Unit (ARU). The development work in frontier areas on Bio-energy
ARU was upgraded to the status of a Laboratory and and is having core competence in Bio-resource
re-designated as Defence Agricultural Research conservation, improvement and its judicious
Laboratory (DARL) in the year 1984. In accordance utilization, making bio-products from Himalayan
with the re-defined and re-scheduled area of work herbs and R&D on Bio-diesel for defence use.
with the mandate of R&D on bio-energy and bio- Notwithstanding its changed mandate, this Institute
fuel, DARL was rechristened as Defence Institute of still forging ahead in continuing it's over five decade
Bio-Energy Research (DIBER) in 2008 with its head old legacy of development and dissemination of
quarter at Haldwani. The Institute is having 03 field suitable agro technologies in support of troops.
stations in the remote border areas of Uttarakhand MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS
namely DIBER High Altitude Research Station Auli
DIBER in its endeavor of meeting the

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

objectives of its assigned charter of duties in l A number of protocols have been

consonance with its vision, mission and core developed and demonstrated for growing of
competence has made significant and pioneering vegetables in various altitudes.
scientific contributions in a multitude of l The Institute has participated in various
technologies like: Antarctica missions during 90s and
l Biofuel technology successfully demonstrated vegetable
l Greenhouse technology for hills cultivation technology.
l Developed various vegetable hybrids and l Developed herbal products viz; .Lukoskin
varieties for treatment of Leucoderma, Eczit for
l Mushroom cultivation technology treatment of Eczema, Amtooth, for
treatment of dental problems, Hridyasakti
l Herbal products from Himalayan
an anti hypertensive herbal preparation,
medicinal plants
Herbocare cream, Herbal honey, Herbal
l Biotechnology for cold tolerant crops
health drink, Hridyamrit.
l Angora rabbit breeding for fur and wool
l Lukoskin for treatment of Leucoderma,
l Pisciculture for hills being the flagship product earning huge
Some of the salient features of important amounts of royalty to DRDO.
achievements in the form of technologies, products l Conserved more than 50 important RET
and processes developed in the area of agricultural (Rare, Endangered & Threatened) species
sciences, environmental sciences, herbal medicine of medicinal plants.
and biotechnology as well as the accomplishments
made under DRDO-Army bio diesel programme are
l Developed in vitro culture protocol of
as under:-
Cordyceps sinensis and this technology was
transferred to Biotech International limited,
l Developed various high yielding New Delhi for its commercialization.
varieties/hybrids in different vegetables
l Two new species of Cordyceps namely C.
like capsicum, cucumber, cabbage, Bitter
kurijimiansis and C. nirtoli were identified
gourd, Bottle gourd and Tomato.
from Central Himalayan region and their
l Developed package of practices for accession numbers were obtained from
undertaking vegetable cultivation in high International Mycobank.
altitude cold desert (Pooh and Lahul Spiti-
l Developed lab cultured Cordyceps
mycelium based products named CORDY
l Developed low cost green house POWER and CORDYVIT. Optimized a
technology for off season vegetable new protocol for cultivation of Ganoderma
cultivation. lucidum on. Saw dust of Alnus nepalensis
l Successfully standardized and demon- ANIMAL SCIENCES
strated growing of vegetable crops without l Developed packages & practices for cattle
soil, in nutrient solution. rearing in hills and evaluated the
l This system has proved very useful in snow performance of cattle breeds.
bound hilly and high altitude boarder areas. l The cross bred cattle (Holstein friesian x
Use of a single solution developed by Sahiwal) were found suitable for middle
DIBER made this technology user friendly. hills.
Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

lEstablished a circular hatchery and Defence vehicles completed. Camelina, a

breeding of exotic carps was carried out. short duration non edible oil yielding (40%)
l Technology for composite fish culture crop introduced through NBPGR (ICAR)
hasbeen developed and standardized. as per protocol.
l Three species, namely, silver carp, grass l During International Fleet Review -2016,
carp and common carp culture in the ratio of Biodiesel prepared by DIBER was trialed
30:30:40, have been found suitable so as to successfully in navy vehicles.
utilize the feeding materials available in all l Standardized inter-cropping of Jatropha
the niches of the pond for maximum with Camelina. Scenedesmus sp. has been
productivity. Maximum fish production has identified as promising strain having
been achieved to the tune of 3500 to 4000 biomass yield as dry weight (450
kg/ha/year under this system of farming. Kg/ha/day) and total lipid productivity of
ANGORA WOOL 17.7 mg/l/day.
l Angora rearing and wool production PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY
technology from Angora rabbit developed l Collected 2958 multi crop accessions (Plant
and standardized by DIBER. bio-diversity) from central Himalayas for
l Developed Munsiyari (Pithoragarh), as exploitation in crop improvement prog-
wool village by providing wool production ramme through molecular biotechnological
technology from Angora rabbit to the tools.
farmers. l Screened salt tolerant vegetable genotypes
BIOFUEL TECHNOLOGIES for cultivation in saline eco system of Thar
l Identified high oil yielding cultivars of desert.
Jatropha coupled with higher productivity l Cloning and characterization of cold
for semi arid zone and foothills. tolerant and nutritionally important genes
l Standardized Micro-propagation protocol LlaNAC, LlaCIPK, LlaDREB1b, LlaGPAT,
for mass multiplication and transferred to LlaPR, LlaIPK, LlaRan, LlaDRT from
TERI. indigenous plant species i.e. Lepidium
latifolium were carried out and genes
l Upgradation of trans-esterification plant at
transformed in tomato and model plant
project site MF Secunderabad has been
carried out in colloboration with Anna
University. THRUST AREAS
l Developed new methodology for l Bio-diesel for Defence use.
detoxification of Jatropha cake and the l Bio-resource conservation improvement
detoxified JCM at 5% in animal feed is and judicious utilization.
found to be safe and non toxic. l Bio-products from Himalayan Herbs.
l Developed protocol for storage and shelf l Microbiology and Plant Pathology.
life enhancement of biodiesel for extreme HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
environment (From 06 months to 18 l DIBER is contributing towards the
months for hot environment). Anti-freezing development of skill and technical
agent was found highly effective to enhance manpower of the country.
the storage life in extreme cold condition
l HRD includes training to PG students in life
(up to – 2000C). sciences, Research opportunities for
l Technical trials on use of biodiesel in research fellows in different disciplines of
life sciences.
Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

l This Institute is affiliated with Bharathiyar DIBER newsletter and one Hindi magazine
University, Coimbatore, for Ph.D. Degree “Devbhoomi” annually.
programme. CONTACT :
DISASTERS DIBER (DRDO) Goraparao, P. O. Arjunpur,
Coordinated and contributed in various relief Haldwani-263139, Nainital (Uttarakhand), Phone :
operations namely Malpa disaster (18-26 Aug 1998), 05946-232532, Fax : 05946-232719 Email. :
Odisha cyclone (12 Oct 1999), Chamoli Earthquake,
(April 1999) and Kedarnath-Badrinath disaster (June Website:
2013) with the support of other DRDO laboratories. l DIBER Field Research Station,Pithoragarh-
PATENTS PUBLICATIONS, AWARDS 262501 (Uttarakhand),Phone : 05964-256156,Fax :
This Institute has 12 patents, over 400 research 05964-256166
papers in national and international journals, 10 l DIBER High Altitude Field Station,Auli
technical bulletins and 36 technical folders and (Joshimath)-246443,Chamoli (Uttarakhand),Tele-
various prestigious awards. Institute also publishes fax: 01389-223224

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17



DESALINATION USING COCONUT SHELL Levels of a hormone circulating in a pregnant

CARBON woman predict how closely she'll bond with her ba-
by, researchers have found.
Researchers at National Environmental
Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Chennai Humans are hard-wired to form enduring bonds with
have reported desalination of sea water using a others; key among these is the mother-infant bond.
microbial desalination cell (MDC) that utilizes Evolutionarily speaking, it's in a mother's interest to
activated carbon from coconut shells, a widely foster her child's well-being—but some mothers
available biomass waste. Sea water is salty due to the seem a bit more maternal than others do.
presence of sodium chloride. Technologies, such as In animals, oxytocin, dubbed the hormone of
reverse osmosis, are currently used to make such love and bonding, is elicited during sexual inter-
water potable. These technologies are energy course; is involved in maintaining close relation-
intensive and extensive. MDC, a modified microbial ships; and is critical for parenting. Animals with low
fuel cell, has a middle compartment to hold saline oxytocin levels are slower to retrieve wandering
water with in anode chamber and a cathode chamber pups, for instance.
on either side. It has graphite rods acting as But the hormone's role in human bonding has
electrodes. Its working principle is as follows: the been studied little, according to Ruth Feldman, a psy-
anode chamber is filled with a liquid medium to chologist at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Isra-
support microbial growth. Microorganisms growing el.
on the anode surface form a biofilm and oxidize the Feldman and colleagues measured levels of ox-
organic matter in the medium releasing electronics, ytocin in the bloodstream of 62 women during their
which move towards the cathode. To maintain electro first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and in their
neutrality, cations (positively charged sodium ions) first month after giving birth.
of the saline solution migrate into the cathode They also watched the mothers and children in-
chamber and anions (negatively charged chloride teract, rating attachment levels in four categories:
ions) move into the anode chamber. The saline water gaze, touch, affect (expression) and vocalization.
in the middle chamber is thus desalinated. The The mothers also completed a survey and interview
researchers loaded activated carbon derived from on their bond-related thoughts, feelings, and behav-
coconut shells into the anode chamber to find higher iors. The researchers then computed the link between
desalination and power generations than that from a oxytocin levels and bonding.
normal anode chamber. Further research using Mothers with high oxytocin early in pregnancy
different types of carbon from other biomass sources engaged in more bonding after birth, the researchers
might yield interesting results. This may lead to found. Moms with higher levels of oxytocin across
techno-economically feasible designs that can be the whole time period, they added, reported more be-
used for simultaneous salt removal from sea water haviors that help form exclusive relationships, such
and electricity generation. as singing a special song to the baby, or bathing and
feeding them in a special way. These mothers were
(Source: Nature India Update, 3rd October 2016) also more preoccupied by thoughts of checking on
the infant, its safety when they weren't around, and its

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

The work, published in the November issue of The efforts of the Jena University researchers
the research journal Psychological Science, shows recently led to an interesting discovery. They were
oxytocin is related to both the mental and the behav- able to prove not only that the number of naturally
ioral aspects of bonding—and that it functions simi- occurring fatty acids with increasing chain length can
larly across species, Feldman said. be predicted in an elegant fashion, but in the
(Courtesy Association for Psychological Science respected journal 'Scientific Reports', they also show
and World Science staff Oct. 15, 2007) that this number is in line with the well-known
Fibonacci sequence (DOI: 10.1038/srep39821). In
DIVERSE NATURAL FATTY ACIDS this sequence, named after the Italian mathematician
FOLLOW 'GOLDEN MEAN' Fibonacci (around 1170 to 1240), each number is the
sum of the two previous numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13,
Bioinformatics scientists calculate the number 21, etc. "In the case of fatty acids, this means that the
of theoretically possible fatty acids with help from number of possible fatty acid structures increases by
the Fibonacci sequence. a factor of approximately 1.618… with each
Bioinformatics scientists at Friedrich Schiller additional carbon atom," explains Schuster. The
University in Jena (Germany) have discovered that longer the chain, the closer the sequence gets to this
the number of theoretically possible fatty acids with factor. While only one structure is possible for chain
the same chain length but different structures can be lengths with one or two carbon atoms, when there are
determined with the aid of the famous Fibonacci three or more carbon atoms, this number increases to
sequence. As they explain in 'Scientific Reports', the two, three, five, etc. "Six atoms already give us eight
number of possible fatty acids with increasing chain possibilities, with seven carbon atoms there are 13
length rises at each step by a factor of approximately possible structures, and so on."
1.618, and therefore agrees with what is called the The "Golden Mean" in flowers, snail shells and
'Golden Mean'. The ability to calculate the number of the human body.
possible fatty acids is of great importance for their
The factor 1.618… describes a ratio that is
chemical analysis ('lipidomics'). This finding can
known as the 'Golden Mean' (also called Golden
also be used in synthetic biology and in other
Ratio or Golden Section) and can be observed in
nature, but also in art. It can be found, for example, in
Mild in flavour and of great nutritional value: architectural masterpieces, such as the old town hall
the light-yellow vegetable oil pressed from in Leipzig, but also in flowers, snail shells, and even
sunflower seeds has a wide range of uses and is in the human body. If the proportions of parts of
extremely healthy, as it contains a large proportion of buildings, plants or bodies are in a ratio of 1.618 to
unsaturated fatty acids. These are fatty acids with one another, the human eye experiences this as
hydrocarbon chains that contain one or more double particularly balanced and 'harmonious'.
bonds. "As these double bonds can occur at different
“The leaves of many plants or the seeds of the
places in the molecule, there are fatty acids with the
sunflower are also arranged according to this rule,"
same chain length, but a different structure," explains
says Prof. Severin Sasso of the Institute of General
Prof. Stefan Schuster of Friedrich Schiller University
Botany and Plant Physiology of the University of
Jena (Germany). The work of the professor for
Jena. The Assistant Professor for Molecular Botany
Bioinformatics and his team is driven by the question
is one of the authors of the recent publication,
of whether and how the total number of structural
alongside doctoral candidate Maximilian Fichtner.
formulas of fatty acids with a given chain length can
"It is interesting that specific substances contained in
be calculated, so as to be able to use this quantity for
sunflowers - the fatty acids - follow this principle."
analytical processes.
However, sunflower oil contains by no means all

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

possible fatty acids. It consists mainly of fatty acids The findings relating to the Fibonacci sequence
with a chain length of 16 or 18 carbon atoms. in fatty acids can be applied above all in the field of
According to the calculations done by the lipidomics - the comprehensive analysis of all fats in
bioinformatics researchers in Jena, there could be a cell or an organism. "An exact knowledge of the
just under 1000 variants of fatty acids with a chain substances that can theoretically occur is essential for
length of 16 atoms or over 2500 variants for those this work," notes Prof. Schuster. Lipidomics is used
with 18 atoms. "Similar correlations also occur in to study the metabolic processes and interactions
certain classes of amino acids," adds Maximilian with other cellular substances in which fats and their
Fichtner. constituent elements are involved.
(Source: Universität Jena - Research News 30 Jan

Everyman’s Science Vol. LI No. 5 December’16 - January’17

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