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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 1

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum


N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 2

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Unleashing scientific creativity in North East India

Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.

-Antonio Machado

If they answer not thy call, walk alone,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou of evil luck,
Open thy mind and speak out alone.
-“Ekla Chalo Re”, Rabindranath Tagore

How do we ignite the budding human and bioresources. We need to

scientific minds in our slumbering NE, utilize them through advanced inputs
caught in a ‘time warp’ in this 21st of S & T and transmute them into
century? How do we create that subtle value-added, products, goods and
synergy of dreams and realities? How services. We may create networks of
to nurture them by creating informal agro-industries with a backbone of
channels of communication despite the clusters of bioindustries to transform
rigid formal structures? How can we our NE economy and society.
ensure that our scientific Cinderellas
are catapulted to the global science In the global context too, this year
platform in the next 20 years or so? 2009 marks the celebration of two
great events: the 400th anniversary of
We have our own icons-Bhupen Galileo’s telescopic observation and
Hazarika, Jahnu Barua, Indira 150th anniversary of ‘Origin of
Goswami, P. A. Sangma, Ratan Species(and 200th anniversary of
Thiyam, Aribam Shyam Sharma, Charles Darwin’s birth). One is about
Kunjarani etc in the cultural, literary, evolution of ‘unthinking matter’ and
political and sports fields. How do we the other about ‘thinking matter’- the
create such icons in the sphere of journey from bacteria to humans with
science? Can we fondly imagine that all sorts of possibilities-agonies,
one among us would be counted ecstasies, dreams, imagination, vision,
among the probables for the next violence, war and poetry!
Indian science Nobel laureate, if any
can emerge by 2020? Unless we bring in extra-scientific
belief systems, we must elucidate how
2009 falls at a historical crossroads: ‘cosmic dust’ evolved into ‘thinking
the meeting of the Knowledge Society, matter’, matter that can reflect on
Asian Century and Biotech itself, write poems, commit murders,
Millennium. For flowering of our dream, visualize, and do science!
science innovation, we need a churning
of our collective consciousness, a kind This may not necessitate charting out
of ‘Samudra Manthan’ for our science an altogether new path as compared to
education and mission-oriented seeing things in a new way. For “ones
research. We do have rich natural,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 3

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

destination is never a place, but a new scientists-astrophysicists, chemists,

way of seeing things” (Henry Miller). biologists, and biotechnologists-to
Let’s create a blazing trail- a fresh
roadmap of S & T in the North East. For this we essentially need a new
As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Do breed of scientific ‘poets’ for our
not follow where the path may lead. North Eastern India. As Theodore
Go instead where there is no path and Roszak says, ‘Nature composes some
leave a trail”. of her loveliest poems for the
microscope and the telescope’!
For this we need a transformed and
transforming education system which The mighty Brahmaputra beckons us to
promotes critical thinking that be steadfast, the Loktak whispers us to
promotes: be committed and remain pure, the
Naga Hills calls us to chart out a new
• Networked ideas trail bravely, and the Gongs of Tawang
• Collaborative research monastery and the alluring sunset at
• Value for people Kanchenjunga prods us on to be
• Meritocracy rather than optimistic. Let’s walk on and raise
gerontocracy NE’s science to the global platform
• Tolerance of failure even if it has to be ‘Ekla chalo re’
• Shared vision initially for us kindred souls!
• Learning organization that
The road is long and the path is steep.
inculcates a ‘culture of
But we must march on till we realize
excellence’ through less
our own ‘Kanchenjungas’ and then
beaurocracy and empowered by
further to scale more “Mount Everests’
informal channels of
through a transformed sytem of higher
education that incorporates our
endogenous visions, missions and
Imagine how many of our colleges and
actions! This much we owe to our
universities will be transformed by
posterity. Remember that our yearning
even a simple step such as the
for innovative S & T is inextricably
‘managers’ of such institutions going
linked with our social and economic
through ideas from the stake holders
transformation. The very survival of
invited through suggestion boxes! We
the NE in this globalized millennium
need to transform our academic
depends on breakthroughs in S & T
pachyderms into nimble tigers.
and high-end R & D. Let’s nurture our
millennial dream till we realize it!
We earnestly appeal to our youth to
Only then we can create ‘Republics of
look up and cogitate deeply above and
the Mind’ and ‘Metropolises of
decode the questions in the sky and
Intellect’ in the nooks and corners of
look down and demystify the riddles
the north east. As Tagore says, “if they
on the earth, hold their heads high, and
do not hold up the light when the night
let the divine chemistry happen
is troubled with storm, O thou of evil
between thinking matter and matter.
luck, with the thunder flame of pain
This vital ferment will transform the
ignite thy own heart and let it burn
North East India. What wonders and
alone”. Let “Ekla Chalo Re” be our
riddles are lurking in the forests of NE
guiding scientific chorus. We in the
and bright starts in the firmament of
North East India Research Forum(and
‘the seven sisters’ for our budding

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 4

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

the NEQ team) fondly believes that it doctoral theses by NE scholars and
would not for long be lonely journeys, other news. Plus many more features.
for our humble efforts in side channels We need your feedback, don’t hesitate,
would soon create ripples and what seems insignificant to you may
amplified results and the flickering provoke a new chain of thought, in a
‘candles of minds’ in the storm would young talent in an unreached nook of
form abiding ‘cascades of ignited India, especially North Eastern India.
minds” acting as beacons of our
wretched society. Is anyone listening?
-Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam
In the inside columns you would find Reader & Head
articles related to International year of Dept of Biochemistry
astronomy, Darwin anniversary, Manipur University, Imphal
climate change, biotech, nanotech, Manipur, India

N. E. Quest Reader’s Page

Starting from the next issue, we have decided to introduce a Reader’s page. N. E. Quest team
values our readers a lot. In fact, our continued survival depends on you; without you N. E.
Quest has no future.

Please provide your valuable feedback for any article, feature, news and views in the Journal.
Your suggestions and critical responses would go a long way in improving the quality of
North East Quest.

A best response alongwith excerpts from a few other responses would be selected for
publication in the forthcoming issue of NEQ. Please don’t underestimate your spontaneous
ideas generated after reading the columns of the NEQ. An idea that strikes your mind which
seem insignificant to you may create ripples in the young readers in the nooks and corners of
the North East. So let’s create the ‘cascade effect’!

Together let us achieve a ‘silent revoluion’ NE’s S & T and trigger a ‘culture of excellence’
in our slumbering academic institutions-the myriad of neglected colleges and universities in
the North Eastern India. Let’s rsolve to jointly wreak a flowering of scientific scholarship
and entrepreunership in NE.

Let’s march on confidently. If necessary, at least initially, let’s get poised for a quantum
jump forward with the happy chorus of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’!

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 5

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

K. Gogoi


a) Origin of Universe : The Big Bang 24

N. Nimai Singh (Special Invited Article: International Year of Astronomy)

b) Global warming: disastrous effects and possible solutions 28

A. K. Puri and T. Satyanarayana (Special Invited article : climate change)

c) Darwin bicentenary: 150th anniversary of ‘the origin of species’ 37

D. Ningthoujam

c) Prospects of Biotechnological Interventions for Sustainable Utilization 39

of Banana Genetic Resources in Mizoram, India
R. S. Thangjam, L. Hrahsel and P. C .Lalrinfela

d) Conducting Polymer sensors: An intelligent aspect 45

S. Sarmah

e) Mesoscale Convection Systems 50

D. Dutta


a) Hybrid inorganic-organic materials and nanocomposites; synthesis, 54

characterizations and catalytic applications in organic transformation
A. Bordoloi

b) A study of self-similarity and approximate solutions of QCD evolution equations 58

R. Gogoi


(From Smritimala Sarmah, Prasenjit Khanikar and. Arindam Adhikari)

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 6

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

North East India Research Forum was

created on 13 November 2004.
• Which area of science is going to
dominate by creating a great impact on
society in next decade?
1. How we are growing.
1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology =
Every forum has to pass through difficult
phases at the time of birth. NE India
2. Biotechnology = 11%
Research Forum is also no exception. At
3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
the very beginning, it was a march hardly
4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
with few members (from chemistry only)
5. Medicine = 11%
and today the forum comprised of a force
6. Others = 16%
of more than 280 elite members. Now we
7. None = 0%
are in a position such that people
voluntarily come and join the group
irrespective of disciplines. • Kindly let us know your view regarding
the following topic. What activities of
this group you like most?

250 1. Research articles = 33%

2.Information about vacancy/positions
No of Members

available = 10%
3. Way to have a contact with all
members = 29%
50 4. Scientific discussions = 14%
0 5. Others = 2%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Months • Selection of name for Newsletter
There were total 36 proposals submitted by
Graph of no of members w.r.t. months members of the forum for the Newsletter.
The name proposed by Mr. Abhishek
2. Discussions held in the forum Choudhury, N.E. QUEST received the
maximum number of votes and hence it is
• Necessity of directory of all the accepted as the name of the Newsletter.
members of the forum.
• Possibility of organising conference in • How often should we publish our
the N. E. India. newsletter '' N. E. Quest’’?
• Taking initiation on setting up of South
East Asian Scientific Institute. 1. Every 3 months = 61%
• On selection of Best paper award. 2. Every 6 months = 38%
• Let us introspect. 3. Once a year = 0%

3. Poll conducted and results 4. Editors of Previous NE-Quest Issues

• North East India is lacking behind the 1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007
rest of the country due to- Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari
2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007
1. Geographical constrain = 0% Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath
2. Bad leadership = 40% 3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007
3. Lack of work culture = 36% Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur
4. Corruption = 18% 4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008
5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4% Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 7

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008 NE India Research Forum. These

Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka guidelines are placed in the forum for
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008 discussion.
Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi
7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008 To run the forum smoothly, to make it
Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan more organised and to speed up activities,
8. Vol 2 Issue 4 January 2009 formation of a committee/team is essential.
Editor: Dr. Manab Sharma The combined discussion of the moderators
9. Vol 3 Issue 1 April 2009 ( This issue) and senior members make the forum feel
Editor: Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam the importance of Advisors, co-ordinator,
volunteer, webmasters etc. Of course it
5. A domain in the name of www. needs more discussion and will be is booked. approved by poll.

6. Future activities 8. Guidelines for the forum

Proper planning and consequent The moderators formulated some

implementation always play an important guidelines for the forum which are as
role in every aspect. Some of the topics / follow. These guidelines were kept
activities / suggestions which were being
discussed, time to time in the forum will
open for discussion in the forum. With
get top priorities in our future activities. time and need the guidelines will be
Those are mentioned here, changed.

• Preparing complete online database of 1. Anybody in the forum can start a

N.E. researchers with details. meaningful and constructive
discussion after discussion with
• Organising conference in the N.E. moderators.
region-proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora.
2. Comments from the individual
• Research collaboration among forum
members do not necessarily reflect
members. the view of the forum.
3. No single moderator can take a
• Motivate student to opt for science crucial decision. All decision would
education. be taken by the moderators
unanimously or together with the
• Help master’s students in doing group as majority.
projects in different organisation- 4. One should not write any massage
proposed by Dr. Khirud Gogoi.
to the forum addressing some
• Supporting schools in rural areas by particular members. It should
different ways. always start with Dear all / Dear
esteemed members etc.
• Best paper awards. 5. If one has to write a mail to a
particular member she/he should
• Compilation of book on ‘Education write personal mail.
system of different countries’. Initiative 6. Everyone has the freedom to speak
for this project is taken by Dr. Mantu
but that doesn’t mean that one
Bhuyan, NEIST, Jorhat, Assam
should attack personally. Of course
7. New activity we do have differences. There can
be debate or discussion, but it
• Guidelines for the members are being should always be a healthy one.
formulated by the moderators of the One’s personal comment should be

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 8

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

written in such a way that it reflects • It is also the duty of the person who
his/her view only. It should not requests article to acknowledge the
touch other's sentiments/emotions. person who helped him/her. This
7. Whenever we are in a forum, can be done by writing ' Request
society, home, members should be fulfilled by......' in the subject area
sensitive / caring enough to their while composing the mail and write
comments so that it does not hurt a thanking message in the main
sentiment of any second members. message board. Once this is done,
8. Members should not post greetings then if some other members want to
messages (Bihu wish, New Year send the article will know about the
wish etc) to the forum. status of the request. This will also
9. Members should post authentic help members in keeping mailbox
news only. The source of the news clean.
should be authentic. No
• Before asking for article, he/she
controversial news or comment
should always check his/her
should be posted to the forum.
institute/university libraries (online
10. Our main aim is to discuss science
resources). If it is not available or
to generate science consciousness,
accessible then only the member
scientific temperament, sensitivity,
should request to the forum.
awareness and research for the
benefit of the mankind in general • Moreover sending articles
and North East India in particular. (copyright protected articles) to the
11. In severe cases, moderators can take open forum violates copyright act.
a hard decision unanimously or So please send the article to the
majority wise ( may be through person who requests not to
poll). (This point needs to be everybody through this open forum.
accepted by all the members).

While sending request or while "In India I found a race of mortals living
fulfilling request for articles please upon the Earth, but not adhering to it.
follow the following points. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them,
possessing everything but possessed by
• The forum has been formed to help
each other. When a member
requests articles/literature to forum, - Apollonius Tyanaeus
members of the forum are always Greek Thinker and Traveller 1st Century AD
happy to help the person by
supplying the articles. But at this -------0-------
stage we have to keep in mind that
the article should be sent to the
person who requested it, not to the
whole forum as it creates lots of
unnecessary mails in the message
box of the forum. Moreover if it
continues, it become a irritation also
for many members. Ancient Indian numbers

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 9

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Skin cells form quick defence in body Israel to quench Cherrapunjee’s

Scientists claim to have discovered that Israel will initiate a slew of measures in
certain skin cells can recognise viruses Cherrapunjee, the world’s wettest spot
and respond right away, a finding which faces acute shortage of water
which could improve treatment of viral post-monsoon, to restore its
skin infections. environment and harvest rain water
from this month. Meghalaya
Government has signed an agreement
with the Centre for International
Agricultural Development Cooperation
of Israel’s Agriculture Ministry for
technical collaboration in rainwater
harvesting at Cherrapunjee, now called
Sohra, official sources said.

According to David Rumnong

Ashkenazy, business head and
representative for ARGOS (Agri
According to them, the work identifies
Projects) Limited of Israel in India, a
previously unrecognised first-line
team of experts from Israel will visit the
defence mechanisms important in
State and start the restoration work this
barrier locations such as the skin and
month. The first phase of the restoration
the gut, often used as portals of entry by
work would begin in February and the
viruses. The findings entail the function
experts would work in collaboration
of the cells that trigger the initial
with the State department of Soil and
immune response to viral infection,
Water Conservation and the locals.
known as dendritic cells. "Dendritic
cells are like police patrolling our blood
The team will jointly plan and construct
and tissues for anything unusual. There
suitable systems to collect, store and
are many different types of them, so we
transport rainwater and to create
wanted to examine how they differ in
livelihood for the people, he said
their function," said Dr Sammy Bedoui
adding, they would also work out a
of Melbourne University, who led an
system to create bridge between the
international team. Using an animal
areas where water is available and those
model of skin infection with the cold
where it is in short supply as well as
sore virus, the scientists examined two
between the rainy and the dry seasons.
aspects of anti-viral immune responses
by studying the cells involved in the
Experts blame large-scale destruction of
initial stimulation of the immune
forests in the area, which receives an
response, and cells that remember past
annual rainfall of 12,000 mm, for the
infections to boost the response after
disappearance of perennial springs in
reinfection.( Source :PTI, April 14,
the hills resulting in acute water crisis
2009, Washington)
to the extent that people here find it
difficult to get drinking water even. –

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Bioengineered Proteins: Trial Their findings could have implications

Confirms New Way To Tackle for any type of cancer in which HIF
Cancer plays a role.
In a study published in the first issue of (Source: ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2009))
EMBO Molecular Medicine, Canadian Himalayas 5 mn yrs older: Study
researchers modified the tumour
inhibiting protein, von Hippel-Lindau New Findings Trace Origin To 14M
(VHL), and demonstrated that it could Yrs Ago
suppress tumour growth in mice. Panaji: The Himalayas may be a good
When solid tumours grow they often five million years older than the earlier
have relatively poor and disorganised estimates about the formation of India’s
blood supplies. As a result, various crowning glory, according to a joint
regions including the centre of the study by Indian and British scientists.
tumour have low levels of oxygen and The new findings position the era of
are said to be hypoxic. Cells in these formation of the Himalayas to as late as
hypoxic areas produce hypoxia- 13.9-14.4 million years onward as
inducible factor (HIF) that helps them against the earlier theory of eight
carry on growing. Consequently HIF is million years. The study carried out by
associated with aggressiveness in some Dr K S Krishna of the National Institute
of the most common types of cancer, of Oceanography (NIO) and his British
including prostate, breast, colon and colleagues, Southampton University
lung cancer. Under normal conditions Professor Jon Bull and Edinburg
VHL degrades HIF, but VHL is University Professor Roger Scrutton
deactivated when oxygen levels are was published in the March issue of the
low. So, in hypoxic regions of a Geological Society of America journal,
tumour, just where VHL is needed to Geology. The study found the earth’s
inhibit cancer, it is ineffective. strong outer shell—the lithosphere—
The researchers, therefore, created a within the central Indian Ocean began
new version of VHL that does not stop to deform and fracture 13.9-14.4
working when oxygen is scarce. million years ago, much earlier than
Introducing this newly engineered previously thought. It focuses on the
version of VHL into mice that had tectonics-related deformation of the
kidney tumours dramatically reduced lithosphere below the central Indian
levels of HIF, caused tumours to Ocean.
regress and limited the formation of India and Asia collided 50 million
new blood vessels within the tumours. years ago as a result of plate tectonics,
"We have genetically removed the large-scale movements of the
Achilles' heel of VHL to permit lithosphere, which continues to this
unrestricted destruction of HIF," says day, the study states. This will impact
lead researcher Professor Michael Ohh, our understanding of the birth of the
who works in the Faculty of Medicine Himalayas and the strengthening of the
at the University of Toronto. "The level Indo-Asian monsoon, it adds.
of HIF is usually very high under
conditions of low oxygen, but when we Rise Of Oxygen Caused Earth's
put in our bioengineered VHL its levels Earliest Ice Age
go right down to a level that would be
comparable to that in normal oxygen Geologists have discovered that Earth's
levels." earliest ice ages may have been due to
the rise of oxygen in Earth's
atmosphere, which consumed

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 11

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

atmospheric greenhouse gases and Once oxygen made it into the

chilled the earth. Alan J. Kaufman, atmosphere, it reacted with methane, a
professor of geology at the University powerful greenhouse gas, to form
of Maryland, Maryland geology carbon dioxide, which is 62 times less
colleague James Farquhar, and a team effective at warming the surface of the
of scientists from Germany, South planet. With less warming potential,
Africa, Canada, and the U.S.A., surface temperatures may have
uncovered evidence that the plummeted, resulting in globe-
oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere - encompassing glaciers and sea ice. In
generally known as the Great addition to its affect on climate, the rise
Oxygenation Event - coincided with the in oxygen stimulated the rise in
first widespread ice age on the planet. stratospheric ozone, our global
sunscreen. This gas layer, which lies
between 12 and 30 miles above the
surface, decreased the amount of
damaging ultraviolet sunrays reaching
the oceans, allowing photosynthetic
organisms that previously lived deeper
down, to move up to the surface, and
hence increase their output of oxygen,
further building up stratospheric ozone.
(Source: ScienceDaily May 7, 2009)

Now, stem cells to cure blindness

Patients suffering from blindness now
need not wait for donors as doctors
have found a way to treat many with the
stem cells derived from the cornea of a
dead body.

Doctors at the AIIMS and a private

clinic in the national capital are using
corneal surface stem cells from a
cadaver's (dead person) eye for curing
corneal injuries in many.
According to them, two and a half
billion years ago, before the Earth's
"We have used the corneal surface stem
atmosphere contained appreciable
cells of cadaver's eye for patients with
oxygen, photosynthetic bacteria gave
corneal injury and have been able to
off oxygen that first likely oxygenated
correct many vision," Dr Radhika
the surface of the ocean, and only later
Tandon, Associate Professor,
the atmosphere. The first formed
Department of Opthalmology, AIIMS
oxygen reacted with iron in the oceans,
said, adding, "This has been done on
creating iron oxides that settled to the
over more than 100 patients of corneal
ocean floor in sediments called banded
iron-formations - layered deposits of
red-brown rock that accumulated in
The technique has come as a divine
ocean basins around the worldwide.
blessing to many patients, Tandon said.
Later, once the iron was used up,
"Instead of a whole cornea for one
oxygen escaped from the oceans and
patient, we check the level of injury and
started filling up the atmosphere.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 12

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use stem cells instead. This way we can research and other inputs by Prof
help even four patients with one Kalyani Baruah.
cornea," Dr Asim Kumar Kandar,
Consultant, Centre for Sight, said. They observed that each light flash
from a firefly emits 30 thousand pulses
Stem cells exist in various regions of of laser. Prof Baruah says this facet
the eye but so far, they can be found at went unnoticed for more than a hundred
the outer edges of the cornea, he said. years.
(Source: Press Trust of India, Tuesday (Source: Assam Tribune, 2nd June 2009)
May 12, 2009, New Delhi)
ISRO gear up to launch bacteria cells
Assam physicists discover laser from into space
The Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) will launch
bacteria cells into space and bring them
back in the second Space Capsule
Recovery Experiment (SRE-2) by the
end of this year. Kamanio
Chattopadhyay, national coordinator of
Physicists of the Gauhati and Dibrugarh the Indian Microgravity Programme
Universities, led by Prof G D Baruah said, "We will conduct two life science
have discovered mock laser emissions experiments with the help of E.coli and
from fireflies. The discovery has been photosynthetic bacteria that will be
published in the current issue of the helpful for us to understand cell
Journal of Bio-Science, an division, genomics (genetic changes)
internationally acclaimed specialty and proteomics (changes in proteins) in
publication. The discovery was made microgravity conditions." In the first
jointly by Prof G D Baruah of the experiment, an E.coli cell would be
Dibrugarh University and Dr Anurup grown in a bio-reactor and brought back
Gohain Baruah of the Gauhati to the earth to carry out genomic
University while studying light studies. "When the experiment is
emissions by fireflies on the Gauhati recovered, we will explore why
University campus. microgravity alters the growth of cells."
The experiment could be seen as a
Scientists around the world have prelude to ISRO's manned space
considered the discovery as an mission slated for 2015, he said. The
interesting effect and an important payload would be developed in
achievement of the 21st century, and collaboration with the Centre for
are applying their minds about its Cellular and Molecular Biology
applications. Nobel Laureate Sir C V (CCMB) in Hyderabad and the Vikram
Raman had commenced a study of light Sarabhai Space Centre in
flashes from fireflies way back in 1965, Thiruvananthapuram.
says Prof Baruah, who carried on the In the other experiment, photosynthetic
research for more than thirty years. The bacteria would be cultured to study the
studies have been carried out at the effect of microgravity on
Cosmic Ray Laboratory in the photosynthesis. Much like plants,
Department of Physics at the Gauhati cynobacteria carry out photosynthesis.
University and at other locations, with This experiment would be developed
jointly by CCMB, ISRO and the Japan

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 13

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Aerospace Exploration Agency. The that it will complete at least 12 months

effect of space radiation and in the orbit,” said Dhandhe. The high-
microgravity on seeds of rice and resolution pictures and data obtained
medicinal plants would be the subject will be used for various applications
of a third experiment developed by the such as drought monitoring, wasteland
Pune and Kerala universities. Using a management, urban planning and flood-
dosimeter, the experiment would risk management.
measure levels of radiation exposure on (Source:
the seeds. The satellite would also have
a materials science experiment onboard launch-nano-satellite-by-dec/358469/ )
to study the role of gravity on melting
and sintering of metal powder. ‘Bhuvan' India’s response to Google
Developed by the Indian Institute of Earth to be launched
Technology-Kanpur, this payload Bhuvan, India's response to Google
would use a model copper-tin alloy as Earth, will be launched very soon and
the subject. will provide high resolution imagery
May 02, 2009, data of the order of five metre which
would be of great relevance for real-
IIT-K to launch nano satellite time exercises, including disaster
‘Jugnu’ by Dec’ 09 management and military operations.
The Indian Institute of Technology, "The Google Earth is providing high
Kanpur (IITK) has received the Indian resolution data in the order of less than
Space Research Organisation (ISRO) a metre. But the data is two to three
nod to launch its first and country’s years old. It cannot be of much use for
lightest nano satellite, Jugnu, by this any real-time exercise. But Bhuvan will
December.The satellite will be provide the relevant data for any real-
launched in the polar orbit from time exercise," S K Pathan, Head, Geo
Sriharikota. Informatics Data Division, ISRO, said.
A team of 12 professors and 40 IIT-K Bhuvan, will be a better alternative to
students led by professor and Google Earth in terms of quality of
mechanical engineering department data, he said. This can be of use for
head, Nalinaksh S Vyas, have been real-time exercises like disaster
working on the project since December management and military operations,"
2008, said IIT-K director Sanjay he said. For real-time exercises, the
Govind Dhande. A technical team of latest data is a guiding force, he said. It
ISRO led by D Madhav Murthy, can show the topography, altitude,
director (small satellite), said they had depth and other features of any specific
informed ISRO authorities about the location. "This information will be
details related to the release of Jugnu by required when you are undertaking a
mother satellite in polar orbit, and also massive exercise like flood
provided the details regarding the management or post-cyclone disaster
satellite antenna set up in the institute mitigation," he said. The data could be
premises. of use to manage public services,
Weighing 3.5 kg, Jugnu would be 34 internal security, town planning and
cm long and 10 cm wide. It would be infrastructure development activities.
equipped with micro imaging and micro (Source:
electronic system, and transit images to
base station at the IITK campus.
“Although the stipulated life time of the
satellite is six months, we are optimistic

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 14

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Aquatic lives in the form of fossils India has just two per cent of the
found in Meghalaya world's land, it houses 7.44 per cent (or
Researchers have discovered aquatic 91,364) of its animal species. About 60
lives in the form of fossils in per cent of these are insects. "Two
Meghalaya's Janiaw village under East times the number of species recorded
Khasi Hills district. still remains to be discovered in India,"
''The fossils found by the riverside in said Dr Ramakrishna, director, ZSI - a
Janiaw a small hamlet, about 80 km body constituted in 1916 by the British
from Mawsynram village, which is to record animal groups in India. The
reportedly the wettest place on earth, report was compiled by three scientists
with an annual rainfall of 11,872 mm from ZSI whose search for new species
(about 39 feet), was part of a sea took them to the far corners of the
millions of years ago,'' Prof B Kharbuli country. Most of the discoveries were
of Zoology in the North Eastern Hills made in the Northeast. Scientists
University (NEHU) said. ''The fossils Rosamma Mathew and Nibedita Sen
found in Janiaw are of aquatic lives that found several new species of frogs in
are different from fish family. They Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and
belong to aquatic lives known as Arunachal Pradesh. Two new species of
echinodermata and mollusca,'' Prof water frogs were found in the rivers of
Kharbuli said. The zoologist said the Manipur. Unlike conventional frogs,
echinodermata and mollusca aquactic these have smooth skin and an ability to
groups were not displaced when the swim a distance. One of them looks like
water level was changing. ''This type of a big bee. The most startling discovery
fossil in Janiaw was first found in 1980. was in Subansiri district of Arunachal,
Though the Meghalaya government is where a longish frog showing
aware of this, it has not paid any colouration and spots was discovered.
attention to preserve this place which is The frog - found in different colour
very unique,'' he said. Stating that most combinations - with the scientific name
of southern part of Meghalaya, rhacophorus subansiriensis uses its tail
bordering Bangladesh was part of a sea to swim in shallow water and also stay
millions of years ago, Prof Kharbuli on land. (Source: )
said, ''When the earth is changing
continuously, the water level gradually US physicists create thinnest
decreases and the aquatic lives are superconducting metal
stranded. Then they die and parts of A superconducting metal sheet with just
them become fossilised.'' two atoms thick has been developed by
physicists at the University of Texas in
New frog, insect species found Austin. The development of the thin
superconducting sheets of lead lays the
groundwork for future advancements in
superconductor technologies. The
superconductors are unique as they can
maintain an electrical current
indefinitely with no power source. They
are used in MRI (Magnetic Resonance
Imaging) machines, particle
The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
accelerators, quantum interference
has reported the discovery of 12 new
devices and other applications.
species of amphibians and 14 species of
Professor Ken Shih and his colleagues
insects - not known to science - from 13
first reported about their creation in the
states in the last few years. Although

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 15

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

June 5 issue of Science. In were yet to be identified in the reserve

superconductors, electrons move which has unique bio-diversity with
through the material together in pairs, tribal populace.
called Cooper pairs. One of the
innovative properties of Shih's ultra- -----0------
thin lead is that it confines the electrons
to move in two dimensions. Quite
uniquely, the lead remains a good
superconductor despite the constrained
movement of the electrons through the Do you know?
metal. Shih and his colleagues used Mathematical Magic
advanced materials synthesis
techniques to lay the two-atom thick (1) 1 + 2 = 3
sheet of lead atop a thin silicon surface. (2) 4 + 5 + 6 = 7 + 8
The lead sheets are highly uniform with (3) 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 13 + 14 + 15
no impurities. "We can make this film, (4) 16 + 17 + 18+ 19 + 20 = 21 + 22 + 23 +
and it has perfect crystalline structure - 24
more perfect than most thin films made -
of other materials," says Shih. -
Native land of oranges gets UNESCO .......upto infinity.
Sum of consecutive odd numbers
Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in Garo
Hills district of Meghalaya which has 1 + 3 = 4 = 22
been added to UNESCO's list of 2) 1 + 3 + 5 = 9 = 32
Worldwide Network of Biosphere 3) 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 16 = 42
Reserves has another distinction of 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 +……...n = n2
having world's first citrus gene
sanctuary. ( n is the number of terms)

According to scientists, Nokrek is also Sum of consecutive cubes

the only place in the world to have
preserved the mother plant of oranges. 1) 13 + 23 = ( 1 + 2 )2 = 32
The 47-sq-km Nokrek Biosphere 2) 13 + 23 + 33 = ( 1 + 2 + 3 )2 = 62
Reserve is home to a rare variety of 3) 13 + 23 + 33 + 43 = ( 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 )2 = 102
citrus locally known as 'memang narang
orange of the spirits', which is
considered to be the most primitive and
the progenitor of all other varieties of ---------0--------
citrus plants in the world, forest
officials said.The mother germo plasm “Measure what is measurable, and make
of Citrus Indica was discovered by measurable what is not so.”
researchers within Nokrek Range,
which led to the establishment of the “All truths are easy to understand once they
National Citrus Gene Sanctuary-cum- are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Biosphere Reserve here, they said. A -By Galileo Galile
research conducted by Botanical Survey
of India last year observed that a ---------0--------
number of different species of plants

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 16

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Dr. Ramesh Chandra Deka, Director, Maryland and at the Yale University
All India Institute of Medical Medical Center, New Haven,
Sciences, New Delhi, India Connecticut, USA in head & neck
surgery. He has conducted
neurophysiological studies on inner ear
at University of Tennessee, Knoxville
during his fellowship in USA (1978).
Dr. Deka has made outstanding
contribution in the field of deafness
surgery, including his pioneering
clinical and research work in Cochlear
implantation in India. He has also made
significant and innovative contribution
to the medical education in India.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra Deka was In 1996, he went to Australia to
appointed as the new director of the undergo training in cochlear implant
country’s prestigious All India Institute surgery at the Melbourne University
of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on 10th and the Bionic Ear Institute in
March 2009. Melbourne. An accomplished ENT (ear,
Born in Assam in 1948, Prof. Deka’s nose, throat) specialist, Prof. Deka has
association with AIIMS dates back to worked as a faculty in Kasturba
1971 when he first came to the Institute Medical College between 1976 and
as a post-graduate student after 1979 and in the Jawaharlal Institute of
completing his MBBS from Gauhati Postgraduate Medical Education and
Medical College in 1969. He did his Research, Puducherry (1979-1981). He
MS (ENT) from AIIMS in 1973. has performed over 200 cochlear
Deka, who is the head of the ENT implant surgeries and published more
(otorhinolaryngology) department since than 200 research papers in national and
1995, was appointed director for the international journals. He has also
next five years or till further orders are contributed chapters in several Indian
issued. Deka was appointed as dean of and foreign books. He was recently
the institute since 2006. He joined the honoured with the prestigious
faculty position in AIIMS in 1981. International Socrates award for his
Prof. Deka has received two national strong leadership, remarkable
Gold Medals for his outstanding reputation and successful professional
research in Cancer(1975) and achievement, by European Business
Neurotology (1984) from Association Assembly, Oxford, the UK.
of Otolaryngologists of Indian and
Neurotological Society of India
respectively. He received his further ------0------
training in 1977-1978 in otology,
neurotology and microsurgery of the “Science is what you know, philosophy is
ear at the North Western University, what you don't know.”
Chicago, USA. Dr. Deka has also -By Bertrand Russell
undergone training in otology at the
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 17

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Dr. Sanjib Gogoi has recently joined ICDD membership committee and
Department of Chemistry, Wayne State approval of Board of Directors.
University, Detroit, Michigan, USA as
a post docoral researcer. Previously he Mr. Mahen Konwar is visiting the
was working at the Dept. of Chemistry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
University of Texas, US as post from 21st April to 30th April 2009 for
doctoral researcher. training purpose. This training is in
preparation with Cloud Aerosol
Mr. Rahul Kar has joined department Interactions and Precipitation
of Chemistry, Dibrugarh University as Enhancement Experiement (CAIPEEX)
faculty after submission of the thesis program at The Hebrew University of
(Study of a Rational Model of Gas Jerusalem, Israel. The CAIPEEX is a
Phase Molecules in External Electric national program to start from 15 May
Field and in Solvents Using Local to the end of Sept, 2009.
Reactivity Descriptors) for PhD from
NCL(National Chemical Laboratory, Dhrubajyoti Mahanta of the
University of Pune), Pune under the Dibrugarh University and Mayurima
guidance of Dr. Sourav Pal. Borthakur of NEIST Jorhat jointly
won an award for the the best oral
Mr. Pankaj Bharali has joined presentation in the ONGC and UGC
Research Institute for Ubiquitous sponsored National seminar on “Recent
Energy Devices, National Institute of Advances in Chemical Sciences” held
Advanced Industrial Science and on March 26 and 27 at the Dibrugarh
Technology (AIST), Kansai as Post- University, Assam. The best poster
Doctoral Research Scientist from 15th presentation award went to Juthika
April 2009. He has submitted his thesis Sonowal of the Dibrugarh University.
for Ph.D. from IICT, Hyderabad About 200 participants from different
working on the research title ‘Design of parts of the country attended the
Novel Nanosized Ceria-based seminar, and seventy research papers
Multicomponent Composite Oxides for were presented.
Catalytic Applications’ under the
guidance of Dr. B.M. Reddy, Deputy Dr. Lakhindra Chetia has recently
Director at IPC Division of the institute. joined as a post doctoral researcher at
Department of Chemistry, Montana State
Dr. Binoy Saikia has been elected as University, USA, after a short post
an Affiliate Member of International doctoral stay at Ontario Institue of
Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD). Cancer Research, Toronto, Canada. Dr.
Membership was given on the basis of Chetia did his PhD from Indian Institute
his contribution to the X-ray diffraction of Chemical Technology(IICT).
data and upon recomandation of the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 18

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Mr. Kanak Gogoi. 2. In 1997 an irresistible urge to fly

made him develop a prototype
3. Aero- boats.
4. Amphibian boats.
5. Speed breaker electricity.
6. Gravity bicycle
7. Solar-hybrid cars
8. CAV-future air vehicle with air as
fuel etc.
The following is the gist of the
telephonic interview that N. E. Quest He lives with his second wife and four
had with our won innovator, Mr. Kanak children from two marriages at Gauhati.
Gogoi, in the narrative format.
---- Editor. Message from Mr Kanak Gogoi to N. E.
Quest readers:
Our esteemed indigenous innovator, There is the need to ignite the minds of
Mr. Kanak Gogoi was the son of Shri young generation of the NE. He says
Buduram Gogoi and Smti. Pudumi confidently, “We are above all, we are
Gogoi. He was one among 2 brothers capable and not inferior to anyone else
and 5 sisters. in India, we must not be puppets..”.

Born on 15th September 1961 at Laluk The only thing we lack in the North
in Lakhimpur district, Assam, Mr East is, according to him, to engage
Gogoi completed schooling at Laluk ourselves in creative pursuits and to
itself in 1978 and joined J B College, remain distracted in destructive
Jorhat for Higher Secondary course in activities.
Arts in 1979. But the Assam agitation
and other factors conspired to prevent He has been invited by an US company
him from completing it. to develop hybrid cars but he refused on
the grounds of protecting the
After taking up several odd jobs such as intellectual property rights.
signboard painting etc, he came to
Guwahati in 1986 and started milk How he got his ideas?
supply business and then Surprisingly Mr Gogoi didn’t even have
supply/contract work of essential a science background. He says he was
commodities. During this period, he naturally curious and inventive. He got
changed his business several times. He some influence from magazines such as
has always had an innovative bent of ‘Down to Earth’, “India Today’ and
mind since early childhood. Some of ‘Discovery Channel’ etc.
the gadgets he developed on his own
are: Awards:
1. Rs. 50, 000 (fifty thousand) by
1. Double barrel gun using iron handle Purbanchal Griha nirman Unnayan
of his father’s umbrella as the barrel Samiti, Guwahati, Assam, 2006.
and it worked successfully! He was
just 10 years of age when he did

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 19

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

2. Vocational excellency award, 2007-

08, by Rotary International,
Durgapur, West Bengal.
3. Invitation from MIT & Chicago
University jointly to attend 4th
International Feb-lab forum, held at
Chicago, August 2007.
4. Invitation to attend International
conference on New and Renewable
energy held at New Delhi, 2008.
5. Invitation to attend International
seminar on New and renewable
energy held at Husum, Germany,
'Trygo Pwan EX' a zero pollution car
6. Invitation as member of expert
run by compressed air technology
panel as informal scientist to Judge
the innovations received by
Innovation Foundation of India for
the year 2008, at IIM, Ahmedabad.

Gogoi’s future plan:

Manipur youth designs car for
He wishes to change the mode of
elderly people
transportation by introducing a new
flying theory.
A young IITian Ringlarei Pamei, who
hails from a remote hilly village in
Manipur’s most backward Tamenglong
district, has designed an ‘Ol'Boy’, a
small car for elderly people. For this he
was awarded by the Japanese
automobile giant Nissan after a
strenuous all India car design
competition. Ringlarei, a graduate in
Mechanical Engineering from Delhi
College of Engineering and pursuing
Master of Design (Industrial Design) in
Mr. Kanak Gogoi with his new minibike IIT, Delhi. The car’s blue print was
(Source: picked up by the international car
manufacturer Nissan. Ringaleri has also
won an award from 'Nissan' and got the
opportunity to visit the international car
manufacturer at Japan and interact with
automobile experts.


Mr. Kanak Gogoi demonstrates

electricity from speedbreakers

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 20

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Flow Cytometry: Fluorescence it is very useful to separate cells that are

Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) phenotypically different from each
By Dr. Khirud Gogoi other. In addition, it would be great to
know how many cells expressed
Flow cytometry is a technique for proteins of interest, and how much of
counting, examining, and sorting this protein they expressed.
microscopic particles suspended in a Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting
stream of fluid. It allows simultaneous (FACS) is a method that can
multiparametric analysis of the physical accomplish all these goals.
and/or chemical characteristics of single
cells flowing through an optical and/or The process begins by placing the cells
electronic detection apparatus. into a flask and forcing the cells to enter
a small nozzle one at a time (Fig 1).
The first fluorescence-based flow The cells travel down the nozzle which
cytometry device (ICP 11) was is vibrated at an optimal frequency to
developed in the year 1968 by produce drops at fixed distance from
Wolfgang Göhde from the University the nozzle. As the cells flow down the
of Münster, Germany (Patent No. stream of liquid, they are scanned by a
DE1815352) and first commercialized laser (blue light in Fig 1). Some of the
in 1968/69 by German developer and laser light is scattered (red cone
manufacturer Partec through Phywe AG emanating from the red cell) by the
in Göttingen. The original name of the cells and this is used to count the cells.
flow cytometry technology was pulse This scattered light can also be used to
cytophotometry. Only 10 years later in measure the size of the cells.
1978, at the Conference of the
American Engineering Foundation in It is possible to separate a
Pensacola, Florida, the name was subpopulation of cells by tagging those
changed to flow cytometry, a term of interest with an antibody linked to a
which quickly became popular. fluorescent dye. The antibody is bound
Subsequently introduced flow to a protein that is uniquely expressed
cytometry instruments have been the in the cells of interest. The laser light
Cytofluorograph (1971) from excites the dye which emits a color of
Bio/Physics Systems Inc. (later: Ortho light that is detected by the
Diagnostics), the PAS 8000 (1973) photomultiplier tube, or light detector.
from Partec, the first FACS instrument By collecting the information from the
from Becton Dickinson (1974), the ICP light (scatter and fluorescence) a
22 (1975) from Partec/Phywe and the computer can determine which cells are
Epics from Coulter (1977/78). to be separated and collected.

Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting The final step is sorting the cells which
(FACS) is accomplished by electrical charge.
The computer determines how the cells
In multicellular organisms, all the cells will be sorted before the drop forms at
are identical in their DNA but the the end of the stream. As the drop
proteins vary tremendously. Therefore, forms, an electrical charge is applied to

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 21

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

of flourescence is plotted on the Y-axis.

In the example shown in Fig 2, there
were twice as many red cells sorted as
green or unlabeled cells, but the level of
light was greater from the green cells
than the red cells. This method is best if
all cells are either green, red or
unlabeled and no cells are labeled both

Fig 2. Quantifying FACS data. This

graph shows the number of cells (X-
Fig 1. Diagram of FACS machine. axis) and the level of fluorescence
Cells have been fluorescently tagged emitted (Y-axis) by the labeled cells.
with either red or green antibodies, Many different colors can be plotted on
though not every cell expresses the this graph, but cells should not be
epitope and therefore some are not labeled by more than one color.
tagged either color.
In Fig 3, shows a different way to
the stream and the newly formed drop display the same data shown in Fig 2.
will form with a charge. This charged The X-axis plots the intensity of green
drop is then deflected left or right by fluorescence while the Y-axis plots the
charged electrodes and into waiting intensity of red fluorescence. The
sample tubes. Drops that contain no individual black dots represent
cells are sent into the waste tube. The individual cells. From this graph, we
end result is three tubes with pure can see there were no cells labeled both
subpopulations of cells. The number of red and green (top right) and many cells
cells is each tube is known and the level that were unlabeled (bottom left). The
of fluorescence is also recorded for number of green-labeled cells (bottom
each cell. right) is about the same as the number
of unlabeled cells, but the number of
Quantifying FACS Data red-labeled cells (top left) is about
twice that of the other two categories of
FACS data collected by the computer cells. Again, we can see that the level of
can be displayed in two different ways. fluorescence was higher in the green
In the first example (Fig 2), the cells than the red ones. This method of
intensity of the green or red graphing the data is especially useful if
fluorescence is plotted on the X-axis cells are present that have been labeled
and the number of cells with each level both red and green.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 22

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

identify cell surface-displayed protein

variants with desired properties.

1. Flow Cytometry - a Basic
Introduction. Michael G. Ormerod,
2008. ISBN 978-
2. Flow Cytometry for Biotechnology.
Larry A. Sklar ISBN 0195152344
Fig 3. Quantification of FACS data. ome/support/Tutorials.html
Comparison of the number of cells
labeled by two colors - red (Y-axis) and ------0------
green (X-axis). The intensity of the
emitted light increases as indicated by
the arrows. The number of cells at each
intensity is shown by the number of dots Image of moon from Chandrayaan 1
where each dot represents a single cell.
This graph does not work for more than
two colors but it works well when
individual cells can be labeled by both
colors at the same time.


The technology has applications in a

number of fields, including molecular
biology, pathology, immunology, plant
biology and marine biology. In the field
of molecular biology it is especially
useful when used with fluorescence
tagged antibodies. These specific
antibodies bind to antigens on the target
cells and help to give information on This is the picture of moon's surface taken
specific characteristics of the cells from lunar orbit by Chandrayaan-1
being studied in the cytometer. It has spacecraft's Terrain Mapping Camera
broad application in medicine (TMC) on November 15, 2008. Taken over
(especially in transplantation, the polar region of the moon, the picture
hematology, tumor immunology and shows many large and numerous small
chemotherapy, genetics and sperm craters. The bright terrain on the lower left
sorting for sex preselection). In marine is the rim of 117 km wide Moretus crater.
biology, the auto-fluorescent properties (Source : )
of photosynthetic plankton can be
exploited by flow cytometry in order to
characterise abundance and community
structure. In protein engineering, flow
cytometry is used in conjunction with
yeast display and bacterial display to

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 23

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Origin of the Universe: The Big Bang apart. At the moment of Big Bang at the
beginning of the Universe, time began
By N. Nimai Singh and space started to expand. Before the
Big Bang there was no time and no
space. It can also be mentioned that in
Big Bang Theory 1973 British cosmologists Roger
Most scientists think that the Universe Penrose and Stephen Hawking proved
began with a huge explosion called the the singularity theorem which state that
Big Bang. A ball of matter smaller than any universe obeying GTR must have
an atom but at an incredibly high had a singularity in the past. This
density and temperature exploded, implies the presence of the BIG BANG.
producing a fireball of matter and Mathematically speaking, a singularity
space. It is now estimated that the Big means a region of space-time
Bang happened around 13.7 billion continuum with infinite curvature.
(thousand million) years ago. Ever
since the Big Bang the matter that was After Hubble’s discovery of the
created has been moving apart at great expanding Universe, a Russian-born
speeds. This fact was discovered by the American scientist, George Gamow
American astronomer Edwin Hubble in argued in 1948 that there must have
1929. Popularly known as Hubble’s been a point where the Universe started
law, it simply states that the recessional to expand. Soon after Gamow published
velocity of galaxies is proportional to his idea, the English astronomer Fred
their distances. In fact when he looked Hoyle gave a radio talk in which he
at the light emitted by distant galaxies dismissed Gamow’s theory as ‘some
for the spectral lines characteristic of a sort of big bang’. Although Hoyle had
particular chemical element, Hubble meant the phrase to be insulting, it
observed that each spectral line had stuck, and from then on Gamow’s idea
moved towards the red end of the was called the Big Bang theory of the
spectrum, where the light has longer beginning of the Universe.
wavelengths. This implied that the light
waves had been stretched during their In 1948 Thomas Gold and Hermann
journey. The further away the galaxy, Bondi proposed the steady-state theory
the greater the movement of the lines. of expanding universe and in 1950
This phenomenon is called red shift. Hoyle completed the theory. According
Hubble knew that this effect could only to this theory, the Universe has always
happen if the galaxies were moving existed in much the same way as we see
away from us at great speeds. it now, with no beginning. It is asserted
by this theory that space and matter are
Albert Einstein’s celebrated General created all the time, even today, which
Theory of Relativity (GTR) published in is not supported by experiments. Strong
1916, suggests that it is not the galaxies evidence for the Big Bang, and a tough
themselves that are moving but the challenge to the steady state theory,
space in between them. In fact, the four came from the new branch of science
dimensional space-time is expanding. called radio astronomy. It has been
The galaxies are being forced to move established firmly that the Universe had
been much denser then than it is now.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 24

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This was indeed a big support for the of the Universe within 300,000 years of
Big Bang theory. At the moment we the Big Bang. It offers an important
have four strong experimental clue to how the galaxies came into
evidences in support of the Big Bang being. The results on temperature
theory, including Hubble’s law of variations were published in 1992 and it
expanding universe cited above. was considered the greatest discovery
of the century.
Cosmic Microwave Background
Radiation (CMBR) The cosmic temperature fluctuations as
Cosmic Microwave Background dark and green spots signify colder and
Radiation (CMBR), the fossil of Big hotter regions and the statistics of such
Bang, was discovered by two American patterns tell us about the Universe –
scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert curvature of the space – open, flat,
Wilson in 1964 using a radio antenna. close Universe. It really indicates
The CMBR had a temperature perfectly flat universe which agrees
equivalent to 2.7 degrees Kelvin. with the inflationary theory proposed
Robert Dicke guessed very quickly that by Alan Guth in 1981. According to
they had found the fossil of the vast Guth’s idea, during the rapid expansion,
amount of heat energy released at the or inflation, of the Universe that
time of the Big Bang. It was indeed the followed the Big Bang, imperfections
lingering afterglow of creation. In 1978 might have spread through space as
Penzias and Wilson were awarded the matter began to appear, where
Physics Nobel Prize for their accidental previously there had been only energy.
discovery. It may be mentioned here Each of these imperfections might have
that in 1948 three cosmologists, Alpher, been a focal point around which stars
Gamow and Herman had already and galaxies formed, condensing
predicted the existence of CMBR with together under the force of their own
temperature around 4 degrees Kelvin in gravity. The 2006 Nobel Prize in
the Big Bang scenario as relic of the Physics is dedicated to this historic
earliest phase of the Universe. CMBR COBE finding.
follows the black body radiation
formula first propounded by German The fourth evidence in support of the
physicist Max Planck who was awarded Big Bang was the formation of the light
the Nobel Prize in 1918 for his work. In elements after the Big Bang and the
1992 Cosmic Background Explorer fixed ratio of Hydrogen and Helium
(COBE) satellite launched by the atoms. In the year 1948, Alpher, Bethe
NASA in 1989 showed conclusively and Gamow published a theory on the
how uniform the CBMR was, and that it origin of the light elements, and in 1957
could exactly fit the black body curve at Hoyle, Fowler, E.M. Burbidge and G.
temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin. In Burbidge published the theory of
addition to the CMBR confirmation, formation of heavy elements in the
COBE could also identify another fossil stars. It was in 1951 that Purcell and
of the Big Bang. More detailed data Ewen detected the 21-centimetre
seemed to show for the first time the hydrogen emission line which was
small variations of temperature in the predicted in 1944 by van de Hulst. One
range of a hundred-thousandth of a minute after the Big Bang, the protons
degree in the cosmic radiation. The and the neutrons were fusing to make
results popularly known as anisotropy the nuclei of helium-4 atoms first,
in background temperature indicated followed by the formation of hydrogen
that ripples had formed in the substance atoms and then some traces of other

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 25

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

heavier elements. Between one and five negative pressure which has anti-
minutes later the particles had cooled gravity effect) as pervasive medium. In
and thinned out so much that this 2003 Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy
nuclear fusion stopped, leaving a Probe (WMAP) satellite which yielded
mixture mainly of hydrogen nuclei and even clearer images (100 times better
helium nuclei. When astronomers look than COBE) of the CMBR, also showed
at the spectrum of light coming from the existence of dark matter and dark
areas of star formation, they find a energy which represent major contents
mixture of mostly hydrogen, a quarter of the Universe. Baryonic matter which
helium plus some other types of atom – is basically atoms constitutes only 4.6%
the match is convincingly close. of the matter-energy content of the
Universe, the rest being dark matter of
The Unanswered Questions unknown nature having 23% and dark
energy having 72%. WMAP is an
There are many puzzles yet to be upgraded version of Microwave
answered towards understanding our Anisotropy probe (MAP) launched in
universe. Some major questions to be 2001, in memory of its leader David
addressed are: Wilkinson who died in 2002. Now
• What creates the anisotropies in WMAP has completed five years of its
the CMBR temperature? service.
• What is the correct mechanism
of cosmic inflation? Balloon Observations
Among other balloon observations,
In fact the Big Bang theory could only BOOMERANG (Balloon Observation of
explain what came afterwards but not Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and
the Big Bang itself. What triggered Big Geophysics), MAXIMA (Millimeter
Bang still remains as a puzzle! Wave Anisotropy Experiment Imaging
Array), SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky
Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Survey) and 2-Degree Field Survey, are
Probe (WMAP) taking data. Evidence that the nature of
There are yet two more outstanding dark energy is a cosmological constant
issues in astronomy and cosmology. In introduced by Einstein to counteract
1970 Vera Cooper Rubin and her male self-gravity in a static universe is
collaborator Kent Ford proved the gathering strength with the data from
existence of dark matter by observing X-ray observations of clusters of
rotational velocities of the tails in galaxies by the Chandra spacecraft.
Andromeda spiral galaxy as a function Dark energy is most likely vacuum
of the distance from the centre of the energy. Many more projects including
galaxy. Dark matter is composed of Euclid Mission are proposed for future
non-luminous neutral particles having probes on dark energy with higher
normal gravitational attraction like precision. These results will shed new
ordinary particles. At the moment light on dark energy. The history of the
scientists are busy to decipher dark origin of the Universe is still an
matter candidates. In 1998 another unfinished story.
discovery was made with Hubble Space
telescope (HST) that the present Note: This article is dedicated to the
expansion rate of the Universe is indeed celebration of the International Year
accelerating. This fact hints the of Astronomy, 2009, which marks the
presence of some sort of dark energy completion of 400 years after the first
which gives repulsive effect (due to astronomical observations using

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 26

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

telescope made by Galileo in 1609. as well as through public discourses.

Using his telescope, Galileo studied (E-mail ID:
the Moon and discovered the
satellites of Jupiter. --------0---------

Information about the author:

International Year of Astronomy 2009

The International Year of Astronomy
(IYA2009) is a year-long celebration of
astronomy, taking place in 2009 to coincide
with the 400th anniversary of the first
recorded astronomical observations with a
telescope by Galileo Galilei and the
publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia
nova in the 17th century. IYA2009 is a
global effort initiated by the International
Dr. Ngangkham. Nimai Singh (b. 1st Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to
August, 1959, Imphal, India) is help the citizens of the world rediscover their
presently serving as professor of place in the Universe through the day- and
physics at Gauhati University, Assam, night-time sky, and thereby engage a
India. Currently he is holding the personal sense of wonder and discovery.
regular associate award of the Abdus
Salam International Centre of Vision
Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy, for a Everyone should realise the impact of
period of eight years until the end of astronomy and other fundamental sciences
2010. He works in the field of on our daily lives, and understand how
theoretical High Energy Physics (HEP) scientific knowledge can contribute to a
and his current research activity is more equitable and peaceful society.
centered around on neutrino physics IYA2009 activities are taking place locally,
and Grand Unified Theories (GUTs). nationally, regionally and internationally.
During the year1999-2000, he was the National Nodes in each country are running
Commonwealth visiting fellow at the activities throughout 2009 which will
University of Southampton, UK. He has establish collaborations between professional
been serving Gauhati University since and amateur astronomers, science centres
he joined in1991 as lecturer of physics. and science communicators. Over 140 are
He did his education starting from expected to participate in IYA2009.
graduation to Ph.D. degree from the
University of Delhi, India. In addition Please visit
to his research publications in reputed
journals, he has written a reference
BEYOND” which was published by
Regency publications, New Delhi. He
also works for the popularization of
science to common people through
writing popular science articles in
regional language (Manipuri language)

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 27

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

dioxide emissions. A large 1000

Global warming: disastrous effects megawatt coal power station releases
and possible solutions around 5.5 million tons of CO2
annually. Earth’s atmosphere is
Adarsh K. Puri and T. Satyanarayana* essentially transparent to incoming
radiation from the Sun, as sunlight
Introduction peaks in the visible part of the
The thawing permafrost, melting spectrum. On the other hand, thermal
glaciers, rising sea levels, changing radiation from the Earth, in the form of
hydrological cycle, increasing long-wavelength infrared rays, lies in
precipitation, declining crop the absorption spectrum of carbon
productivity, early breeding of birds, dioxide and other GHGs. The GHGs
vanishing coral reefs, increasing health absorb radiation primarily in a very
hazards are all predictable effects of the narrow frequency band (7-13µm), while
hottest debatable phenomenon on earth, CO2 absorbs over a much larger (13-
known as global warming. This is 19µm) spectral range. That is why CO2
frequently referred to as climate accounts for higher (21%) greenhouse
change, which is not just a theory or a effect (after water vapour that accounts
distant threat. The 2007 Nobel peace for 64%) than ozone (6%) and other
prize to Intergovernmental Panel on trace gases (9%). Carbon dioxide
Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert makes up 68% of the total greenhouse
Arnold Al Gore has made everyone gas emissions. The atmospheric CO2
realize the severity of the problem, and concentration has increased from 280
further cleared all doubts being raised ppm in 1800, the beginning of the
by naysayers over its reality. The industrial age, to 380 ppm today.
overwhelming agreement among the Without any mitigation, it could reach
world’s prominent scientists, levels of 700-900 ppm by the end of the
governments and scientific bodies is 21st century, which could bring about
that the Earth is heating up and that severe climate change. The annual CO2
human activities are largely to blame. concentration growth rate was larger
The global warming is expected to during the last 10 years (1995-2005
significantly disrupt the planet’s climate average: 1.9 ppm per year) than it has
system. Minimization of greenhouse been since the beginning of direct
gas emissions within acceptable limits atmospheric measurements. In fact,
is the intrinsic environmental eleven of the last twelve years (1995-
responsibility of the whole world. 2006) rank among the 12 warmest years
Over the last 200 years since the since 1850. This abrupt imbalance has
Industrial Revolution, most of the disturbed the Earth’s carbon cycle that
world’s energy has been derived from is normally kept in balance by the
burning the finite resources of fossil oceans, vegetation, soil and the forests.
fuels, mainly coal, oil, and more The most pressing technical and
recently gas. Fossil fuels account for economic challenge of the present time
80% of the global energy demand. is to meet the energy demands for the
During the process, billions of tons of world economic growth without
carbon dioxide and other green house affecting the Earth’s climate. That is
gases (GHGs) have been spewed into why the current focus is on reducing
the atmosphere. Energy sector accounts fossil fuel usage and minimizing the
for the greatest share (36%) of carbon emission of CO2 in the atmosphere. In

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spite of the great advances made in the to the list of the greenhouse gases under
field of renewable energy, it has not the Kyoto Protocol to the United
been possible to replace gas, coal and Nations Framework Convention on
oil to meet the current energy needs. If Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997.
fossil fuels, particularly coal, remain Non-CO2 greenhouse gases are also a
the dominant energy source of the 21st matter of concern owing to their
century, then the stabilization of the significant contribution (≈30%) to the
concentration of atmospheric CO2 will overall anthropogenic greenhouse
require development of the capability to effect. The amount of anthropogenic
capture CO2 from the combustion of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is much
fossil fuels and store it safely away greater than any other greenhouse
from the atmosphere. The hazards of gases. As a result, CO2 makes the
global warming have reached such a highest contribution to the greenhouse
magnitude that irreversible changes can effect despite its low GWP.
seriously endanger the functioning of
our planet. It is, therefore, imperative Carbon sequestration and its
for the entire scientific community to importance
restore permissible levels of CO2 by Carbon sequestration can be defined
using the existing knowledge and as the capture and secure storage of
technolgoies. carbon that would otherwise be
Carbon sequestration or carbon emitted to or remain in the
capture and storage (CCS) has emerged atmosphere. The idea is to keep
as a potentially promising technology to carbon emissions produced by human
deal with the problem of global activities from reaching the
warming. Several approaches are being atmosphere by capturing and diverting
considered, including geological, them to secure storage or to remove
oceanic, and terrestrial sequestration, as carbon from the atmosphere by
well as CO2 conversion into useful various means and storing it. Carbon
materials. In this article, an attempt has sequestration could be a major tool for
been made to review the possible reducing carbon emissions from the
strategies for carbon sequestration. use of fossil fuels. Much work,
however, remains to be done to
Gases contributing to global understand the science and
warming: Green House Gases engineering aspects and potential of
Greenhouse gases trap the heat that is carbon sequestration options. Given
expected to escape from the Earth. The the magnitude of carbon emission
extent of the greenhouse effect reductions needed to stabilize the
contributed by different gases over a atmospheric CO2 concentration,
certain time frame is expressed in terms multiple approaches to carbon
of their individual Global Warming management will be needed. The
Potential (GWP) taking CO2 as the natural carbon cycle is balanced over
reference gas. a long term, but dynamic over the
The main greenhouse gases produced short term. Historically, acceleration
by human activity are carbon dioxide of natural processes that emit CO2 is
(CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide eventually balanced by the
(N2O) and some halogenated acceleration of processes that
compounds with high-GWP. sequester carbon, and vice versa. The
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur current increase in atmospheric
hexafluoride (SF6) and carbon is the result of anthropogenic
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were added mining and burning of fossil carbon,

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resulting in carbon emissions into the CO2 could potentially be released as a

atmosphere. Developing new gas above 500m depth. However, due to
sequestration techniques and lesser density of gas bubbles than
accelerating existing techniques surrounding seawater, these bubbles
would help in diminishing the net tend to rise up on the surface,
positive atmospheric carbon flux. dissolving at a radial speed of about 0.1
cm hr-1. It is better to use CO2 diffusers
General methods of carbon to produce smaller CO2 bubbles, which
sequestration can dissolve completely before reaching
Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s the surface.
surface with an average depth of about When liquid CO2 is injected into a sea
3800 metres. Depending upon the floor depression at a depth greater than
oceanic equilibrium with the 3,000 m (where it is denser than sea
atmosphere, a significant amount of water), it accumulates as a stable large
captured CO2 could be deliberately “lake" of CO2. The dissolution of these
injected into the ocean at great depth, liquid CO2 lakes is retarded by
where it would remain isolated from the formation of a thin hydrate layer over it.
atmosphere for centuries. Direct ocean While investigating different kinds of
CO2 disposal is now the biggest hope to discharge pipes for CO2 lake creation
use ocean as the largest sink for carbon on sea floor, Nakashiki in 1997
sequestration purposes. A large proposed a ‘floating discharge pipe’
literature is now available which has that was simple and less likely to be
brought significant technological damaged by winds and waves in storm
developments and improved our conditions. Slurry of liquid CO2 mixed
understanding of the disposal of CO2 with dry ice in discharge pipe provides
directly into the ocean. good conditions for lake formation.
The research on ocean disposal options Oceans can sequester so much of CO2
has mostly focused on predicting the not only because of their large volume
behavior and the dissolution time scales but also because CO2 dissolves in water
of the released CO2. Different scenarios to form various ionic species that
of CO2 disposal in the ocean have been increases the total dissolved inorganic
proposed at various depths and in carbon (DIC) of seawater. Total
different forms in relation to the phase dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) is the
properties of CO2. CO2 can be released sum of carbon contained in H2CO3,
directly into the ocean in any of its HCO3- and CO3-2.
physical forms- gas, liquid, solid or
solid hydrate. It is, however, important
to study CO2-induced density changes
on the fluid dynamics of the ocean Ocean surface water is supersaturated
before its release. Dissolved CO2 with respect to calcium carbonate,
increases the density of seawater that while the deeper ocean water would be
affects its transport and mixing. Density of lower pH and remain under
of injected CO2 is also controlled by saturated. This makes organisms to
geothermal gradient, which varies from produce calcium carbonate particles
0.02oC/m to 0.04oC/m. The rate of CO2 (e.g. corals) in the surface oceans,
dissolution in the seawater depends which settle and dissolve in under
upon its physical form (gas, liquid, saturated regions of deep oceans.
solid or solid hydrate), the depth and Since the first use of CO2 for large-
temperature of disposal, and the local scale recovery of residual oil from
water velocities. Texas reservoirs in 1972, the concept of

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using CO2 for beneficial purposes has reservoirs (IEA, 2001; IPCC, 2005).
got momentum. Long term operational CO2 injected (with techniques similar to
experience with geological formations, those for gas and oil fields) into these
its substantial capacity as a CO2 sink, aquifers would displace brine and some
and its immediate availability has led to of it would get partially dissolved. A
consideration of global warming part of the injected CO2 is also reported
problems through geological to react with calcite and
sequestration. Geological formations aluminosilicates to form permanent
include depleted oil and gas fields, deep carbonates. The best example of CO2
saline reservoirs and unminable coal storage in deep saline aquifer is the
seams. Sleipner project in the North Sea that
CO2 can be trapped in geologic sequesters approximately 1 Mt CO2
formations by three principal trapping annually.
mechanisms: (1) hydrodynamic Storing CO2 deep into unminable coal
trapping, where CO2 can be trapped seams appears to be a good approach
under a low-permeability caprock like due to its value- added benefit of CO2-
gas reservoirs or aquifers, (2) solubility enhanced coal bed methane (ECBM)
trapping, where CO2 can be trapped in recovery. Coal beds typically contain
a dissolved phase in a liquid like large amounts of methane-rich gas that
petroleum and (3) physical/mineral is adsorbed onto the surface of the coal.
trapping, a relatively slower process CO2 adsorbs more strongly on the
which involves conversion of CO2 in micropores of coal than methane (CH4).
the form of calcium, magnesium or iron However, the volumetric ratio of
carbonates. Alternatively, in situations absorbable CO2:CH4 depends on the
where CO2 is immiscible with oil, CO2 type of coal. This ratio ranges from 1
is injected to increase the reservoir for anthracite to about 10 for lignite
pressure helping to push more oil coal (IPCC, 2005). This can be
towards the production well. Up to half exploited to lock CO2 permanently on
of the injected CO2 is stored in the the micropores of coal provided the
immobile oil remaining in the reservoir coal is never mined. Over 100,000 tons
at the end of production. The rest is of CO2 has been successfully injected at
collected from the production well and Allison Unit in New Mexico, USA
gets re-circulated. This improves the during an ECBM project. Continuous
overall economics for sequestration monitoring along with exhaustive
projects. geophysical and geochemical study is,
Gas fields have much higher primary however, needed to make sure the
recovery rates (80-95%) than oil fields. injected CO2 stays in ground.
This leaves a big void space in the
reservoirs, which can be used for CO2 Drawbacks associated with artificial
storage as a supercritical gas for approaches of carbon sequestration
thousands of years. Similarly, the void Permanence of the stored carbon
space that had previously been through abiotic sequestration methods
occupied by oil and natural gases is is of great critical concern. Ocean and
being used for large-scale sequestration geological storage of carbon dioxide is
of CO2. associated with future risk of leakage
A large amount of underground water- from the site of injection. Sequestered
filled strata (aquifers) is too salty to be CO2 may leak back into the atmosphere
used for agriculture or human and impose future climate damages. If
consumption. These aquifers can CO2 migrates out of the receiving
potentially be used as long-term CO2 geological formation and rises to the

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surface, it could cause local ecological carbonic anhydrase and other

damage, primarily by displacing soil carboxylating enzymes to develop a
gas and affecting plant roots. Moreover, promising CO2 mitigation strategy.
upward migration of injected CO2 could Recent work on biomimetic approaches
contaminate hydrocarbon reservoirs or using immobilized carbonic anhydrase
surface drinking water supplies. In rare in bioreactors has a big hope for the
cases, rapid escape of CO2 may cause safe future.
asphyxiation or toxicity risks to local The process of carbon assimilation by
animal and human populations. The photosynthesis has made forests, trees
eruption of CO2 during 1986 at Lake and crops as the major biological
Nyos, West of Cameroon is the most scrubbers of CO2. Terrestrial biomes
evident example, which killed more are potential CO2 sinks. Afforestation
than 1700 people. and reforestation leads to a net increase
Deep-sea organisms are highly sensitive in plant carbon stocks. A young
to any environmental disturbances. growing forest sequesters more carbon
Increased partial pressure of CO2 than a matured one. Forest management
(hypercapnia) and decreased pH of can contribute to carbon sequestration
seawater caused by CO2 dissolution by promoting forest growth and
may affect the whole marine biomass accumulation. Improved
biodiversity. The scientific community cropland management (including
is trying to get rid of leaky agronomy, nutrient management,
sequestration approaches. Novel tillage/residue management and water
concepts are being contemplated to find management) has significant carbon
the most environment-friendly way to sequestration potential. Worldwide
sequester CO2. This includes the art of adoption of best management practices
exploiting natural biological ways of can sequester a considerable part of the
capturing carbon and storing it in the lost carbon back into croplands.
most eco-compatible way. Grasslands cover about 70% of the
world’s agricultural area. Recent
Biological ways of carbon studies have suggested that tropical
sequestration grasslands and savannas sequester
Biological systems have solutions to the approximately 0.5 Gt of carbon
most dreaded problems of all times. annually. Grazing and burning have,
The photosynthetic fixation of however, resulted in increased soil
atmospheric CO2 in plants and trees organic carbon storage. Urban trees
could be of great value in maintaining a play a major role in sequestering CO2.
CO2 balance in the atmosphere. Algal One tree in urban area is equivalent to
systems, on the other hand, being more three to five forest trees. The average
efficient in photosynthetic capabilities sequestration rate of an urban tree of
are the choice of research for solving 50m2 crown area has been estimated to
global warming problem. The biomass be about 11-19 kg/year.
thus produced could be used as fuel for Plants assimilate carbon through the
various heating and power purposes. process of photosynthesis and return
Mankind is indebted to microbes for some of it to the atmosphere through
bringing and maintaining stable respiration. After the death and
oxygenic conditions on Earth. A proper decomposition of plants, carbon in the
understanding of microbial systems and form of plant tissue is either consumed
their processes will help in stabilizing by animals or added to the soil as litter.
atmospheric conditions in future too. The primary way that carbon is stored
Investigations are in progress to exploit in the soil is as soil organic matter

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(SOM), which is a complex mixture of in their surrounding environment. It is

carbon compounds, consisting of proposed that ribulose-1, 5-biphosphate
decomposing plant and animal tissue, carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) co-
microbes (protozoa, nematodes, fungi, evolved during the process. The
and bacteria) and carbon associated organization of the carboxysomes in
with soil minerals. Soils contain three prokaryotes and of the pyrenoids in
times more carbon than the amount eukaryotes, and the presence of
stored in living plants and animals. membrane mechanisms for inorganic
Increasing the soil organic carbon carbon (Ci) transport are central to the
(SOC) by 0.01% would nullify the concentrating mechanisms. There can
annual increase in atmospheric carbon be different types of CCM based on the
due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. biochemical mechanisms in different
Microbial community structure and photoautotrophic organisms such as C4
various microbial processes have been photosynthesis and Crassulacean acid
shown to directly affect carbon metabolism (CAM) in terrestrial higher
sequestration in soil agro ecosystems. A plants, active transport of inorganic
thorough understanding of microbial carbon (Ci) primarily in cyanobacteria
community structure and processes is and CO2 concentration following
required for enhanced carbon acidification in a compartment adjacent
sequestration in agricultural soils. A to Rubisco found in some eukaryotic
balance between microbial community algae.
dynamics and formation and Higher terrestrial plants having
degradation of microbial byproducts Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)
maintains the soil carbon content. Soil primarily capture CO2 through PEP
microbes also indirectly influence C carboxylase located in the cytosol of
cycling by improving soil aggregation, their mesophyll cells. PEP carboxylase
which physically protects SOM. uses bicarbonate as its primary
Consequently, the microbial substrate for fixation of CO2 into
contribution to C sequestration is oxaloacetate, thus CO2 entering from
governed by the interactions between the external environment must be
the amount of microbial biomass, hydrated rapidly by a carbonic
microbial community structure, anhydrase (CA) and converted to
microbial byproducts, and soil bicarbonate. C4 carboxylic acids such as
properties such as texture, clay malate or aspartate formed in the
mineralogy, pore-size distribution, and mesophyll cell cytosol serve as the
aggregate dynamics. Fungi and intermediate CO2 pool.
bacteria are responsible for most of the CCM found in eukaryotic algae relies
carbon transformations and long-term on the pH gradient set up across the
storage of carbon in soils. However, chloroplast thylakoid membrane in the
chances of persistent carbon storage are light. Light-driven photosynthetic
more in fungi due to their complex electron transport sets up a pH around
chemical composition and higher 8.0 in chloroplast stroma and a pH
carbon utilization efficiency. between 4 to 5 inside the thylakoid
Carbon concentrating mechanisms lumen. Under these conditions,
(CCM) bicarbonate is the predominant species
Photoautotropic organisms ranging of Ci in the chloroplast stroma, while
from bacteria to higher plants have CO2 is the most abundant form of Ci in
evolved with unique carbon the thylakoid lumen. Bicarbonate
concentrating mechanism (CCM) in transporters on thylakoid membrane are
response to the declining levels of CO2 proposed to help bicarbonate transport

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inside thylakoid lumen where it is have been made for CO2 fixation along
converted into CO2 with the help of with valuable material production by
carbonic anhydrase. Microalgal mass mass cultivation of algal cultures.
cultures can use CO2 from power plant Nonphotosynthetic CO2 fixation occurs
flue gases for the production of widely in nature by the methanogenic
biomass. The algal biomass thus archaebacteria. These are obligate
produced can directly be used as health anaerobes that grow in freshwater and
food for human consumption, as animal marine sediments, peats, swamps and
feed or in aquaculture, for biodiesel wetlands, rice paddies, landfills, sewage
production or as fertilizer for sludge, manure piles, and the gut of
agriculture. A fast growing marine animals. Methanogens are responsible
green alga Cholococcum littorale is for more than half of the methane
reported to tolerate high concentrations released to the atmosphere. These
of CO2. Waste water containing methanogenic bacteria grow optimally
phosphate (46 g m-3) from a steel plant at temperatures between 20 oC and 95
has been to raise cultures of the C. Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase
photosynthetic microalga Chlorella and/or acetyl-CoA synthase aid them to
vulgaris. Flue gas containing 15% CO2 use carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide
was supplemented further to get a CO2 along with hydrogen as their sole
fixation rate of 26 g CO2 m-3 h-1. energy source.
Research is in progress on the Waste gases from blast furnaces
development of a novel containing oxides of carbon were used
photobioreactors for enhanced CO2 for converting them into higher- Btu
fixation and CaCO3 formation. CO2 (more calorific value) methane using
fixation rate was increased from 80 to thermophilic methanogens. A column
260 mg l-1h-1 by using Chlorella bioreactor operated at 55 °C and pH 7.4
vulgaris in a newly developed was used for the process. A mixture of
membrane-photobioreactor. A novel three culture of bacteria, viz.
multidisciplinary process has recently Rhodospirillum rubrum,
been proposed using algal biomass in a Methanobacterium formidium and
photobioreator to produce H2 apart Methanosarcina barkeri was used for
from sequestering CO2. Enhanced complete bioconversion of oxides of
growth rate of marine macroalgae such carbon to methane. Acetogenesis, on
as Gracilaria sp. and G. chilensis has the other hand, is involved in the
been observed by increasing CO2 recycling of 10 to 20% of the carbon on
concentration from 650 ppm to 1250 earth.
ppm. The macroalgal culture can make
important contribution to both biomass Carbon sequestration using
production for chemicals and fuel heterotrophic bacteria
besides CO2 remediation. The concept of CO2 fixation in certain
Photosynthesis is much more efficient representatives of heterotrophic bacteria
in microalgae than in terrestrial C3 and was first proposed by Wood and
C4 plants. This high efficiency is again Werkman in 1941. While working on
due to the presence of both intracellular propionic acid bacteria, they proposed
and extracellular carbonic anhydrases that CO2 and pyruvate combine to form
and the CO2 concentrating mechanism. oxaloacetate. The same pathway can be
The present focus is on exploiting the exploited now for capturing carbon
ability of microalgae to convert solar using heterotrophic bacteria. Carbonic
energy and CO2 into O2 and anhydrases play a critical role in
carbohydrates. Considerable efforts concentrating CO2 inside the cell. The

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capability of carbonic anhydrases to accumulation of various sediments deep

convert CO2 in bicarbonate may be inside the oceans. Bacteria are the key
utilized by carboxylases such as organisms in the formation of microbial
phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carbonates.
carboxylase and pyruvate carboxylase, Mineral carbonation has emerged as a
to form oxaloacetate. Such anapleurotic new carbon capture and storage
pathway exists in organisms to technology in the past few years. The
compensate for the loss of oxaloacetate idea of applying carbonation reactions
siphoned off for the synthesis of amino for CO2 storage was proposed by
acids of aspartate family. Seifritz in 990. Carbonic anhydrases are
Heterotrophic bacteria having maximal the fastest enzymes known for their
carbonic anhydrase and capability and efficiency for converting
phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase carbon dioxide into bicarbonates.
and/or pyruvate carboxylase titers may Gillian M. Bond of New Mexico Tech,
be raised in fermentors, and these can USA, started working on this enzyme
be flushed with flue gases with CO2 for mineral CO2 sequestration since
concentration to produce useful 2001.
metabolites such as oxaloacetate and Biomimetic approach involves
amino acids. Extensive research has identification of a biological process or
been done on the production of structure and its application to solve a
glutamic acid and lysine by nonbiological problem. It has emerged
Corynebacterium glutamicum. The as an environment friendly process,
presence of both phosphoenolpyruvate which can be operated at near ambient
carboxylase and pyruvate carboxylase temperature and pressure with no costly
and the PEP–pyruvate–oxaloacetate CO2 concentration and compression
node makes this bacterium suitable for steps. The process of carbon dioxide
fixing carbon in the form of amino fixation can be carried out successfully
acids. An increased bicarbonate supply with a stream of carbon dioxide (from
by the action of carbonic anhydrases (in flue gases) in a bioreactor. Various
elevated CO2 conditions) to methods for carbonic anhydrase
phosphoenolpyruvate and pyruvate immobilization are being attempted for
carboxylases may enhance their the development of an efficient
activity, thereby making the conditions biodegradable matrix that can ensure
favorable for enhanced lysine maximal activity along with its long-
production. Work is in progress in our term use in bioreactors for sequestration
laboratory at the University of Delhi purposes. Carbonic anhydrase was
South Campus to understand the effect recently immobilized in chitosan-coated
of different levels of carbon dioxide on alginate beads. A novel trickling spray
carbonic anhydrase, reactor employing immobilized
phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and carbonic anhydrase has been developed
pyruvate carboxylase titres, and hence, that enables concentration of CO2 from
their overall effect on lysine production. the emission stream. Carbonic
Dual benefit of carbon sequestration anhydrase is one of the fastest enzymes,
along with useful product formation which make mass transfer from the gas
makes this approach very attractive. phase to aqueous phase. This
Microbes, being widespread in nature, biocatalytic fixation of carbon could be
play a major role in chemical cycles the answer to tackle atmospheric
that influence atmosphere-hydrosphere pollution.
composition and are extensively Most of the work on biomimetic
involved in the production and sequestration uses carbonic anhydrase

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

from animal sources. However, there is Behavior of enzymes like carbonic

a need for a thermophilic carbonic anhydrase and Rubisco with gases other
anhydrase that sustains high pressure if than CO2 in flue gas must be
we really want to use brine as the most understood. Despite finite sink
favorable cationic source for mineral capacity, biological approaches provide
carbonation under in the deep-sea a natural and cost-effective method of
environment. A gene encoding a carbon sequestration. Biotic and abiotic
putative β- type carbonic anhydrase in approaches have their own merits and
the methanoarchaeon demerits, and they are complementary
Methanobacterium to each other and have the potential to
thermoautotrophicum has been mitigate the risks of climate change.
expressed in E. coli and found to The World Environment Day slogan
encode a thermostable (up to 75°C) for 2008 ‘Kick the Habit! Towards a
carbonic anhydrase. Its activity at Low Carbon Economy’ has become the
different hydrostatic pressures needs to defining issue of the present era.
be studied for its biomimetic
applications in carbon sequestration. Further Reading
The biomimetic approach has now also
been applied in relation to geological 1. Department of Energy (DOE) [1993].
sequestration. A ‘closed-loop’ fossil- A research needs assessment for the
fuel carbon cycle has been proposed to capture, utilization and disposal of
be developed, in which microbial carbon dioxide from fossil fuel fired
consortium (comprising of power plants. DOE/ER-30194,
methanogens) could be used to convert Washington, D.C., USA.
CO2 to methane at a commercially 2. Halmann, M.M. and Steinberg, M.
useful rate. This can be used either in a (1999). Greenhouse gas carbon dioxide
geological setting (following injection mitigation: science and technology,
of CO2 into depleted oil and gas well, Lewis publishers, Boca Raton, Florida.
saline aquifer, etc.) or above ground in pp. 1-3.
rapid-contact reactors. 3. Held, I. M. and Soden, B. J. (2006).
Robust responses of the hydrological
Conclusions cycle to global warming. Journal of
Several novel concepts and techniques Climate, 19: 5686-5699.
are being attempted for a safe and
permanent capture of CO2. Routine 4. Holloway, S (2005). Underground
abiotic methods although appear sequestration of carbon dioxide - a
promising at prima facie but costly viable greenhouse gas mitigation
concentration and transportation steps option. Energy, 30: 2318-2333.
along with future leakage risks have led
to focus on new biotic methods. 5. House, K.Z., Schrag D.P.,
Evolution has equipped plants and Harvey,C.F., and Lackner K.S. (2006).
various domains of microbial life with Permanent carbon dioxide storage in
different mechanisms for carbon deep-sea sediments, Proc. Natl. Acad.
fixation. The present need is to exploit Sci. USA, 33: 12291-12295.
these biological mechanisms along with 6. O'Neill, B. C. and Oppenheimer, M.
existing biochemical engineering (2002). Climate change - dangerous
techniques for long term CO2 climate impacts and the Kyoto protocol.
sequestration. Exhaustive study needs Science 296 (5575): 1971-1972.
to be done on various metabolic
pathways that employ carboxylases.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 36

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Author’s information Darwin bicentenary:

150 anniversary of ‘the origin of

N.E.Quest team tried its best to extract

an article on Darwin anniversary from
one of the members of NE Research
Group or even as invited guest article.
Dr. T. Satyanarayana is a professor at
As it failed to get a positive response,
the Department of Microbiology,
this note is the second best option. This
University of Delhi South Campus,
is brief write-up about the significance
New Delhi. He is a fellow of National
of Darwinism and its remaining
Academy of Agricultural Sciences,
controversies. We earnestly seek
Association of Microbiologists of India,
valuable feedback from our readers.
Biotech Research Society (India) and
Mycological Society of India. He was
conferred with Dr. G.B. Manjrekar
award of AMI in 2003. He has three
Darwin’s theory of natural selection has
patents, three books and more than 150
a lasting impact on biology and other
scientific papers and reviews to his
aspects of human society. In fact,
credit. His research areas include
Dobzhansky rightly said that, “nothing
extremophiles and extremozymes,
in biology makes sense except in the
carbon sequestration by heterotrophic
light of evolution”. In brief, struggle for
microbes, and microbial diversity.
existence, occurrence of variations in
the population, survival of the fittest,
and natural selection are terms with
which most educated laymen are
familiar with.

‘Descent with modification’ has been

applied to understand the evolution of
all living organisms on our planet
Mr. Adarsh K. Puri is a Senior including humans. However, negative
Research Fellow at the Department of aspects of the theory are also evident.
Microbiology, University of Delhi For example, though Darwin’s theory
South Campus, New Delhi. He is doing focuses on the selfish end of an
his Ph.D. on the applicability of individual’s survival and perpetuation
heterotrophic bacteria and their of his ‘gene pool’, there are cases of
enzymes in carbon sequestration. altruism such as worker bees
promoting the survival of queen bee
-------0------- and her offsprings.
Do you know ?
So several dichotomies and unsettles
isses exist: selfishness vs. altruism,
Water availability per person in India -
individual vs. kin selection, selection at
Year 1951 : 5177 cubic meter
the level of gene, individual or
Year 2008 : 1720 cubic meter
population, cultural vs. biological
Year 2050 : Expected to touch less than
evolution, intelligent design vs. ‘blind
1000 cubic meter
evolution’, the case of missing links in
the fossil records, gradual evolution vs.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 37

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

punctuated equilibrium etc. Most explaining it by quoting the holy

importantly, ‘the origin of life’ on scriptures. However, the refinement of
which the further process of biological Darwinsim and its improvement will
evolution on the earth depends is an take its own course in the years to
unsettled problem. come.

Also, some intellectual circles are wary --------0--------

of Darwin’s theory as it has been
extrapolated to larger settings with lots “It is not the strongest of the species that
of dangerous consequences. Just to cite survives, nor the most intelligent that
a few examples, Erasmus Darwin, survives. It is the one that is the most
Darwin’s uncle, was notorious for adaptable to change.”
promoting the idea of eugenics, by
extrapolating the theory of evolution. “In the long history of humankind (and
Even the Nazis used Darwin’s theory to animal kind, too) those who learned to
propagate their concept of ‘Aryan collaborate and improvise most effectively
supremacy’ and to justify the massacre have prevailed”
of millions of Jews in the second world
war. “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no
affections, - a mere heart of stone”
The major controversies of Darwinian
theory are as follows: -By Charles Robert Darwin (12 February
1809 – 19 April 1882)
• Evolution in ‘small steps’ or
‘big leaps’.
• Struggle versus co-operation.
• Selection at the level of gene
versus individual.
• ‘intelligent design’ versus ‘blind
• Individual versus kin selection.
• Altruism versus selfishness.
• Validity of social Darwinism.
• Biological evolution versus
human cultural evolution.
• How complex organs such as
the human eye evolved?
• “Missing links’ in the fossil
• Most importantly, there as yet
unresolved issue of ‘the origin Caricatures of Darwin with an ape or
of life etc. monkey body symbolising
However, Darwinism is here to stay
with us. Till a paradigm shift occurs the
theory of evolution is all that we got to ------0------
explain the bewildering variety of life
forms of the planet. And, as scientists
per se we cannot afford the luxury of

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 38

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Prospects of Biotechnological morphologically diversified (Roux et

Interventions for Sustainable al., 2008). India is the largest producer
Utilization of Banana Genetic of banana with annual production of
Resources in Mizoram, India 13.5 mt from an area of 4.0 lakh ha
(Daniells et al., 2001). Besides the
By Robert Thangjam*, Lalremsiami cultivated species and their cultivars,
Hrahsel and P. C .Lalrinfela majority of the species of Musa were
found in wild conditions and they are
Abstract widely distributed in the northeastern
Mizoram lies within the north eastern states.
region of India considered as the centre
of diversity of banana. 20 clones across Banana status in Mizoram:
3 species have been documented using The north-eastern region of India have
morphological data. However, there is a been considered as the richest sources
need for proper characterization of of natural banana diversity where M.
these clones using molecular tools in balbisiana from Indian subcontinent
order to understand their genetic make meet M. acuminata from South East
up and relationships. With the loss of Asia (Molina and Kudagamage. 2002).
crop genetic resources at an alarming However, there are very few reports on
rate the future of global food crops the genetic resources of wild and edible
depends on the sustainability of the bananas from Northeast India including
genetic pool at their centres of Mizoram. Hore et al., (1992) reported 4
diversity. Biotechnological approaches species under the genus Ensete and 10
through the application of tissue culture species under Musa. Uma and
techniques provide one of the most Sathiamoorthy (2002) characterize 20
reliable and time tested options for the different bananas and plantains of
sustainable production of banana. This Mizoram including their tentative
article discusses some of the molecular genome groups using morphological
tools that can be applied for better characters.
understanding of banana genetic Mizoram is endowed with three
resources in Mizoram. different climatic condition such as
tropical, sub-tropical and temperate
Introduction zones. Changthir and Banria are the
Banana is a major fruit crop growing in predominant cultivars distributed
more than 120 countries with India as throughout Mizoram. Amrit sagar, a
the top producer in the world. It is unique AAA cultivar is popular among
greatly diversified in North-East India small-scale and backyard growers. This
including the state of Mizoram. Banana variety is popularly known as Vaibalhla
belongs to the family Musaceae, which or Cavendish. Banana is referred as
consists of two genera: Musa and Balhla in Mizo language like Kola,
Ensete. Genus Ensete has 9 species Kela or Vazhai. In the northern
while Musa genus has four sections provinces, Cheeni champa is
namely, Eumusa, Rhodochlamys, commercially grown in areas of Bhaga
Australimusa and Callimusa Bazar, Vairengte, Bilkhawthlir,
(Simmonds and Shepherd, 1955). The Kolasib,etc. Apart from many cultivars,
Eumusa constitutes the source of edible many wild types are also abundantly
bananas chiefly belonging to M. grown. These are preferred for their
acuminata and M. balbisiana. M. male buds to be used as vegetables. Of
acuminata has been divided into 8 sub- all the wild types, Sai su (Ensete
species whereas M. balbisiana is less glaucam) is the most unique wild type.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 39

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

a nucleotide-binding site and a C-

Need for biotechnological approaches terminal LRR motif. PCR amplification
with degenerate primers targeting to
1. Characterisation of banana genetic short conserved region in NBS is an
resources in Mizoram efficient method for identifying
Earlier investigations and collections of resistance gene analogues (RGAs). This
the germplasms reported from Mizoram method has been successfully used for
were not representative of the total isolation of NBS-LRR gene from a
banana genetic resources of Mizoram as wide variety of plant species (Leister et
the sites and samples studied were very al., 1996; Xiao et al., 2006). Cultivated
small. Moreover, the identification and bananas, which were originated from
characterization of germplasms is natural intra- and inter-specific
heavily influenced by environmental hybridization of M. acuminata and M.
factors thereby limiting their uses. Thus balbisiana, are highly susceptible to
the use of molecular tools is essential to various viral and fungal diseases. The
validate the genetic status. Nair et al., genetics and diversity of the resistance
(2005) classified banana cultivars into genes (R-genes) are poorly understood.
two genomic groups by scoring For future genetic improvement and
morphological features. Earlier attempts breeding purposes, a clear knowledge
in genomic characterization and genetic of the diversity and phylogenetic
diversity studies were successfully done relationship of the genetic make-up in
with molecular markers such as RAPD the wild and cultivated bananas is
(Williams et al., 1990), AFLP and highly essential.
microsatellites (Onguso et al., 2004;
Wong et al., 2002; Creste et al., 2004) 3. Production of quality planting
Molecular markers provided a quick materials in Mizoram
and reliable method for genomic Banana is a long duration crop of one
characterization. and a half years and is propagated
vegetatively by suckers. The production
2. Analysis of resistance gene in the of suckers varies in different genotypes
banana gene pool of Mizoram ranging from 5-10 per plant per year.
The banana cultivars are originated Crop productivity and maturity is
from the intra and inter – specific dependent on the size and age of
hybridisation of two wild diploid suckers and uneven maturity extends
species M. acuminata and M. the duration by 3-4 months. Suckers
balbisiana. The different ploidy status, also carry soil nematodes, disease
progenitor species, sterility and causing organisms such as bunchy top
interspecific compatibility has led to virus, leaf spot etc., thereby affecting
various genomic compositions. Most of the crop production considerably. In
the present edible bananas are triploid, this regard, biotechnological
a few cultivars are diploids and approaches such as cell and tissue
tetraploids. These cultuvars normally culture, protoplast fusion and gene
lack sources of resistance to pests and transfer may serve as useful tools
diseases The majority of the cloned (Novak et al., 1993; Ganapathi et al.,
disease resistance genes (R-genes) in 2002). In vitro propagation of banana
plant species encode a large family of through shoot tip cultures is useful in
the nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich the rapid multiplication of desirable
repeat (NBS-LRR) proteins, which are disease free plantlets. In addition,
characterized by various domains careful selection and updating of
including a variable N-terminal domain,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 40

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

mother plants result in improved crop accession numbers and a duplicate will
yield (Vuylsteke, 1989). be submitted to NBPGR for validation.
For the large-scale sustainable ii) Identification and characterization of
production of banana, a large number of collected banana plants based on their
superior quality planting materials is morphological scores and molecular
required, which is difficult to obtain by tools:
conventional methods of propagation. a) Morphological characterization: For
In contrast, micropropagation through identification of the collected
tissue culture techniques offers rapid germplams, the classification of
and reliable means of producing large Simmonds and Shepherd (1955) should
number of genetically uniform clonal be used and using IPGRI descriptors
planting material within a short time. (1996), the genomes of the germplasms
Despite the availability of many reports should be classified.
on in vitro propagation in bananas, in b) Molecular Characterization: For
which the protocols are complicated, validation of the genome groups,
the standardization of specific protocols molecular tools such as IRAP (Inter-
for a specific cultivar is essential. Retrotransposons Amplified
Development of new banana varieties Polymorphism) markers (Nair et al.,
through conventional breeding 2005) can be used. The accessions
programs remains difficult because of belonging to the same genome group
sterility and polyploidy of most edible can be characterized for their genetic
cultivars. variation using RAPD (Williams et al.,
There is a further need to develop 1990). The resistance genes with
somatic embryogenesis techniques for nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich
the mass propagation of desirable repeat proteins (NBS-LRR) can be
clones. The scale-up and automation of isolated from selected representatives of
techniques necessary to reduce the costs the wild and edible bananas using PCR
of production further should be amplification of the genomic DNAs
investigated. In addition, field-testing of using degenerate primers. The PCR
plants regenerated from cell culture products with the desired fragments
should be investigated. will be purified, cloned and sequenced.
The sequences can then be aligned
Strategies for biotechnological using BLAST programs and analysed
approaches for its phylogenetic relationship.

1. Molecular characterization of 2. Sustainable production and

banana genetic resources in Mizoram utilization of banana in Mizoram
i) Survey and collection of wild and i) Characterization of the different
cultivated banana plants growing in cultivars of edible banana grown in
different phytogeographical regions of different phytogeographical regions of
Mizoram: Mizoram and identification of the
Proper and exhaustive survey and superior genotypes:
collection for the wild and cultivated Popular local banana cultivars viz., vai
banana plants should be conducted in balhla kual, lawng balhla, banria, etc.,
different regions of Mizoram. that are of economic importance need to
Maximum areas under different be collected from different
phytogeographical regions should be phytogeographical regions of Mizoram
covered in the germplasm collection. and the prospective mother plants be
The germplasms should be maintained thoroughly evaluated and selected for
in the field gene bank giving different its superior agronomic characteristics

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 41

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

and disease resistance. For the

validation of superior genotypes, iv) Genetic fidelity testing of the
molecular tools such as RAPD regenerated plantlets: For testing of
(Williams et al., 1990) can be used. genetic fidelity of the regenerated
plantlets, leaf samples of the hardened
ii) Standardization of in vitro plantlets should be used for isolation of
regeneration systems of superior genomic DNA and compared with
genotypes for rapid multiplication of mother plants using RAPD or SSR
genetically stable planting materials. markers.
a) Initiation of aseptic culture:
Various explants (male flower buds, Conclusion
shoot tips, immature zygotic embryos,) With the application of
taken from the selected superior mother biotechnological tools, proper
plants materials can tested for their understanding and knowledge of the
response in various culture media such status, genome classification and
as MS (Murashige and Skoog, 1962), genetic resources of the wild and
B5 (Gamborg et al., 1968), White cultivated banana plants growing in
media (White, 1943), etc. under Mizoram can be achieved. Further,
standard culture conditions. The effect identification and characterization of
of various growth regulators such as the resistance genes (R-genes) and
cytokinins, auxins, etc. on the in vitro understanding of their phylogenetic
regeneration potential of selected relationship among the different species
banana genotypes should be evaluated. and/or cultivars of bananas grown in
b) In vitro regeneration: Some of Mizoram can also be carried out for
the explants from the above culture may future genetic improvement programs.
result in direct or indirect regeneration Since Mizoram is located in the centre
of shoots or roots. The obtained in vitro of diversity of Musa germplasm, it is
organs can be transferred to different imperative to take necessary steps at all
media and hormonal combinations for levels for conservation and sustainable
further multiplication and rooting. production of banana genetic resources.
c) Hardening and Application of biotechnological tools
acclimatization: The rooted such as tissue culture and DNA
regenerated plantlets should be profiling techniques could serve as the
transferred into pots containing sand best option for these programs.
and soil mixture for primary hardening
in a growth chamber, and then References
proceeding for secondary hardening and Creste, S., Neto, A.T., Vencovsky.R.,
acclimatization in the polyhouse under Silvio, SO., and Fiqueira, A 2004.
standard conditions. The successfully Gentic diversity of diploid and triploid
hardened and acclimatized plantlets accessions from the Brazilian banana
should then be transferred to the field. breeding programme estimated by
microsatelite markers. Genet. Res. Crop
iii) Standardization of in vitro Ev. 51:723.
regeneration systems from Daniells J and M Smith (1991). Post-
encapsulated aseptic cultures: The flask management of tissuecultured
established aseptic cultures such as bananas. ACIAR technical reports.
flower buds, shoot buds, somatic ISBNI 86320042818. pp. 8.
embryos can be encapsulated with the Gamborg OL, Miller RA and Ojima K
help of sodium alginate and regenerated (1968). Nutrient requirements of
into plantlets.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 42

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

suspension cultures of soybean root and plantain in Kenya by RAPD

cells. Exp. Cell Res. 50: 151. markers. Sc. Horti. 99: 9.
Ganapathi TR, Chakrabarti A, Roux, N., Baurens, F.C., Dolezel, J.,
Suprasanna P and Bapat VA (2002). Hribova, E., Harrison, P.H., Town, C.,
Genetic transformation in banana. In : Sasaki, T., Matsumoto, T., Aert, R.,
Plant Genetic engineering. Vol. 6: Remy, S., Souza, M. & Lagoda, P.
Improvement of fruits. Ed. PK Jaiwal 2008. Genomics of Banana and Plantain
and RP Singh. Sci-Tech Publ. Houston (Musa spp.), Major Staple Crops in the
Texas, USA. Tropics. P.H. Moore, R. Ming (eds.),
Hore, D.K., Sharma, B.D. and Pandey, Genomics of Tropical Crop Plants.
G. 1992. Status of banana in northeast Simmonds NW and Shepherd (1955).
India. J.Econ.Tax.Bot.16: 447. The taxonomy and origin of the
Leister, D., Ballvora, A., Salamini, F. cultivated banana. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 55:
and Gebhardt, C. 1996. A PCR based 302.
approach for isolating pathogen Uma S and Sathiamoorthy S (2002).
resistance genes from potato with Names and synonyms of bananas and
potential for wide application plants. plaintains of India, National Research
Nat. Genet. 14:421. Centre for Banana (ICAR),
Molina AB and Kudagamage C (2002). Tiruchirapalli, India. 16 pp.
The international network for the White PR (1943). A Handbook of Plant
improvement of banana and plantain Tissue Culture. Jacques Cattell Press,
(INIBAP): PGR activities in south asia. Lancaster, PA, 277 pp.
In: South Asia Network on Plant Williams JGK, Kubelik AR, Livak KJ,
Genetic Resources (SANPGR) meeting Rafalski JA and Tingey SV (1990).
held on December 9-11 at Plant Genetic DNA polymorphism amplified by
Resources Center (PGRC), Peradeniya, arbitrary primers are useful as genetic
Sri Lanka. 1 pp. markers. Nucl. Acids Res. 18, 6531.
Murashige T and Skoog F (1962). A Wong, C.R., Kiew, C., Argent, G., Set,
revised medium for rapid growth and O., Lee, S.K. and Gon, T.Y. 2002.
bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Assessment of validity in the sections in
Physiol. Plant 15: 473. Musa (Musaceae) using AFLP. Ann.
Nair, A.S., Teo, C.H., Schwaracher, T. Botany 90: 231.
and Harrison, P.H. 2005. Genome Vuylesteke DR (1989). Shoot tip
classification of Banana cultivars from culture for the propagation,
South India using IRAP markers. conservation and exchange of Musa
Euphy. 144:285. germplasm. Practical Manual for
Novak FJ, Brunner H, Afza R, Handling Crop Germplasm in vitro 2,
Morpurgo R, Upadhyay RK, Van IBPGR, Rome, Italy.
Duren M, Sacchi M, Hawz JS, Khatri Xiao, W.K., Xu, M.L., Zhao, J.R.,
A, Kahl G, Kaemmer D, Ramser J and Wang, F.G., Li, J.S. and .Dai, J.R.
Weising K (1993). Improvement of 2006. Genome wide isolation of
Musa through biotechnology and resistance analogues in maize (Zea
mutation breeding. In: Biotechnology mays L.). Theor. Appl. Genet. 113:63-
applications for banana and plantain 72.
improvement . Proc. Of the Workshop.
INIBAP, pp 143 -.
Onguso, J.M., Kahangi, E.M., Ndiritu,
D.W. and Mizutani, F. 2004. genetic
characterization of cultivated banana

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 43

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Author’s information:

Dr. Robert Thangjam, at present

working as Assistant Professor in the P. C. Lalrinfela, research scholar at
Department of Biotechnology, Mizoram Department of Biotechnology, School
University, Aizawl, Mizoram. He did of Life Sciences, Mizoram University,
his M.Sc in Botany spz. in Molecular Aizawl, Mizoram. He did his M.Sc
Biology & Biotechnology from Aligarh (Biotechnology) from RTM Nagpur
Muslim University and Ph.D (Life University, Maharashtra. Survey and
Sciences) from Manipur University. He characterization of wild and cultivated
did his Post doctoral research (Plant banana genetic resources of Mizoram.
Biotechnology) in the Institute of His email id is .
Bioresources & Sustainable -------0-------
Development (IBSD) from 2005 to
2007. His area of research is
Bioprospecting of plant bioresources Banana, raw, edible parts
for novel products/genes/metabolites Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
and micropropagation & genetic Energy 90 kcal 370 kJ
improvement through biotechnological Carbohydrates 22.84 g
approaches. He can be reached at - Sugars 12.23 g
- Dietary fiber 2.6 g
Fat 0.33 g
Protein 1.09 g
Vitamin A equiv. 3 μg 0%
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.031 mg = 2%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.073 mg = 5%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.665 mg = 4%
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.334 mg = 7%
Ms. Lalremsiami Hrahsel is research Vitamin B6 0.367 mg = 28%
scholar at Department of Folate (Vit. B9) 20 μg = 5%
Biotechnology, School of Life
Sciences, Mizoram University, Aizawl, Vitamin C 8.7 mg = 15%
Mizoram. She did her M.Sc (Plant Calcium 5 mg = 1%
Biology) and M. Phil Botany Iron 0.26 mg = 2%
(Biotechnology) from Madras
Magnesium 27 mg = 7%
University. Her Ph.D thesis title is In
vitro mass propagation & Phosphorus 22 m g= 3%
Agrobacterium-mediated Potassium 358 mg = 8%
transformation of banana plants Zinc 0.15 mg = 1%
native to Mizoram. She can be reached

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 44

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Conducting polymer sensors: An the electrical conductivity in doped

intelligent aspect polyacetylene which bagged the Nobel
Prize in Chemistry in the year 2000.
By Smritimala Sarmah Conducting polymers have a conjugated
structure of alternate single-double
Intelligence finds priority everywhere. carbon-carbon bonds. The removal of
This is the era of ‘intelligent materials’. π-electrons from a conjugated polymer
An intelligent material is capable of backbone by chemical or
recognizing appropriate environmental electrochemical oxidation or p-doping
stimuli, processing the information results in positively charged carriers or
arising from the stimuli and responding holes which are responsible for
to it in an appropriate manner and time dramatic increase in the electrical
frame [1]. Another important feature is conductivity. Removal of electrons is
that the material should be self-powered accompanied by insertion of charge
and capable of energy conversion and compensating anions, so that the
storage functions. material as a whole remains electrically
neutral. Similarly, reduction or n-
Conducting polymers are a class of doping corresponds to addition of
materials that are destined to play a electrons and the excess negative
major role in intelligent materials charge is compensated by cations
science. The genesis of this emerging inserted into the polymer. Some
field can be traced back to mid 1970s common conducting polymers are
when Hideki Shirakawa, Alan J. Heeger shown in Fig.1
and Alan G. MacDiarmid discovered

Conducting electroactive polymers like Chemical sensors transform the

Polyaniline, Polypyrrole, polythiophene concentrations of analytes to other
etc with complex dynamic structures detectable physical signals, such as
fulfill the requirements of intelligent currents, absorbance, mass or acoustic
materials. The electrical, variables. After exposing to the vapor
electrochemical and optical properties of an analyte, the active sensing
of conducting polymers can be utilized material of the sensor interacted with
to convert chemical information the analyte, which causes the physical
(concentration, activity, partial pressure property changes of the sensing
etc.) into electrical and optical signals. material. The interactions between the
Therefore the usefulness of conducting analytes and sensing materials are
polymer transducers in chemical multiform, according to different
sensors is increasing day by day. analytes and different active materials.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 45

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Electrochemical sensors such as resistor, whose electric resistance

chemical sensors are those in which is sensitive to the chemical
molecular recognition is transduced environment. A chemiresistor
directly into an electrical signal. Since consists of one or several pairs of
conducting polymers are electroactive electrodes and a layer of
materials with mixed ionic and conducting polymer in contact
electronic conductivity, they can with the electrodes. The electrical
transduce an ionic signal into electronic resistance change of the sensing
signal which can be utilized as ion material is measured as the
sensors. output, so a simple ohmmeter is
enough to collect the data.
Depending on the transduction
mechanism, electrochemical sensors are
usually subdivided into potentiometric,
amperometric, voltammetric and
conductimetric sensors

(i) Potentiometric sensors are based

on the measurement of electrical
potential of the sensor versus a
reference electrode which has a
constant potential independent of
the sample composition.
(ii) Organic Thin Film Transistor
(ii) Amperometric sensors are based (TFT) shown in Fig.3 is another
on the measurement of the type of sensor [3]. In general, a
electrical current flowing through TFT consists of a semiconductor
the sensor as a result of oxidation active layer in contact with two
and reduction of the analyte at a electrodes (“source” and “drain”),
constant applied potential. and a third electrode (“gate”)
which is separated with the active
layer by an insulating film. When
(iii) Voltammetric sensors are based it works, a source-drain voltage
on the measurement of the was applied and a source-drain
electrical current versus potential current was measured. The gate is
during a potential scan. used to modulate the current by a
gate potential. The source-drain
(iv) Conductimetric sensors are current is changed when sensing
based on the measurement of the film interacts with analyte.
electrical conductivity of the
sensor material in contact with the

Different ion sensors, gas sensors and

biosensors fall in the above categories.

Configurations of different sensors

(i) Chemiresistors are the most
common type of sensors as shown
in Fig.2 [2]. A chemiresistor is a

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(iii) UV-VIS and NIR spectra can desorption of gas on the polymer film
reflect the electron configurations on the gap will modulate the wave
of conducting polymers. During propagation characters. A standard
the doping process, the spectral SAW sensor is shown in Fig.5
absorbance of conducting polymer
film will change and new bands Commercialization of CEP sensors:
will appear due to the formation The most successful commercial
of polarons and bipolarons; while sensing systems that utilize conducting
the spectrum can return to its polymers are so called electronic noses
original shape after dedoping [4]. [6]. These systems use arrays of robust
Thus, analyte gas contacting CEPS, each with differing chemical
conducting polymer film can be selectivity using changes in resistance
detected by recording the UV-VIS as the signal generation method. The
or NIR spectral changes. An change in resistivity or conductivity is
optical sensor is shown in Fig.4 brought about either through a change
in polymer conformation. Vapors such
as NO2, H2S and NH3 being electron
donors or electron acceptors have
dramatic effect on conductivity. Such
kind of conducting polymer sensors are
being developed for classification of
beers, detection and identification of
microorganisms, olive oil
characterization and detection and
classification of volatile organic
Conducting polymers are widely
acknowledged as useful sensing
materials for chemical and biological
species and have been used in
electronic noses for vapor analysis.
Semiconductor materials, in general,
are desirable as sensors, because
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors
environment-induced changes to the
fall in the category of piezoelectric
doping level or band structure can lead
crystal sensors. In SAW sensors, a
to large changes in electrical properties
transmitter interdigital electrode
that can be easily detected using simple
(interdigital transducers, IDTs) and a
circuits. Electrical signals thus
receptor interdigital electrode are
generated are compatible with data
attached onto a piezoelectric crystal.
acquisition, storage, and
The polymer film is coated on the gap
communication systems. Changes in the
between these two electrodes. An input
conductivity of conducting polymers
radio frequency voltage is applied
can occur through chemical reactions
across the transmitter IDTs, inducing
leading to changes in doping levels or
deformations in the piezoelectric
through changes in polymer
substrate. These deformations give rise
conformation (e.g., due to swelling
to an acoustic wave, traversing the gap
caused by the absorption of chemical
between two IDTs. When it reaches the
species). These changes are reversible,
receptor IDTs, the mechanical energy is
which is a key requirement for sensors.
converted back to radio frequency
The speed of response, however, can be
voltage [5]. The adsorption and

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somewhat slow due to the need for response time is correlated with the
diffusion of chemical species into the diffusion time for the gas to enter the
bulk of the polymer. For this reason, fiber, and so the authors argue that
developing micro- or nano-scale nanofibers can provide faster response
sensors using conducting polymers can than micro- or macroscale systems.
lead to major improvements in response
times. The simplest microsensor Advantages:
consists of a pair of electrodes covered (i) The interaction between
by the sensing material and a circuit for conducting polymer and analyte is
detecting changes in resistance. rather strong at room temperature
[7]. Therefore, the sensors based
The reduction in size of conjugated on conducting polymers can give
polymer chemical sensors has been remarkable signals, while those
shown to lead to significant based on inorganic metal oxides
performance improvements. Shrinking have barely detactable sensitivity
sensor dimensions improve response at room temperature.
time by reducing diffusion distances.
Nanofibers are, therefore, of (ii) The backbones of common
considerable interest. Polyaniline conducting polymers are built up
nanofiber chemical sensors for toxic of aromatic rings, to which can be
NH3 vapor have been developed using a easyly attached various grafts
modified electrospinning process. through electrophilic
Typically these nanofibers are produced substitutions. By introducing
from a blend of a soluble conjugated different substituents, or
polymer in a second polymer host. copolymerizing with different
Recently, modifications to produce monomers, it is facile to adjust
aligned nanofibers have been reported. both the chemical and physical
Craighead and coworkers deposited a properties of conducting
single nanofiber across four gold polymers; these adjustments are
microelectrodes that responded to NH3 useful for promoting selectivity of
vapor within 75 s, although it took sensors, and convenient in
several minutes to recover when the fabricating sensor arrays [7].
source of NH3 was removed. The

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(iii) The detection limits are rather low original value after exposure to
for sensors based on conducting the analyte.
polymers. For redox-active or
acid-base active analytes, the (iii) Conducting polymer sensors face
detection limit is smaller than 1 selectivity problems. A single
ppm, and for inert organic sensor can not distinguish
analytes, that limit is about different analytes, and the
several ppm or lower. The response can be easily influenced
response times of these sensors by the presence of other analytes.
are usually hundreds of seconds,
and especially for some ultra-thin With the increasing demand of light-
film sensors, this time can be as weight, fast-response sensors,
short as about several seconds [7]. conducting polymers can have the edge
command over all other materials in the
(iv) The fabrication of sensors based market if selectivity can be improved
on conducting polymers is much by introducing some selective
easier than that based on other molecules to the conducting polymer
sensing materials. Conducting networks.
polymers inherit the good
mechanical property from References:
polymers, so most mechanical 1. Wallace G G; Spinks G M; Kane-
processing techniques are suitable Maguire L A P; Teasdale P R;
for processing them. Furthermore, Conductive eletroactive polymers:
by introducing long side chains, Intelligent Materials systems,
the solubility of conducting CRC press, 2nd edition, 2003
polymers can be greatly
improved, enabling them to be 2. Liu, H.Q.; Kameoka, J.;
processed into films from their Czaplewski, D.A.; Craighead,
solutions by casting, layer by- H.G. Polymeric nanowire
layer deposition, spin-coating or chemical sensor. Nano Lett. 2004,
Longmuir-Blodgett technique [7]. 4, 671-675.

Disadvantages: 3. Janata, J. Electrochemical

(i) Long-time instability is a main microsensors. Proc. IEEE 2003,
drawback of the sensors based on 91, 864-869
conducting polymers. The
performances of this kind of 4. Bredas, J.L.; Scott, J.C.; Yakushi,
sensors decreased dramatically as K.; Street, G.B. Polarons and
they were stored in air for a bipolarons in polypyrrole:
relatively long time. This Evolution of the band structure
phenomenon can be explained as and optical spectrum upon doing.
de-doping of conducting Physical Review B 1984, 30, 1023
5. Chang, S.M.; Muramatsu, H.;
(ii) Another problem is the Nakamura, C.; Miyake, J. The
irreversibility of these sensors. principle and applications of
The response of sensors gradually piezoelectric crystal sensors.
fall down in the sensing cycles, or Mater. Sci. Eng. C-Biomimetic
the signal can not return to the Supramol. Syst. 2000, 12, 111-

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6. Hwang, B.J.; Yang, J.Y.; Lin, Mesoscale Convective Systems

C.W. A microscopic gas-sensing
By Mr. Devajyoti Dutta
model for ethanol sensors based
on conductive polymer
composites from polypyrrole and Preamble
poly(ethylene oxide). J. A storm is any disturbed state of an
Electrochem. Soc. 1999, 146, astronomical body's atmosphere,
1231-1236. especially affecting its surface, and
strongly implying severe weather. It
7. Bai Hua ; Shi Gaoquan ; “Gas may be marked by strong wind, thunder
Sensors Based on Conducting and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy
Polymers” Sensors 2007, 7, 267- precipitation, such as ice (ice storm), or
307 wind transporting some substance
through the atmosphere (as in a dust
Author’s information storm, snowstorm, hailstorm, etc).
Convective storm detection is the
observation of deep, moist convection
(DMC); this term includes the minority
of storms which do not produce
lightning and thunder. Convective
storms produce tornadoes as well as
large hail, strong winds, and flash
flooding. Convective storms appear in
many forms, producing a large variety
Smritimala Sarmah is from of hazardous weather and affecting
Narayanpur, Lakhimpur district of areas ranging from a few square miles
Assam. She did her M.Sc. in Physics or kilometers to hundreds of square
from IIT Guwahati. Currently she is miles or kilometers. Isolated storms are
carrying out her doctoral research under generally classified as one of three
the supervision of Dr. Ashok Kumar in basic types: ordinary cells, multiple cell
the Material Research Laboratory, systems, and supercells. However,
Dept. of Physics, Tezpur University. groups of thunderstorms often join into
Her area of research is conducting larger systems, generically referred to
polymer based nanocomposite sensors. as Mesoscale Convective Systems
She can be reached at (MCSs). MCSs are complexes of thunderstorms that become organized
--------0-------- on a scale larger than the individual
thunderstorms, and normally persist for
“An equation means nothing to me unless it several hours or more. According to
expresses a thought of God.” Houze(1993), an MCS is defined as a
cloud system that occurs in connection
— Srinivasa Ramanujan with an ensemble of thunderstorms and
produces a contiguous precipitation
“Every positive integer is one of Ramanujan's area on the order of 100 km or more in
personal friends.” horizontal scale in at least one
-By John Littlewood, (1885 – 1977) British
mathematician on Srinivasan Ramanujan

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 50

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Importance of MCSs This outrunning occurs in a pattern

MCSs are significant rain-producing where the upper level jet splits into two
weather systems. In particular, Fritsch streams. The resultant mesoscale
et al. (1986) found that MCSs convective system (MCS) is formed at
accounted for 30-70% of the warm the point of the upper level split in the
season precipitation in the central wind pattern in the area of best low
United States. MCSs also produce a level inflow. The convection then
broad range of severe convective moves east and toward the equator into
weather events: strong winds, hail, the warm sector, parallel to low-level
tornadoes, lightning, and flooding. It is thickness lines. When the convection is
not uncommon for MCSs to result in strong and linear or curved, the MCS is
tens to hundreds of severe weather called a squall line, with the feature
reports. placed at the leading edge of the
significant wind shift and pressure rise.
Types of MCSs This feature is commonly depicted in
Since “MCS” is a general classification, the warm season across the world on
it can be divided into more specific surface analyses, as they lie within
classifications. The most commonly sharp surface troughs. If squall lines
cited examples of MCSs include Squall form over arid regions, a dust storm
lines, Bow echoes, Mesoscale known as a haboob may result from the
convective complexes (MCCs). These high winds in their wake picking up
types of MCSs were independently dust from the desert floor. Squall lines
discovered and named; thus, they are are depicted on National Weather
not necessarily mutually exclusive of Service surface analyses as an
one another. For example, a bow echo alternating pattern of two red dots and a
is a very specific subset of squall lines. dash labeled “SQLN" or "SQUALL
Also, the internal convective structure LINE". The best indication of the
of a MCC may be arranged as a squall presence of severe weather along a
line (or bow echo for that matter). squall line is its morphing into a line
echo wave pattern, or LEWP. A LEWP
Squall Lines is a special configuration in a line of
It’s important to understand how these convective storm that indicates the
systems are defined in order to identify presence of a low pressure area and the
them. A squall line is a line of severe possibility of damaging winds, large
thunderstorm that can form along or hail, and tornadoes. At each kink along
ahead of a cold front. In the early 20th the LEWP is a mesoscale low pressure
century, the term was used as a area. In response to very strong outflow
synonym for cold front. It contains southwest of the mesoscale low, a
heavy precipitation, hail, frequent portion of the line bulges outward
lightning, strong straight line winds, forming a bow echo. Behind this bulge
and possibly tornadoes and lies the mesoscale high pressure area.
waterspouts. Severe weather along Figure 1 (a) shows Doppler Weather
squall lines can be expected if it Radar (DWR) observation of a squall
displays a line echo wave pattern line on 27th October 2007 over the
(LEWP) or if the line is in the shape of Indian Ocean which is ~200 km in
a bow echo. length. Figure 1 (b) also shows a squall
that was captured by Tropical Rainfall
Organized areas of thunderstorm Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on
activity reinforce pre-existing frontal 26th May 1998 over Bangladesh.
zones, and they can outrun cold fronts.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 51

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Especially strong bow echoes that cause

devastating damage all along the width
of the storm are often called derechos.

The formation of a bow echo requires a

strong elevated rear inflow jet at mid-
levels. The strength of the cold pool and
mesohigh at the surface as well as
warmer temperatures aloft due to
convection works to create a mesolow
at mid-levels which strengthens the jet.
Upon reaching the edge of the
convection, the jet descends and
spreads along the surface generating
straight-line winds.

After the rear inflow jet has bowed the

storm system, book end, or line end;
vortices develop on either side of the
jet. These vortices are similar in
strength. Due to the small size of the
bow echo, the vortices help enhance the
mid-level flow between them. This
strengthens the rear inflow jet. The
surface winds increase from the
descending jet. As the life of the storm
increases, the Coriolis force acts to
intensify the cyclonic vortex and
Bow echo weaken the anticyclonic vortex. The
A bow echo is a term describing the system then develops an asymmetric
characteristic radar return from a comma-shaped echo. Some embedded
mesoscale convective system that is tornadoes or gustnadoes develop within
shaped like an archer’s bow. These these vortices. Damaging straight-line
systems can produce severe straight- winds often occur near the center of a
line winds and occasionally tornadoes, bow echo. Damage from all severe
causing major damages. thunderstorm winds accounted for half
of all severe reports in the lower 48
A bow echo is associated with squall states of the United States and is more
lines or lines of convective common than damage from tornadoes.
thunderstorms. These echoes can range Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph
in size from 20 to 200 km, and have a (160 km/h) and can produce a damage
life span of 3 to 6 hours. Bow echoes path extending for hundreds of miles.
tend to develop when moderate to Bow echoes are capable of producing
strong wind shear exists in the lower 2 straight-line winds that are just as
to 3 km of the atmosphere. While strong as many tornadoes. A strong
similar to squall lines, bow echoes are bow echo will produce more
smaller in scale; this creates their widespread and intense damage than
extreme intensity. The "bow shaped" the majority of tornadoes. Also, bow
echo is a result of focusing of the strong echoes create a favorable environment
flow at the rear of the system. for tornadoes to form.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 52

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Principal, Kohima Science College,

Kohima, India.


1. Maddox, R.A., 1980: Mesoscale

convective complexes. Bull. Am.
Met. Soc., Vol.61, 1374-1387.

2. W. R. Cotton, S. van den Heever, and

I. Jirak. Conceptual Models of
Mesoscale Convective Systems:
Part 9. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.

3. W. S. Ashley, Thomas L. Mote, P.

G. Dixon, S. L. Trotter, E. J.
Powell, J. D. Durkee, and A. J.
Grundstein. Distribution of
Mesoscale Convective Complex
Rainfall in the United States.
Retrieved on 2008-03-02.

4. R. A. Houze, Jr., Cloud dynamics,

1st edition (Academic Press, 1993).

5. K. I. Mohr and E. J. Zipser, 1996:

Mon. Wea. Rev., Vol.124, 2417-
The bow echo on 28th May 1998 was
very intense, small and of leading Author’s Information
stratiform (LS) type, where stratiform
region formed ahead of the convective
line. The spatial plot of bow echoes as
observed from TRMM satellite is
shown in figure 2(a). A Cell Bow Echo
(CBE) on 24th October 2006 as
observed from DWR is shown in
figure2 (b). This particular CBE
evolved from two small isolated cells
with reflectivity ≥ 40 dBZ.
Mr. Devajyoti Dutta received M.Sc.
from Tezpur University in the year
2005. He is at present working as
Department of Space, Govt. of India, is
Senior Research Fellow under MTUP
gratefully acknowledged. I would like
program, sponsored by Indian Space
to thank my research guide, Dr. Sanjay
Research Organization at Kohima
Sharma, for his consistent support.
Science College, Nagaland. His
Thanks also go to Dr. Diganta Kumar
research interest is in the area of Radar
Sharma for his valuable suggestions.
and Satellite Meteorology.
The author is also thankful to the

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stoichiometric reagents with catalysts

Thesis Abstract of Ankur Bordoloi, and to facilitate easy separation of the
Ph.D. final reaction mixture including the
efficient recovery and reuse of the
Thesis title: Hybrid inorganic- catalysts. The use of efficient solid
organic materials and catalysts can go a long way towards
nanocomposites; synthesis, achieving these goals. Polymer-
characterizations and catalytic supported catalysts have been widely
applications in organic used and their popularity comes mainly
transformations from the fact that product isolation is
simplified, milder conditions and
Research Guide: Dr. S. B. Halligudi, higher selectivity could be attained
Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis although they suffer from limited
Division, National Chemical thermo-oxidative stability. Catalysts
Laboratory, Pune, India based on high surface area inorganic
support materials should have better
Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Materials thermal stability and have also
(IOHM) appears as a creative attracted a lot of interest as solid
alternative for obtaining new catalysts and reagents in liquid phase
materials with unusual features. The organic reactions. They form the basis
possibility of combining the of some new industrial catalysts, which
properties of inorganic and organic are used as replacements for toxic and
compounds to get a unique material corrosive traditional reagents The
and is a challenge task in recent mesoporous nature of silica and acid-
years. In fact, the concept of the term treated clays for example, allows
inorganic-organic hybrid materials reasonably good molecular diffusion
has been introduced recently, the new rates and could lead to activity
materials are considered as enhancement through the concentration
innovative, advanced and has of active centers. These first generation
potential applications in various supported reagent catalysts are,
fields including catalysis [1] however, based on physisorbed
reagents, which are unstable in polar
Catalysts played a vital role in
media and consequently often cannot
establishing the economic strength of
be reused. An emerging area of
the chemical industry in the first half
research, which seeks to retain the
of the 20th century. As we approached,
‘green benefits’ of heterogenization
the first half of the 21st century
and enhanced activity and/or product
increasingly demanding environmental
selectivity, while avoiding the
legislation, public and corporate
drawbacks of catalyst instability and
pressure and the resulting drive
limited reusability is the development
towards clean technology in the
and use of mesoporous inorganic
industry, which would provide new
support materials as catalysts with
opportunities for catalysis and catalytic
chemically bound active centers [2]
processes. Some of the major goals of
According to their interface
‘Green Chemistry’ are to increase
interaction, IOHM materials were
process selectivity, to maximize the
divided into two classes; inorganic-
use of starting materials (aiming for
organic hybrid materials embedded
100% atom efficiency), to replace

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 54

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by weak bonds (hydrogen, Vander reactions [6-11]. Recently, there is a

walls or ionic bonds) give the report on a polyoxometallates based
cohesion to the whole structure and hybrid materials for hydrogenation
the other in which the two phases catalyst [12]. According to the
(inorganic and organic) are linked literature, though some work has been
together through strong chemical done on oxidation reaction by these
bonds (covalent or ionic-covalent hybrid materials and a little work by
interactions). It is natural, that the polyoxometallates based hybrid
latter type of IOHM materials, materials still there are lot remains.
organic and inorganic components [13,14].
could also interact through the same The development of the coordination
kind of weak bonds that are polymer area could be traced back to
mentioned in the first category. These the work of Gravereau, Garnier, and
new IOHM include mesoporous Hardy in Poitiers in the late 1970s, in
inorganic organic hybrids, which zeolitic materials with ion-
coordination polymers and hybrid exchange properties were made by
metal oxides, etc [1,3,4]. linking hexacyanoferrates units with
tetrahedrally coordinated Zn2+ cations
In 1985, Wilkes et al [5] initiated the
[15]. However, there was little interest
work on the development of novel
in such materials until the mid-1990s,
organic-inorganic hybrid network
when several groups, particularly those
materials by reacting metal alkoxides
of Robson and Yaghi, recognized that
with end- fictionalized condensational
rigid, polyfunctional organic molecules
polymeric/oligomeric species through
could be used to bridge metal cations
a sol- gel process. Their first successful
or clusters into extended arrays with
example has been the incorporation of
large voids. Robson published a
poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)
landmark paper [16] laying the
oligomers into the silica matrix. In
groundwork for coordination
1990, Wei et al [1] pioneered the
polymers. In spite of considerable
synthesis of vinyl polymer- metal
interest in catalysis as an application of
oxide hybrid materials. In the early
hybrid systems, surprisingly few
1990s, another new material was made
studies demonstrate such behavior. The
by Kresge et al [2] by templating silica
first application of coordination
species with surfactant molecules
polymers in catalysis comes in the year
leading to the formation of ordered
of 1994.After that lots of applicability
mesoporous silica oxides. These new
had been made of these coordination
materials, known under the general
polymers in catalysis e.g.cynalisation,
name M41S, with the hexagonal
polymerization, photochemical
MCM-41 being the most prominent
hydrogen production, hydrolysis of
member, dramatically expanded the
organic molecules, Diels Alder
range of pore sizes accessible in the
reaction and other photochemical
form of an ordered pore system. Soon
reactions. There are very few reports
enough, research in this area has been
on coordination polymer based
extended to many metal oxides
oxidation reactions in the literature
systems other than silica and also the
[17-18]. There fore, there is a huge
novel organic-inorganic hybrid
demand for application of these
mesoporous materials, etc. These
materials as oxidation catalyst systems
hybrid materials were successfully
used for Knoevenagel condensation,
The coordination chemistry of
nitroaldol condensation, Michael
bispyridylamides with the general
condensation, and epoxidation

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structure LH2 (where L = pyridine referred to as the matrix). This is part

amide ligand) has been intensively of the growing field of
studied since the compounds were first nanotechnology. After adding
prepared by Ojima [19] in 1967. The nanoparticulates to the matrix material,
deprotonated amide is a strong σ-donor the resulting nanocomposite may
capable of stabilizing early as well as exhibit drastically enhanced properties.
late metal ions in high oxidation states, Tungsten oxide nanoclusters supported
making high-valent metal complexes highly ordered mesoporous SBA-15
of the ligands suitable as Lewis acid material has been successfully
catalysts. This property, together with synthesized in a single step using a
the resistance of the ligand to oxidation non-ionic surfactant as a template and
has also stimulated studies of oxidative used for the selective oxidation of
processes. The recent introduction of sulfur compounds, giving excellent
the hybrid materials (metal complex yields at room temperature with
anchored in mesoporous materials) has exceptional catalyst recyclability. This
a substantial impact in the area of strategy could be used for similar
heterogeneous catalysis, and they have chemical transformations to use in an
been shown to promote a range of eco-friendly manner.
synthetic transformations [20]. Oxidation reactions are among the
The “ship in a bottle” is an effective most important reactions in nature;
strategy to trap metal complex catalyst they are responsible for the activation
with large molecular size into the of molecular oxygen in living species
nanopores or cavities of mesoporous on the earth’s surface and are being
materials in recent years. SBA-16 is a used in chemical industry to prepare
good candidate for the same due to its Varity of oxygenated organic
multidirectional pore systems and compounds useful either directly or as
tunable pore entrances that are likely to intermediates for other value added
be more resistant to local pore chemicals. Oxidation reactions cover a
blockage than channel-like pores. The variety of reactions, whcih are used for
large cages of these mesoporous the production of fine and bulk
materials can accommodate metal chemicals, as building blocks for the
complexes of large molecular size, preparation of variety of products. The
whereas the smaller pore entrances industrial use of oxidation reaction for
may prevent leaching of the metal production of bulk chemicals primarily
complex confined in the mesoporous based on heterogeneous catalyst with
cage[21]. In addition, the existence of molecular O2 in the form of air as the
plentiful hydroxyl groups in the terminal oxidant, while homogeneous
mesoporous silicas provides the catalysis is mainly used for the
possibility of tailoring the pore preparation of fine chemicals with a
entrance size by a simple silylation verity of different terminal oxidants
reaction. Transition metal-catalyzed [24]. The facile ring opening of
procedures for transfer hydrogenation epoxides to give β-Amino alcohols
of a wide variety of functional groups with a variety of amines with high
by different hydrogen donors are an regio- and stereoselectivity makes
interesting alternative to conventional them extremely versatile synthons for a
catalytic hydrogenation [22,23]. wide range of biologically active
Nanocomposites are materials that are natural and synthetic products
created by introducing nanoparticulates unnatural amino acids and chiral
(often referred to as filler) into a auxiliaries [25,26]. Hydrogenation is a
macroscopic sample material (often one of major technology in fine

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

chemicals synthesis, particularly for (6) S. Shephard D., Zhow W.,

pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, Angew Chem., Int. Ed. 1998,37,19.
flavours and fragrances industries. Out (7) Xing S., Zhang Y.; Angew
of various functionalities Chem., Int. Ed., 2002,47,5.
hydrogenation, C=O hydrogenation (8) Liu. C. -J., Li. S. -G.; Chem.
plays a unique role in fine chemical Common., 1997, 65-66.
synthesis. (9) Gerrits. P.P.K., Verberckmoes
It is really a challenging task to design A., and Meso Mater.,
a heterogeneous catalyst system for 21(1998) 475-476
organic transformations. It is because, (10) Holland T.B., Walkup C., and
besides, catalyst recycling and Stein A., J. Phys. Chem B;
recovering drawbacks of homogeneous 1998,102,4301-4309
catalyst systems. The disadvantages of (11) Jia M., Seifert A., Berger M.,
homogeneous catalyst systems are; Giegengack H., Schulze S., and R.
deactivating due to the formation μ- Theil W.; Chem Mater., 2004, 16,
oxo dimmer or oligomers and most of 877-882.
the organic ligands undergo oxidative (12.) Bar-Nahum I., Neumann R.,
destruction under oxidizing conditions. Chem. Commun., 2003, 2690-2691.
On the other hand, a heterogeneous (13) A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty
catalyst system suffers from leaching, of Drexel University by Qiuwei
which is due to the use or generation of Feng,2001 entitled ‘Novel Organic-
polar molecules during oxidation Inorganic Hybrid Mesoporous
reaction. These polar molecules Materials and Nanocomposites’
hydrolyze the bonds between catalyst (14) E. Devis M., P. Wight A.; Chem.
and support. Keeping the above points Rev.2002, 102, 3589-3614.
in mind, we propose to synthesize new (15) Gravereau P.,Garnier E., and
catalyst (IOHM), which would solve Hardy A. Acta Crystallogr.,Sect. B35
the problems associated with the (1979) 2843.
conventional homogeneous catalysts. (16) Hoskins B.F.,Robson R.;J. Am.
These discrepancies can be minimized Chem. Soc. 112 (1990)1546
by IOHM based on polyoxometallates (17) Abrantes M., Valente A.,; J.
and transition metal complexes, of Catalysis 2002 ,209, 2137-244
coordination polymers and (18) Abrantes M., Valente A.,;
nanocomposites. Chem. Eur. J. 2003, 9, 2685-2695
(19) H. Ojima, Nippon Kagaku Zasshi,
88 (1967) 333-339.
(20) O. Belda, C. Moberg
(1) Judeinstein P., Sanchez C.; J. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 249
Mater. Chem., 1996, 6(4), 511-525. (2005) 727–740
(2) H. Clark J., J. Macquarrie D.; (21) H. Yang, L. Zhang, W. Su, Q.
Chem. Commun., 1998, 853-860. Yang , C. Li Journal of Catalysis 248
(3) M. Forster P., K. Cheetham A.; (2007) 204–212
Topics in catalysis, 2003, 24(1-4), 79- (22) R. A. W. Johnstone, A. H. Wilby,
86. I. N. Entwistle: Chem. Rev., 85, 129
(4) Schubert U., J. of Sol-Gel Science (1985) 129-170.
and Technology, 2003, 26,47-55 (23) G. Brieger, T. J. Nestrick: Chem.
(5) Beller M., Bolm C. Transition Rev., 74, (1974) 567-580.
Metals for Organic Synthesis, Building (24) Stein A., J. Melde B.,C.Schroden
Blocks and Fine Chemicals. Wiley- R. Adv. Mater. 2000,12 (19),1403-
VCH. 1414.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 57

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(25) A. S Rao, S. K Paknikar, J. G Thesis Abstract of Ms. Rupjyoti

Kirtane, Tetrahedron 39,(1983), 2323- Gogoi
(26) E. J. Corey, F. Zhang, Angew.
Chem. Int. Ed. 38, (1999), 1931-1934. A Study of Self-similarity and
Approximate Solutions of QCD
Evolution Equations
Short biodata about the author
Research Guide: Professor D. K.
Place of work: Department of Physics,
Gauhati University, Guwahati

This thesis work contains studies on

the structure of the nucleon at high
four momentum transfer squared Q2
and low Bjorken variable x of deep
inelastic lepton nucleon scattering
using the tools of fractal geometry.
Dr. Bordoloi is presently working as a
Specifically, we propose a fractal
post doctoral researcher at University
inspired parameterization for the
of Ottowa, Canada. He did his school
structure functions of the nucleon. The
and college educations at his home
formalism is then applied to deep
town Jorhat, Assam, followed by
inelastic electron-proton as well as
Masters degree in Chemistry from
neutrino-nucleon scattering, gluon
Dibrugarh University. Then he moved
distribution function inside the nucleon
to National Chemical Laboratory, Pune
and ultra high energy neutrino nucleon
and completed the Ph.D. degree in
scattering cross-section. The area of
2008. His area of research is
small x structure function is a
“Synthesis of novel solid acid catalyst
tremendously exciting area of research.
systems based on mesoporous
The notion of self-similarity in this
materials”. He can be reached at
field will yield a new approach to the
parameterization of the structure
function which will hopefully provide
Selected research publications:
a fresh insight into the structure of
1. A. Bordoloi, F. Lefebvre and S.B.
Halligudi J. Catal. 247(2007) 166-175
2. A. Bordoloi and S.B. Halligudi
Adv. Syn. and Catal. 348(2007) 2085-
The complex irregular shapes of nature
3. A. Bordoloi , Ajayan Vinu and S. B.
possess a hidden symmetry called self-
Halligudi Chem.
similarity [1,2]. It is not translational
or rotational symmetry; rather it is
4. A. Bordoloi, and S.B. Halligudi J.
symmetry with respect to scale or size.
Catal. 257 (2008) 283-290
Systems exhibiting self-similarity is
5. A. Bordoloi, Suman Sahoo, F.
defined through its self-similar
Lefebvre, S. B. Halligudi J. Catal.
dimension, which is in general
259 (2008) 232-239.
fraction, hence called fractal
dimension. Cantor dust, Koch curve
and Sierpinski gasket are some
classical fractals having fractal

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 58

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

dimensions 0.63, 1.26 and 1.585, is the fraction of momentum lost by the
respectively, which lie between electron in the proton rest frame.
Euclidean point and surfaces.
Self-similar objects are characterized Another important variable is the
by power law behaviour. When a self- Bjorken variable x defined as,
similar figure is broken into smaller x=Q2/2p.q and
copies, there exists a power law physically it signifies the fraction of
connecting the magnification factor momentum carried away by a struck
(M) and the number of pieces into quark from the parent proton. The
which the self-similar object is divided observed quantity of Deep Inelastic
(N), given by N MD, from which the Scattering is the structure function
fractal dimension can be expressed as F2(x,Q2) which measures the
[3], distribution of momentum among
Error! Objects cannot be created various partons inside the nucleon and
from editing field codes. is expressed as,
Error! Objects cannot be created
The dimension D should be, by from editing field codes.
definition, positive so that the number
of self-similar objects increases as the The un-integrated quark density
length scale is decreased. exhibits a linear behaviour as a
Magnification factors are expected to function of x and Q2 in log−log scale.
fulfill some criteria. They should be It suggests that x and Q2 (or their
positive, non-zero and have no suitable functions) can be treated as
physical dimension. magnification factors and the proton
structure function exhibits self-
Deep Inelastic Scattering (DIS) implies similarity and may be described by a
scattering with high energy and high function of magnification factors.
momentum transfer. It is the scattering
of high energy electron beams on Monofractal Model of the Proton
proton target which explore the Structure Function:
substructure of proton. Starting with
the experiments performed at Stanford In this work, we have introduced a
Linear Accelerator Centre, several fractal inspired model for the proton
experiments have been performed till structure function with only single
date which explores a rich structure of fractal dimension in analogy to
proton consisting of numerous point- classical monofractals. This
like constituents called partons which monofractal model is however found to
are actually quarks, anti-quarks and be valid in a limited range of x and Q2
gluons. The kinematics of DIS is data of HERA [4,5]. However in such
described by two independent Lorentz limit, fractal dimension is found to be
invariant quantities, close to x-slope or pomeron intercept

Self-similarity and a
Parameterization of Proton
Structure Function at Small x:
Q2 is the four-momentum transfer Then, we have proposed an alternate
squared and y is the inelasticity which parameterization [7] of the proton
structure function with two different

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 59

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

set of magnification factors i.e. a Ultra High Energy Neutrino

different set of functions of x and Q2 Nucleon Scattering and Fractal
and analyze it phenomenologically. Inspired Models:
This model is found to describe HERA
data [4,5] well with an all positive set We further test the fractal inspired
of parameters to be identified as fractal models in ultra high energy neutrino
dimensions. This parameterization is nucleon scattering. To accomplish this,
found to provide an excellent we evaluate the neutrino nucleon cross
description of the data which covers a section for ultra high energy.
region of four momentum transferred Qualitatively, our results are found to
squared 0.045 ≤ Q2 ≤ 120GeV2 with a be compatible with QCD evolution
cut x < 0.01 to exclude the valence equations based standard results [16]
quark region. and the model independent upper
bounds of Ref. [17]. Though the fractal
Deep Inelastic Neutrino Nucleon inspired models have limitations and
Scattering with Fractal Inspired appears to be semi quantitative in
Models of the Structure Functions: nature in comparison to other accurate
parton parameterizations, the approach
We also make a similar fractal has nevertheless provided fresh insight
motivated analysis of the nucleon into the structure of nucleon at small x:
structure functions F2 and xF3 in case in certain limited region of deep
of deep inelastic neutrino nucleon inelastic scattering, fractality and self-
scattering [8]. Unfortunately the deep similarity make sense.
inelastic neutrino scattering
experiments have not yet explored the References
small x values unlike the
corresponding electron proton [1] B B Mandelbrot Fractal Geometry
scattering experiments. Because of this of Nature (New York: W H Freeman)
kinematical constraint on deep (1983).
inelastic neutrino scattering data, the [2] Michael F Barnsley Fractal
models are found to have limited Everywhere (New York: Academic)
validity. (1993).
[3] T. Lastovicka, Euro. Phys. J. C24,
Fractal Inspired Models of Gluon 529 (2002), hep-ph/0203260.
Densities at Small x: [4] C. Adloff et al., H1 Collaboration,
Euro. Phys. J. C22, 33 (2002), hep-
We have proposed similar fractal ex/0012053.
inspired models for the gluon [5] J. Brietweg et al., ZEUS
distribution function [9]. As gluon Collaboration, Phys. Lett. B487, 53
distribution function is extracted from (2000).
the slope of the structure function [6] D. K. Choudhury and R. Gogoi,
using DGLAP [10–12] equations based Indian J. Phys. 80(6), 659 (2006).
approximations [13-15], we examine [7] D. K. Choudhury and R. Gogoi,
their validity within fractal inspired Indian J. Phys. 80(8), 823 (2006).
models. As we observe breakdown of [8] D. K. Choudhury and R. Gogoi,
those equations, we suggest new Indian J. Phys. 81(5 & 6), 607 (2007).
empirical relations relating the slope of [9] D. K. Choudhury and R. Gogoi,
the structure function to the gluon Indian J. Phys. 82(5), 621 (2008).
distribution function within the present [10] Y. L. Dokshitzer, Sov. Phys. JETP
approach. 46, 641 (1977).

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 60

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

[11] G. Altarelli and G. Parisi, Nucl.

Phys. B126, 298 (1977). Godfrey Harold Hardy’s quotes about
[12] V. N. Gribov and L. Lipatov, Sov. Srinivasa Ramanujan
J. Nucl. Phys. 28, 822 (1978).
[13] K. Prytz, Phys. Lett. B311, 286 -I remember once going to see him
(1993). when he was lying ill at Putney. I had
[14] K. Bora and D. K. Choudhury, ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and
Phys. Lett. B354, 152 (1995). remarked that the number seemed to
[15] M. B. G. Ducati and V. P. B. me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it
Goncalves, Phys. Lett. B390, 401 was not an unfavorable omen. 'No,' he
(1997). replied, 'it is a very interesting number;
[16] R. Gandhi, C. Quigg, M. H. Reno it is the smallest number expressible as
and I. Sarcevic, hep-ph/9512364. the sum of two cubes in two different
[17] L. A. Anchordoqui, Z. Fodor, S. ways.'
D. Katz, A. Ringwald and H. Tu, Godfrey Harold Hardy
Journal of Cosmology and (7 Feb 1877 - 1 Dec 1947)
Astroparticle Physics 06 013 (2005). English mathematician, who made
leading contributions in analysis and
Short biodata about the researcher number theory.


Quote on Chemistry

"Chemists are a strange class of mortals,

impelled by an almost maniacal
impulse to seek their pleasures amongst
smoke and vapour, soot and flames,
Rupjyoti was born and brought up in poisons and poverty, yet amongst all these
Jagiroad, Assam. She did her B.Sc. evils I seem to live so sweetly
from Jagiroad College in 2000 that I would rather die than change places
securing 1st class 1st position with with the King of Persia."
distinction. Then she completed M.Sc.
in 2003 from Gauhati University - By Johann Joachim Becher,
opting High Energy Physics and Physica subterranea (1667)
Condensed Matter Physics as special
papers. She has submitted her Ph.D.
A tidy laboratory means a lazy chemist.
thesis in June’2008 to Gauhati
University on a topic entitled, ″ A - By Jöns Jacob Berzelius
Study of Self-similarity and (Swedish chemist,1779-1848)
Approximate Solutions of QCD
Evolution Equations″ under the
guidance of Prof. Dilip Kumar ------0------
Choudhury. Now she is working as a
lecturer of physics in ICFAI University
Tripura. She can be reached at


N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 61

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. Mr. Rahul Kar Best Research Fellow in Physical

and Material Sciences by National
Chemical Laboratory research
foundation. Earlier, he was awarded
the M. Sc. degree in Chemistry with
specialization in Physical Chemistry
from Dibrugarh University, Assam.
Recently Mr. Kar has joined as
faculty member of Department of
Chemistry, Dibrugarh University.
Apart from the research activities,
Rahul Kar, originally from Sepon, Mr. Kar is an excellent singer and a
Dibrugarh, Assam has recently very good player of cricket,
completed his Ph.D. research in the volleyball and basketball as well.
area of theoretical chemistry under E-mail:
the supervision of Dr. Sourav Pal,
National Chemical Laboratory Representative research
(NCL), Pune, Maharastra with publications:
thesis title ‘Study of a Rational
1. R. Kar and S. Pal, Theor Chem
Model of Gas Phase Molecules in
Accounts 120, 375-383 (2008)
External Electric Field and in 2. R. Kar, K.R.S. Chandrakumar and S.
Solvents Using Local Reactivity Pal, J. Phys. Chem. A 111, 375-383
Descriptors’. The prime focus of his (2007)
thesis is to study the effect of 3. S. Shetty, R. Kar, D. G. Kanhere and
external perturbations, such as S. Pal, J. Phys. Chem. A 110, 252-256
external electric field and solvents, (2006)
on the reactivity descriptors which
are defined within the framework of 2. Partha Pratim Saikia
density functional theory (DFT).
During his stay at NCL, he had the
privilege to present his work during
the World Association of
Theoretical and Computational
Chemists (WATOC) 2008 held at
Sydney, Australia funded by
Department of Science and
Technology (DST) and NCL. Last
year, he received the Best Poster Partha Pratim Saikia was born and
Award for his work on the effect of brought up in Sivasagar, Assam. He
received his B.Sc. (2002) from Govt.
external electric field on the
Science College Jorhat, Dibrugarh
reactivity descriptors. Notably, this University and M.Sc. (2004) from
year he was awarded the Keerthi Gauhati University, Assam (India)
Sangoram Endowment Award for with specialization in Organic

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 62

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Chemistry. At present he is working Representative research publications

towards his Ph.D. at the Natural 1. P. P. Saikia, A. Goswami, G.
Products Chemistry Division, North Baishya, N. C. Barua
East Institute of Science & Technology Tetrahedron Letters, Volume 50, Issue
(Formerly Regional Research 12, 25 March 2009, Pages 1328-1330
Laboratory), Jorhat, Assam under the 2. P. P. Saikia, Gakul Baishya,
guidance of Dr. Nabin C. Barua in the Abhishek Goswami, Nabin C. Barua
area of Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Tetrahedron Letters, Volume 49, Issue
His research interests include 46, 10 November 2008, Pages 6508-
stereoselective total synthesis of 6511
natural products of biological 3. J. Boruwa, N. Gogoi, P. P. Saikia,
significance and development of new N. C. Barua
synthetic methodologies for target- Tetrahedron: Asymmetry, Volume 17,
oriented synthesis. Issue 24, 27 December 2006, Pages
Apart from research activities Mr. 3315-3326
Saikia is a very good player of cricket.

Country: Sweden

List of universities and institutes in Sweden

• Chalmers University of Technology (

• Göteborgs Universitet (
• Karolinska Institute (
• Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (
• Linkoping University (
• Lulea University (
• Lund Institute of Technology (
• Lund University (
• Mälardalens Högskola (
• Mid Sweden University (
• Stockholm University (
• Umeå University (
• University College of Kalmar (
• University of Boras (
• University of Karlskrona/Ronneby (
• University of Kristianstad (
• University of Skövde (
• Uppsala University (
• Institute for Surface Chemistry (
• Technical Research Institute of Sweden (
• Paper and Fiber research institute (
• Corrosion and Metal Research Institute (

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 63

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Posts available at Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam.

Please visit
Last date of submission of application: 1st July 2009.

Faculty positions available at Rajiv Gandhi University (A Central University) Rono

Hills: Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
Please visit for details.
Last date of submission of application: 30th July 2009.

NIT Silchar faculty positions

Applications are invited for the posts of Professor, Assistant Professor, Lecturer and
other academic staff in various academic Departments/Library/Computer Centre of the
Institute. Last date of receipt of application forms has been extended upto 10 July
2009. For the post of Professor in Civil Engineering, additional specialization of
Transportation Planning may be considered for the post also. For the post(s) of
Assistant Professor in Mathematics, Fuzzy Sets may also be considered as an
additional specialization.

Visit for detail. Last date of submission of application:

30th July 2009.

PostDoc position In Cell Biology of the Nucleus-C. elegans : Paris, France

Employer: UMR7622- Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement, Paris, France
A funded 2 years position is immediately available in our group. We're studying
several aspects of metazoan nuclear envelope using C.elegans embryo as a model
system. We are particularly interested in understanding what controls nuclear
envelope dynamics and what are components required for normal development.
Using reverse genetics and live imaging of the early embryogenesis we are testing
the consequences of nuclear envelope protein depletions on nuclear envelope mitotic
dynamics and the impact on development. Our lab belongs to the CNRS and is
located in one of the leading French university in the city center of Paris.
Qualification: Highly motivated applicants with a strong publication record will be
considered. A solid background in cell and molecular biology is absolutely required
and an experience in the use of C. elegans would be appreciated.
How to apply : 1900 euro/month net and will be modulated according to the previous
research experience. Applications including detailed CV, a brief description of
previous work, a list of publications and the names of three referees must be sent to
Dr. Vincent Galy before 12th August 2009. Contact :

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 64

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N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 65

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

First International Conference on ‘Advanced Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

(ICANN-2009)’ is being organized by the Centre for Nanotechnology at the Indian
Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG), India during Dec 9-11, 2009. This is going
to be a major international conference being held in the North-Eastern region of India,
in the area of Nanoscience and Nanotechnolgy. The international conference intends
to bring the eminent scientists, technologists and young researchers from several
disciplines across the globe together to provide a common platform for discussing
their achievements and newer directions of research.
The ICANN-2009 conference is focused on Advanced Nanomaterials for
nanoengineering and recent advances in nanotechnology, covering fields from theory
and experiment to applications of nanostructured materials in technology. The
scientific program will consist of plenary sessions, invited talks, oral and poster
presentations. The conference will deliberate on the frontier areas of Nano Science
and Technology that include:
• Nanostructured & nanoscale functional materials • Nanophotonics

• Nanobiotechnology • Nanocomposites • Nano Electronics and Sensors

• Nanomagnetism • Computational Nanotechnology

Prospective authors are requested to submit One Page (A4 size) Abstract following
the guidelines provided in "Abstract Submission" link. Proceedings of the Conference
will be published by reputed international publisher (AIP or World Scientific) after
peer review of the full manuscript. Detail information will be provided later.


14 to 16 August 2009
Kochi, Eranakulam, Kerala, India

The Conference is the first of its kind in India, as it is wholly organized by the private
sector for the private sector. It is our intention to showcase this technology and its
applications to the international business community.


N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 66

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Commercialization of Nanotechnology
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 67
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

By Smritimala Sarmah

Male Chaffinch (Swedish: Bofink,

Latin: Fringilla Coelebs)
By Arindam Adhikari

March past by ducks

By Prasenjit Khanikar

Peacock in the Delhi IIT Campus

By Prasenjit Khanikar

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 68

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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: 280

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: Email:

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

Dibrugarh University, Assam, India University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA;

Editorial Team of N.E. Quest

1. Debananda Ningthoujam, Ph.D. 2. Tankeswar Nath, Ph.D.

HOD, Biochemistry Dept. Jubilant Organosys Ltd. Gajraula, UP, India
Manipur University, Imphal, India Email:
(Main editor of this issue)
4. Shanta Laishram, Ph. D.
3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D. Dept of Pure Mathematics,
Austrelia, University of Waterloo, Canada
Email: Email:

5. Pranjal Saikia 6. Pankaj Bharali,

Chemical & Materials Engineering Research Institute for Ubiquitous Energy
Department;University of Cincinnati, Ohio, Devices; National Institute of Advanced
USA Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
Email: Email:

7. Sasanka Deka, Ph.D. 8. Áshim Thakur, Ph.D.

National Nanotechnology Laboratory, 9. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.
Lecce, Italy 10. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.

Cover Page designed by : Anirban, Pune

Logo designed by : Manab Sharma

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2009. 69