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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 1


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Newsletter
of
NORTH EAST INDIA RESEARCH FORUM

(Dedicated to Late Mohinibala Rabha)

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/northeast_india_research/

www.neindiaresearch.org

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 2


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

From the desk of Editor direction our nation has been driven by these
present situations. Probably except terrorism
activities, our nation is lagging behind in all
It is my great privilege and honour to have
respect from rest of the world. We can’t
the opportunity to write the editorial of this
compete with the world, why? What we
issue of the NE Quest. After a successful
don’t have - resource, manpower, or
journey of 4 years of this forum, while
knowledge? I think, actually we have
taking the pen to write for the news letter,
everything. For instance, if we compare the
suddenly an Assamese poem has pop up to
available natural resources only of NE
my mind:
Region, probably we will be in a very good
rank in the world. Just for statistical data, if I
compare one of the states of north east India,
Assam with Israel, which is considered as
one of the most advance countries in south
west Asia then we will find Israel has total
area of 20,770/22,072 km2, total population
just above 7,337,000 and Assam stands with
78,438 km2 of land having approximate
26,656,528 population. Most interesting data
Although these beautiful words are is the population density, i.e. 324/km2 and
impossible to translate, still if I try perhaps it 340/km2 for Israel and Assam, respective;
may look like “Every droplets of water really very close figure. On the other hand,
falling from the clouds, fills the vast ocean; Israel is a nation with very limited natural
the coagulation of smallest sand particles resources, even dry and with limited water
builds the mighty earth….” As said in this resources; in contrast Assam has everything
poem, our forum was also started only with in plenty. But where is Israel and where is
two members on a golden moment of 13th Assam? Why so? I know that there are many
November, 2004, and by now in its 5th year factors, but at this moment I think terrorism
of span we have strength of 263 members. and its related happenings are the biggest
Hereby, I would like to thank Arindam for curse for the people of Assam as well as for
conceiving and executing such a beautiful the nation. One day there will be a bomb
idea and giving us a glorious platform to blast, and from the next day different parties
share our thoughts. I strongly believe that (either political or non-political) will start to
this forum will help us to develop our call “ASSAM BANDH” to protest it. Is
writing or expression ability, and also to there any positive out put from the “Bandh”
build constructive thoughts to help the culture? I think no, the only impact is that
progress of our region. I wish a very bright we are directly going down in path of
future of our forum. progress by one day from the rest of the
Today, through this column of editorial world. So, the “Bandh” is becoming a prime
I would like to take the opportunity to put detrimental factor in progress of the state,
forwards few of my bubble of feelings for and it is giving just political advantage to
your kind attention. some groups or people. Even probably
Firstly, I would like to draw our calling a “Bandh” is also against our
attention towards the increasing terrorist constitution as it affects the “individual
activities in Indian; particularly in our NE freedom”, so it is against the law and should
region. Probably nobody will ever be able to be consider as a crime. This black snack,
forget the incident of 31 October, 2008; “Bandh” is squizzing us from all direction.
even though presently living far away still Therefore, I request everybody to think
when I got the news I felt myself deep and something to make aware the common
deep inside sea – everywhere I saw only people of our region about this silent killer. I
blue…. We really don’t know in which strongly believe that general awareness is

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 3


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

the only solution to fight against such an Finally, I would like to say my
enemy; otherwise, very soon it is going personal thanks to Dr. Arindam Adhikari for
destroy us. his help in every step, and gratefully
As a detrimental factor of progress, I acknowledge members of the editorial board
want to point out another fact, “The for their suggestions. I thank all the
honesty”. I am sure that many of us will not contributors for their articles and my special
be agree with this, but if anyone think from thanks goes to Mr. Anirban Adhikari for his
his/her soul, he/she will agree that either effort in making the magnificent work for
willingly or unwillingly most of us doing the cover page. At the last, I pray to God to
very dishonest works; may be some time for bring peace and progress to our region.
personal benefit, or may be due to survive in
a particular situation, or may be sometime
under pressure. Now, we are in a situation -Manab Sharma
that dishonesty (corruption) is in our gene, ----------------- // ---------------
so we don’t think some dishonest work as to
be dishonest. From a service man to a daily An oldest printing press
wage labour; from a politician to common
people dishonesty has touched everybody in
different form. As an example, let us
consider a daily wage man and you
employed him to work at your home, but if
you don’t observe him he definitely will not
do his duty properly, so that is also a kind of
dishonesty. Therefore, to climb the ladder of
progress we have to bring back our honesty.
Somehow we have to show the common
people that how dishonesty is pulling us
from our back and we are walking years
after years but still in the same place. If we
become honest to some extent, then at least
we will be able to use the funds for various
works properly and there will be progress.
Therefore, in my opinion to overcome
all these factors, public awareness and
motivation of common people towards the
right path of progress is the only solution.
So, hereby I would like to through a query
towards our honourable members that - is
there anything that we can do which will
have a direct physical impact to awake the
people of our region from their deep sleep,
and also to make aware of power and
extreme strength that the common people
have with them.
If somehow this can be done, then we
will see that politician or the group of people
who nowadays most of the time seeks only PRINTING PRESS “COLUMBIA”
individual benefits will not be able to (1859)
motivate them, rather general people will be Courtesy – Technion Museum, Israel
motivating them and the nation will start to
climb the ladder of progress. -----------------//---------------

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 4


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

CONTENTS
The forum 6
Science, R&D News 8
North East India made us proud 14
Events and news from north east India 15
North East India research forum members in news, awards / fellowship 17
received by members

Guest column
Bioactive secondary metabolites from selected plants and their 18
endophytic microorganisms:Problems and Prospects
Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam

Articles
The World Class Universities and Rankings 25
Dr. Abdul Wahab
Flora of Arunachal Pradesh and its conservation: An overview 30
Mr Chandan Tamuly
Arsenic problem in north-east: a future threat!!! 35
Dr. Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi

Fiction
Consequences of Time Machine 38
Himangshu Paul

Poem
“Bhraman Kahini” 41
Mr Kamal Kumar Tanti
Slums Dwellers 42
Dr. Manabendra Pathak

Abstract of PhD thesis of Mohit Lal Dev 44

Higher study abroad 49


Country of this issue: Australia

Through the lens of the forum members 51

Job advertisement 52
Details about the Northeast India Research Forum 54
Do you know? 15, 16, 42

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 5


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

THE FORUM 1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology =


North East India Research Forum was 22%
created on 13th November 2004. 2. Biotechnology = 11%
1. How we are growing. 3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
Every forum has to pass through difficult 4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
phases at the time of birth. NE India Research 5. Medicine = 11%
Forum is also no exception. At the very 6. Others = 16%
beginning, it was a march hardly with few 7. None = 0%
members (from chemistry only) and today the
forum comprised of a force of more than 260 • Kindly let us know your view regarding
elite members. Now we are in a position such the following topic. What activities of this
that people voluntarily come and join the group you like most ?
group irrespective of disciplines. 1. Research articles= 33%
300
2. Information about vacancy/positions
available=10%
250
3. Way to have a contact with all
200
members =29%
4. Scientific discussions = 14%
No of Members

150 5. Others = 2%

100 • Selection of name for Newsletter


There were total 36 proposals submitted
50
by members of the forum for the
0
Newsletter. The name proposed by Mr.
0 10 20 30 40 50 Abhishek Choudhury, N. E. QUEST
Months
received the maximum number of votes
Graph of no of members w.r.t. months and hence it is accepted as the name of the
Newsletter.
2. Discussions held in the forum
• How often should we publish our
• Necessity of directory of all the members
newsletter '' N. E. Quest'' ?
of the forum.
1. Every 3 months = 61%
• Possibility of organizing conference in the 2. Every 6 months = 38%
N E India. 3. Once a year = 0%
• Taking initiation on setting up of South
East Asian Scientific Institute. 4. Previous NE-Quest Edition and
• On selection of Best paper award. Editors:
• Let us introspect. 1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007
Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari
3. Poll conducted and results. 2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007
• North East India is lacking behind the rest Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath
of the country due to- 3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007
1. Geographical constrain =0% Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur
2. Bad leadership = 40% 4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008
3. Lack of work culture = 36% Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia
4. Corruption = 18% 5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008
5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4% Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008
• Which area of science is going to Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi
dominate by creating a great impact on 7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008
society in next decade? Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 6


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

5. A domain in the name of www. iii. No single moderator can take a crucial
neindiaresearch.org is booked decision. All decision would be taken by
the moderators unanimously or together
6. Future activities
with the group as majority.
Proper planning and consequent
iv. One should not write any massage to the
implementation always play an important role
forum addressing some particular
in every aspect. Some of the
members. It should always start with Dear
topics/activities/suggestions which were being
all / Dear esteemed members etc.
discussed, time to time in the forum will get
v. If one has to write a mail to a particular
top priorities in our future activities. Those are
member she/he should write personal
mentioned here,
mail.
• Preparing complete online database of
vi. Everyone has the freedom to speak but
N.E. researchers with details.
that doesn’t mean that one should attack
• Organizing conference in the N.E. region- personally. Of course we do have
proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora. differences. There can be debate or
• Research collaboration among forum discussion, but it should always be a
members. healthy one. One’s personal comment
• Motivate student to opt for science should be written in such a way that it
education. reflects his/her view only. It should not
• Help master’s students in doing projects in touch other's sentiments/emotions.
different organization-proposed by Mr. vii. Whenever we are in a forum, society,
Khirud Gogoi. home, members should be sensitive /
• Supporting schools in rural areas by caring enough to their comments so that it
different ways. does not hurt sentiment of any second
• Best paper awards. members.
7. New activity viii. Members should not post greetings
messages (Bihu wish, New Year wish etc)
To run the forum smoothly, to make it to the forum.
more organised and to speed up activities, ix. Members should post authentic news only.
formation of a committee/team is essential. The source of the news should be
The combined discussion of the authentic. No controversial news or
moderators and senior members make the comment should be posted to the forum.
forum feel the importance of Advisors, co- x. Our main aim is to discuss science to
ordinator, volunteer, webmasters etc. Of generate science consciousness, scientific
course it needs more discussion and will be temperament, sensitivity, awareness and
approved by poll. research for the benefit of the mankind in
8. Guidelines for the forum: general and North East India in particular.
The moderators formulated some xi. In severe cases, moderators can take a
guidelines for the forum which are as follow. hard decision unanimously or majority
These guidelines were kept open for wise ( may be through poll). (This point
discussion in the forum. With time and need needs to be accepted by all the members).
the guidelines will be changed.
While sending request or while fulfilling
i. Anybody in the forum can start a request for articles please follow the following
meaningful and constructive discussion points.
after discussion with moderators. • The forum has been formed to help each
ii. Comments from the individual members other. When a member requests
do not necessarily reflect the view of the articles/literature to forum, members of
forum. the forum are always happy to help the
person by supplying the articles. But at

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 7


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

this stage we have to keep in mind that the SCIENCE NEWS


article should be sent to the person who
requested it, not to the whole forum as it ¾ Cosmic Ray 'Hot Spots':
creates lots of unnecessary mails in the
message box of the forum. Moreover if it
continues, it become a irritation also for
many members.
• It is also the duty of the person who
requests article to acknowledge the person
who helped him/her. This can be done by
writing ' Request fulfilled by......' in the
subject area while composing the mail and
Los Alamos National Laboratory cosmic-ray
write a thanking message in the main
observatory has seen for the first time two
message board. Once this is done, then if
distinct hot spots that appear to be bombarding
some other members want to send the Earth with an excess of cosmic rays. The
article will know about the status of the
research calls into question nearly a century of
request. This will also help members in
understanding about galactic magnetic fields
keeping mailbox clean.
near our solar system. The hot spots were
• Before asking for article, he/she should identified in the two red-colored regions near
always check his/her institute/university the constellation Orion in the above picture.
libraries (online resources). If it is not
available or accessible then only the ¾ Bendable electronics:
member should request to the forum.
Flexible, translucent and
• Moreover sending articles (copyright ultrathin, layers of carbon
protected articles) to the open forum atoms called graphene are
violates copyright act. So please send the also excellent electrical
article to the person who requests not to conductors that could find
everybody through this open forum. use in flexible computer displays, molecular
------//-------- electronics and new wireless communications.
Quote of the month.. Making high-quality graphene sheets is
15th January, 2009 usually a slow, painstaking process, but now
several research groups have discovered ways
to make patterned graphene circuits using
techniques borrowed from microchip
manufacturing, which can be scaled up for
mass production. Layers of graphene —
carbon atoms arranged in a chicken-wire
pattern one atom thick — can be manually
peeled away from the graphite in pencils using
adhesive tape. In contrast, the new technique
causes carbon atoms in a vapor of
hydrocarbons to settle onto a nickel surface
and arrange into graphene’s characteristic
"Daddy, the plane turned into a boat." -- 4- pattern of hexagons. Using standard chip-
year-old daughter said to her father, Martin making techniques, circuit designs are etched
Sosa, who was with his family on the into the nickel surface. As the graphene layers
emergency landed US Airways flight in the form, they take on the shape of the circuit
Hudson River template, researchers report in the Jan. 15
---------//------- Nature. “Finding a suitable material that’s

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 8


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transparent yet conducting and thin is a big (Source:http://www.nature.com/news/2009/09


deal,” says Philip Kim, coauthor of the study 0106/full/457134a.html)
and a condensed matter physicist at Columbia
University. Kim and his colleagues showed ¾ News from Mars
that the vapor-deposited graphene retains the Scientists have announced
excellent electrical properties of manually the discovery of substantial
peeled graphene, even when bent on a flexible deposits of carbonate rocks
surface. (Source: on Mars. Although the new
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/access/id/39 rocks are not from the bed
865/title/Graphene_from_gases_for_new%2C of a long-lost ocean, as
_bendable_electronics_ would once have been
hoped, the discovery is still
¾ China builds inland Antarctic base fanning hopes that the rocks
After a three-week might hold preserved traces
crawl carrying 625 of organic matter from the
tonnes of cargo planet's early history. The carbonates were
towards the highest discovered using the Compact Reconnaissance
ice in Antarctica, a Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), an
Chinese expedition is instrument carried on NASA's Mars
expected to begin building a research base at Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). CRISM
Dome Argus, or 'Dome A', 4,093 metres above results show evidence of magnesium
sea level. The station, called Kunlun and carbonate (magnesite) in an area known as
scheduled to open on 28 January, will gather Nili Fossae that sits on the edge of Isidis
data in fields ranging from global climate Planitia, one of the planet's great impact
change to the origin of the Universe. The 250- basins. (for details: Ehlmann, B. L. et al.
million-renminbi (US$37-million) Kunlun will Science 322, 2008, 1828).
be China's third Antarctic station, joining the
Great Wall station in the South Shetland More than four years
Islands and the Zhongshan station in east after researchers first
Antarctica. On 20 October, the Chinese Arctic said they had found
and Antarctic Administration (CAA) sent its methane gas on Mars,
expedition team from Shanghai aboard the a scientist claims that
icebreaker Xue Long ('Snow Dragon' in he has "nailed" the
English) to the coastal Zhongshan station. Bad controversial detection
ice conditions delayed their arrival, but on 18 and identified key sources of the gas. On
December — two weeks behind schedule — a Earth, methane is mostly biological in origin;
28-man 'inland team' began the nearly 1,300- on Mars, it could signal microbes living deep
kilometre traverse to Dome A. On arriving at underground. The latest work suggests that
Dome A this week (2nd week of January), the martian methane is concentrated in both space
expeditioners will have just 20 days to build and time — at a handful of hotspots hundreds
the station before temperatures drop sharply to of kilometres across, plumes of methane
below –50 °C in early February. At the end of bloom and dissipate in less than a year.
this year's first phase of construction, Kunlun Scientist Michael Mumma, a spectroscopy
is expected to have a main building of 230 expert, obtained data from telescopes in
square metres, with 11 units for sleeping, Hawaii and Chile that supported the notion of
eating and working. It will have space for up methane hotspots. According to the scientist,
to 25 people, says Qu Tanzhou, director of the he has confirmed the presence of methane by
CAA. Six more units are expected to be added matching four lines in his infrared spectra of
next year, for a total area of 327 square the planet's atmosphere to the characteristic
metres. signature of methane — a more definite
determination than previous analyses — and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 9


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found more evidence that the methane is reserves of water-ice in Haworth and other
localized in discrete hotspots, which peak at permanently shadowed craters.
levels of 60 parts per billion. The more
important observations is the short lifetimes of Three elements: Chandrayaan-I has picked up
the plumes. Previously, methane was thought first X-ray signals from the Moon with the
to be destroyed in the atmosphere by sunlight help of Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (CIXS),
— a slow process that allows the gas to mix in one of the 11 payloads onboard Chandrayaan-
the atmosphere and persist for about 300 1, and detent the presence of aluminium,
years. A global level of 10 parts per billion magnesium and silicon. CIXS detected the X-
and a lifetime of hundreds of years means that ray signals on December 12, 2008 from a
a few hundred tonnes of methane are entering region close to the Apollo landing sites. CIXS
the atmosphere each year: the work of a few was jointly developed by ISRO and United
thousand cows. But plumes of 60 parts per Kingdom’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
billion that live for less than a year imply a (RAL).
methane-production rate several orders of (Source: http://www.sciencenews.org &The
magnitude higher. "This is a big deal," says Hindu, January 24, 2009)
Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan in
Ann Arbor, a co-author of the 2004 Mars ¾ After Chandrayaan-I
Express paper. At the moment whether the After the Chandrayaan-I what is the next
methane plumes are biological or geological in target for the mighty Indian Space Research
origin is impossible to know at the moment. Organisation, nothing more than the Sun, it
But NASA's next Mars rover will be able to will be the first attempt by India to unravel the
analyse, at levels of parts per trillion, the mysteries associated with coronal heating of
fractional concentrations of the carbon Sun. Now ISRO scientist are in the advanced
isotopes in each methane molecule. Life on stage of designing a spacecraft, named
Earth prefers to process lighter carbon-12 'Aditya', to study the outermost region of the
atoms. And so, on Mars, methane freighted Sun called corona. According to the ISRO
with carbon-12 could be a sign of a biological Chairman, G Madhavan Nair, "That's a mini
origin. satellite. In fact, the design is just getting
(Souece: http://www.nature.com/news) completed". When he was asked what is the
theme of the mission he replied, "During solar
¾ Chandrayaan News maxim...which is happening...we would like to
Radar image Haworth see the type of emissions which are taking
This radar image place in the Sun and how it interacts with the
(Recorded Nov. 17, ionosphere and atmosphere and so on".
2008, and released According to Dr Jayati Datta, deputy
January 16), taken programme director, Space Science Office,
by a NASA ISRO, Aditya is the first space based Solar
instrument aboard Coronagraph intended to study corona. With
India’s lunar- the help of 'Aditya' Indian scientific
orbiting community will try to unravel the mysteries
Chandrayaan-1 craft, shows part (rectangular associated with coronal heating, coronal mass
strip) of Haworth, a south-polar crater on the ejections and the associated space weather
moon. Haworth’s interior has never been seen processes and study of these would provide
before because the crater never receives direct important information on the solar activity
sunlight. The image shows features as small as conditions, she said. ISRO is planning to
150 meters across and is superimposed on an launch 'Aditya Mission' during the next high
Earth-based radar image to show surrounding solar activity period. However, the exact
features. Over the next year, Chandrayaan-1 date/time is not yet confirmed. (Source: PTI)
will map both poles to look for hidden

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 10


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¾ Successful test of GSLV: suppose to orbit around 200 km away from


th Earth. The scientist said ISRO was on the
On 20 December, 2008, Indian Space
process of developing sophisticated versions
Research Organization (ISRO) has
of the PSLV launch vehicles.
successfully conducted a test of its indigenous
cryogenic (supercooled fuel) engine to be used ¾ NE herb – remedy to Malaria:
in the next geosynchronous launch vehicle
In search of alternative drugs for Chloroquine,
(GSLV-D3) launch in April 2009 for carrying
recently DRDO reported a probability of
the 2.3-tonne geo-stationary experimental
development of an anti-malarial drug from a
satellite (GSAT) mission. Typically, hydrogen
herb available in the North East. Dr W
and oxygen are used which need to be held
Selvamurthy, chief controller of the DRDO,
respectively below -253 degrees Celsius and -
revelled, "Six months back, we discovered the
183 degrees Celsius to remain in liquid form.
anti-malarial qualities in a herb Gommstema
The cryogenic engine develops a thrust of 73
found exclusively in the North East." DRDO
kilo Newtons (kN) in vacuum with a specific
claims the drug would remove the
impulse of 454 seconds (7.56 minutes) and
Plasmodium Vivax strains from the blood of
can carry 2.2 tonnes. Working on a staged
the affected person. The drug is now on its
combustion cycle with an integrated turbo-
clinical trial after it had been tested and
pump, the engine will have 42,000 rotations
approved by Dr Padmanabhan of IIS,
per minute (rpm). It also has two steering
Bangalore. He said “We are also identifying
engines developing a thrust of 2 kN each to
the chemical structure of the herb so that it
enable three-axis control of the launch vehicle
could be cultivated for mass production of the
during the flight mission. According to the
drug.” (Source-PTI)
statement of ISRO, "The hot test was carried
out for 200 seconds (3.33 minutes) during ¾ Enzyme that degrade fat
which the engine was operated in the nominal
Researchers at the University of California,
and 13 percent up-rated thrust regimes. All the
Berkeley, under the supervision of Prof. Hei
propulsion parameters were satisfactory and
Sook Sul, identified a new enzyme that plays a
matched with predictions". Cryogenic engine
far more important role than expected in
technology is currently present only in Russia
controlling the breakdown of fat. The new
and the US. The semi-cryogenic engines will
enzyme within fat cells that is a key regulator
facilitate applications for future space
of fat metabolism and body weight, making it
missions like the reusable launch vehicle, the
a promising target in the search for a treatment
unified launch vehicle and the vehicle for
for human obesity. In a new study to be
inter-planetary missions, Chidambaram added.
published Jan. 11 in the journal Nature
The central government has already approved
Medicine, researchers report that mice that
the development of semi-cryogenic engines
have had this enzyme disabled remained lean
for space transportation at a cost of Rs.1,798
despite eating a high-fat diet and losing a
crore (approx Rs.18 billion) with a foreign
hormone that suppresses appetite. The enzyme
exchange component of Rs.588 crore (Rs.5.88
in the spotlight, adipose-specific
billion).
phospholipase A2 (AdPLA), is found in
abundance only in fat tissue. AdPLA sets off a
¾ ISRO’s next dream : 2015
chain of events that increases levels of a
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is signalling molecule called prostaglandin E2
planning to send its first manned flight into (PGE2), which suppresses the breakdown of
space by 2015. K Radhakrishnan, Member of fat. Mice that have no AdPLA have lower
the Space Commission and Director of PGE2 levels and a higher rate of fat
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said that the metabolism.
proposal has been sent to the government and
(Source:http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/
approval was being awaited. According to
releases/2009/01/12_fatmetabolism.shtml)
ISRO, the space craft will carry two crew and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 11


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¾ Modification need in fMRI biodiesel produced per hectare excludes the


cost of fertiliser, harvesting, transportation,"
According to a new study
he says. "You actually end up with as little as
carried out by Aniruddha one or two tons", therefore, the main hurdle
Das and Yevgeniy Sirotin at for these is the cost effectiveness. But recently
Columbia University in
it has been found that producing biofuel from
New York reported that the
algae would get around this problem, because
popular brain-imaging
the organism neither competes for arable land
techniques may be painting a misleading
nor requires nutrients. Instead, algae use
picture of brain activity. Scientists using sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce minute
techniques such as functional magnetic amounts of nutrients – lipids (fatty oils) –
resonance imaging (fMRI) make the
which can, after processing, be used as
assumption that blood flow into a particular
biodiesel. Algae grow at a phenomenally fast
brain region is directly linked to the amount of
rate and have a very high yield: 10,000 gallons
activity in the cells of that region. This is of biodiesel per acre compared to 48 gallons
because active cells need more oxygen, and from soya and 120 gallons from rape.
blood ferries it to them, but according to the
Recently, Solazyme, a "synthetic biology"
report (Ref.: Sirotin, Y. B. & Das, A. Nature
firm in San Francisco, has produced an algae-
457, 2009, 475–479) this is not necessarily the
based kerosene suitable for commercial and
case. The findings suggest that scientists who military jet engines, by using a strain of algae
use fMRI may need to interpret their data that produces an oil naturally analogous to
differently, concludes neuroscientist David
aviation oil. (Souece:www.telegraph.co.uk)
Leopold at the National Institute of Mental
Health in Bethesda, Maryland (Ref.: Leopold, ¾ Stem cell therapy at kolkata
D. A. Nature 457, 2009, 387–388). Most fMRI
experiments with human subjects involve Calcutta is on the verge of
presenting visual stimuli at intervals and rely getting a final and definite
on lining up the blood flow in time with the answer to Type I diabetes and
stimuli, Leopold explains. But, he adds, the cerebral palsy before long.
mismatch between neural activity and blood Singapore-based CordLife, the prominent
flow demonstrated in the paper is "extreme". network of private cord blood banks in the
Das indicates that it should be possible to Asia-Pacific, pledged to introduce yields of
design experiments that are not confounded by latest global research in stem cell therapy to
the extra signal. But, he warns, "what our the city soon. Mark Kirkland, the Chief
work suggests is that what people interpret as Scientific Officer of CytoMatrix, an associate
attention in functional MRI may not reflect of CordLife said, "Type 1 diabetes and
local changes in neuronal activity." cerebral palsy are two critical areas where
(Source:http://www.nature.com/news/2009/09 stem cell transplant could soon provide a cure.
0121/full/news.2009.48.html#B1) We are hopeful of bringing home some
therapeutic products in the next 18 months."
¾ Alge – future fuel: It has been learnt that CordLife will bring
The simplest organisms about technologies from within the group's
on the planet may be an portfolio. Besides the help of the network's
alternative to the global partners in the Netherlands, Australia
impending global fuel and Indonesia will be taken by means of close
crisis. In the coming fuel associations with institutions locally to
crisis time researchers are trying to find encourage therapeutic applications in India.
alternative and the most popular has been Furthermore, the company has been found to
biofuel: oil derived from corn, rape and soya. dedicate Rs 30 crore to make stem cell therapy
But, as indicated by Dr Richard Pike, the chief "a reality and cord blood banking accessible
executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, across India".
"Typically, the figure for the gross amount of

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 12


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

¾ Global warming could create 'dead dioxide nanoparticles, the research team’s
zones' in oceans electrocatalyst is capable of breaking carbon
Scientists in Denmark say bonds at room temperature and efficiently
global warming could create oxidizing ethanol into carbon dioxide as the
dead zones (Low-oxygen main reaction product. Scientists claimed,
areas known as dead zones) “The ability to split the carbon-carbon bond
in oceans that could remain and generate CO2 at room temperature is a
for thousands of years. The completely new feature of catalysis. There are
study used a computer no other catalysts that can achieve this at
model to simulate global practical potentials.”
warming in over the next (Source: www.sciencedaily.com)
100,000 years. The worst-case scenario — if ¾ First Gene Discovered For Most
emissions continue at their current rate — Common Form of Epilepsy
would have carbon dioxide concentrations
increase to 1,168 ppm by 2100, a three-fold An international team of
increase.The oceans would get warmer and researchers, led by
water circulation would slow down which in investigators at Columbia
turn diminishes the ability of oxygen to University Medical Center,
dissolve in sea water This would bring about a has uncovered the first gene
dramatic drop in oxygen levels in vast ocean linked to the most common
tracts. (Source – BBC) type of epilepsy, called Rolandic epilepsy. The
finding is the first step in unlocking the causes
¾ CSIR's institute to get autonomous of common childhood epilepsies (a common
university status chronic neurological disorder characterized by
The Council for Scientific and recurrent unprovoked seizures) and
Industrial Research (CSIR)'s developing more effective treatments.
upcoming Advanced Institute Children with Rolandic and other types of
of Science and Technology epilepsies are usually treated with drugs that
(AIST) got clearance by the Central prevent seizures by suppressing electrical
Government on Thursday to be an activity in the entire brain. Pediatric
autonomous university. The university will neurologist Deb Pal, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia
like to offer many courses like various University research scientist in the Department
innovative courses that have never been of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians &
offered in India. The university will be spread Surgeons said, "Most epilepsies have a genetic
across CSIR's 30 laboratories in the country. influence, much of which has yet to be
(Source: Express news service) discovered. If we knew the actual genetic
¾ New Catalyst : Ethanol-powered Fuel causes, then we could try to stop or reverse the
Cells processes that lead to seizures and other
A team of scientists at the U.S. neurological impairments. This finding will
Department of Energy’s (DOE) hopefully help lead us to the right
Brookhaven National Laboratory, intervention." The findings also offer possible
in collaboration with researchers insights into the causes of attention deficit
from the University of Delaware hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech
and Yeshiva University, has developed a new dyspraxia (a speech disorder in which a person
catalyst that could make ethanol-powered fuel has a delay in speech development due to
cells feasible. The highly efficient catalyst motor coordination difficulties), and
performs two crucial, and previously developmental coordination disorder (DCD).
unreachable steps needed to oxidize ethanol Findings will be published in an advance
and produce clean energy in fuel cell online issue of the European Journal of
reactions. With the help of platinum and Human Genetics on January 28, 2009.
rhodium atoms on carbon-supported tin (Source:www.sciencedaily.com)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 13


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

NORTH EAST INDIANS MADE US new product diffusion, forecasting models,


PROUD pricing models, analyzing the impact of
1. Prof. Dipak C. Jain has been dean of the marketing mix variables on consumer
Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, purchase behavior
Illinois since July 2001. Dean Jain is the 2. Dr. Matiur Rahman is Professor of
Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor in Applied Mathematics and Fluid Mechanics in
Entrepreneurial Studies and a professor of the Department of Engineering Mathematics
marketing at the Kellogg School, where he has of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.
been a member of the faculty since 1987. He had received his BSc (Hons) (1962) from
Cotton College, and MSc (1964) from Gauhati
University. Then he moved to Imperial
College, UK from where he received DIC
(1969) and MPhil (1969) from London
University, UK. He received his PhD (1973)
from Windsor University, Canada and his DSc
(Eng) (1992) from London University, UK.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, he
served as the Associate Dean of Academic
Affairs for five years and worked closely with
former Kellogg School Dean Donald P. Jacobs
to set the agenda for the school’s curriculum,
faculty and research activities. His student
career was started in Tezpur (Assam), India. In
1976 he completed his bachelor’s degree in
mathematics and statistics and was the Gold
Medalist for the Best Graduate of the year
His long list of awards includes the
from Darrang College. Then he completed his
Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and Its
master in mathematical statistics from Gauhati
Applications (FIMA), in 1991, a Chartered
University in India in 1978. He taught at
Mathematician of IMA, and in 1992 the
Gauhati for the next five years before leaving
American Biographical Institute selected him
for Dallas to pursue his PhD in marketing at
as Man of the Year, WIT (UK) Eminent
the University of Texas. In addition to his
Scientists Award for his outstanding research
positions at the Kellogg School, Dean Jain has
contributions in Fluid Mechanics Science. At
been a visiting professor of marketing since
the International Conference on Advances in
1989 at the Sasin Graduate Institute of
Fluid Mechanics held at Lisbon, Portugal 22-
Business Administration at Chulalongkorn
24 March 2004, Professor Rahman, was
University in Bangkok. During this period he
admitted as a Fellow of Wessex Institute of
has gathered a numerous number of awards in
Great Britain (FWIGB). He was also presented
his credit including Sidney Levy Award for
with a certificate for his outstanding research
Excellence in Teaching in 1995; the
and leadership in the field of Fluid Mechanics.
Outstanding Educator Award from the State of
He was also been felicitated for his
Assam in India in 1982; the Gold Medal from
outstanding research and teaching
Jaycees International in 1976; the Youth Merit
accomplishments by the Assam Sahitya Sabha
Award from Rotary International in 1976; and
at its 68th Open Session held at Sipajhar,
the Jawaharlal Nehru Merit Award,
Assam, India on 19 February 2005. Professor
Government of India in 1976. He was a Rahman has published 17 textbooks and
former member of the editorial board of research monographs and over 250 research
the Journal of Marketing Research. papers in refereed journals and proceedings.
His research Interests: Market segmentation Professor Rahman has been awarded the 2001
and competitive market structure analysis, Outstanding Academic Title Award for his

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 14


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

book Mathematical Methods with Applications EVENTS AND NEWS FROM NORTH
by the CHOICE Magazine, which is published EAST INDIA
by the Association of College and Research
Libraries in the USA. This book has been A supercomputing
chosen to be one of the “best of the best”' facility, PARAM
among the 23,000 books reviewed by Sheersh, for bio-
CHOICE in the year 2001. Professor Rahman informatics and
is currently Managing Editor of the computational
international series on Advances in Fluid biology was formally
Mechanics, published by WIT Press, UK, 50 inaugurated at the North Eastern Hill
volumes of which has been published since it University in Shillong on 5 January, 2009 was
was created by him in 1993. inaugurated by Prof M.G.K. Menon.
Research interests: in areas of waves and Developed by Pune-based Centre for
hydrodynamic loading, fluid-structure Development of Advanced Computing (C-
interaction, natural convection flows with DAC), the facility will take up in conducting
diffusion and reaction, stability of tubular research in strategic areas of Weather,
chemical flow reactors, temperature Seismic, Bio-informatics, Physics,
stratification in large bodies of water, and non- Computational Fluid Dynamics, Material
linear ocean waves. Sciences and Life Sciences. PARAM Sheersh
facility consists of 4 TF peak supercomputing
------------------//---------------------- power along with 10 TB High Performance
storage scratch space and 24 TB on-line
Do you know? storage.
Major portions of the habitat that live in (Source: UNI)
North-east India are tribes inhabit. An asteroid which was
discovered on November
• Arunachal Pradesh has 26 major tribes and
21, 2000 by the Lincoln
a number of sub tribes with their own patois
Laboratory Near Earth
and cultural identities.
Asteroid Research
• Nagaland has 16 major tribes along with (LINEAR) team in
other sub-tribes. Socorro, USA has been
named after Nandini Sarma as '23228
• Manipur has 29 tribes communities.
Nandinisarma' to honor her research. Nandini
• The major tribes in Mizoram are Lushais, Sarma who won the first place at the 2007
Hmar, Mara, Paite, Lai, Ralte. Intel International Science & Engineering Fair
for her Microbiology project. She is currently
•Tripura has a total of 19 tribes and all residing in US and has been conducting
tribes have their own festivals, rituals research to find solutions to common health
and customs. The Mog tribes of Tripura hazards and her prize-winning research
have come to inhabit the land in 957 AD focused on natural food preservatives. She has
proved that garlic can effectively replace
• Meghalaya tribes can mainly be classified
synthetic chemical preservatives.
into three groups - Garos, Khasis and Pnars
or Jaintias
December 27, 2008, another remarkable
• Assam, excluding the autonomous districts, day for the NE Region.
contains 9 major tribes. Former President APJ
Abdul Kalam
----------------//---------------- inaugurated the 16th
National Children
Science Congress at Dimapur, Nagaland.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 15


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

This event gives a unique opportunity to in high demand in India and abroad. He said
children from age group of 10 to 17 years to orchids are believed to have evolved in the
quench their thirst for scientific knowledge. region. “Of the 1,300 species belonging to 158
Around 600 child scientists and 200 teachers genera reported from India, the Northeast has
are expected to participate in the event, the highest concentration with nearly 700
besides 1,000 to 1,200 people. The theme of species of orchids.” Attention should be given
the mega event was ‘Planet Earth, Our Home: to conserve many vanishing species, like the
Explore, Care & Share’. 34 species of orchids from the region that are
listed among are should be in much priority.
The 96th Indian Science
He also mentioned the “sacred groves” of
Congress was held in NEHU,
Meghalaya — the community-preserved trees
Shillong from 3rd January
— and said this concept of local conservation
2009. Rich biodiversity,
tradition could be used to create a herbal bio-
disaster management and
valley.
traditional knowledge of the northeast was the
key issues for the congress. Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh inaugurated the congress The 21 January, 2009, the
which has been first time hosted in NE region. crying crow spread the sad news
The theme this year is "Science Education and that Mohinibala Rabha; wife of
Attraction of Talent for Excellence in ‘Kola Guru’, freedom fighter
Research". About 23 states participated with Bishnu Rabha, is no more with
over 200 students putting up more than 100 us. She was also a soldier of India’s freedom
stalls, representing states such as Uttarkhand, movement and finally she dedicated her entire
Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, life just serving for the social and cultural
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, as well improvement of our region without looking
as the NE states. In absence of former any personal benefit. Her lost has definitely
President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Professor created a never ending vacuum to our society.
M.G.K. Menon, who is also the Chancellor of
the NEHU, inaugurated the Children Science -----------//------------
Congress. Do you know?
Tibeto-Burman populations have derived from
M.S. Swaminathan, more than one common
father of India’s green source. The Adi and
revolution, put other Tibeto-Burman
forwarded the concept speaking populations of
for the region to adopt India are regionally well
to preserve its rich bio- differentiated and exhibit
diversity in his lecture on the second day of genetic affinity with the
the National Science Congress on the North neighbouring
Eastern Hill University (Nehu) campus. populations of East/Southeast Asia, based on
According to Swaminathan, “Evergreen their shared ethno-history – results reported
revolution would mean the need to carry out based on 15 autosomal microsatellite markers
organic agriculture, maintaining the ecology (STR) genetic evaluation study by Dr T.S.
of the Northeast,” explaining that every Vasulu and colleagues at the Indian Statistical
species of flora was precious and needed care. Institute on one of the remotely located tribal
“The Northeast is one of the 12 mega-bio cluster - the Adi, a Tibeto-Burman-speaking
diversity areas of the country and this itself tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
indicates the urgency of tapping the region’s (Source: http://esciencenews.com)
potential by the indigenous communities.” He
---------//------------
also called for tapping floriculture in the
Northeast, as the orchids and other flowers are

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 16


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

NORTH EAST INDIA RESEARCH Assistant Professor in Mechanical Eng. Dept.


FORUM MEMBERS IN NEWS, of Indian Institute of Technology-Patna,
AWARDS / FELLOWSHIP approximately in the first week of March,
RECEIVED BY MEMBERS 2009.

Dr. Biswajit Saha, a research a Research Dr. Binoy Kumar Saikia, presently in Tezpur
Scientist at Chembiotek Research University, Assam has given a offer from Saha
International Ltd., Kolkata, have received the Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata for a post
Humboldt fellowship for postdoctoral doctorate fellowship to work on protein
Research (2008-2009) in Germany and has crystallography.
joined as Guest Scientist (Humboldt
fellowship) in the Department of Organic Dr. Manabendra Sarma has joined as a
Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry, Chemnitz Senior Lecturer at Department of chemistry,
University of Technology, Chemnitz, IIT-Guwahati, in May 2008. After completing
Germany. He obtained his Ph.D in Chemistry his M.Sc from IIT-Guwahati in 2002 and he
from Central Drug Research Institute, has completed his PhD under the supervision
Lucknow, India of Prof. Manoj K. Mishra from IIT-Bombay.

Dr. Ankur Bordoloi has joined as Dr. Sahid Hussain has joined as Assistant
postdoctoral Fellow at Center for Catalysis Professor in IIT-Patna at Department of
Research and Innovation Chemistry in December 2008. He received his
Dept. of Chemistry, University of Ottawa, M.Sc. from Cotton College, and PhD from
Ontario, Canada. IIT-Guwahati under Prof. Mihir K Chaudhrui
in 2007 and then he worked for more than a
Mr. Satyanya Bharadwaj of IIT, Guwahati, a year at Nnanophotonics and Nanomedical Lab
PhD student under Prof. M.K. Chaudhury; in Pohang University of Science and
Mr. Sonit K Gogoi of IIT Guwahati, PhD Technology (POSTECH), Korea as a
student under Dr. Anumita Paul and Mr. postdoctoral fellow.
Subrato Das of Department of Chemical
Sciences, Central University, Tezpur, student Mahananda Chutia, has recently joined as a
of Dr. Ashim J Thakur have been selected as Scientist-B under Central Silk Board,
young scientists by the Indian Department of Bangalore and posted at Central Muga Eri
Science and Technology (DST) to attend the Research & Training Institute (CMER&TI),
59th Annual Meeting of the Nobel Laureates Lahdoigarh, Jorhat. After completing his
and students in Lindau, Germany. The group M.Sc. in Botany (Microbiology) from Gauhati
will visit Germany for two weeks, which University in 2003, he joined North East
included the Lindau-Meet and visits to various Institute of Science& Technology (NEIST),
premier German research institutions. Jorhat in a project and presently he also
pursuing his PhD in the Department of
Pranjal Saikia will be joining as a Post Biotechnology, Gauhati University.
Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department
of Chemical and Materials Engineering, -------//--------
University of Cincinnati, USA from 1st
February, 2009. He has completed his doctoral
“When people go to work, they shouldn't have
thesis work under the supervision of Dr. B M
to leave their hearts at home”.
Reddy, Deputy Director, IICT Hyderabad.
-- Betty Bender
Dr. Manabendra Pathak, presently working
-------//------
as a Postdoctoral fellow in Technion-Israel
Institute of Technology, Israel; will join as

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 17


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

GUEST COLUMN environment etc. (Bacon et al., 2000; Strobel


Bioactive secondary metabolites from & Daisy, 2003).
selected plants and their endophytic Each of the 3,00,000 plant species on
microorganisms:Problems and Prospects earth is host to one or more endophytes-
bacteria, fungi, and actinobacteria (Strobel &
Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam Daisy, 2003). A rough estimate says there may
Preamble be more than 1 million endophytic spp., but
Endophytes are microorganisms that
only a handful of them have been
colonize the interior of healthy plants without
characterized so far (Petrini, 1991). This calls
causing any discernible disease symptoms to for renewed research efforts on endophytes all
their host. They can be isolated from plant over the world.
tissues using strict surface sterilization
Because of their versatility, endophytic
methods (Schultz et al., 1993; Zhi-Qi et al.,
microorganisms have been appropriately
2006) .Compared to rhizosphere microbes,
called ‘chemical factories’ inside the plants
endophytes have a more intimate relationship (Owen & Hundley, 2004).
with the host plants. Endophytes, of late, have
been shown to produce diverse secondary What are endophytes?
metabolites including cytotoxic and anticancer The term endophyte (Gr. Endon, within;
compounds. phyton, plant) was first coined by de Bary (de
Secondary metabolite: definition Bary, 1866) and has become deeply embedded
Secondary metabolites, sometimes in the literature since then (Rai et al., 2007).
referred to as also as natural products, are Kado (1992) defined endophytes as,
products of metabolism in plants, animals, and “bacteria that reside within living plant tissues
microorganisms that are not essential for without doing substantive harm or gaining
normal growth, development, or reproduction benefit other than securing residence”. Quispel
of the organism, i.e. these are metabolites that (1992) considered endophytes as, “bacteria
are ‘secondary’ to these normal life processes. that establish an endosymbiotic relationship
However it is increasingly becoming a with the plant, whereby the plant receives an
debatable issue whether they are not ecological benefit from the presence of the
absolutely essential or, at lest, not conferring symbionts, such as increased stress tolerance
any benefits whatsoever to the host or plant growth promotion. According to
organism(s) producing them. One can only say Hallman et al. (1977) defined an endophyte as,
that they are less essential to the normal “any bacterium that does not visibly harm the
functioning of the organism as compared to plant and can be isolated from surface-
‘primary metabolites’ such as acetyl CoA or disinfected plant tissue or extracted from
other products generated during glycolysis or inside the plant”. This definition includes
TCA cycle etc. Most bioactive compounds internal colonies-neutral as well as
from plants or microbes are secondary symbionts”.
metabolites.
The definition of an endophyte has
Need for novel bioactive metabolites evolved over time (Conn & Franco, 2004); the
Worldwide people are threatened with most precise definition is, “fungi or bacteria,
new diseases such as cancer, AIDS, SARS, which for all or part of their life cycle, invade
Bird Flu, Chikangunya etc. associated with the tissues of living plants and cause
increasing environmental degradation, climate unapparent and asymptomatic infections
change, global warming and biodiversity entirely within plant tissues, but cause no
erosion (Guo et al., 2008). Hence there is symptoms of disease (Wilson, 1995).
imperative need for discovery of novel The question remains, however, whether
bioactive compounds. Endophytes are endophytes must be considered symbionts,
promising sources of novel natural products commensals, mutualists, or mild pathogens.
for use in medicine, agriculture, industry, and

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Historical background ¾ Plants growing in biodiversity hotspots or


One of the earliest publications on an in unique endemic locations.
endophytic fungus was by Freeman (1904), Plants in unique environments are more likely
referring to four other papers on endophytes to host endophytes which can generate
published in 1898. Freeman found the secondary metabolites that will assist the
endophytic fungus in Persian darnel (annual planet’s survival and healthy growth. The
grass). Grasses with high endophyte content promising biotopes for exploring endophytes
are often resistant to attack by certain are:
herbivores or insects. • Tropical forests
Endophytes have then been isolated from • Arid lands
several trees and horticultural plants, e.g. • Marine coral environments
apple and kiwifruit. They have since then been Endophytes from tropical regions produce
found in virtually all plant species studied significantly more bioactive secondary
including medicinal plants. metabolites than those from temperate parts of
Other than bacterial pathogens, there is the world (Shimizu et al., 2000)
no evidence that endophytic bacteria show the It is to be expected that even plants growing in
same host specificity, though several fungal cultivated gardens host endophytes.
endophytes have been shown to exhibit host
specificity, e.g. fescue and ryegrass Endophytic Microorganisms:
endophytes. The major groups of endophytic microbes are:
The first actinobacterial endophyte A. Fungi
isolate was Frankia, which is N-fixing B. Bacteria
actinobacterium that forms actinorhizae with 8 C. Actinomycetes
families of angiosperms (Provorov et al., Some actinobacterial endophytes reported in
2002). the literature and their host plants are shown in
Strobel (Fig 1) et al. at Montana State Table 1.
University, USA has work intensively on Bioactive metabolites:
endophytes esp. fungi and explore them in Endophytic microorganisms have been shown
several tropical rainforests. According to him, to elaborate a plethora of bioactive
rainforests are the most promising sources of metabolites. They exhibit antimicrobial,
endophytes. He has isolated several novel antiviral, herbicidal, plant growth promoting,
endophytic microbes producing bioactive biocontrol, antimalarial, anticancer, and
compounds such as antibiotics. various activities. Some major categories of
bioactive metabolites produce by endophytic
microbes are as follows:
• Antibacterial antibiotics
• Antifungal agents
• Antiviral compounds
• Antimalarial agents
• Herbicidal compounds
• Phytohormones
• Cytotoxic compounds
Anticancer and cytotoxic agents from
endophytes:
Fig. 1 Gary
Promising screening targets: which plants Several endophytic microbes have
are promising? recently been shown to be a promising source
¾ Plants in unique environments of anticancer agents. Though fungal
¾ Plants with extreme longevity endophytes have been the predominant source
¾ Plants with ethnobotanical history earlier, actinomycete endophytes have recently

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 19


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

become a prolific source of antitumor and (Conn & Franco, 2004) whereas
cytotoxic compounds. Table 2 lists some Streptomyces, Microbispora, Micromonospora
prominent anticancer metabolite-producing and Nocardioides were found as dominant
endophytic actinomycetes and their host endophytic genera in cultivation-based
plants. approaches (Conn & Franco, 2004). An
Besides cytotoxic compounds, endophytic-host Snake vine (Kennedia
endophytic actinomycetes have proved to be nigriscans) is shown is Fig.2 and an
versatile producers of a variety of secondary endophytic Streptomyces sp is shown on Fig.
metabolites including antifungal, antimalarial, 3.
and antibacterial agents.
Some biotechnologically significant
bioactive metabolites elaborated by
actinomycete endophytes that have been
reported recently are shown in Table 3.
Predominant endophytic actinomycetes:
Conn & Franco (2003) isolated
actinobacteria from surface-sterilized wheat
roots. The major actinobacaterial genera based
on cultivation methods were Streptomyces,
Microbispora, Micromonospora, and
Nocardioides. Many of these isolates were Fig. 2 Snake vine (Kennedia nigriscans)
active against R. solani, Pythium spp., and G.
graminis var. tritici (In vivo and in planta;
Coombs et al., 2004)
Dominant genera found, based on T-RFLP
patterns were:
• Mycobacterium, Rhodococcus,
Streptomyces, Nocardia and and
Geodermatophilus in plants from Swedes
flat soil
• Streptomyces, Arthrobacter, Kineococcus-
like isolates, Amycolatopsis, Nocardia in
plants from Red loamy soil Fig.3 Streptomyces sp.
• Kitasatospora and Mycobacterium in plants
from West flat soil Applications of endophytes:
Actinomycetes identified as endophytes Besides producing antimicrobial,
are Arthrobacter, Kitasatospora, antimalarial, and anticancer agents,
Micromonospora, Microbispora, Nocardia, endophytic microbes especially fungal strains
Nocardioides, Streptomyces and tsukamurella have also been recently considered as potential
(Araujo et al., 2002 from citrus; Coombs & biological fumigants of fresh fruit. Muscodor
Franko, 2003 from wheat; Doumbon et al., albus (fungal endophyte, Fig.4) volatiles
2001 from potato; Garveva et al., 2001 inhibited and killed a wide range of storage
(potato); Sturz et al., 1999 (potato). pathogens-Bortrytis, Colletotrichum,
Streptomyces is a ubiquitous endophyte Geotrichum, Monilinia, and Rhizopus. Since
and have been found in Ficus, Dieffenbachia, M. albus is a sterile mycelium and does not
Allium porrum, Brassica oteracera and require direct contact with the crops to be
Quercus sp. (Sardi et al., 1992). treated, it could be an attractive biological
The predominant actinobacterial genus fumigant for controlling post-harvest diseases
based on molecular methods was (Mercier & Jimenez, 2004).
Mycobacterium followed by Streptomyces

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 20


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Dept. of Biochemistry, MU has already


initiated isolation of rare endophytic
actinomycetes from endemic plants including
medicinal plants in Manipur. Work on
endophytes of Leibaak kundo and Damdawi
plant have already begun. Several interesting
actinomycetes strains isolated & bioactivity
assay is being undertaken. Endophytic
actinomycetes from bamboo leaves and other
promising plants in Manipur are our next
Fig.4 Muscodor albus target.
Conclusion What is to be done?
Endophytes are a poorly investigated Multi-step processes are now needed to
group of microorganisms that represent an secure information and life-forms before they
abundant and dependable source of bioactive continue to be lost. Areas of our planet that are
and chemically novel compounds with unique places housing biodiversity need
potential for use in diverse medical, immediate conservation. Biodiversity-rich
agricultural, and industrial applications regions and areas such as North Eastern India
(Strobel et al., 2005). The mechanisms of and Manipur need to establish information
endophyte function must be better understood bases of their biodiversity and at the same
to be more predictive about which higher time begin to make regional and area-specific
plants to seek, study, and spend time isolating collection centres of medicinal plants and
bioactive compounds. This may facilitate the microorganisms (including endophytes) that
product discovery process. live within these areas.
Although work on the utilization of this Endophytes are only one example of a
vast resource of poorly understood microbes life form that holds enormous promise to
has just begun, it has already become obvious impact many areas of human existence. The
that an enormous potential for organism, problem of the loss of biodiversity should be
product, and utilitarian discovery in this field one of concern to the entire world (Strobel et
holds exciting possibilities. al., 2005).
One of the major problems facing the References (only selected one are listed
future of endophyte biology and natural here):
product discovery is the rapidly diminishing • Araujo, W.L., Maccheroni, W., Aguilar-
rainforests and other forested areas which hold Vildosa, C.L., Barrosa, P.A.V., Saridakis,
the greatest possible resource for acquiring H.O., and Azevedo, J.L. (2001). Variability
novel microorganisms and their products. The and interactions between endophytic
total land-mass of the world that currently bacte4ria and fungi isolated from leaf tissues
supports rainforests is about the size of USA of citrus rootstocks. Can. J. Microbiol. 47:
(Mittermeier et al., 1999). Each year, an area 229-236.
the size of Vermont or more is lost to • Conn, V.M. and Franco, C.M.M. (2004).
anthropogenic activities. Effect of microbial inoculants on the
As entire plant species disappears, few indigenous actinobacterial endophyte
bother about the consequent loss of microbial population in the roots of wheat as
diversity. When a plant species disappears, so determined by terminal restriction fragment
too does its entire suite of associated length polymorphism. Appl. Environ.
endophytes. Microbiol., 70: 6407-6413.
Introduction of endophyte research at • Coombs, J.T., Michelsen P.P., and Franco
Manipur University (MU) C.M.M. (2004). Evaluation of endophytic
The research group at Molecular actinobacteria as antagonists of
Biotechnology Research Laboratory (MBRL),

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Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici in Table 1: Bacterial endophytes & their host plants
wheat. Biol. Control. 29: 257-268.
Endophytes Host plant Reference
• Hallmann, J., Quadt-Hallmann, A., Actinobacteria
Mahaffee, W.F., and Kloepper, J.W. (1997). Arthrobacter Maize Chelius & Triplett,
Bacterial endophytes in agricultural crops. globiformis 2000a
Canadian J. Microbiol. 43: 895-914. Curtobacterium Citrus plants Araujo et al., 2002
• Kado, C.I. (1992). Plant pathogenic bacteria. flaccumfaciens
In: The Prokaryotes. pp. 660-662. Ballows, Kocuria varians Marigold Sturz &
A., Truper, G.G., Dworkin, M., Harder, W., Kimpinski, 2004
and Schleifer, K.-H., Eds., Springer-Verleg, Microbacterium Marigold Sturz &
New York. esteraromaticum Kimpinski, 2004
Microbacterium Maize Zinniel et al.,
• Mano, H., Tanaka, F., Nakamura, C., Kaga,
testaceum 2002
H., and Morisaki, H. (2007). Culturable
Mycobacterium Wheat, scots Conn & Franco,
endophytic bacterial flora of the maturing sp. pine 2004; Prittila et
leaves and roots of rice plants (Oryza sativa) al., 2002
cultivated in a paddy field. Microbes Nocardia sp Citrus plants Araujo et al., 2002
Environ. 22: 175-185. Streptomyces Wheat Coombs &
• Mano, H., Tanaka, F., Watanabe, A., Kaga, (sp) Franco, 2003a
H., Okunishi, S., and Morisaki, H. (2006). Nocardioides Lichen Li et al., 2007
Culturable surface and endophytic bacterial exalbibidus
flora of the maturing seeds of rice plants Curtobacterium Rice (seed) Mano et al., 2006
(Oryza sativa) cultivated in a paddy field. sp.
Microbes Environ. 21: 86-100. Micrococcus Rice (seed) Mano et al., 2006
luteus
• Quispel, A. (1992). A search for signals in
Curtobacterium Rice (leaf) Mano et al., 2007
endophytic microorganisms. In: Molecular sp.
Signals in Plant-Microbe Communications. Streptomyces sp. Rice (leaf) Mano et al., 2007
pp. 471-490. Verma, D.P.S., Eds. CRC Press, Mycobacterium Rice (root) Mano et al., 2007
Boca Raton, FL. petroleophilum
• Shimizu, M., Nakagawa, Y., Sato, Y., Micrococcus Rice (root) Mano et al., 2007
Furumai, T., Igarashi, Y., Onaka, H., luteus
Yoshida, R., and Kunoh, H. (2000). Studies Streptomyces , Cereal plants Coombs et al.,
on endophytic actinomycetes (1). microbispora, 2004
Streptomyces sp. isolated from rhododendron micromonospora
and its antifungal activity. J. Gen. Plant nocardiodes
Micromonospora Lupin Igarashi et al.,
Pathol. 66: 360-366.
lupini 2007
• Strobel, G., Daisy, B., and Castillo, U. Streptomyces sp. Ficus Tuntiwachwuttikul
(2005). The biological promise of microbial SUCA benjamina et al., 2008
endophytes and theirs natural products. Plant Streptomyces Ricinus Kim et al., 2006
Pathol. J. 4: 161-176. strain MS53 communis
• Strobel, G., & Daisy, B. (2003). Actinoplanes Lupin El-Tarabily ,2003
Bioprospecting for Microbial Endophytes missouriensis
and Their Natural Products. Microbiol. Mol. Streptomyces Tobacco Lukic et al., 1972
Biol. Rev. 67: 491-502. albus
• Zhi-Qi, Q., Li-Xiang, C., Hong-Ming, T., and Corynebacterium Jacaranda Carrim et al., 2006
spp decurrenes
Shi-Ning, Z. (2006). Isolation and
Actinomycesc sp Jacaranda Carrim et al., 2006
characterization of endophytic Streptomyces
decurrenes
sp. S5 with herbicidal activity from tomato Streptomyces sp Aegiceras Lin et al., 2005
roots. Chinese J. Agricul. Biotechnol. 3: 7- comiculatum
12. Streptomyces sp Rhododendron Shimizu et al.,
R5 2000

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Table 2: Anticancer compounds from endophytic actinomycetes:

Plant Target/Mode
Endophyte Host Metabolite Activity Reference
part of action
Kitasatospora
sp. str. P&U Taxus baccata --- Paclitaxel Cytotoxic --- Caruso et al., 2000
22869
Nonomuraea
Miyanaga et al.,
pusilla TP- Soybean Root Myxochelin A Antitumor ---
2006
A0861
Actinosynnema Ansamitocinoside
--- --- Cytotoxic --- Lu et al., 2004
pretiosum P-2
Cytotoxic
Dinactin, nonactin,
(and Anti-S.
Streptomyces sp. Maytenus cyclononactic and
Seed aureus and --- Zhao et al., 2005
ls9131 hookeri cyclohomononactic
M.
acids
tuberculosis)
Streptomyces
thermoviolaceus --- --- Anicemycin Cytotoxic --- ---
TP-A0648
Higashide et al.,
Nocardia sp. --- --- Ansamitocin Anticancer
1977
Streptomyces Ricinus
Stem Salaceyins A & B Antitumor --- Kim et al., 2006
laceyi M553 communis L.
Cytotoxic
Streptomyces sp. Root
Alnus glutinosa Alnumycin (and --- Bieber et al., 1997
DSM 11575 nodule
antibacterial)
Lupinacidins A &
Micromonospora Igarashi et al.,
--- --- B --- ---
lupine sp. nov. 2007
(Anthraquinones)
Anticancer
Streptomyces sp. Ficus Aerial Tuntiwachwuttikul
Lansai A-D (and ---
SUC1 benjaminica roots et al., 2008)
antifungal)
Streptomyces Tachowisan et al.,
Zingiber
aureofaciens Root 4-Arylcoumarins Anticancer --- 2007, 2003a,
officinale
CMUAc130 2003b
HL-60,
Salicornia
Streptomyces sp. Novel BCTC-823, Huang et al., 2006
herbacea(marine --- Cytotoxic
FX-58 anthraquinone MDA-MB-
plant, China)
435
Streptomyces sp. New chromone and
--- --- cytotoxic --- -do-
Fx-58 anthraquinone
Micromonospora Igarashi et al.,
--- --- Anthraquinone Anticancer ---
lupine sp. nov. 2007

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Table 3: Bioactive metabolites from selected endophytic actinomycetes of some medicinal plants
Endophyte Host Metabolite Activity Reference
Caruso et al.,
Kitasatospora sp. Taxus baccata Paclitaxel Cytotoxic
2000
Streptomyces sp. Antibiotic and Castillo et al.,
Snake vine Munumbicins
NRRL 30562 Antimalarial 2002
Streptomyces sp. Grevillea Castillo et al.,
Kakadumicins Antibiotic
NRRL 30566 pteridifolia 2003
Antifungal and
Streptomyces sp. Monstera sp. Coronamycin Ezra et al., 2004
antimalarial
Streptomyces Zingiber Taechowisan et
4-arylcoumarins Cytotoxic
aureofaciens officinale al., 2003
Streptomyces sp Maytenus Dinactin, Antibacterial and
Zhao et al., 2005
ls 9131 hookeri nonactin etc. antitumour
Aremu et al.,
Allium
Streptomyces sp Fistupyrone Antifungal 2003; Igarashi et
fistulosum
al., 2006
About the author: The three male dogs fall all over themselves
in an effort to be the one to reach her first,
but arrived in front of her at the same time.
The males are speechless before her beauty,
slobbering on themselves and hoping for just
a glance from her in return.
Aware of her charms and her obvious effect
Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam from on the three suitors, she decides to be kind
Manipur, did his B.Sc (1982) from NEHU, and tells them, "The first one who can use
Shillong, M.Sc (1985) from Jawaharlal the words 'liver' and 'cheese' together in an
Nahru University, Delhi. Then he did his imaginative, intelligent sentence can go out
PhD from Nagpur University in the year with me."
1999. He is at present serving as the head of The sturdy, muscular black Lab speaks up
the department of Bichemistry, Manipur quickly and says, "I love liver and cheese."
University, Imphal. His area of research "Oh, how childish," said the Poodle. "That
includes, Microbial degradation of shows no imagination or intelligence
nitroaromatic compounds, microbial whatsoever."
diversity of soil actinomycetes in Manipur, She turns to the tall, shiny Golden Retriever
exploration of PGP bacteria in Manipur. He and says "How well can you do?"
has written several book chapters apart from "Um. I HATE liver and cheese," blurts the
peer reviewed publications. He is also Golden Retriever.
actively involved in many projects for "My, my," said the Poodle. "I guess it's
popularizing science in the hilly state of hopeless. That's just as dumb as the Lab's
Manipur. He writes regularly in the sentence."
newspaper and internet and can be seen in She then turns to the last of the three dogs
the TV channels frequently. and says, "How about you, little guy?"
-----------//----------- The last, tiny in stature but big in fame and
Melody: finesse, is the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
Three handsome male dogs are He gives her a smile, a sly wink, turns to the
walking down the street when they Golden Retriever and the Lab and says....
see a beautiful, enticing, female Liver alone. Cheese mine. (Collection)
Poodle. -------------//-----------

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 24


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

ARTICLE professional instructions and educational


opportunities for students. All these require
The World Class Universities and
outstanding faculty, high quality teaching
Rankings
and other instructional activities as well as
-Dr. Abdul Wahab
highly prepared and motivated students.
Introduction
These necessitate a vibrant internal self-
These days the term “World Class” is
governance system. World class universities
widely used in the discussions regarding the
produce students who will go on to be
status of academic institutions or
leaders in all walks of life. Academic
infrastructure. With rapid industrialization
freedom and an atmosphere of intellectual
many developing nations are wishing or
excitement are crucial to a world class
investing to establish world class
university. This means that professors and
universities towards the aspiration of
students must be free to pursue knowledge
societal and educational excellence. India is
wherever it leads and to publish their work
not an exception because in the modern
freely without fear of sanction by either
world, universities are the key elements in
academic of external authority. In many
driving economic development and in facing
countries, academic freedom also extends to
the challenges of global competition. But,
expression of opinions by members of the
what does it mean to be a World Class
academic community on social and political
University? What makes a university world
issues.
class? What are the criteria for the world
(b) Excellence in research underpins the idea
ranking of universities? The dictionary
of a world class university. That is, world
defines world class as "ranking among the
class universities engage in cutting-edge
foremost in the world; of an international
research whilst at the same time teaching the
standard of excellence." The concept of a
next generation. Much of the talk about
world class university loosely reflects the
world class universities centers around the
norms and values of the world’s dominant
production of exciting discoveries and
research-oriented academic institutions –
contributions to the economy and to human
especially the United States and the major
enrichment through the development of
Western European countries.
cultural knowledge. So, for making
Major factors of World Class Universities outstanding research possible, top-quality
There is no absolute set of performance professors and students are, of course,
criteria or benchmarks for world class central. And to attract and retain the best
universities. However, there is wide academic staff, favorable working
agreement on four major factors which are conditions must be available. These include
central to a world class university. Those are arrangements for job security – many
(a) academic excellence and freedom, (b) countries call it tenure – and appropriate
research, development and dissemination of salaries and benefits.
knowledge, (c) permeable academic (c) World class universities have permeable
boundaries, and (d) adequate funding and boundaries. This means encouraging
facilities. interdisciplinary research and teaching; it
(a) A world class university must show means working with the private sector, for
commitment to breadth and excellence in all example, fostering and encouraging
fields of human inquiry – education – not partnerships with industry; and it means
simply in a particular branch or faculty. Of encouraging international collaboration at
course, uniform excellence across all fields various levels. World class universities look
of study is an ideal that no university outward, and think beyond conventional
achieves in practice, but it is a prerequisite boundaries. World class universities educate
ambition. The excellence in education is students more and more of whom will go on
directly linked to the resources and to live and work in a range of cultures and
organization of undergraduate, graduate, and societies. They must be well equipped for

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

life both from what is taught and from the by the Cybermetrics Lab, a unit of the
other experiences or exposures offered to National Research Council, the main public
them. research body in Spain. It is offering
(d) Adequate facilities for academic work information about 4,000 universities since
are essential – the most advanced and 2004 according to their web-presence over a
creative research and the most innovative database of 16,000 universities worldwide.
teaching must have access to well equipped Institutions from developing countries
libraries and laboratories as well as to the benefit from this policy as they obtain
Internet and other electronic resources. At knowledge of their current position even if
the same time, adequate funding must be they are not world class (eg, the latest world
available to support the research and ranking of IIT-Guwahati is 3,770). (e) The
teaching as well as the other functions of the École nationale supérieure des mines de
university. Maintaining a complex academic Paris established the Professional Ranking
institution is always expensive and so of world universities in 2007 to measure the
support must be consistent and for long- efficiency of each university on a
term. The cost of maintaining a research professional basis. Its main compilation
university continues to grow because of the criterion is the number of Chief Executive
increasing complexity and cost of scientific Officers in the "500 leading worldwide
research. Although research universities companies" as measured by revenue who
have the ability to generate significant funds studied in each university.
through a variety of means, but there is no Among these rankings of universities,
substitute for consistent and substantial two main studies and in fact much
public financial support. Without it, publicized and referred are the Academic
developing and sustaining a world class Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai
university is impossible. Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and the World
University Rankings by Times Higher
International Ranking of Universities
Education (THE-QS).
Several organizations provide
worldwide rankings of universities based on 1. The Academic Ranking of World
a range of academic and associated Universities by SJTU
benchmarks. Some of these are: (a) The The Academic Ranking of World
Academic Ranking of World Universities by Universities is compiled by the Institute of
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is a Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong
major Chinese project to provide University starting from 2003. Table 1
independent rankings of universities around shows the latest 20 top-ranked universities
the world primarily to measure the gap along with two ranked Indian universities.
between Chinese and world class Rankings are based upon several indicators
universities. (b) The Times Higher of academic and research performance. For
Education, a British publication which in each indicator, the highest scoring institution
association with Quacquarelli Symonds is assigned a score of 100, and other
(THE-QS), annually publishes a list of 200 institutions are calculated as a percentage of
top-ranked universities from around the the top score. The distribution of data for
world. (c) The Newsweek magazine of each indicator is examined for any
United States published a ranking of the Top significant distorting effect; and standard
100 Global Universities in 2006, utilizing statistical techniques are used to adjust the
some selected criteria from the Academic indicator if necessary. Scores for each
Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai indicator are weighted as follows: alumni
Jiao Tong University and The Times Higher winning Nobel Prizes and Field Medals
Education as well as the additional criteria (10 percent) which reflect education
of library holdings. (d) The Webometrics quality; staff winning Nobel Prizes and
Ranking of world universities is compiled Fields Medals (20 percent) and highly-cited

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Table 1: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2008 by SJTU


World Institution Country National Score Score Score Score Score Score Total
rank rank on on on on on on score
alumni award HiCi N&S PUB PCP
1 Harvard Univ US 1 100 100 100 100 100 74.1 100
2 Stanford Univ US 2 40 78.7 86.6 68.9 71.6 66.9 73.7
3 Univ US 3 69 77.1 68.8 70.6 70 53 71.4
California-
Berkeley
4 Univ UK 1 90.3 91.5 53.6 56 64.1 65 70.4
Cambridge
5 Massachusetts US 4 71 80.6 65.6 68.7 61.6 53.9 69.6
Inst Tech
6 California US 5 52.8 69.1 57.4 66.1 49.7 100 65.4
Inst Tech
7 Columbia US 6 72.4 65.7 56.5 52.3 70.5 46.6 62.5
Univ
8 Princeton US 7 59.3 80.4 61.9 40.5 44.8 59.3 58.9
Univ
9 Univ Chicago US 8 67.4 81.9 50.5 39.5 51.9 41.3 57.1
10 Univ Oxford UK 2 59 57.9 48.4 52 66 45.7 56.8
11 Yale Univ US 9 48.5 43.6 57 55.7 62.4 48.7 54.9
12 Cornell Univ US 10 41.5 51.3 54.1 52.3 64.7 40.4 54.1
13 Univ US 11 24.4 42.8 57.4 48.9 75.7 36 52.4
California-
Los Angeles
14 Univ US 12 15.8 34 59.7 53 66.7 47.4 50.3
California-
San Diego
15 Univ US 13 31.7 34.4 58.3 41.3 69 39.2 49.0
Pennsylvania
16 Univ US 14 25.7 31.8 53.1 49.5 74.1 28 48.3
Washington-
Seattle
17 Univ US 15 38.4 35.5 52.6 41.2 68.1 28.8 47.4
Wisconsin-
Madision
18 Univ US 16 0 36.8 54.1 51.5 60.8 47.5 46.6
California-
San Francisco
19 Tokyo Univ Japan 1 32.2 14.1 43.1 51.9 83.3 35 46.4
20 Johns US 17 45.8 27.8 43.1 48.7 68.5 24.8 45.5
Hopkins Univ
303- IISc- India 1-2 0 0 12.6 8.2 33 16.7
401 Bangalore
303- IIT- India 1-2 0 0 10.3 4.8 28.8 14.3
401 Kharagpur

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researchers in 21 broad subject categories student ratios, number of students and staff
(20 percent) which measure quality of from abroad, and views of international
faculty; articles published in Nature and employers on which universities they prefer
Science (20 percent) and article indexed in to recruit from.
Science Citation Index, Social Sciences
Discussion and conclusion
Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities
If one compares the two latest rankings
Citation Index (20 percent) to account
of universities (2008), the Harvard
research output; and the per capita academic
University is ranked unanimously as the top
performance (on the indicators above) of an
by both – finds some reliability apparently.
institution (10 percent). An institution's rank
Cambridge is within the top 4 in both
reflects the number of institutions that sit
rankings. California Institute of Technology
above it.
is in the top 6 in both rankings.
2. The World University Rankings by Massachusetts, Oxford, Columbia and
THE-QS Chicago are all in the top 10. University of
The THE-QS World University Tokyo is ranked 19 by both studies.
Rankings is an annual publication that ranks Although 14 universities are listed in the top
the "Top 200 World Universities" to present 20 according to both rankings, there are
a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths some large disparities between the two
of the world's leading universities. They surveys. Stanford University, for instance, is
have been running since 2004 identifying ranked number two by the SJTU ranking,
four pillars as the basis for evaluation like but placed at seventeen by the THE-QS
research quality, teaching quality, graduate ranking. Another example is the University
employability and international outlook. of Yale, ranked number 11 by the SJTU,
Accordingly the overall rankings are while THE-QS ranked it next to Harvard.
compiled based on the scores obtained from There are five Californian universities
six distinct indicators (by their weightings): ranked within 20 by the SJTU but no
Academic Peer Review (40 percent), Californians are there within or near 20 in
Employer Review (10 percent), Faculty THE-QS ranking except California Institute
Student Ratio (20 percent), Citations per of Technology.
Faculty (20 percent), International Faculty According to SJTU rankings, 17 of the
(5 percent), and International Students (5 20 top-ranked universities are in the US, 2
percent). Table 2 shows the latest 20 top- are in the UK, and 1 from Japan. No Indian
ranked universities along with two ranked institution appeared within 300; nevertheless
Indian institutions. The current ranking two institutions (IISc-Bangalore and IIT-
(2008) was based on a survey of 6,354 Kharagpur) are ranked at 303-401 range.
academics from across the world for the While according to the THE-QS ranking, the
academic peer review score. Weightings are top 20 universities are in 5 countries, 13 of
applied both geographically and by them from US. All the 200 top universities
discipline to ensure as fair a representative are in 33 countries including India, and IIT-
spread as possible. The number of principal Delhi and IIT-Bombay are ranked at 154 and
academic areas represented included 174, respectively, although they could not
science, technology, social science, make a place in the top 500 universities
biomedicine, and arts, approximately, ranked by SJTU. Thus, it is quite clear that
equally represented in the survey. with the exception of the reputational
Furthermore, data were supplemented by rankings of the top 10-12 institutions, there
opinions from the previous year to increase is relatively wide disagreement on the status
the consistency and reliability. These are of other institutions.
combined with a series of measures People speculate that the definition of a
including the number of times that research world class university is subjective. The
papers are cited by academics, staff-to- subjective nature of world class status means

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 28


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Table 2: World University Rankings 2008 by THE-QS

Rank Institution Country Peer Employer Staff/student Citations/staff International International Overall
review review score score staff score student score
score score score
1 Harvard Univ US 100 100 96 100 87 81 100
2 Yale Univ US 100 100 100 98 89 71 99.8
Univ
3 UK 100 100 99 89 98 95 99.5
Cambridge
4 Univ Oxford UK 100 100 100 85 96 96 98.9
California
5 US 100 74 98 100 100 93 98.6
Inst Tech
Imperial
6 College UK 99 100 100 83 98 100 98.4
London
Univ College
7 UK 96 99 100 89 96 100 98.1
London
8 Univ Chicago US 100 99 98 91 78 83 98.0
Massachusetts
9 US 100 100 90 100 33 94 96.7
Inst Tech
Columbia
10 US 100 99 98 94 29 89 96.3
Univ
Univ
11 US 97 98 88 99 83 79 96.1
Pennsylvania
Princeton
12 US 100 98 75 100 91 82 95.7
Univ
13 Duke Univ US 97 98 100 94 30 66 94.4
Johns
13 US 99 78 100 100 30 68 94.4
Hopkins Univ
15 Cornell Univ US 100 99 90 96 28 76 94.3
Australian
16 Australia 100 93 82 74 99 91 92.0
National Univ
17 Stanford Univ US 100 100 67 100 26 87 91.2
Univ
18 US 99 99 85 84 59 51 91.0
Michigan
19 Univ Tokyo Japan 100 94 98 78 27 40 90.0
20 McGill Univ Canada 100 97 99 51 62 95 89.7.
154 IIT Delhi India 64 84 69 47 16 14 60.1
174 IIT Bombay India 74 76 44 43 23 13 57.6

that institutions will attempt to address those universities have received great attention.
dimensions that are considered in assessing They present a picture of the leading higher
reputations and that are visible. In this institutions around the world and provide
respect, research activity, publications, guidance for universities that are striving to
citations, and major faculty awards are improve their education quality under the
highly visible and measurable while the competition of globalization.
quality of the educational process is not.
References
Thus, it is not surprising to see a focus on
• Altbach, P.G. “A World-Class Country
research criteria in the surveys and in the
without World-Class Higher Education:
efforts of institutions to promote their
India's 21st Century Dilemma”
importance and little or no attempt to
International Higher Education, Summer
measure and assess teaching quality or
2005.
educational activities. However, despite the
technical and methodological problems and • Altbach, P.G. “The costs and benefits of
limitations of the ranking systems, these world-class universities”, International
web-published academic rankings of world Higher Education, Fall 2003.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 29


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

• Levin, H.M.; Jeong, D.W.; and Ou, D. Flora of Arunachal Pradesh and its
“What is a world class university?” conservation: An overview
Presented at the conference of the - Chandan Tamuly
Comparative & International Education Introduction:
Society, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 2006. Arunachal Pradesh is known as one of
• Richard, A. “What makes a world class the 18th “Biodiversity Hotspot” of the
university?” The Economic Times, January world, having a geographical area of 83,743
2008. sq km and population of 10,97,968 (census
• www.arwu.org/; www.en.wikipedia.org/; 2001), the state has been the traditional
www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/; habitat of tribal people of Paleo-Mongoloid
www.webometrics.info/ stock, speaking mostly the Tibeto-Burman
group of Sino-Tibetan language. The state is
About the author: sparsely populated and is both biologically
and ethically diverse. The state is situated on
the extreme northeastern tip of India
between lat 26·28' to 29·30' N and long
91·31' to 97·30' E. Total 51,540 sq km is
Dr. Abdul Wahab completed his Ph.D covered by the forest in the state.
from RRL, Jorhat, Assam, then joined IISc, Arunachal Pradesh represent as “Cradle
Bangalore as Post doctoral fellow and of flowering plants” and “Biogeographical
presently pursuing his second postdoctoral gateway” of biological resources. The
research in J. Heyrovsky Institute of phytogeographical position, irregular and
Physical Chemistry,Academy of Sciences of soil have resulted in the formation of various
the Czech Republic, Prague. ecological diversity which has influenced
(email: awahab22@yahoo.com) the rich and fascinating vegetation of the
----------------------//----------------------- state.
Background:
A tribute to the legends: The History of evaluation of the Flora
Ambikagiri Raichowdhary pointed out the ill of the state was quite old. The European
of modern society through his poem “Moi Botanist and Explorer visited the area from
biplovi, moi tandavi” : early 19th century (Buchanan-Hamilton,
Lust for status and power, 1820; Roxburgh, 1820-24; Griffith, 1847;
Has swallowed out man’s humanity, Soul’s Hooker, 1854, 1872-1897; Hooker &
hunger has been Thomson, 1855; Clarke, 1889; Burkill,
trampled under feet, 1924-25, 1965; Kingdom Ward, 1929, 1960
Sex impulses have been exalted, etc.). In 20th century some of the important
They have maddened me. document/report/ books/journal were
published on this issue. These are Botany of
-------- Abor Expendition by I.H. Burkill (1924-25),
Bloodshed everywhere, everyday we are at Botanical Expendition of Mishmi Hills by
the door step to forget about the humanity, Kingdom Ward (1929-1931), A Sketch of
lets feel the humanitism though the great vegetation of Aka hills by N.L.Bor (1938),
poem “Manavbandana” by Chandrakumar Lohit vally by Kingdom Ward (1953), Flora
Agarwalla, the “Protimar khonikar” of Aka Hills by K.P Biswas (1941) and
Man alone is God; man is to be defined Flora of Assam ; 5 Vols by Kajilal (1934-
None else but man, 1940). And lately lots of contribution was
Worship him with flower and offerings given by the Scientists/experts of Botanical
And sign his glory. survey of India, State Forest Research
Institute, Itanagar, Forest Research Institute
--------//-------

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Dehra Dun and other a few organizations of The common species of this area are like
our country. Berberis asiatica, Berberis wallichiana,
Abies spectabilis, Vaccinium venosum,
Vegetation:
Aconitum ferox, Aconitum nagarum,
Due to various climatic condition and
Arenaria spp, Gentiana paralota Taxus
different altitude the state influenced a rich
wallichiana Pleione hookeriana,
diversity of vegetation of the region. The
Bulbophyllum spp., Herminium
vegetation can be classified under following
longilobatum etc. Many endangered species
categories:
are also found in this area.
(i) Tropical (ii) Subtropical (iii) Temperate
Aquatic Vegetation is also very
(iv) Alpine and Sub Alpine
important natural resources of the state.
(i)Tropical Forest: Some of the important hydrophytes growing
The tropical forests area is confined up in the marshes pools, paddy fields are
to 900m above sea level. This can be divided Alisma plantago, Monocharia vaginalis,
into three subtypes (a) Tropical evergreen Polygonum alatum, Potamogeton nodosus,
forests, (b) Tropical semi evergreen forest Sagittaria sagittifolia, Sanicula europea,
and (c) Tropical wet evergreen forest. Some Utricularia bifida etc.
of the important plant species seen in
Floristic diversity and its distribution:
tropical vegetation are Bischofia javanica,
The total geographical area cover by
Bombax ceiba, Gynocardia odorata, Leea
Arunachal Pradesh is about 2.54% of the
robusta, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Turpinia
country. More than 23% of the flowering
nepalensis, Quercus lamellosa, Ardisia
plant and 76.93% of the total families of
virens, Maesa indica etc.
India represent by the state. It is interesting
(ii) Subtropical forests: to note that enumerates 4500 species of
The subtropical forests are confined angiosperms belonging to 1295 genera and
within 900-1800m from the sea level. It can 192 families represent from the state. India
be divided into two subtypes (a) Subtropical is covered by about 17,500 species in 2984
broad leave forest and (b) Subtropical pine genera and 247 families. The non flowering
forest. Some of the examples of the plants plants are also well known in the state. Out
available in these forests area are of 1020 spceies of ferns occupying in India
Actinodaphne obovata, Ficus gaspurriniana, 452 species are recorded in Arunachal
Kidia calycina, Michelia oblonga, Pinus Pradesh. Table 1 reveals that the most
roxburghii and Pinus wallichiana etc. dominating families of Angiosperms of
(iii) Temperate vegetation: Arunachal Pradesh are Orchidaceae (genera
The forest in the belt is range 1800- 122; spp. 545), Legunminosae (genera 67;
3500m in altitude. It can also divide into two spp. 196), Asteraceae (genera 68; spp. 186),
subtypes. a) Temperate broad leaved forest Rubiaceae (genera 52; spp. 159), Ericaceae
and b) Temperate conifer Forest. Some of (genera 9; spp. 158), Poaceae (genera 76;
the important plants of this zone are spp. 153), Urticaceae including Moraceae
Rhododendron spp, Illicium griffithii, (genera 25; spp. 129), Rosaceae (genera 18;
Lyonia ovalifolia, Mahonia acanthiifolia etc. spp 111), Cyperaceae (genera 22; spp. 96),
Lichens, bryophytes, fungi and ferns Euphorbiaceae (genera 39; spp. 94). Out of
dominate epiphytes flora are present in this all Orchidaceae is the most dominating and
region. fascinating family of the plant with 545 spp.
is belonging to 122 genera in Aurnachal
(iv) Alpine and sub alpine: Pradesh where as 1229 species belong to
This belt is range in altitude 3500- 184 genera in India. So Orchids are often
5500m. Since this area generally covers by associated as “Jewel of Arunachal Pradesh”.
snow in the winter season so the plant need Out of 545 species, 20 species are endemic
special adaptation for survival in such area. to the state. A large number of primitive

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flowering plants are found in the state. Many colebrookianum, Piper pedicellatum,
species of Annonaceae, piperaceae and Vernonia anthelmintica, Solanum indicum
Lauraceae of Arunachal Pradesh are not etc. A few fruits species are Abelmoschus
occurred other part of the country except NE manihot, Artocarpus chama, Citrus
region and Eastern Himalaya. Some of the assamensis, C. aurantium, C. indica, C.
dominant genera of Arunachal Pradesh are medica, Rubus ellipticus, Myrica esculenta,
Bulbophyllum (62 spp.), Rhododendron (61 Musa acuminata, M.glauca, M.nagensium,
spp.), Ficus (51 spp.), Dendrobium (47 M. Rosacea etc.
spp.), Primula (40 spp.), Agapetes (34 spp.), Spices plant has also tremendous
Impatiens (33spp.), Carex (31 spp.), Eria demand in the state as well as in whole
(31 spp.), Rubus (29 spp.) etc. country. A few spices species cultivated by
The state has large number of primitive the tribal people are Allium turberosum,
flowering plants. Some of the important Amomum aromaitcum, Amomum subulatum,
primitive flowering plants of the state are Curcuma amada, Curcuma Zedoaria, Piper
Alnus nepalensis, Aspidocarya uvifera, longum, Piper peepuloides, Piper mullesua
Houttuynia cordata, Illicium cambodianum, etc.
Illicium griffithii, Magnolia griffithii,
Timber yielding plants:
Magnolia pealiana, Myrica esculanta ,
The economy of the state depends upon
Tetracentron sinense etc.
the timber plant of the state. The timber of
Due to geographical position, climatic
this state had great demand throughout the
condition and unique ecosystem it provide
country. The bamboo canes also play an
high endemism in relatively younger
important role in the economy of the people
mountain system in the state. Out of 17,500
of the state. A few important timber yielding
species of flowering plants, about 5000
plant are Actinodaphne obovata, Albizia
species belonging to 140 genera and 47
lucida, Alostonia schlaris, Artocarpus
families are endemic to India. There are total
lacucha, Biscofia javanica, Bombax ceiba,
238 endemic species occur in Arunachal
Cinnamommum glaucescens, Dipterocarpus
Pradesh. Some of the endemic species
retusus, Gynocardia odorata, Kydia
occurring in Arunachal Pradesh are
calycina, Pinus roxburghii, Quercus
Aconitum lethale, Aglaia edulis, Albizia
griffithii etc. A few common bamboo
arunachalensis, Anoectochilus sikkimensis,
species are Bambusa pallida, Bambusa
Begonia aborensis, Dioscorea wattii,
tulda, Dendrocalamus hamiltoni,
Gastrodia arunachalensis, Litsea
Dendrocalamus strictus, Melocanna
mishmiensis, Magnolia griffithii,
baccifera etc. Another a few cane species
Rhododendron nuttalli, R. tawangensis,
are Calamus flagellum, Calamus
Syzygium mishmiense etc.
floribundus, Calamus latifolius etc.
As per utilization of these plants by the
tribal people of the state can be categorized Wild ornamental plants:
as follows: Orchid of Arunachal Pradesh is very
(i) Cultivated Plants (ii) Timber Yielding famous all over the world. The state
plants (iii) Wild ornamental plants and (iv) represents highest number of Orchid in NE
Medicinal plants. region. A few species of orchid are
Calanthe, Coelogyne, Cymbidium,
(i) Cultivated Plants:
Dendrobium, phaius, Phalaenopsis etc. one
The state is rich in crop plant diversity
of the rarest orchids of the state is
mainly on maize, barley, buckwheat, finger
Paphiopedilum fairieanum. It is also known
millet, pea, scarlet, alliums, ginger and
as Lady’s slipper. It is found in West
different types of fruits etc. Cultivated a few
Kameng dist in the state. Another a few
vegetable species are Alocasia macrorhiza,
endangered species are Cymbidium,
Amorphophallus bulbifer, Cucumis hystrix,
grandiflorum, C. longifolium, C.
Monordica cochichinenis, Clerodendrum
macrorhizon, C. mackinnoni etc.

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Table 1: Comparison of ten dominant families of Angiosperms of Arunachal Pradesh, India and
World
Name of the family Arunachal Pradesh India World
Gen. Spp. Gen. Spp. Gen. Spp.
Orchidaceae 122 545 184 1229 735 20000
Leguminosae 67 196 191 1152 690 17600
Asteraceae 68 186 167 950 900 1300
Rubiaceae 52 159 115 659 500 6000
Ericaceae 9 158 115 199 50 1350
poaceae 76 153 260 1200 620 10000
Urticaceae (including 25 129 25 114 45 550
Moraceae)
Rosaceae 18 111 44 492 100 2000
Cyperaceae 22 96 38 545 90 4000
Euphorbiaceae 39 94 84 528 300 5000

Rhododendron is one of the most fascinating Some of the common medicinal plants
flower in the state and it has a great demand and their uses are Allium cepa (eye pain),
out side the state. Allium hookeri (cough, cold), Alstonia
scholaris (headache), Andrographis
Medicinal plants:
peneculata (dysentery), Artimesia indica
Medicinal plants have a greatest
(bodyache, asthma), Buddleja asiatica
demand in all over the world. These
(Inflammation), Curcuma caesia (diarrhea),
medicinal plant are used in different diseases
Carex polycephala(fever), Clerodendrum
like cut, wound pain, fever, Dysentery, body
colebrookianum (hypertension), Callicarpa
ache, cough, ulcer blood pressure, toothache,
arborea (rheumatism), Elastostemma
indigestion, asthma etc. Taxus baccata has
rupestre(headache), Ficus infectoria (cuts &
very high demand in the pharmaceutucal
wounds), Houttuynia cordata (cough). Piper
chemistry. This valuable medicinal plant is
longum (Tuberculosis), P. nigram (fever), P.
found in Arunachal Pradesh. Most valuable
pedicellatum (fracture of bone), P. thomsonii
anti cancer drug “Taxol” can be extracted
(urinary disorder), Rhus javanica (Diarrhoea
from this plant. An American famous
& Dysentery), Spilanthes acemella(cuts &
Scientist, K.C. Nicolaou succeeded in
wounds), S. paniculata (pyorrhea &
manufacturing “Taxol” synthetically. In the
toothache), Zanthoxylum armatum (pyorrhea
case of ‘Taxol’ there are good reasons to
& toothache), Zehneria umbellate (Jaundice)
improve upon nature. While natural Taxol
etc. Some of the very important bioactive
has been shown to shrink cancers of the
constituents and its biological activities
ovary as well as the breast, it is a wonder
evaluated from the flora of the state.
drug. Poor solubility of synthetic Taxol
makes it hard to administer, and tumor cells Conservation of the flora:
tend to develop resistance to the drug. So the All people habitat in Arunachal
drug obtains from the natural ‘Taxol’ may Pradesh are tribal of different communities.
be possible to find one that is less toxic and World over, tribal population still stores a
more effective than synthetic ‘Taxol’. The vast knowledge on utilization of local plants
traditional knowledge of medicinal plants is as medicine, food items, cultural activities
becoming a potential source for the and other specific uses. The tribal
Pharmaceutical Industries. So collection of communities draw their sustenance mainly
these medicinal plants in the bulk amount from the forests, which provide them food
for the industries has posed a great threat to plants, health caring resources, expressing
the wild valuable medicinal plant of the their traditional cultures and other material
state. requirement.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 33


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Due to abiotic and biotic factor such as difficult to conservation of flora by only law
flood, landslide, earthquakes, completion and order if there is a lack of interaction
between the different species and forest fire between the scientific community and ST
affected the flora of Arunachal Pradesh. To people of the state. So organizing Van
conserve the biodiversity Government have Mahotsava, World Environment Day,
formulated law and legislative Act. These workshop and training program with
are (i) Indian Forest Act., (ii) the wild life common public is essential for creating
protection Act. 1972, (iii) the forest awareness among the general public of the
conservation Act. 1980. To protect and state.
conserve the natural resources Government References:
setup 9 wild sanctuaries, 2 National parks, 1 1. Arunachal Forest News Vol. 19, 2001,
Biosphere reserve and 1 Orchid Sanctuary. 1-25
Presently 9815 sq. km, as reserve forest, 2. Arunachal Forest News Vol. 18, 2000,
6677 sq. km as wild life sanctuary, 2468.23 5-26
sq. km as National park, 5111.5 sq. km as About the Author:
Biosphere reserve and 100 sq. km as Orchid
sanctuary are protected area of the state.
Some of important medicinal plant like
Coptis teeta, Taxus wallichiana, Rauvolfia
serpentina, Ladies slipper orchid
(Paphiopedilium species), Aconitum spp, Chandan Tamuly had completed M.Sc in
Dioscorea deltoidea, Picrorhiza, kurrooa, Organic Chemistry from Gauhati University
Swertia chirata etc, exported to the other in 2002. Presently he is working as a
state of India and outside the country. But Scientist in North East Institute of Science &
under regulation Act Convention of Technology Branch Itanagar, Arunachal
International Trade in Endangered species of Pradesh-791110 in the field of Natural
flora and fauna (CITES) the above plants are Product Chemistry.
protected. It is important to note that most of (email: ch_iitg@yahoo.com)
endangered species of the state are out side
the protected area. So Government should ----------------//-------------
take initiative to bring such type of zone Example of quality print, from a book published
under the protected area. Awareness among at the beginning of 16th century –
the people is very essential to save the
natural resources. In this state jhum
cultivation is very popular among the tribal
people. So they exploited some of the
endangered plant species due to lack of
knowledge on importance of plants.
Unfortunately large number of plant species
disappears from this state. So the tribal
people of this area should be taken as
coordinating effort to create the awareness
in the public through Govt. and NGOs.
There are also lots of scopes to
evaluation of bioactive constituent from the
flora of the state. These bioactive
constituents may be utilized in future in
preparation of drugs & drugs intermediate,
chemical industries, pharmaceutical Courtesy – Technion Museum, Israel
industries etc. So conservation of the flora is -------//-------
very much essential at any cost. It is very

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 34


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Arsenic problem in north-east: a future levels drop significantly. Surface arsenic-


threat!!! related pollutants enter the groundwater
systems by gradually moving with the flow
-Dr. Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi
of groundwater from rains, melting of snow,
etc. Drinking water, especially groundwater,
Groundwater arsenic contamination is a major source of arsenic for most people.
and sufferings of people have been reported In many parts of world, including Taiwan,
in 20 countries in different parts of the Argentina and Chile, it is natural
world. The magnitude is considered highest contaminant of ground water; elsewhere, it
in five Asian countries and the severity is in has leach into drinking water through
order of Bangladesh > India > Mangolia > mining waste (CMAJ, 2002).
China > Taiwan. The world's two biggest
cases of groundwater arsenic contamination
The health of tens of millions of people
and those that affected the greatest number
world-wide is at risk from drinking arsenic-
of people were in Bangladesh and West
contaminated well water. In most cases this
Bengal (Chowdhury, 2000, Saxena et al.,
arsenic occurs naturally within the
2004, Bhatacharya et al., 2002). Arsenic is a
subsurface aquifers, rather than being
semimetal, or metalloid, occurring naturally
derived from identifiable point sources of
in the environment and as a by-product of
pollution. The mobilization of arsenic into
some agricultural and industrial activities. It
the aqueous phase is the first crucial step in
can enter drinking water through the ground
a process that eventually leads to human
or as runoff into surface water sources.
arsenicosis. Arsenic occurs in four oxidation
Industrial effluents also contribute arsenic to
states: As+5, As+3, As0 and As-3. As+5 and
water in some areas. It is widely thought that
As+3 are the most common in nature,
naturally occurring arsenic dissolves out of
whereas the As-3 and As+5 are rare.
certain rock formations when groundwater

Fig: Origin of Arsenic

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 35


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Distribution of arsenic in groundwater in Dibang valley (Midland) in Arunachal


northeastern states Pradesh The presence of arsenic (As) in
groundwater in the north-eastern states of
In the North Eastern region of India,
India and its effect on human health has
natural springs and dug wells are the only
become a serious concern in recent years. A
cost effective and viable means of fulfilling
long-term environmental planning is
the needs of freshwater for present
essential to blunt the danger from such
population. High concentration of arsenic
pollution.
(As) in groundwater in the northeastern
Chakraborti et al. 2003 and 2007;
states of India has become a major cause of
Nickson et al. 2005 has been reported that
concern in recent years. As in groundwater
most of the arsenic affected floodplains in
has been detected in some parts of Assam,
Asia are by the side of the rivers that
Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal
originate in the Himalayas or Tibet Plateau.
Pradesh. In India after West Bengal and the
Thus it is considered that Himalayas and
bordering districts of Bangladesh, arsenic in
surrounding mountains are potential sources
groundwater was detected in part of Assam,
of arsenic bearing minerals. Because the
Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and
North-Eastern Hill states are part of the
Tripura. Maximum arsenic content was
Himalayan mountain range, we anticipated
observed in Jorhat (Titabor, Dhakgorah,
finding groundwater arsenic contamination
Selenghat and Moriani Block), Dhemaji
in the Newer Alluvium (Holocene) of the
(Sissiborgoan and Dhemaji Block), Golaghat
Brahmaputra, Barak, Surma and Imphal
district (Podumani Block) and Lakhimpur
rivers. These basins cover parts of all the
(Boginodi, Lakhimpur Block) in Assam;
seven North- Eastern Hill states: Arunachal
West Tripura (Triania Block), Dhalai
Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya,Tripura,
(Salema Block) and North Tripura
Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram (Fig. 1).
(Dharmanagar Block) districts in Tripura,
Thuobal (Kakching Block) in Manipur and

Fig 1: Distribution of Arsenic in North Eastern Region of India (Sources: Chakraborti Dipankar
et al. (2007). Environ Geol.)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 36


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Baruah et al., (2003) reported a there are now indications that As can also
significant variation of As in nature organic have a negative effect on agricultural
matter of North east, India and nature of production systems. Remediation of As
accumulation of As in these substance. They contaminated water is therefore critical.
concluded that total arsenic content shows Arsenic contamination in Northeastern states
an increasing enrichment from east to west is possibly mainly geological and the
of North eastern region of India. The immediate source material for groundwater
concentration of arsenic in ground water is likely to be ferric arsenate (with or
exceeds the permissible level (10µg/L, without ferric arsenite) derived from an
WHO) in one district out of 9 districts in alternation product of the mineral
Manipur (Arsenic concentration was very arsenopyrite that was geologically
high and varies between 798-986 µg/l in transported to the Bengal delta and Assam
Kakching block area of Thoubal district valley. There is a need for integrated
(Singh, 2004). Singh, 2006 made report that research to understand sources, release
because high arsenic concentration people mechanisms, mobilization of As in aquifers
were suffering from many types of arsenical and the chemistry of arsenic and high
skin lesions, skin cancer and other internal arsenic variance in groundwater of
cancer like lung in North eastern region. He Northeastern state.
made report that one district out of 9
Reference:
districts in Manipur, Arsenic concentration
Baruah MK, Kotoky P, Baruah J, Borah GC,
was very high and varies between 798-986
Bora PK (2003) Arsenic association
µg/l in Kakching block area of Thoubal
and distribution in carbonaceous
district. However latest studies (Chakraborti
materials in North-eastern India.
et al., 2007) reported arsenic contamination
Current Science 85(2): 204-208.
in groundwater of three districts, Imphal
Chakraborti D, Mukherjee SC, Pati S,
west, Imphal East and Thoubal exceeding 10
Sengupta MK, Rahman MM,
and 50 µg/l are quite high.
Chowdhury UK, Lodh D, Chanda CR,
Chakraborti AK, Basu GK (2003)
Table 1: Arsenic concentration in five Arsenic groundwater contamination in
states middle Ganga plain, Bihar, India: a
States Arsenic future danger. Environ. Health
Concentration Perspect 111:1194–1201
(µg/L) Chakraborti Dipankar, Jayantakumar Singh,
Arunachal Pradesh 58-618 Bhaskar Das, Babar Ali Shah , M.
Assam 50-657 Amir Hossain , Bishwajit Nayak ,Sad
Manipur 10-986 Ahamed , Rajmuhon Singh (2007)
Nagaland 50-657 Groundwater arsenic contamination
in Manipur, one of the seven North-
Tripura 65-474
Eastern Hill states of India: a future
(Sources: Singh, A.K. (2004).In danger. Environ Geol.
Proceedings of National Seminar on Nickson R, McArthur JM, Shrestha B,
Hydrology with focal theme on Water Kyaw-Myint TO, Lowry D (2005)
quality, National Institute of Hydrology, Arsenic and other drinking water
Roorkee. pp. 255-262.) quality issues, Muzaffargarh District,
Table 1 indicate that arsenic pollutant Pakistan. Appl Geochem 20:55–68
in groundwater of northeast states are very Singh, A. K. (2007). Approaches for
high and people may be at risk of removal of arsenic from Groundwater
consumption of water contaminated by of North-Eastern India. Current
arsenic >50µg/L. The adverse impact of As Science, vol. 92(11, 10):1506-1515
on human health has been documented and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 37


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Singh, A.K. (2006). Chemistry of Arsenic in FICTION


groundwater of Ganges-Bramapurtra
Consequences of Time Machine
River. Current Science. 91(10): 599-
606. Himangshu Paul
Singh, A.K. (2004). Arsenic Contamination (In this short story, I have tried to
in Groundwater of North Eastern highlight what may happen if a
India. In Proceedings of National time machine, ever invented, fall
Seminar on Hydrology with focal in wrong hands. I am also
theme on Water quality, National questioning if a time machine will
Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. pp. ever be invented).
255-262. It was 21st May 2299. I was already
Singh, A.K. (2004). Arsenic Contamination getting late for the conference. Actually that
in Groundwater of North Eastern day was a great day for me as the
India. In Proceedings of National government had decided to unveil my
Seminar on Hydrology with focal invention “THE TIME MACHINE” to the
theme on Water quality, National public. My time machine would enable a
Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. pp. person to travel to any point of time in the
255-262. past or the future just on pressing of a
About the author: button. It could also make one travel to a
desired destination. The unveiling ceremony
was to be held at 7 o’clock in the evening I
was very excited thinking about the possible
reactions of the people. Some might be
amazed, some might be shocked while some
might not believe it calling it a hoax or there
would be some people who might question
its usefulness or its threat to humanity. All
these thoughts were roaming in my mind,
Dr. Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi, after not just that day but for the last few days.
completion of her graduation in chemistry But, whatever be the situation, I believed
from Manipur University (1998), joined that this invention could never go wrong.
Jiwaji University, Gwalior for her master’s Recovering from my sea of imagination,
degree (2002) in Environmental chemistry. I hurried for the ceremony. Fortunately I
Then she joined Mysore University for PhD reached there just on the nick of time. A
in environmental science and completed in very tight security arrangement was made by
the year 2007 (March). At present she is government, which was quite obvious for
working as a DST- Young Scientist in School such a important and unique invention. Then
of Environmental Science, Jawaharlal Nehru I saw the large crowd that has gathered to
University, New Delhi. She has successfully witness the invention. As I expected, most of
completed several projects. At present she the people were curious to know what it was
is involved in one important project entitled as it was a never-before experience for all of
“Arsenic and Fluoride distribution and them. But, there are, still, some frowned and
Migration in ground water of Imphal, expressionless faces questioning the whole
Thoubal and Bishnupur districts in idea.
Manipur- an Approach for ground water I proceeded towards the place where my
resource management” under Department of invention was covered behind a curtain. The
Science and Technology, Government of mayor of the city was going to unveil the
India, New Delhi. ‘Machine’ which would be followed by my
Email: jayalakshmioinam@gmail.com speech. In my speech I was going to address
the crowd how my machine would enable
people to discover all those unresolved

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 38


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

mysteries of past, prehistoric age, even may get it. Nonetheless I decided to go with them
be the facts behind the formation of to get my machine back. The next morning
universe. Not only that, I will outline how it I, along with an army of about thousand
might help to protect our world from future cops marched towards their hideout. As we
natural calamities, future alien attacks etc. reached there, we warned them to surrender
When commercialized this machine could or else they will be killed. There was silence
act as “time traveller” taking people for a moment but soon the marching of the
anywhere in anytime. These thoughts bring a soldiers could be heard. In the next moment
sense of pride to me from the time I was there were soldiers in front of us and as
building the machine, and then the moment doubted equipped with sophisticated
of glory arrived. After the curtains were weapons. But they were not there to
drawn there was a great applaud and I was surrender but to fight and they were not
asked to deliver the speech. As I was just thousands but millions. They were led by a
about to speak, an unexpected thing man whom I seemed to know. He was none
happened---the lights went off and there was but one of my rival scientists. They attacked
darkness everywhere. Then suddenly there us. The cops’ weapons seemed toys before
was a loud roaring sound of an engine theirs. In an instant the whole army of ours
followed by a bang and a flash of lightning. was destroyed. I could just mange to flee
After a few moments lights came, but the from there.
Time Machine was not there where it was. I told the government about the incident.
Everybody was confused what had The government decided to take measures to
happened, but I think I knew that ….. my cope with the situation. A tight security was
Time Machine…… is gone. Someone stole provided to me but there was something that
it. was still disturbing me. In the comfort of my
There was no clue whatsoever for few home I reanalyzed the whole situation-------
days of my ‘Time Machine’. Then suddenly as observed the army of millions had
one day the local police station received a identical soldiers. It seemed as if he has
report that identical people were seen in the turned a few soldiers into million copies of
suburb region of the city. At first, the police themselves. Has he cloned them? No, it
gave no notice as identical twins were couldn’t be because cloning is a lengthy
common, but soon it was found out that the process and in this case, only the previous
number of identical persons increased upto day the cops observed only thousand
10 or 12. This time the cops got alarmed and soldiers and now they are million. How
decided to visit the place. On first look, it come such fast copying could be done? In
seemed a deserted factory having barely a the back of my mind I knew that all these
soul. But on closer inspection it was found things are somehow related to my time
out that the factory had been occupied by no machine.
less than thousand soldiers and though they After a long thought, I came to the
(cops) were not sure, each soldier seemed to conclusion that he brought advanced
be equipped with highly sophisticated weapons from the future. But copying
weapons. And there, one of the officers oneself to such a large scale was still a great
peeping through an opening in the wall of mystery. Then suddenly an idea strokes me.
the factory saw the ‘Time Machine’ heavily This building of large army in a short time
guarded by the soldiers. The police decided can be had if we play with the time. It could
not to fight with handful officers, but to have happened that he has brought himself
return with a greater army. or a few of his best soldiers to the present
When the police related the story to me, time from a certain time in the past using my
I was happy as well as frightened. Happy for time machine. He again went back to an
I have found my machine at last and earlier time and brought them again. Doing
frightened for I have to fight an army much it again and again, each time going to a time
larger and stronger than the police itself to earlier than before, he created an army for

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 39


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

himself consisting of his best soldiers. This misdeeds including the one –going to the
process might not be fast but time is not a past to kill my grandfather, and thus this
factor with my Time Machine as he could cycle continues.”
arrive just at any moment he desires. He I think God has punished me for
could even immortalize himself as he could building such a destructive invention and for
build an army of himselves by bringing my dauntlessness to mess with the space-
himself from different point of time. Thus, time cycle and to play with the laws of
the cause of calamity is known and I feel nature. As a consequence I have been left
that the criminal is not him but me as I was trapped in this cycle in which I am getting
the creator of destructive Time Machine. vanished and materializing every couple of
The present owner of the Time Machine seconds and there is least hope that I could
was gradually becoming a threat to the recover from here…….. Could you ….help
world. His army was getting larger and me out?
larger. The entire police force was unable to
About the author:
stop him. Being the creator of the calamity,
the moral responsibility to stop him was
Mr. Himangshu Paul, is a
vested upon me. The only thing that could
student of M.Sc in
help me to fight him was another Time
Nanoscience & Technology,
Machine. If I kill him, he could be brought
again from an earlier time. The only way to Department of Physics,
kill him once and for all was by killing him Tezpur University, and is in
his 4th semester.
just before his birth. This would require
another Time Machine to go to the past and (email: himangshus_mail@yahoo.co.in)
kill his mother before his birth. It was a risk
as it could again fall into wrong hands but I -------------//----------------
had to take the gamble. Immediately, I
started working on it. After much hardship, The climate change wants a Green
as the work was proceeding towards revolution. Green is the beauty of nature. To
completion another unexpected misfortune preserve the nature, to keep the green, let us
happened. Somehow, the villain came to recall a great poem: October Landscape
know about my plan and it seemed as if he (AAHINOR LANDSCAPE)
was all prepared for this. by Hiren Bhattacharjya
He decided to give me a taste of my own I
medicine. Before I could complete my The frenzy of a brutal sky
Machine, he went to the past and killed my Has ended.
grandfather in his childhood. But, he could Green waves ripple
not understand till late, that this act of him Through the restive fields.
has started an infinite space-time cycle II
which swallowed everyone including me White flowers of the sugarcane
and him. The space-time cycle started as Pierce the inky sky
soon as he killed my grandpa and …….. As autumn whispers —
……. “The death of my grandfather Every poem has its season.
meant that my father and subsequently I III
were not born. As I was not born, the time With every shaft of light —
machine has never been invented which Amazement.
meant that Time Travel was not possible yet With passion —
and this prevented my rival scientist to go to Words awaken.
the past to kill my grandfather. That means
my grandpa was alive and so do I. As I was
born, I grew up to build the Time Machine ---------------//-------------
which he stole and used to do all the

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 40


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

POEM Probably, an exact translation of words


It is our proud privilege to congratulate that come out spontaneously form the
Mr. Kamal Kumar Tanti for receiving the heart of a poet is impossible; still a
“Munin Borkotoki Literary Award” for his creditable effort was taken by Geetika
poetry book 'Maarangburu Amar Pita' and I Phukan to translated it to English)
am taking the opportunity to publish one of
his award wining poem, “Bhraman Kahini”. Travelogue

On the silent street in Salonah tea garden


We lost our way.

Grieving at our grief


An old Kachari said,
“Children, follow your noses
There are dreams on the way, not reality.
At the end of the dreams, there will be
dawn.”

We realized,
Looking for flowers is easier
Than finding thorns.

Flowers do not make us feel,


They feel themselves.
Thorns do not feel their sharpness,
They make others feel.

As travelers,
We wanted to thank the Old Kachari
So, halfway through we killed him
And left his blood for the vultures and
crows.

The cuckoos loved us for that.


And finally, we reached a land of swords.

---------//--------
“In science one tries to tell people, in such a
way as to be understood by everyone,
something that no one ever knew before. But
in poetry, it's the exact opposite”.
- Paul Dirac

"I have become my own version of an


optimist. If I can't make it through one door,
I'll go through another door - or I'll make a
door. Something terrific will come no matter
how dark the present”.
- Rabindranath Tagore
--------//----------

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 41


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Do you know?
POEM
Slums Dwellers There is a prize which is just
Dr. Manabendra Pathak opposite (rather parody) to
actual Nobel Prize, The Ig
(Inspired by the movie "Slumdog Nobel Prizes, which is also
millionaire") given each year in early
October for ten achievements
In a city of dream and destiny of millions, that "First make people laugh, and then
I discovered a strange place and a stranger. make them think." The prize is organized by
the scientific humour magazine “Annals of
He asked me how much time is required. Improbable Research” (AIR), and are
To count the numbers from one to two normally presented by genuine Nobel
millions? Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard
I could n't answer. University's Sanders Theatre and then they
give public lectures at MIT. The first Ig
He asked me "Is there a more secured shelter Nobels were awarded in 1991 for the
than the sky"? discoveries "That cannot, or should not, be
I could n't understand him. reproduced."

He asked me "Is there any drug that may


cure hunger?
I was numb.

He asked "Do you have the guts in listening


to my song"?
A song of paradise…
Without delay, I left the place.

As I missed all the questions,


I was out of the race of becoming a
Millionaire… Fig: The Ig Nobels: a festival of daftness

The poet: The 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on


Dr. Manabendra Pathak is presently 2nd October at the 18th First Annual Ig Nobel
working as a Post-doctorale Fellow in Prize ceremony. The winners of 2008 are
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, listed below:
Israel. Nutrition Prize: awarded to Massimiliano
----------------//--------------- Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy
and Charles Spence of Oxford University,
Knowledge of the history and UK, for their study showing that food
evolution of our ideas is absolutely vital for actually taste better if it sounds crunchier.
wise understanding. It is also important to They electronically modified the sound of a
read the original source (not a later potato chip to make the person chewing the
interpretation which often leads to chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than
misrepresentation and error) and that these it really is.
original quotes should give confidence to the Peace Prize: Received by The Swiss
truth of what we say. --------Albert Einstein Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human
Biotechnology (ECNH) and the citizens of
Switzerland for adopting the legal principle
--------------//------------ that plants have dignity.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 42


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Archaeology Prize: awarded to Astolfo G. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang (all of
Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Taiwan) who showed the opposite.
Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for Literature Prize: received by David Sims
measuring how the course of history, or at of Cass Business School. London, UK, for
least the contents of an archaeological dig his lovingly written study "You Bastard: A
site, can be scrambled by the actions of a Narrative Exploration of the Experience of
live armadillo. Indignation within Organizations."
Biology Prize: awarded to Marie-Christine
Cadiergues, Christel Joubert, and Michel
Franc of Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de
Toulouse, France for discovering that the
fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than
the fleas that live on a cat.
Medicine Prize: awarded to Dan Ariely of
Duke University (USA), Rebecca L. Waber
of MIT (USA), Baba Shiv of Stanford
University (USA), and Ziv Carmon of
INSEAD (Singapore) for demonstrating that
expensive fake medicine is more effective
than cheap fake medicine. Fig: In the photo here, Nobel Laureate
Cognitive Science Prize: received by William Lipscomb (left) and Benoit
Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido Mandelbrot, the inventor of the
University, Japan, Hiroyasu Yamada of mathematical concept of fractals, drink
Nagoya, Japan, Ryo Kobayashi of Coca-Cola to toast the winners of the Ig
Hiroshima University, Atsushi Tero of Nobel Chemistry Prize.
Presto JST, Akio Ishiguro of Tohoku (Source:http://improbable.com/2008/10/03/t
University, and Ágotá Tóth of the University he-2008-ig-nobel-prize-winners/)
of Szeged, Hungary, for discovering that
slime molds can solve puzzles. ---------------//------------------
Economics Prize: awarded to Geoffrey
Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of Ancient History of NorthEast India at
the University of New Mexico, USA, for Mahabharat
discovering that professional lap dancers
earn higher tips when they are ovulating. The earliest references to 'Manipur'
Physics Prize: awarded to Dorian Raymer date back to the ancient Indian epic
of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Mahabharata, in which several characters,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, such as Chitrāngadā , Ulupi, Babruvahana,
and Douglas Smith of the University of and Iravan, are 'Manipuris'.
California, San Diego, USA, for proving Chitrāngadā, daughter of the king of
mathematically that heaps of string or hair or Manipur, married Arjuna and Babrubahana
almost anything else will inevitably tangle was born to the couple.
themselves up in knots.
Chemistry Prize: awarded to Sharee A. Ulupi, was one of Arjuna's wives. She was
Umpierre of the University of Puerto Rico, the mother of Iravan.
Joseph A. Hill of The Fertility Centers of Iravan fought on the side of the Pandavas in
New England (USA), Deborah J. Anderson the Kurukshetra war and was killed by the
of Boston University School of Medicine Rakshasa Alumvusha on the eighth day of
and Harvard Medical School (USA), for the war.
discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective
spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong of ----------//-----------
Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), C.C.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 43


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

ABSTRACT OF PhD THESIS

Ph. D. thesis abstract of Mohit Lal Dev

Chapter 1, Section A:
Stereoselective intramolecular hetero Diels–Alder reactions of 1-oxa-1,3-butadienes:
Synthesis of novel annelated pyrrolo[1,2-a]indoles
The mitomycins are an important class of naturally occurring heterocyclic antitumour
antibiotic that possess a 2,3,9,9a-tetrahydro-1H-pyrrolo[1,2-a]indole unit as a basic skeleton.
Subsequent to the discovery of these molecules a number of compounds have been synthesized
by molecular modification at the pyrrolo[1,2-a]indole unit without significant loss of biological
activity.

Me

N
1 H
1. Allyl bromide
2. DMF+POCl3
PTC/NaOH

Me

N CHO

2 Me
3a.X=Z=O; Y=CMe2 O N
b-d.X=NMe,NH;Y= CO z NPh
Z=NMe,NH Y
X O 6
O
Me O z Me Me
Y N
X NPh
N N
O O
4a-d 7

4 Me O z7 MeMe
3
4a 5 6 8 Y N
H 9 H
2 12a
5c
X N Ph
12b 5a
1 N 5b 9a N
12 11a
11 O10 O
H H

5a-d 8
Scheme 1

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 44


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Chapter 1, Section B:
Stereoselective intramolecular hetero Diels-Alder reaction of 1-oxa-1,3-butadienes:
Synthesis of some novel annulated uracils
Uracils and its annulated derivatives are well recognized by synthetic as well as biological
chemists. The preparation of naturally occurring complex molecules containing a uracil ring
possess significant synthetic challenges. A large number of uracil derivatives are reported to
exhibit antimycobacterial, antitumor, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory properties.

O
Y Z
Y O
O O Y
Z O
Me CHO Me CHO O Y
N HX N Me O
2 4 N
O N Cl Et3N O N X
Base O N X
Me Me cat.
Me 5 Y = NCH3, Z= CO
1 3 Y = O, Z = C(CH3)2
reflux in X = NR, O
toluene
Z Z
Y Y Y Y
O O
O O
O O
Me H Me H
N + N
H H
O N X O N X Scheme-2a
Me Me
7 6

Basically substituted barbituric acids and Meldrum’s acid were used for the in situ generation of
oxa-1,3-butadiene system. But when 1-phenyl-3-methyl-5-pyrazolone 8 was reacted with 3
(Scheme-2b) under the similar reaction conditions, a dark orange coloured compound 9 was
obtained. After determining the structure from the spectroscopic data and elemental analysis, it
was concluded that the compound 9 was 4,4′-methylidyne bis-(1-phenyl-3-methyl-5-pyrazolone).

N Ph
N
Me
O O
Me
N
O
CHO Me O N X
Me N
N H Me
+ N
O N X N O O
Me Me
Me Ph Me
N
N N +
3 8 N O O N O N X
Ph Ph Me
Scheme-2b 9 10

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 45


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Chapter 1, Section C:
Synthesis of Novel Classes of Pyrido[2,3-d]-pyrimidines, Pyrano[2,3-d] pyrimidines, and
Pteridines

O O O
R2 CHO R2 COOH
N
N O H N
+
O N NH2 O O O N N O
H
R1 R1
2
1a-c Pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines 3a-c
O O O
R2 CHO N R2 COOH
H
N O N
+
O N OH O O O N O O
R1 R1
4a-c 2 Pyrano[2,3-d]pyrimidines 5a-c
O O O
R2 NO R2 N COOH
N O
N
H N
+
O N NH2 O O O N N O
H
R1 R1
2 Pteridines 7a-c
6a-c
Scheme 3

Chapter 2, Section A:
A Green and Practical Method for the Michael Addition of Indole and Pyrrole to
Nitroolefins.

NH2 R1
NO2 NO2
1
+ R MW
N R R2 R2
N H
H N R
1a-b H
2a-e 3a-h
Tryptamine
NH2 NO2 R2
HO + MW
N R1 NO2
R2 N
N H H
H 4 R1
2a-f 5a-f
Serotonin

Scheme 4

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 46


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Chapter 2, Section B:
Uncatalysed Michael addition of indoles: Synthesis of some novel 3-alkylated indoles via a
three-component reaction in solvent-free conditions
Synthesis of some novel 3-alkylated indoles via a three-component reaction in solvent
free conditions. The reaction, which gave access to an important class of novel indole (or 5-
alkylated barbituric acid) derivatives in good to excellent yields also demonstrates an uncatalysed
Michael addition of indoles to α,β-unsaturated systems viz α,β -unsaturated cyclic β-diamides
(Scheme 5).

R2 O
R3
N

N N O
O H R1 O
R3 R3
R2 H N 4a-p
R1 + + +
N N O
H O O
3 R2
R
1a-b 2a-g 3a-b

N N
H R1 R1 H
Scheme 5 5a-p

Chapter 3, Section A:
An efficient and clean synthesis of bis(indolyl)methanes in a protic solvent at room
temperature

Methanol
r.t, stir R

+ RCHO water
N r.t, stir N N
H H H
1 2 3
Scheme 6

Both solvents had their own advantages in terms of the reaction simplicity, time required,
easy work-up procedure and overall yields. The reactivity increased with the increasing order of
acidity of the solvents (H2O>CH3OH). Moreover, the reaction was highly chemoselective and
applicable only to aldehydes and not to ketones, containing both the functional groups in a same
compound.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 47


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Chapter 3, Section B:
A novel and efficient method for the synthesis of unsymmetrical diindolylmethanes and
indolyl-heterocyclic alkanes
Symmetrical diindolylalkanes can be readily synthesized by Lewis or protic acid catalyzed
indole-aldehyde condensation reactions, but synthesis of unsymmetrical DIMs is still highly
demanding in synthetic community. There are very few reports on the synthesis of unsymmetrical
DIM and all of them have a number of drawbacks and limitations.

O R2 O
R1 R1
Me Me
2 N N
R CHO
N
+ +
O N O N O N O
H H
Me Me
1 2 3 4

R3 R2 O
R1 R3
Me
N
4 + N C2H5OH-H2O N
+
N O N O
H H H
Me
5 6 3
scheme 7

It was very interesting to note that the addition of a few drops of water to the reaction mixture
accelerates reaction considerably with improved yields.

Chapter 4, Section A:
A facile synthesis of 6,12-disubstituted 5,7-dihydroindolo[2,3-b]carbazoles from the reaction
of indole and aldehyde catalysed by molecular iodine.
In the reaction strategy, utilizing equimolar amounts of indole 1 and bezaldehyde 2a in the
presence of catalytic amount of molecular iodine (2 mol %) in refluxing acetonitrile afforded
6,12-diphenyl-5,7-dihydroindolo[2,3-b]carbazole 3a in excellent yields (Scheme 8). The product
was isolated simply by filtration and recrystallized from a mixture of DMF and CHCl3.

R1
CH3CN
+ R1CHO
N I2 ,
H N N
1 2 H H
R1
3
Scheme 8

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 48


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Chapter 4, Section B:
An Efficient Method for the Synthesis of Indolo[3,2-b]carbazoles from 3,3′-
bis(indolyl)methanes Catalysed by Molecular Iodine
In this reaction strategy, utilizing 3,3′-bis(indolyl)methanes 1 with catalytic amount of
molecular iodine in refluxing acetonitrile for 20-35 minutes afforded after work-up indolo[3,2-
b]carbazoles 2 in good yields. Although the yield of products in the reaction is not very high in
some cases, there is selective formation of the indolo[3,2-b]carbazole.

R R
H
CH3CN N
+
I2 , N
N N N H
H H H
R 3
1a-j
2a-j
Scheme 10

About the Author:


Mohit Lal Deb was born in Kailasahar (Tripura) in 1978. After completing
his MSc. from Tripura University he came to NEIST (Formerly RRL)
Jorhat as JRF to pursue his PhD. He joined in Medicinal Chemistry
Division under the guidance of Dr. P. J. Bhuyan in the area of synthesis of
heterocyclic bioactive analogues, development of new synthetic methods,
green chemistry.
Currently he is working on asymmetric total synthesis with Dr. K. R.
Prasad in IISc Bangalore.

---------------------------------//----------------------------
HIGHER STUDY ABROAD Some Australian Scholarships are also
Country of this issue: Australia available for three programs
Endeavour Awards – The Endeavour
Australia is one of the best places in the Awards is the Australian Government’s
world to live while you learn. The standard internationally competitive, merit-based
of living is amongst the highest in the world, scholarship program providing opportunities
yet costs remain competitive. Moreover for citizens of the Asia-Pacific and Middle
Australian education has a strong East regions to undertake study, research
international reputation for excellence. and professional development in Australia.
Whether you study at a university, school, Further information can be found at:
vocational or English language institute, you www.endeavour.deewr.gov.au
will receive a quality education that will Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) –
form a strong foundation for your future focus on developing leaders who can
success. influence social and economic policy reform
Scholarships and development outcomes in both their
Information about the scholarships can be
own countries and in the Asia-Pacific
obtained through the Scholarships Database
region. ALAs provide scholarship support
(http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/Sia/en/
for postgraduate studies in Australia and
CourseSearch/ScholarshipSearch.htm).

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 49


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

short-term fellowship opportunities in University of New England [UNE]


specialised research, study or professional University of New South Wales [UNSW]
attachments through participating Australian University of Newcastle [NEWCASTLE]
University of Notre Dame Australia -
organisations. Further information can be The [UNDA]
found at: www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar University of
Australian Development Scholarships Queensland [QUEENSLAND]
(ADS) – aim to contribute to the long-term University of South Australia [UniSA]
development needs of Australia's partner University of Southern Queensland [USQ]
University of Sydney [SYDNEY]
countries to promote good governance, University of Tasmania [TASMANIA]
economic growth and human development. University of Technology Sydney [UTS]
ADS provides people with the necessary University of the Sunshine Coast [USC]
skills and knowledge to drive change and University of Western Australia [UWA]
influence the development outcomes of their University of Western Sydney [UWS]
University of Wollongong [UOW]
own country, through obtaining tertiary Victoria University [VU]
qualifications at participating Australian
institutions. Further information can be ----//---
found at: www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar The Legend Rabindranath Tagore :
Australian Catholic University [ACU] various stages
Australian Defence Force
Academy [ADFA]
Australian Graduate School of
Management [AGSM]
Australian National University [ANU]
Bond University [Bond]
Central Queensland University [CQU]
Charles Darwin University [CDU]
Charles Sturt University [CSU]
Curtin University of Technology [CURTIN] 1879 studying in England With wife Mrinalini, 1883
Deakin University [Deakin]
Edith Cowan University [ECU]
Flinders University [FLINDERS]
Griffith University [GRIFFITH]
James Cook University [JCU]
La Trobe University [LATROBE]
Macquarie University [MACQUARIE]
Monash University [MONASH]
Murdoch University [MURDOCH] The legend with the legends
Queensland University of
Technology [QUT]
RMIT University [RMIT]
Southern Cross University [SCU]
Swinburne University of
Technology [SWINBURNE]
University of Adelaide [ADELAIDE]
University of Ballarat [BALLARAT]
University of Canberra [CANBERRA] Visiting a youthgroup in Germany, 1930
University of Melbourne [MELBOURNE]
-------------//----------------

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 50


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

THROUGH THE LENS OF THE FORUM MEMBERS

A smile of sky
The power of wind (a rare combination of Moon, Jupiter and Venus, Dec. 08)
-by Dr. Arindam Adhikari - by Manab Sharma

The landscape Frozen beauty


- by Manab Sharma -by Dr. Arindam Adhikari

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 51


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

JOB ADVERTISEMENT: The minimum academic requirement for


admission is an upper second class honours
1. UK/EU PhD Studentships degree, or a lower second with a Master's,
Department of Chemistry (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant
For entry from September 2009 subject.
Applications are invited for our three year Applications can be filled out on line at
research programmes leading to the degree http://www.ucl.ac.uk/admission/graduate-
of PhD. study/application-admission/ and
The Department performed very information on English requirements are at
impressively in the latest RAE appraisal http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-
with every submission being ranked as students/graduate-study/application-
internationaly recognised or better which admission/english-language.
means that even members of staff that are in Information on our Postgraduate Open Day
the very beginning of their career are world on 18 February 2009 can be found at
class. Prospective candidates are expected http://www.chem.ucl.ac.uk/events/pgopenda
to contact members of the academic staff y_UCL.pdf
working in their fields of interest via. You may contact Mary Lou Jabore
http://www.chem.ucl.ac.uk/people/acadstaff. (m.l.jabore@ucl.ac.uk) who is happy to
html answer questions about the admissions
Our main research activities are in the process and funding opportunities available.
following areas:
Chemical Biology 2. Research Associate (postdoctoral)
Chemical Physics UCL Department of Mathematics
Chemical Magnetism
Computational Chemistry Applications are invited for a postdoctoral
Crystallography/Industrial Materials Research Associate to work with Professor
Electrochemistry Minhyong Kim on the project "Non-
High Performance Scientific Computing commutative fundamental groups in
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry Diophantine geometry". The responsibilities
Nanoscience of the Research Associate will include
Synthetic Organic Chemistry carrying out vigorous, high-level research
Spectroscopy into non-abelian methods in Diophantine
Further information on our research and arithmetic geometry. This research is
programmes is available from funded by the EPSRC. Candidates should
http://www.chem.ucl.ac.uk/research/index.ht have a PhD in number theory, algebraic
ml geometry or a related field. Candidates
The department has world class facilities in should also have experience in (one of) the
the areas of scanning probe microscopy, x- following areas: Algebraic number theory,
ray powder diffraction, scanning electron arithmetic fundamental groups, Galois
microscopy, mass spectrometry, NMR, XPS, representations, automorphic forms and
ultra fast laser spectroscopy, Raman representation theory, theory of motives,
spectroscopy, computational chemistry, arithmetic topology.
time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy, The post is available from 1 May 2009 (or as
attosecond science, FTIR RAIRS soon as possible thereafter) for 36 months.
spectroscopy, and thermal imaging. The Starting salary for the post will be on Grade
Department also makes extensive use of 7 point 29, £28,839 per annum plus London
national and international neutron and Allowance of £2,781 per annum.
synchrotron radiation facilities. Contact for informal enquiries:
Close collaborative links exist with industry Professor Minhyong Kim email:
and other university departments in the UK minhyong.kim@ucl.ac.uk, tel. 020 7679
and abroad. 1333.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 52


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Application process: Job Number:


Letters of application, including a CV, 4004738
names of three referees and a completed Date Posted:
Personal Details/Equal Opportunities Form 01/26/2009
should be sent to: Ms Soheni Datta, Application Deadline:
Department of Mathematics, UCL, Gower Open Until Filled
Street, London. WC1E 6BT Tel: 020 7679 Job Description
2839, email: soheni@pc-ah.math.ucl.ac.uk.
Computational drug discovery postdoctoral
The Personal Details/Equal Opportunities
positions are available immediately at the
Form and Further Particulars of the post can
Department of Experimental Therapeutics,
be found at:
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/maths/Adverts/Vacanc
ies.html Job Responsibilities: The research projects
are to discover and design specific inhibitors
3. Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher for targets implicated in cancers using state-
Department of Chemistry of-the-art hit identification and lead
optimization techniques. The individuals are
£25,824 pa (Including allowances)
also expected to develop programs to study
To work on projects within the European ligand polypharmacology using both
Union Initial Training Network ELCAT cheminformatics and bioinformatics
(Electrocatalysis) within Professor David concepts.
Schiffrin's group. You should have an Qualifications/Skills
appropriate degree in the area of Candidates should have PhD degrees in
Physical Chemistry/Electrochemistry. Both cheminformatics, bioinformatics,
computational medicinal chemistry, physics
posts could lead to a higher degree. or related fields. The individuals should be
You will investigate the electrochemical self-motivated and quick-learners. They
reduction of carbon dioxide to obtain useful should have prior experience in
products. The post is available for 3 years. biomolecular modeling and drug discovery.
Practical knowledge and experience of using
Job Ref: R-569028/JAC current CADD techniques is desirable.
The post Is funded from EU-Marie Curie Applicants should have excellent
grants, and due to requirements of the programming skills, in-depth knowledge of
funding body, candidates should be non-UK cheminformatics and bioinformatics, and
proficiency with chemical biological
nationals and have up to four years' research
databases.
experience. If interested, please send your application
Closing Date: 13 February 2009 (curriculum vitae, reference contact and a
For full details, or to request an application cover letter describing research interests and
goals) to Dr. Shuxing Zhang: shuzhang AT
pack, visit
mdanderson DOT org.
www.liv.ac.uk/working/job_vacancies/
or e-mail jobs@liv.ac.uk Tel 0151 794 2210 Contact:
(24 hr answerphone) The University of Texas M. D. Anderson
Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
4. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Houston, TX 77030
Cancer Center United States
Job Title: Computational Drug Discovery Employer's Web Site:
Postdoctoral Positions Visit employer's website

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 53


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Details about the Northeast India Research Forum

Date of creation of the forum : 13th November 2004


Area: Science and Technology
Total number of members till date: 263
Moderators:
1. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D. 2. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.
Institute of Surface Chemistry, Royal Chemical Science Dept, Tezpur University, Tezpur,
Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Assam
Email: arindam_tsk@yahoo.com Email: ajtthax@yahoo.com

3. Utpal Borah, Ph.D. 4. Khirud Gogoi, Ph.D.


Dibrugarh University, Assam, India University of California, San Diego, La Jolla,
Email: utbora@yahoo.co.in USA; Email:khirudg@gmail.com

Editorial Team of NE Quest

1. Dhanapati Deka, Ph.D. 2. Tankeswar Nath, Ph.D.


Tezpur University, Assam Jubilant Organosys Ltd. Gajraula, UP, India
Email: dhanapati@tezu.ernet.in Email: tankeswar_nath@jubl.com

3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D. 4. Rashmi Rekha Devi, Ph.D


UTAS, Australia, Defence Material & Stores Research & Dev.
Email: mansharma123@yahoo.com Establishment, DRDO, Kanpur.
Email: devi_rashmi@yahoo.com
5. Joshodeep Boruwa, Ph.D. 6. Pankaj Bharali,
Université Louis Pasteur (ULP), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology,
France: Email : jboruwa@gmail.com Hyderabad, India.
Email: pankaj_rrlj@yahoo.co.in
7. Pranjal Saikia 8. Sasanka Deka, Ph.D.
Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, National Nanotechnology Laboratory, Lecce,
IICT, Hyderabad, India Italy
Email: psjorhat@yahoo.co.uk Email: ssdeka@gmail.com

9. Shanta Laishram, Ph. D. 10. Áshim Thakur, Ph.D.


Dept of Pure Mathematics, 11. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.
University of Waterloo, Canada 12. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.
Email: shantalaishram@gmail.com

Logo designed by: Cover page designed by: Anirban, Pune


Manab Sharma, Ph.D.
Email: mansharma123@yahoo.com

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/northeast_india_research/
http://www.neindiaresearch.org/

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 4, January 2009, 54