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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Newsletter
Of
NORTH EAST INDIA RESEARCH
FORUM

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

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 2


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

It is my great pleasure to be the volunteer editor of the NE Quest October


(2009) issue. At the outset, I owe my thankfulness to all the editorial team members
as well as the forum members who have contributed to make the issue a successful
realization. In this editorial I want to express some of my thoughts which are in my
mind for quite sometime. It is always blamed governments for the slow industrial
growth/ development of the north eastern region even though it has vast natural
resources. But in my view, we have everything but lack of only good compatibility
among the great personalities/ organizations of the region. All north eastern state has
one central university each. North East India have IITG, NITs, research institutes of
CSIR, DST, DBT, ISRO, medical institute like AIIMS (NEIGRIHMS), management
institute like IIM, besides state universities and other academic/ research
organizations. So we are not in a position to say that we do not have enough human
resource or platform, but the question is how we are working for the development of
the greater north eastern region.

If we want to see a developed north east India in very near future, it is the right
time to work together dedicatedly. To initialize it, the senior personalities of well
established organizations of north east might forward their hands together for better
development of the region. As an example, persons from academia/ research
organization as well as industry might work together along with government for the
development of newer industries/organizations in the region. As north east region of
India has most of the natural resources which can prosper it if the resources available
could be properly utilized and exploited. Just to mention, it has huge bank of
petroleum oil, coal, platinum, and many medicinally important plants. As a beginning,
if north east could work for setting up organizations/industries mainly based on
information technology and pharmaceuticals, it might bring back numerous brains of
this region who are working presently in different parts of the globe. The recently
established Biotech Park at Guwahati will definitely boost the region and serve as a
pathfinder. We hope many more such organizations will flourish the north east in the
near future. The improvement of any region is only possible if the people take utmost
care to industrially develop such areas.

At last I wish North East India Research Forum a grand success and become
platform for such healthy scientific discussion in the days to come. I thank Dr. A.
Adhikari for his great idea of creation of such a nice forum. Recently we have started
forum cells in various universities and colleges of north east. Let us hope and wish
that our forum be a platform for excellent scientific discussion and popularization of
science among common peoples. Also I would like to thank all the members and
editorial board members for their dedication to work together for the newsletter. We
would specially like to thank Mr. Anirban (Panacea Studio, Pune) who has been
designing the cover page of NE Quest from the inception of the newsletter. Many
greetings to all!!

Pankaj Bharali

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 3


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

CONTENTS
1. THE FORUM 5
2. SHORT BIOGRAPHY (P.C. Ray and S.S. Bhatnagar) 8
3. SCIENCE NEWS 10
4. NORTH EAST INDIANS MADE US PROUD 22
5. MEMBERS IN NEWS / FELLOWSHIP 23
6. INSTRUMENT OF THE ISSUE (Raman Spectrometer) 24

7. ARTICLES SECTION

i) Two decades of electrochemistry research in the Department of Chemistry,


Gauhati University, India (Invited Article) 28
Diganta Kumar Das

ii) An insight on Hybrid nanocrystals 32


Sasanka Deka

iii) In-Vitro and Cryopreservation Techniques for Conservation of Microbial Resources 36


Debajit Thakur

iv) Cancer Drug Delivery and Challenges 44


Manashjit Gogoi

v) A green or an evergreen revolution? Its time to think about neglected


and underutilized crops 47
Nabanita Bhattacharyya

8. THESIS ABSTRACT

a) Studies on the Synthesis, Characterization, Surface Modification and


Application of Nanocrystalline Nickel Ferrite 50
B. Baruwati

b) Synthesis, Structural Evaluation and Studies of Reactivity of


Heteroperoxovanadates (V) And Development of Solid acid Catalysts
for Organic Transformations 55
S. K. Bharadwaj

c) Preparation, Characterization, and Evaluation of Cerium Oxide Comprised


Novel Nanosized Composite oxides for Catalytic Applications 62
P. Saikia

9. MEMBER’S FACE 68
10. READER`S PAGE 71
11. HIGHER STUDY ABROAD 72
12. OPPORTUNITIES /ADVERTISEMENTS/CONFERENCES 73
13. THROUGH THE LENSE OF THE MEMBERS 76

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 4


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. THE FORUM
3. Lack of work culture = 36%
North East India Research Forum was 4. Corruption = 18%
th
created on 13 November 2004. 5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4%

1. How we are growing. • Which area of science is going to


dominate by creating a great impact on
Every forum has to pass through difficult society in next decade?
phases at the time of birth. NE India
Research Forum is also no exception. At 1.Nanoscience & nanotechnology = 22%
the very beginning, it was a march hardly 2. Biotechnology = 11%
with few members (from chemistry only) 3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
and today the forum comprised of a force 4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
of more than 308 elite members. Now we 5. Medicine = 11%
are in a position such that people 6. Others = 16%
voluntarily come and join the group 7. None = 0%
irrespective of disciplines.
• Kindly let us know your view regarding
the following topic. What activities of
350
this group you like most?
300
250
No of Members

200
1. Research articles = 33%
150 2. Information about
100 vacancy/positions available = 10%
50 3. Way to have a contact with all
0 members = 29%
0 20 40 60 80
4. Scientific discussions = 14%
Months
5. Others = 2%
Graph of no of members w.r.t. months
• Selection of name for Newsletter
2. Discussions held in the forum There were total 36 proposals submitted by
members of the forum for the Newsletter.
• Necessity of directory of all the The name proposed by Mr. Abhishek
members of the forum. Choudhury, N.E. QUEST received the
• Possibility of organising conference maximum number of votes and hence it is
in the N. E. India. accepted as the name of the Newsletter.
• Taking initiation on setting up of
South East Asian Scientific Institute. • How often should we publish our
• On selection of Best paper award. newsletter '' N. E. Quest’’?
• Let us introspect. 1. Every 3 months = 61%
2. Every 6 months = 38%
3. Poll conducted and results 3. Once a year = 0%

• North East India is lacking behind the 4. Editors of Previous NE-Quest Issues
rest of the country due to-
1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007
Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari
1. Geographical constrain = 0% 2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007
2. Bad leadership = 40% Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 5


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007 • Compilation of book on ‘Education system


Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur of different countries’. Initiative for this
4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008 project is taken by Dr. Mantu Bhuyan,
Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia NEIST, Jorhat, Assam
5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008
Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka 7. New activity
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008
Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi • HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd is willing
7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008 to sponsor some future activities of the
Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan forum and have asked for space to
8. Vol 2 Issue 4 January 2009 advertise their products in the N. E.
Editor: Dr. Manab Sharma
Quest. Starting from July issue (July
9. Vol 3 Issue 1 April 2009
Editor: Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam 2009) N. E. Quest is providing one page
10. Vol 3 Issue 2 July 2009 for the advertisement. Details about this
Editor: Dr. Robert Singh Thangjam deal will be informed soon once
11. Vol 3 Issue 3 October 2009 (Current) finalised. Thanks to Dr. Robert
Editor: Mr. Pankaj Bharali Thangjam for his initiative in this matter.

5. A domain in the name of www. • North East India Research Forum cells
neindiaresearch.org is booked. have been started in the following
universities and colleges,
6. Future activities
Cell in the Dibrugarh University
Proper planning and consequent
Contact: Dr. Jitu Ranjan Chetia
implementation always play an important role
in every aspect. Some of the topics / activities Dept. of Chemistry
/ suggestions which were being discussed, Email: jituranjan@yahoo.co.in
time to time in the forum will get top priorities
in our future activities. Those are mentioned Cell in Tezpur University
here, Contact: Dr. Ashim J. Thakur
Dept. of Chemistry
• Preparing complete online database of Email: ajtthax@yahoo.com
N.E. researchers with details. Phone: +91 (3712) 267008/9/10 extn 5059

• Organising conference in the N.E. Cell in Manipur University


region-proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora. Contact: Dr. Debananda S. Ningthoujam
Coordinator, Microbial Biotech Lab
• Research collaboration among forum
Reader & Head
members.
Dept of Biochemistry
• Motivate student to opt for science Manipur University, Canchipur
education. Imphal, India
Email: n.debananda@gmail.com
• Help master’s students in doing projects
in different organisation-proposed by Dr. Cell in Mizoram University
Khirud Gogoi. Contact: Dr. Thangjam Robert Singh
Assistant Professor
• Supporting schools in rural areas by Department of Biotechnology
different ways. Mizoram University
Aizawl,India
• Best paper awards. Email: robth@mzu.edu.in
Phone: +91 389-2330861/2330859 (O)

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 6


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Cell in Govt. Science College, Jorhat 5. If one has to write a mail to a


(Jorhat Institute of Technology) particular member she/he should write
Contact: Mr. Prasanta Kumar Bordoloi, personal mail.
Senior Lecturer 6. Everyone has the freedom to speak
Email: prasantabordoloi@yahoo.co.in but that doesn’t mean that one should attack
Mobile: +91-9957036339 personally. Of course we do have
differences. There can be debate or
Cell in Arya Vidyapeth College, discussion, but it should always be a healthy
Guwahati one. One’s personal comment should be
Contact: Mr. Pabitra Kalita, Senior written in such a way that it reflects his/her
Lecturer
view only. It should not touch other's
Email: pabitra_kalita@rediffmail.com
sentiments/emotions.
Mobile No: +91-9613133859
7. Whenever we are in a forum, society,
&
Dr. Pradip Bhattacharyya, Senior home, members should be sensitive / caring
Lecturer enough to their comments so that it does not
Email: prdpbhatta@yahoo.com hurt sentiment of any second members.
Mobile No: +91-9864087494 8. Members should not post greetings
messages (Bihu wish, New Year wish etc) to
To run the forum smoothly, to make it more the forum.
organised and to speed up activities, formation 9. Members should post authentic news
of a committee/team is essential. The only. The source of the news should be
combined discussion of the moderators and authentic. No controversial news or
senior members make the forum feel the
importance of Advisors, co-ordinator,
comment should be posted to the forum.
volunteer, webmasters etc. Of course it needs 10. Our main aim is to discuss science to
more discussion and will be approved by poll. generate science consciousness, scientific
temperament, sensitivity, awareness and
8. Guidelines for the forum research for the benefit of the mankind in
general and North East India in particular.
The moderators formulated some 11. In severe cases, moderators can take
guidelines for the forum which are as a hard decision unanimously or
follow. These guidelines were kept open majority wise (may be through poll). (This
for discussion in the forum. With time and point needs to be accepted by all the
need the guidelines will be changed. members).

1. Anybody in the forum can start a While sending request or while fulfilling
meaningful and constructive discussion request for articles please follow the
after discussion with moderators. following points.
2. Comments from the individual
members do not necessarily reflect the • The forum has been formed to help
view of the forum. each other. When a member requests
3. No single moderator can take a articles/literature to forum, members of
crucial decision. All decision would be the forum are always happy to help the
taken by the moderators unanimously or person by supplying the articles. But at
together with the group as majority. this stage we have to keep in mind that
4. One should not write any massage the article should be sent to the person
to the forum addressing some particular who requested it, not to the whole
members. It should always start with Dear forum as it creates lots of unnecessary
all / Dear esteemed members etc. mails in the message box of the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 7


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

forum. Moreover if it continues, it


become a irritation also for many 2. SHORT BIOGRAPHY
members.
Sir Prafulla Chandra Ray (1861-1944)
• It is also the duty of the person who
requests article to acknowledge the
person who helped him/her. This can
be done by writing ' Request fulfilled
by......' in the subject area while
composing the mail and write a
thanking message in the main message
board. Once this is done, then if some
other members want to send the article
will know about the status of the
request. This will also help members in Prafulla Chandra was born on 2 August
1861 in Raruli-Katipara, a village in the
keeping mailbox clean.
District of Khulna (in present Bangladesh).
• Before asking for article, he/she should His early education started in his village
always check his/her school. He often played truant and spent his
institute/university libraries (online time resting comfortably on the branch of a
resources). If it is not available or tree, hidden under its leaves. After attending
accessible then only the member the village school, he went to Kolkata,
should request to the forum. where he studied at Hare School and the
Metropolitan College. The lectures of
• Moreover sending articles (copyright Alexander Pedler in the Presidency College,
protected articles) to the open forum which he used to attend, attracted him to
violates copyright act. So please send chemistry, although his first love was
the article to the person who requests literature. He continued to take interest in
not to everybody through this open literature, and taught himself Latin and
forum. French at home. After obtaining a F.A.
diploma from the University of Calcutta, he
----xxxx------ proceeded to the University of Edinburgh on
a Gilchrist scholarship where he obtained
both his B.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees. In 1888,
PANDIT JAWAHARLAL ON
Prafulla Chandra made his journey home to
DR. S. S. BHATNAGAR
India. Initially he spent a year working with
his famous friend Jagadish Chandra Bose in
I have always been associated with his laboratory. In 1889, Prafulla Chandra
many prominent figures eminent in was appointed an Assistant Professor of
other ways, but Dr. Bhatnagar was a Chemistry in the Presidency College,
special combination of many things, Kolkata. His publications on mercurous
added to which was a tremendous nitrite and its derivatives brought him
energy with an enthusiasm to achieve recognition from all over the world. Equally
things. The result was he left a record important was his role as a teacher - he
of achievement which was truly inspired a generation of young chemists in
remarkable. I can truly say that but for India thereby building up an Indian school
Dr. Bhatnagar you could not have seen of chemistry. Famous Indian scientists like
today the chain of national laboratories. Meghnad Saha and Shanti Swarup
Bhatnagar were among his students. Prafulla
----xxxx----
Chandra believed that the progress of India

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 8


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

could be achieved only by This Indian scientist was born on 21st


industrialization. He set up the first February 1894 in Shahpur now in Pakistan.
chemical factory in India, with very When he was only eight months old his
minimal resources, working from his father died. While spending his time in the
home. In 1901, this pioneering effort maternal house with engineer grandfather, a
resulted in the formation of the Bengal liking for science and engineering was
Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. developed within him. He also inherited the
He retired from the Presidency College in gift of poetry from his maternal family.
1916, and was appointed as Professor of `Karamati` one-act play in Urdu written by
Chemistry at the University Science him won the first prize in a competition.
College. In 1921 when Prafulla Chandra This eminent scientist died on 1st January
reached 60 years, he donated, in advance, 1955 in New Delhi, India. After completing
all his salary for the rest of his service in Master`s Degree in India he went to England
the University to the development of the on a research fellowship. In 1921 he
Department of Chemistry and to the received D.Sc from London University. He
creation of two research fellowships. The joined `Benaras Hindu University` as
value of this endowment was about two Professor. As a reward for his research in
lakh rupees. He eventually retired at the science British Government `Knighted` in
age of 75. In Prafulla Chandra Ray, the the year 1941. He was elected as a Fellow of
qualities of both a scientist and an the Royal Society on 18th march 1943.
industrial entrepreneur were combined and
he can be thought of as the father of the Dr. Bhatnagar`s research interest includes
Indian Pharmaceutical industry. emulsions, colloids and industrial chemistry.
Emulsion is a mixture of two unblendable
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (1894-1955) substances one substance is dispersed in the
other. Like butter and margarine, espresso
etc. A colloid is a type of homogenous
mixture i.e. mixtures that have definite, true
composition and properties. But his
fundamental contributions were in the field
of magneto-chemistry. He used magnetism
as a tool to know more about chemical
reactions. Accompanied with Physicist R.N
Mathur, Dr. Shanti S. Bhatnagar designed
"The Bhatnagar-Mathur Interference
Dr. Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar is a well- balance". A British firm manufactured their
known scientist. He is remembered for designed structure. Dr. Bhatnagar also
having established various chemical composed a beautiful `kulgeet` (University
laboratories in the country known as `The song) which sung with great reverence prior
Father of Research Laboratories`. He used to functions held in the university. As Nehru
to spend all his spare time in his laboratory was much in favor of scientific development
doing research. He established a total after Independence, "Council of Scientific
twelve national laboratories such as and Industrial Research" was set up under
`Central Food Processing Technological the chairmanship of Dr. Bhatnagar. . He
Insitute` Mysore; `National Chemical became the first director-general of the
Laboratory` Pune; `the National Physical Council of Scientific and Industrial
Laboratory` New Delhi; `the National Research (CSIR) in 1940. Later, he was
Metallurgical Laboratory` Jamshedpur; awarded `Padma Bhushan`. After his death,
`the Central Fuel Institute` Dhanbad just to CSIR established a Bhatnagar Memorial
name a few. award for eminent scientists in his honor.

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

3. SCIENCE NEWS
Nobel Prize in Science, 2009 passive. If there was nothing else, there
would be no life.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for The blueprints become transformed
2009 awards studies of one of life's into living matter through the work of
core processes: the ribosome's ribosomes. Based upon the information
translation of DNA information into in DNA, ribosomes make proteins:
life. Ribosomes produce proteins, oxygen-transporting haemoglobin,
which in turn control the chemistry in antibodies of the immune system,
all living organisms. As ribosomes are hormones such as insulin, the collagen
crucial to life, they are also a major of the skin, or enzymes that break
target for new antibiotics. down sugar. There are tens of
thousands of proteins in the body and
they all have different forms and
functions. They build and control life
at the chemical level.
An understanding of the ribosome's
innermost workings is important for a
scientific understanding of life. This
knowledge can be put to a practical
and immediate use; many of today's
antibiotics cure various diseases by
blocking the function of bacterial
ribosomes. Without functional
ribosomes, bacteria cannot survive.
This is why ribosomes are such an
important target for new antibiotics.
This year's three Laureates have all
generated 3D models that show how
different antibiotics bind to the
ribosome. These models are now used
This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry by scientists in order to develop new
awards Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, antibiotics, directly assisting the saving
Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath of lives and decreasing humanity's
(view clockwise in photograph) for suffering.
having showed what the ribosome
looks like and how it functions at the This year's Nobel Prize in Physics is
atomic level. All three have used a awarded for two scientific
method called X-ray crystallography to achievements that have helped to shape
map the position for each and every the foundations of today’s networked
one of the hundreds of thousands of societies. They have created many
atoms that make up the ribosome. practical innovations for everyday life
Inside every cell in all organisms, there and provided new tools for scientific
are DNA molecules. They contain the exploration. In 1966, Charles K. Kao
blueprints for how a human being, a (extreme left in photograph, view
plant or a bacterium, looks and clockwise) made a discovery that led
functions. But the DNA molecule is to a breakthrough in fiber optics. He
carefully calculated how to transmit

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

light over long distances via optical second part of the award. In 1969
glass fibers. With a fiber of purest Willard S. Boyle and George E.
glass it would be possible to transmit Smith (extreme right and down in
light signals over 100 kilometers, photograph, view clockwise) invented
compared to only 20 meters for the the first successful imaging technology
fibers available in the 1960s. Kao's using a digital sensor, a CCD (Charge-
enthusiasm inspired other researchers Coupled Device). The CCD
to share his vision of the future technology makes use of the
potential of fiber optics. The first photoelectric effect, as theorized by
ultrapure fiber was successfully Albert Einstein and for which he was
fabricated just four years later, in 1970. awarded the 1921 year's Nobel Prize.
Today optical fibers make up the By this effect, light is transformed into
circulatory system that nourishes our electric signals. The challenge when
communication society. These low- designing an image sensor was to
loss glass fibers facilitate global gather and read out the signals in a
broadband communication such as the large number of image points, pixels,
Internet. Light flows in thin threads of in a short time. The CCD is the digital
glass, and it carries almost all of the camera's electronic eye. It
telephony and data traffic in each and revolutionized photography, as light
every direction. Text, music, images could now be captured electronically
and video can be transferred around instead of on film. The digital form
the globe in a split second. If we were facilitates the processing and
to unravel all of the glass fibers that distribution of these images. CCD
wind around the globe, we would get a technology is also used in many
single thread over one billion medical applications, e.g. imaging the
kilometers long – which is enough to inside of the human body, both for
encircle the globe more than 25 000 diagnostics and for microsurgery.
times – and is increasing by thousands Digital photography has become an
of kilometers every hour. irreplaceable tool in many fields of
research. The CCD has provided new
possibilities to visualize the previously
unseen. It has given us crystal clear
images of distant places in our
universe as well as the depths of the
oceans.

This year´s Nobel Prize in


Physiology or Medicine is awarded to
three scientists namely Elizabeth
Blackburn, Jack Szostak and Carol
Greider (view clockwise in
photograph), who have solved a
major problem in biology: how the
chromosomes can be copied in a
complete way during cell divisions and
how they are protected against
degradation. The Nobel Laureates have
shown that the solution is to be found
A large share of the traffic is made up in the ends of the chromosomes – the
of digital images, which constitute the telomeres – and in an enzyme that

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 11


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forms them – telomerase. The long, Capturing sun rays in space to light
thread-like DNA molecules that carry up Japan
our genes are packed into
chromosomes, the telomeres being the AFP, 2009, Tokyo (Source: Times of
caps on their ends. Elizabeth India)
Blackburn and Jack Szostak
discovered that a unique DNA It may sound like a sci-fi vision, but
sequence in the telomeres protects the Japan’s space agency is dead serious:
chromosomes from degradation. Carol by 2030 it wants to collect solar power
Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn in space and zap it down to Earth,
identified telomerase, the enzyme that using laser beams or microwaves. The
makes telomere DNA. These government has just picked a group of
discoveries explained how the ends of firms and a team of researchers tasked
the chromosomes are protected by the with turning the ambitious, multi-
telomeres and that they are built by billion-dollar dream of unlimited clean
telomerase. energy into reality in coming decades.
Japan has long been a leader in solar
and other renewable energies and this
year set ambitious greenhouse gas
reduction targets.

But Japan’s boldest plan to date is the


Space Solar Power System (SSPS), in
which arrays of photovoltaic dishes
several square kilometres in size would
hover in geostationary orbit outside
Earth’s atmosphere. “Since solar
power is a clean and inexhaustible
energy source, we believe this system
will help solve the problems of energy
shortage and global warming,”
researchers at Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries, one of the project
participants, wrote in a report.

If the telomeres are shortened, cells The solar cells would capture the solar
age. Conversely, if telomerase activity energy, which is at least five times
is high, telomere length is maintained, stronger in space than on Earth, and
and cellular senescence is delayed. beam it down to the ground through
This is the case in cancer cells, which clusters of lasers or microwaves. These
can be considered to have eternal life. would be collected by gigantic
Certain inherited diseases, in contrast, parabolic antennae, likely to be located
are characterized by a defective in restricted areas at sea or on dam
telomerase, resulting in damaged cells. reservoirs, said Tadashige Takiya, a
The award of the Nobel Prize spokesman at the Japan Aerospace
recognizes the discovery of a Exploration Agency (JAXA).
fundamental mechanism in the cell, a
discovery that has stimulated the The researchers are targeting a one
development of new therapeutic gigawatt system, equivalent to a
strategies. medium-sized atomic power plant that

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 12


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would produce electricity at eight yen It provides a tailor-made transplant,


per kilowatt-hour, six times cheaper said Anthony Atala of Wake Forest
than its current cost in Japan. University Baptist Medical Center’s
Institute for Regenerative Medicine,
The challenge including transporting who led the study. “Once the tissue is
the components to space — may there, the body recognizes the tissue as
appear gigantic, but Japan has been its own,” Atala said.
pursuing the project since 1998, with
some 130 researchers studying it under Atala focused on the penis because he
JAXA’s oversight. is a pediatric urologist, who has
specialized for years in disorders and
The project’s roadmap outlined several congenital defects of the bladder and
steps that would need to be taken sexual organs. “That was the
before a full-blown launch in 2030. inspiration for this work. We are
Within several years, “a satellite seeing babies born with deficient
designed to test the transmission by genitalia all the time. There are no
microwave should be put into low orbit good options,” Atala said. He is also a
with a Japanese rocket,” said Tatsuhito specialist in regenerative medicine,
Fujita, one of the JAXA researchers which uses the body’s own cells to
heading the project. repair damage. In this case, Atala’s
team used ordinary cells, not the stem
The next step, expected around 2020, cells often used in such research.
would be to launch and test a large Companies such as Geron and
flexible photovoltaic structure with 10 privately held Advanced Cell
megawatt power capacity, to be Technology have business models
followed by a 250 megawatt prototype. based on such technology.
This would help evaluate the project’s
financial viability, say officials. The Atala’s team first created a scaffold
final aim is to produce electricity using the penis of a rabbit, and
cheap enough to compete with other removed all the living cells from it,
alternative energy sources. JAXA says leaving only cartilage. They then took
the transmission technology would be a small piece of tissue from the penis
safe but concedes it would have to of another rabbit and grew the cells in
convince the public, which may a lab dish. Atala said the work has
harbour images of laser beams taken his team 18 years to complete.
shooting down from the sky, roasting “We had to find the right growth
birds or slicing up aircraft in mid-air. factors, the right soup to grow the cells
in,” he said.
Lab-made organ works in siring
kid? They made sure to have two cell types,
smooth muscle cells and endothelial
REUTERS 2009, Washington (Source: cells, the same type of cells that line
Times of India) blood vessels. The smooth muscle cells
made the organ’s spongy tissue and the
Researchers have engineered artificial endothelial cells grew into blood
penises in rabbits, using cells from the vessels — very important in an organ
animals, who then used their new like the penis, which requires good
organs to father baby rabbits. blood supply. The cells were seeded
onto the scaffold, and six weeks later
the researchers had penises to graft

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onto rabbits that had their penises The findings of the study, led by Robin
removed. Choudhury of the department of
cardiovascular medicine at Oxford
The animals seemed to realize they had University, are published in this
working organs again — the 12 with week’s issue of the Journal of the
the grafts tried to mate with female American College of Cardiology.
rabbits within one minute of being put
into cages with them, and four of the This is an exciting find because it gives
female rabbits became pregnant. Those a new opportunity to treat
with the scaffolding alone and no cardiovascular patients, Choudhury
working tissue did not even try. told IANS. This is the first clear
evidence that a therapy to raise levels
Atala is hoping the procedure will of good cholesterol when taken
work with people, perhaps starting alongside statins can have a beneficial
with adult men who have had damage effect.
to their organs. “Patients with
congenital anomalies, penile cancer, The researchers used MRI scans to
traumatic penile injury, and some types show a reduction in the clogging of
of organic erectile dysfunction could artery walls in patients after a year of
benefit from this technology in the treatment with niacin, a B vitamin
future,” the team wrote in the report. commonly used to raise levels of high-
density lipoprotein (HDL) or ’good’
The process takes six weeks from cholesterol. Choudhury, whose father
beginning to end, he said, and there is is a retired surgeon at Nilratan Sircar
reason to believe a penis grafted onto a Hospital in Kolkata, said if the findings
baby would grow with the child. are borne out in ongoing larger studies,
this could benefit large numbers of
Atala hopes the approach will work people worldwide. A third to a quarter
with other organs. “We have made of all heart patients have low levels of
clitoral tissue in the past,” he said. good cholesterol, but niacin fell out of
Atala’s team started their experiments favour after being shown to be useful
with replacement bladders grown from in the early days of heart treatment, as
patients' cells. Patients fitted with statin became more common. Heart
artificial bladders have been enjoying disease is the biggest killer in the
good function for 10 years now, Atala Western world, and atherosclerosis the
said. ‘furring up’ or hardening of arteries is
closely linked to later heart attacks and
Drug with dual benefits for heart strokes.

(Source: The Hindu) The standard treatment for patients


with atherosclerosis is to be prescribed
A study led by an Indian-origin statins, which lower the levels of ‘bad’
researcher has found that a drug that cholesterol, which might otherwise get
raises levels of ‘good’ cholesterol can deposited in the arteries. ‘Good’
also help clear clogged arteries in heart cholesterol is thought to help remove
patients who are already on standard bad cholesterol from the arteries.
statin therapy, Oxford University
announced recently. The Oxford researchers, who worked
with colleagues from Manchester
University, found that after a year of

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 14


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niacin therapy the size of clogged mold, as well as bacteria, yeast and
artery walls in heart patients thinned other living organisms."
down by an average of 1.1 sq mm,
while those receiving a placebo saw an Garrett pointed to dust mites and mold
average increase of 1.2 sq mm. as particularly worrisome. A damp
building with high humidity may lead
Patients on niacin showed an average to increased levels of dust mites and
23 per cent increase in levels of good mold, leading to increased allergic
cholesterol and a reduction in bad respiratory symptoms, as well as the
cholesterol of 19 per cent. Our results worsening of asthma. And even if
are very encouraging in that they have someone is not allergic, molds may
shown a very definite potential benefit, produce mycotoxins and volatile
and will certainly increase the great organic chemicals (VOCs) that smell
interest in the large outcome studies bad and may cause respiratory
that are due to report in the next couple irritation, he said.
of years, he added. Two such studies
will report their results in the next few Dust mites are microscopic arachnids
years. that thrive in humidity. They cause
allergic reactions and trigger asthma
Heating, Air-Conditioning and symptoms. Nearly half of all young
Carpets May Be Hazardous To Your people with asthma are allergic to dust
Health mites; about 10 percent of the
population is allergic to dust mites.
(Source: ScienceDaily, 2009) Mold requires moisture to grow.
Indoor environments house many
Damp environments, poorly sources of moisture including
maintained heating and air- condensation and leaky pipes.
conditioning systems and carpeting
may contribute to poor indoor air Indoor Breathing Environment
quality, according to experts at the
annual meeting of the American Although there are many culprits that
College of Allergy, Asthma and negatively affect indoor air quality,
Immunology (ACAAI) in Miami poorly maintained air-conditioning and
Beach, Fla. Americans spend about 90 carpeting are among the most
percent of their time indoors, where problematic. "A home's heating and
they are repeatedly exposed to indoor air-conditioning (HVAC) system, if
allergens and airborne particles that poorly maintained, can become a
can lead to respiratory symptoms and major source of microbial allergens,"
conditions. said Garrett. According to Garrett, up
to 30 percent of the air inside a home
Damp Buildings can come from the attic, parking
garage or basement. One study
"If there was just one thing I could do supported by the EPA found that 75
to fix buildings, it would be to change percent of homes had carbon monoxide
the relative humidity," said Doug from the garage inside of the home.
Garrett, CEM, CDSM, building Like air conditioning systems,
scientist and president of Building carpeting often harbors allergens,
Performance and Comfort, Leander, including dust mites and molds said
Texas. "Moisture leads to conditions Jeffrey May, M.A., principal scientist
that are conducive to dust mites and of May Indoor Air Investigations LLC,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 15


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Tyngsborough, Mass. Organisms and there" said May. "And 'exhaust only'
particles that become airborne systems are not effective."
eventually settle in carpeting. In damp
environments, carpeting provides an Nanoparticles' indirect threat to
ideal environment for mold growth. DNA
"Many schools shampoo their By Janet Raloff (Source:
carpeting right before school starts at www.scincenews.org, 2009)
the end of summer when it's humid
outside," said May. "There couldn't be Tiny metal nanoparticles can damage
a worse time." DNA, essentially by triggering toxic
gossip. Researchers from throughout
Making a Healthier Indoor the United Kingdom took part in a
Environment series of tests in which they separated
toxic metal nanoparticles from
To improve indoor air quality, Garrett potentially vulnerable test cells —
lists several construction practices that, what I’ll refer to as cellular guinea pigs.
when done right, can make a In some cases the barrier was a piece
significant difference. These include of plastic, other times a four-cell-thick,
installing tight ductwork, achieving intact wall of tissue.
airtight construction, using a correctly
sized HVAC (heating, ventilation and Although the plastic wall protected the
air conditioning) system and making guinea pigs, “We found there was as
sure there is fresh air ventilation. much damage on the [far] side of the
Proper ventilation involves introducing cellular barrier as there was if a barrier
air from a known source and then hadn’t been there in the first place,”
filtering, dehumidifying and pre- observes C. Patrick Case, a researcher
cooling or heating it. "You can't build and pathologist at Southmead Hospital
houses too airtight," said Garrett. "But in Bristol, England. The finding, he
you can under ventilate them." admits, was “a huge surprise.”
Once built, maintenance becomes key. Particularly since the billionth-of-a-
May offers the following advice for meter-scale particles appear to have
home owners on making their indoor wreaked their havoc indirectly.
environments healthier: • Keep the air When tests indicated the nanoparticles
conditioner clean. Use a filter with an were not breaching the cellular wall,
American Society of Heating and Air- Case’s team began probing for
Conditioning Engineers (AHRAE) evidence of some type of cellular
Standard MERV (Minimum Efficiency signaling that might relay a damaging
Reporting Value) of at least 8. • Do not message to the DNA of cells on the
have carpeting in any buildings or opposite side. And indeed, the
homes where humidity can't be researchers report today in Nature
controlled. If you cannot replace carpet, Nanotechnology, the metal
vacuum thoroughly, carefully and nanoparticles triggered the generation
methodically so you don't stir dust into of ATP, a known signaling molecule,
the air. Use a vacuum with a HEPA within cells of the barrier wall. ATP —
filter or cyclonic vacuum. • Prevent and perhaps a chorus of related, but as
mold by dehumidifying the basement. yet unrecognized signaling molecules
In unfinished basements, humidity — whispered their chemical vitriol to
should be kept lower than 50 percent. neighboring cells.
Do research before buying a The final layer of that wall then spit
dehumidifier. "There are scams out out its toxic message, which triggered

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 16


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

within the hapless guinea-pig cells a The exhaust of many vehicles,


splitting of one or more of the outer particularly those that burn diesel,
rails in their DNA’s ladderlike includes copious quantities of
structure. microscopic particles of many sizes.
The damage was bad — but also Although particles larger than 10
improbable. Keep in mind, Case warns, micrometers in diameter are efficiently
“We were not trying to model what filtered by the upper respiratory system,
happens in humans.” those smaller than 2.5 micrometers
For instance, the UK scientists used across can reach areas deep within the
unreal concentrations of nanoparticles. human lung to trigger disease and
They also acknowledge that animals inflammation, says Bernard Housen, a
and people have evolved repair geophysicist at Western Washington
mechanisms to splice damaged DNA University in Bellingham.
back together or to cull affected cells. When Housen and university colleague
However, those repair systems do Luigi Jovane analyzed leaves collected
sometimes become overwhelmed, at several sites along streets in
repairing the DNA shoddily or Bellingham, they found that the leaves
allowing somewhat damaged DNA to along bus routes were as much as 10
persist. In these circumstances, disease times more magnetic than leaves
— notably cancer — may develop. collected on quieter residential streets.
Working in an orthopedics department, That boost in magnetism came from
the team's leaders also didn’t design iron oxide particles in emissions that
their tests to use garden variety were trapped on the microscopically
nanoparticles: carbon nanotubes or rough surface of the leaves, Housen
beads of nanosilver. Instead, they took reported October 18 at the annual
tiny pieces of the cobalt-chromium meeting of the Geological Society of
alloy used in joint-replacement parts. America.
Over time, shavings can wear off and Iron oxide particles smaller than 2.5
end up surrounding joints, and perhaps micrometers across are typically
even become excreted. The researchers magnetic, while those larger than 10
also didn’t recruit ordinary, healthy micrometers aren’t. Rain washes away
cells as their guinea pigs but an no more than 30 percent of all the
experimental line — known as BeWo particles stuck on a leaf, and even
— which has been derived from ultrasonic vibrations can’t fully cleanse
placental cells. the surface. These characteristics make
In the future, Case says, his team plans tree leaves a good candidate for
to work with more conventional pollution monitoring, Housen says.
nanomaterials and in experimental Other pluses: Leaves are cheap, and
systems that may better predict they provide information about the air
whether and how such teensy bits near ground level where people are,
might prove toxic to the body. not high above the street where most
air quality monitoring equipment is
How leaves could monitor pollution installed.
By Sid Perkins (Source: Scientists still must figure out how the
www.scincenews.org, 2009) number of iron oxide particles trapped
by leaves relates to the total number of
Foliage on trees lining traffic routes particles of different chemical classes
could serve as low-tech pollution in the air, says Housen. Because many
sensors, a new analysis suggests. air quality standards are based on
exposures for short periods of time,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 17


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such as eight-hour or 24-hour intervals, signalling via a receptor molecule


researchers must also figure out how to called nogo receptor 1 (NgR1) in the
estimate short-term air quality from nerve membrane plays a key part in
leaves, which accumulate particles this process. When nerve cells are
throughout their growth. activated, the gene for NgR1 is
switched off, and the team suspected
Scientists Decipher the Formation of that this inactivation might be
Lasting Memories important in the creation of long-term
memories. To test this hypothesis they
(Source: ScienceDaily, 2009) created mice with an extra NgR1 gene
that could remain active even when the
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet normal NgR1 was switched off.
have discovered a mechanism that "Doing this, we found that the ability
controls the brain's ability to create to retain something in the memory for
lasting memories. In experiments on the first 24 hours was normal in the
genetically manipulated mice, they genetically modified mice," says
were able to switch on and off the Professor Olson. "However, two
animals' ability to form lasting different memory tests showed that the
memories by adding a substance to mice had serious difficulties
their drinking water. The findings, converting their normal short-term
which are published in the scientific memories to long-term ones, the kind
journal PNAS, are of potential that last for months."
significance to the future treatment of In order to be able to switch the extra
Alzheimer's and stroke. NgR1 gene on and off, the group
"We are constantly being swamped attached a regulatory mechanism to the
with sensory impression," says gene that reacted to a harmless additive
Professor Lars Olson, who led the in their drinking water. When the extra
study. "After a while, the brain must gene was then switched off, the mice
decide what's to be stored long term. retained their normal ability to form
It's this mechanism for how the long-term memories. By subsequently
connections between nerve fibers are switching it off at different times after
altered so as to store selected a memory-forming event, they were
memories that we've been able to able to pinpoint the effect of the NgR1
describe." gene to the first week after such an
The ability to convert new sensory event. "We know that concussion can
impressions into lasting memories in cause someone to forget events that
the brain is the basis for all learning. occurred in the week before the injury,
Much is known about the first steps of what we call retrograde amnesia, even
this process, those that lead to though they can remember events that
memories lasting a few hours, whereby occurred earlier than about a week
altered signalling between neurons before. This we believe tallies with our
causes a series of chemical changes in findings," says Alexandra Karlén, one
the connections between nerve fibers, of the scientists involved in the study.
called synapses. However, less is The scientists hope that their findings
understood about how the chemical will eventually be of use in the
changes in the synapses are converted development of new treatments for
into lasting memories stored in the memory impairments, such as those
cerebral cortex. related to Alzheimer's and stroke.
A research team at Karolinska Medicines designed to target the NgR1
Institutet has now discovered that receptor system would be able to

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 18


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improve the brain's ability to form been obtained. While M3 has covered
long-term memories. The studies were nearly 97 per cent of the lunar surface,
conducted in collaboration with some of the other instruments have
American researchers at the National covered more than 90 per cent, added
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), NIH. ISRO.

Terrific Discovery: India Finds "A path-breaking finding has evolved


Water on Moon (September 25, 2009) recently from the detailed analysis of
the data obtained from M3, which has
The decades-long debate is over now clearly indicated the presence of water
and it is confirmed that the polar molecules on the lunar surface
regions of the Moon has water. Built, extending from lunar poles to about 60
launched and operated by the Indian degree. Latitude. Hydroxyl, a molecule
Space Research Organization, consisting of one oxygen atom and one
Chandrayaan-1 has found water on the hydrogen atom, was also found in the
lunar surfaces. India's first moon lunar soil. The confirmation of water
mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched molecules and hydroxyl molecule in
with the prime objective of finding the moon's polar regions raises new
traces of water on the lunar surface questions about its origin and its effect
besides mapping minerals and on the mineralogy of the moon," ISRO
chemicals on the Moon. With over 24 said in its release.
hrs of speculations, NASA has
confirmed the presence of water The scientific team, after detailed
molecules in the polar regions of the analysis, has come to the conclusion
moon, in its press conference. Towards that there are traces of hydroxyl (OH)
this, a host of sophisticated instruments and water (H2O) molecules on the
were included in Chandrayaan-1 surface of the moon closer to the polar
spacecraft, like Moon Impact Probe region. It is also concluded that they
(MIP) and Hyper-Spectral Imager are in the form of a thin layer
(HySI) from ISRO as well as Moon embedded in rocks and chemical
Mineralogy Mapper (M3) and compounds on the surface of the moon
Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar and the quantity is also extremely
(Mini-SAR) through NASA to collect small of the order of about 700 ppm.
relevant data from the lunar surface. These molecules could have come
M3 was carried into space on 22 from the impact of comets or radiation
October 2008, aboard the from the Sun. But most probable
Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Data from source could be low energy hydrogen
the Visual and Infrared Mapping carried by solar wind impacting on the
Spectrometer, or VIMS, on NASA's minerals on lunar surface. This in turn
Cassini spacecraft, and the High- forms OH or H2O molecules by
Resolution Infrared Imaging deriving the oxygen from metal oxide.
Spectrometer on NASA's Epoxi Analysis of data from other
spacecraft contributed to confirmation instruments on board Chandrayaan-1 is
of the finding. The spacecraft imaging in progress.
spectrometers made it possible to map "Water ice on the moon has been
lunar water more effectively than ever something of a holy grail for lunar
before, says NASA. scientists for a very long time," said
Jim Green, director, planetary science
During the mission, excellent quality division, NASA Headquarters in
of data from all these instruments has Washington. "This surprising finding

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 19


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has come about through the ingenuity, ISRO Launches 7 Satellites in 20


perseverance and international Minutes (September 24, 2009)
cooperation between NASA and the
India Space Research Organization." After the untimely loss of its lunar
mission Chandrayaan, the Indian Space
The confirmation of elevated water Research Organisation (ISRO) has
molecules and hydroxyl at these once again proved its capabilities.
concentrations in the moon's polar India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle,
regions raises new questions about its PSLV-C14, in its 16th mission
origin and effect on the mineralogy of launched 958 kg Oceansat-2 and six
the moon. Answers to these questions nano-satellites into a 720 km intended
will be studied and debated for years to Sun Synchronous Polar Orbit (SSPO)
come. on 23 September 2009. The Oceansat-
2 satellite mainframe systems derive
US spacecraft set for Moon crash their heritage from previous IRS
missions and launched by PSLV-C14
Nasa is set to crash two unmanned from Satish Dhawan Space Centre,
spacecraft into the Moon in a bid to Sriharikota. Oceansat-2 carries three
detect the presence of water-ice. A payloads including an Ocean Colour
2,200kg rocket stage will be first to Monitor (OCM-2), Ku-band Pencil
collide, hurling debris high above the Beam scatterometer (SCAT),
lunar surface. A second spacecraft developed by ISRO; and Radio
packed with science instruments will Occultation Sounder for Atmosphere
analyse the contents of this dusty cloud (ROSA) developed by the Italian
before meeting a similar fate. The Space Agency. Oceansat-2 is
identification of water-ice in the envisaged to provide continuity of
impact plume would be a major operational services of Oceansat-
discovery, scientists say. Not least 1(IRS-P4) with enhanced application
because a supply of water on the Moon potential. The main objectives of
would be a vital resource for future OceanSat-2 are to study surface winds
human exploration. The $79m (£49m; and ocean surface strata, observation
53m euro) mission is called LCROSS of chlorophyll concentrations,
(the Lunar Crater Observation and monitoring of phytoplankton blooms,
Sensing Satellite). Greg Schmidt, study of atmospheric aerosols and
deputy director of the US space suspended sediments in the water.
agency's Lunar Science Institute said:
"We're attempting to answer here one Apart from Oceansat-2, four
of the most important remaining CUBESATs and two RUBIN are the
questions for both science and future foreign satellites launched by PSLV-
exploration: Has water been deposited C14 on 23 September. The four
on the Moon in major quantities?" CUBESATs are educational satellites
"We're doing the LCROSS mission in from European universities, each
a new low-cost way that can serve as a weighing around one kg and developed
pathfinder for future missions Nasa is to perform technology demonstration
interested in doing." The existence of in space. The satellites are launched
water-ice in permanently shadowed inside a Single Picosatellite Launcher
craters at the lunar poles had (SPL) also weighing one kg, which is a
previously been postulated by dedicated European launch adaptor to
scientists, but never confirmed. deploy a CubeSat.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 20


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Space Research Organisation (ISRO)


RUBIN-9 consists of two spacecrafts announcing plans to launch its first
Rubin-9.1 and Rubin-9.2 weighing 8kg mission to Mars sometime between
each and will primarily be used for the 2013 and 2015. The space agency says
Automatic Identification System (AIS) it has begun preparations for sending a
for maritime applications. These are spacecraft to Mars to explore the red
non-separable payloads that will be planet in quest of its space ambitions.
mounted at an angle of 45deg to the G. Madhavan Nair, chairman, ISRO
PSLV EB deck. Rubin-9.1 is yesterday told local media in Panaji,
developed by Luxspace and has a capital of the western state of Goa,
mission objective of providing an "We have given a call to international
insight into the issue of message agencies to submit their proposals. We
collisions that limit detection in areas will be able to plan our mission
of dense shipping. The main purpose depending on the type of experiments
of the Rubin-9.2 spacecraft is to test they propose to conduct." In August,
and qualify nano technologies from the Government had sanctioned Rs 10
Angstrom company Sweden and to crores for the project. Instead of the
continue space based maritime Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
Automatic Identification System (AIS) used in the lunar mission, the
receiver experiments (started with Geosynchronous Satellite Launch
Rubin-7 and Rubin-8 missions). Vehicle (GSLV) would be used for the
Rubin-9.2 is similar to the Rubin-8 Mars project and placing the spacecraft
launched on PSLV-C9 in April 2008. to its orbit. ISRO may even use nuclear
power to propel the craft towards Mars.
Commenting on this milestone, the
President of India, Pratibha Devisingh ISRO is also making efforts to bring
Patil has congratulated the Indian down the cost of the Mars mission, as
Space Research Organisation for was done with the Chandrayaan-1
successfully placing seven satellites in mission, which cost less than $100
Earth orbit, after the launch of PSLV million. Moreover, the space agency
C14. She said, "ISRO's capabilities will tap a lot of young scientists for the
have once again been highlighted Mars mission, particularly from the
through this launch and the placement Indian Institute of Space Technology,
of these satellites in safe Earth orbit." the Physical Research Laboratory, Tata
She is confident that Oceansat-2 will Institute of Fundamental Research and
provide valuable data on the climate, other research laboratories. Madhavan
as the satellite studies the interaction Nair has been elected as the president
between the oceans and the atmosphere. of the International Academy of
Astronautics (IAA). Nair has also
India to Undertake Mars Mission become the only Indian and the first
between 2013 And 2015 (September non-American to head the renowned
01, 2009) scientific body. Nair, who is presently
IAA's vice president for scientific
India's first unmanned lunar mission, activities, will take over from Edward
Chandrayaan-1, may have been Stone, during the International
abandoned after the country's national Astronautical Congress to be held in
space agency lost radio contact with Korea later this year.
the spacecraft on Saturday. But Indian
astronauts are now gearing up for ----xxxx----
bigger challenges with the Indian

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

4. NORTHEAST INDIANS MADE US PROUD


1. Professor Okhil Kumar Medhi 2. Professor (Ms) Joyanti Chutia

Prof. Okhil Kumar Medhi is presently Prof. Joyanti Chutia is presently


serving as the Vice-Chancellor of serving as the Director of Institute of
Gauhati University, Guwahati. He also Advanced Study in Science and
served as the Dean of the Faculty of Technology (IASST), Guwahati. She
Science, besides being a former Head did her graduate and post graduate
of the Chemistry Department of courses in Cotton College, Guwahati
Gauhati University. Prof. Medhi did and Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh,
his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Indian respectively. She obtained University
Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He Grants Commission (UGC) fellowship
was a Post Doctoral Researcher at in 1976, studying conduction
Essex University United Kingdom on a mechanism in thin polymer films. In
Commonwealth Academic Fellowship. 1980, she went to the International
He was also a visiting fellow to Tata Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy to
Institute of Fundamental Research attend a research course on Polymer
(TIFR), Mumbai and worked as Physics and Liquid Crystals for three
University Grants Commission (UGC) months. Later on she completed her
National Associateship. He joined Ph.D. in 1981 and continued her
North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) research as CSIR-postdoctoral fellow
Shillong as a Lecturer (1980-1983) and in Dibrugarh University. She also
latter moved to Gauhati University, worked in Institute of Plasma Research,
Guwahati where he became full Gandhinagar and spent nearly two
professor in 1991. His research areas years in Plasma Physics Program being
are Bioinorganic and Biomimetic carried out first in Physical Research
Chemistry, Electron Transfer across Laboratory, Ahmedabad before joining
Charged Interfaces, and Micelles and IASST. In 1988 she went to work in
Membrane Systems. He is an active the Plasma Laboratory of the Institute
member of many scientific of Space and Astronautical Science,
professional bodies including Indian Tokyo under the supervision of Dr. Y.
Society for Surface Science and Nakamura. Her research work involved
Technology, Kolkata. Recently he co- low frequency instability in low
authored one of the most studied temperature plasma and propagation
Inorganic Chemistry text book, and reflection of solitary waves. She is
Inorganic Chemistry: Principles, an FNASc, is a recipient of the Durlav
Structure and Reactivity (Pearson, Deka Memorial Award, the Basanti
2006, New Delhi): JE Huheey, EA Bordoloi Award, the Sadhani Saurya
Keiter, RL Keiter, O.K. Medhi. Award, the Ghanashyam Goswami
Award, and the K K Barua National
Award.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 22


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5. MEMBERS IN NEWS/FELLOWSHIPS
Md. Harunar Rashid has recently Indian Institute of Technology
joined KAUST-Cornell Center for Bombay, India working under the
Energy and Sustainability, Cornell guidance of Prof. R. Murugavel.
University, USA as Postdoctoral
Visiting Scientist. Before his Dr. Bipul Sarma will be joining as a
postdoctoral assignment he was a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Chemical
senior research fellow at Materials and Biological Engineering
Science Division, Indian Association Department, Illinois Institute of
for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. Technology, Chicago, USA, under the
He submitted his thesis to Jadavpur direction of Prof. Allan Myerson w.e.f.
University, Kolkata working under the January 2010. He completed his Ph.D.
guidance of Dr. T. K. Mandal. thesis entitled "Structural and Thermal
Analysis of Organic Solids" from
Dr. Diganta Sarma recently joined University of Hyderabad, working
the Department of Medicinal under the guidance of Prof. A. Nangia.
Chemistry, University of Kansas, USA
as a postdoctoral research associate. Dr. Suranjana V. Mayani and Dr.
Prior to this postdoctorate assignment Vishal J. Mayani recently joined the
he worked in the Department of Department of Chemical Engineering,
Medicinal Chemistry, Kyoto Hoseo University, 165 Sechulri,
Pharmaceutical University, Japan as a Baebangmyun, Asan-sity, Choongnam
JSPS postdoctoral fellow w.e.f. 2007. (336-795) Korea as postdoctoral
Dr. Sarma was a PhD scholar of research associates. Dr. Suranjana
National Chemical Laboratory, Pune completed her Ph.D. thesis entitled
before joining as JSPS postdoctoral "Catalytic wet oxidation of phenol and
fellow. its analogues" from Gauhati University,
Guwahati, working under the guidance
Dr. Pranjal Kumar Kalita will be of Prof. K. G. Bhattacharyya. Dr.
joining as a Post Doctoral Fellow in Vishal completed his Ph.D. thesis
January 2010 at Iowa State University, entitles "Chirally modified silicas for
USA. He was a postdoctoral research separation and asymmetric catalysis"
scientist at National Institute for from Central Salt and Marine
Material Science, Tsukuba, Japan prior Chemical Research Institute (CSIR),
to this engagement. Dr. Kalita was a Bhavnagar, working under the
PhD scholar of National Chemical guidance of Dr. S.H.R. Abdi.
Laboratory, Pune before joining NIMS,
Japan. Mr. Kula Kamal Senapati visited
Taiwan in October to participate an
Dr. Nayanmoni Gogoi has recently international conference on Instrument
joined Laboratoire de Chimie de Technology for Application and
Coordination du CNRS, Toulouse, Development of Nanobiology and
France as a post doctoral researcher. Biosensors at ITRC, Hsinchu Science
He completed his Ph.D. thesis entitled Park, Taiwan. He has been selected
“Studies on Discrete Iron Phosphates along with other four Indians.
and Phosphonates, Layered Alkaline Presently, he is working as Scientific
Earth Metal Phosphonates and Officer at Indian Institute of
Polyhedral Tin Carboxylates” from Technology Guwahati.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 23


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

6. INSTRUMENT OF THE ISSUE


Raman Spectrometer offers several additional benefits,
including:
Introduction
z Minimal or no sample
Raman spectroscopy has been preparation
recognized as a valuable research z Sampling directly through glass
technique in the years since the containers
phenomenon was first observed by Dr. z Non-destructive analysis, so the
C. V. Raman in 1928. However, it is same sample can be used in other
only fairly recently that Raman has analyses
emerged as an important analytical tool z Non-intrusive analysis,
across the number of industries and permitting study of more labile
applications. No longer designed to sample features, such as crystal
appeal only to highly specialized and structure
trained experts, the best of today’s z Minimal water interference
Raman instruments are fully integrated z No interference from
and come with built-in system atmospheric CO2 or H2O
intelligence that frees the user to focus
on results and not on having to become
an expert in the technology itself. Due Raman Instrumentation & Set-ups
to its sensitivity, high information
content, and non-destructive nature, The first ever Raman "instrument" was
Raman is now used in many constructed in 1928. This instrument
applications across the fields of used monochromatized sunlight as a
chemistry, biology, geology, light source and a human eye as a
pharmacology, forensics, detector. Raman instrumentation was
pharmaceuticals, materials science, and developed (based around arc lamps and
failure analysis. Spectral libraries in photographic plates) and soon became
excess of 16,000 compounds are now very popular up until the 1950's. Since
available for direct compound these early days, Raman
identification. In many laboratories, instrumentation has evolved markedly.
infrared and Raman spectroscopy are Modern instrumentation typically
used as complementary techniques, consists of a laser, Rayleigh filter, a
because each method looks at different few lenses, a spectrograph and a
aspects of a given sample. While IR is detector (typically a CCD or ICCD).
sensitive to functional groups and to
highly polar bonds, Raman is more The Laser
sensitive to backbone structures and
symmetric bonds. Using both One of the major advantages of
techniques provides twice the dispersive Raman is that it offers the
information about the vibrational possibility to select the optimal laser
structure than can be obtained by using excitation wavelength to permit the
either alone. recording of the best Raman
information. For example, wavelengths
In addition to providing unique can be selected to offer the best
information about a sample, Raman resonance with the sample under
investigation.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 24


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Fig. 1: Typical Continuous Wave (CW) Raman layout

One might also need to tune 256 pixel array, containing 26 x 26


wavelength to avoid fluorescence and microns. An excellent compromise in
thermal emission backgrounds. the battle between cost and
Nowadays, it is possible to use laser performance is an open electrode chip.
lines from UV, (down to 200nm) up to Deep depletion chips have found use
the infrared, (1.06µm Nd: YAG laser recently for improved NIR Raman
line), from microWatts up to several detection, suitable for use with 785nm
Watts. lasers. The fact that deep depletion
sensors have higher dark current than
Table 1: Comparison of various laser more conventional sensors, means that
technologies it is particularly important to apply
effective thermolectric (TE) cooling in
these devices. Other chips with smaller
pixel sizes, for increasing the spectral
resolution, are also available, for
example, the Andor iDus DU440A,
which uses a sensor: 2048 x 512 pixels
of 13.5 x 13.5µm. One must always
bear in mind however, the signal to
noise implications of dispersing a
Detectors spectrum over a greater number of
smaller pixels.
Most of the current dispersive Raman
set-ups are now equipped with Raman spectroscopists, when using
multichannel two-dimensional CCD CW lasers, often make us of long
detectors. The main advantages of exposure times (1 sec to 20 minutes) in
these detectors are the high quantum order to reach a desired signal to shot
efficiency, the extremely low level of noise ratio, and in those instances a
thermal noise (when effectively multi-MHz readout camera is not
cooled), low read noise and the large required. However, there are many
spectral range available. Many CCD cases where shorter exposure times
chips exist, available in front and back- must be applied, such as when
illuminated formats, but one of the following fast reactions, temperature
most common spectroscopy sensor jump experiments, and also for Raman
formats is the back-illuminated 1024 x mapping with high throughput. In

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 25


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

these instances, the read noise floor of spectrograph). Since Raman is


the sensor can contribute significantly fundamentally a low light phenomenon,
to the overall signal to noise ratio. Also, dark current is important and so
there are many instances in which light imaging spectrographs and single track
levels are fundamentally or necessarily mode can be preferred. Using a small
low, such as when studying photolabile single track will also reduce the
molecules, or when the concentration incidence of cosmic rays.
of the probed species is low. Again,
this can render the read noise floor Spectrographs
more significant. In these cases, the
use of the Andor NewtonEM EMCCD
platform is recommendable, which
offers the choice between conventional
readout at slower readout speeds, and
single photon sensitivity at either slow
or fast readout speeds through an
EMCCD amplifier, all with the high
QE offered by back-illumination of the
sensor. Newton represents the absolute
ultimate in spectroscopic detection
performance, in terms of sensitivity,
speed and also flexibility.

It has been shown that CCD quantum Fig. 3: Example of Czerny-Turner


efficiency in the red end of the layout
spectrum decreases with cooling, while
QE in the blue increases. The The most widely used spectrograph
flexibility of low temperature TE- configuration for Raman spectroscopy
cooling systems is one of the reasons is the Czerny-Turner, such as in the
why thermo electric cooling is Andor Shamrock 303i or the Shamrock
significantly superior to liquid nitrogen 163i. The Czerny-Turner spectrograph
cooling. makes use of mirrors as collimators in
an off-axis configuration and employs
a planar reflective grating in the
collimated space, as illustrated on the
right.

A concave holographic-grating
spectrograph can also be used. This is
a single element spectrograph. A
reflective grating is formed on a
curved focusing surface to yield an off-
axis spectrograph. The grating is
Fig.2: QE curves relevant to Raman typically a holographic surface relief
Spectroscopy pattern with a reflective overcoat.

Due to the fact that Raman requires a Andor Mechelle: The Echelle grating
spectrograph, long and thin in the Mechelle Spectrograph is a very
spectroscopic chips are typically used, low-frequency reflective grating. The
(except when using an Echelle advantage of this type of spectrometer

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 26


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

when compared to standard concave


holographic or Czerny-Turner designs
are as follows:

z No moving parts
z Wide spectral coverage and high
resolution, simultaneously
z Large reduction in time when
collecting a complete spectrum
z Compact, rugged design
z Improved imaging performance
due to refractive optics
z Efficient coupling with fiber-optic
devices due to fast refractive
optics

Rayleigh Filters

Rayleigh scatter is elastically scattered


light of the same wavelength as the
laser and so is of no interest to the
Raman spectroscopist. Rayleigh scatter
is very intense (typically one million
times stronger than Raman scatter) if
this light is allowed to pass into the
spectrograph, it will be so intense as to
render it almost impossible to see any
Raman spectrum at all. For this reason
Rayleigh scatter must be removed.
There are two main techniques for the
removal of this light:

z Rejection filters: dilectric


filters, holographic notch filters &
colored glass filters.

z Subtractive Double
Spectrographs: a double spectrograph
functioning in subtractive mode is
often used as a Rayleigh filter. This is
typically followed by a single
dispersive spectrograph. A "triple"
spectrograph is very light-hungry and
has very poor throughput (~10%). It's
advantage is that it is almost infinitely
tunable.

----xxxx----

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 27


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

7. ARTICLE SECTION
(INVITED ARTICLE) the vice chancellor of the university
initiated electrochemistry research in
Two decades of electrochemistry the department two decades back
research in the Department of which is being continued in his and
Chemistry, Gauhati University, this authors laboratory.
India As research facility the
department now has – UV/Visible
Diganta Kumar Das spectrophotometers, FTIR
Reader, Department of Chemistry spectrophotometers, Atomic absorption
Gauhati University, Guwahati, India spectrophotometer, HPLC, GC-MS,
digkdas@yahoo.com GC, Fluorescence spectrophotometer,
Thermal Analyser, Elemental Analyser,
The department of chemistry Surface Area Analyser,
Gauhati University was established in Electrophoresis, 300 MHz H NMR (to
the year 1955 and earned the be installed) etc. Access to ACS
distinction of being the first publications through UGC-INFIBNET
department for post graduate studies in and Scifinder Scholar facilities are also
Chemistry and research in entire north available.
east India. The department attracted
international attention when a group of Electrochemistry research facilities
researcher discovered water soluble in the department:
vitamin A under the guidance of late The department owns one BAS
Prof R K Barua. The research on 100 B electrochemical work station
vitamin A is still going on in the and one CHI 600 C electrochemical
laboratory of Prof B C Goswami in analyzer. The later was purchased
collaboration with Iowa State under Fast Track scheme of
University, USA. The faculty members Department of Science and
since then did not left any stone Technology by this author. The
unturned to keep the status of research spectroelectrochemistry set up and
in the department at highest possible impidence spectroctroscopy are also
level. The department now has strong available in the laboratory of this
group of researcher in the field of – author. The electrodes the department
Environmental pollution and remedies have includes Glassy Carbon, Platinum,
(Prof K G Bhattacharyya and Prof A K Gold, Silver, Ag-AgCl and Calomel as
Misra), Inorganic synthesis and crystal reference besides Gold and Platinum
engineering (Prof B K Das), Organic ultramicroelectrodes. The Farady case
synthesis and Natural Products (Prof S with cell stand coupled with nitrogen
K Bhattacharyya, Prof P J Das, Dr P gas pursing lines and magnetic stirring
Phukan), Catalysis by zeolites and facilities are also available. Although
Clay (Prof J N Ganguli and Dr A K cyclic voltammetry is mostly used
Talukdar), Computational Chemistry technique, other techniques which are
(Dr C Medhi), Conducting Polymer also quite often considered are Square
(Prof D K Kakati) and Supra Wave Voltammetry (SWV), Chrono
Molecular Chemistry (Dr R J Sarma). Coulometry and Chrono Amperometry
New incumbent S K Gogoi is creating (CA).
facilities for research on
nanotechnology. Prof O K Medhi, now

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 28


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Electrochemistry of active center


analogues of Heme proteins: Redox potential of PPIXFe(III)
in all the three aqueous surfactant
The research on active center micelles were measured at pH range
analogues of metalloproteins was 2.0 to 12.0. Two proton coupled
initiated by Prof O K Medhi now the electron transfer sites were detected
vice chancellor of Gauhati University. with pKa values at 2.5 – 3.5 and 5.5 –
Protoporphyrin IX iron(III) 6.5 depending on the charge nature of
(PPIXFe(III)) with a suitable pair of the micelle4. The pKa at lower value
axial ligands is an well known active was assigned to the protonation/
center analogue of heme proteins. deprotonation of H2O ligand on
PPIX Fe(III) which is otherwise PPIXFe(III). The PPIX macrocycle
insoluble in water was made soluble by possesses two propionate side chains
using surfactant micelles and remote form the iron as shown in Fig 1.
liposomes. Redox potentials were Protonation/deprotonation of these
measured using CV and SWV for carboxylates effect the redox potential
PPIXFe(III) with the pair of axial of Fe(III)/Fe(II) couple and results the
ligands as H2O, OH ; THF, H2O and pKa around 5.5 – 6.5.
Imidazole, Imidazole1-6. Micropreoxidase 11 (MP-11)
Surfactant micelles and was investigated electrochemically as
liposomes provide a hydrophobic and active center model for cytochrome c.
charged environment around the Strong dependence of its redox
encapsulated PPIXFe(III). Surfactants potential on charge nature of the
used to form micelles of different micellar medium and pH of the
charges are CTAB (positively charged), medium was reported3.
TX-100 (neutral) and SDS (negatively
charged). Significant effect of
hydrophobicity and charge on redox Electrochemistry of active center
potential is observed1-6. The positive analogues of Fe-S proteins:
surfactant micelles leads to a positive The author has successfully
shift in redox potential of Fe(III)/Fe(II) completed one UGC research project
couple while negative surfactant on detail electrochemistry of a number
micelles forces a negative shift. of active center model of ferredoxins
(Fig 2). The model systems considered
are – Fe4S4(SC6H5)4,
Fe4S4(SCH2CH2COO)4,
Fe4S4(SCH2CH2OH)4, and
Fe4Se4(SC6H5)4.
Detailed electrochemistry of all
the above model systems were carried
out in aqueous surfactant micelles, in
organic medium in presence of
surfactants, in liposomes, in
microemulsions and inside film of
surfactants7-9. Electrochemistry of
ferredoxin active centers inside film
and in microemulsions were reported
for the first time by the group of this
Fig 1: Structure of Protoporphyrin IX author. Effect of pH on redox potential
Fe(II) of all the model systems in all the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 29


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

mediums mentioned above were Development of Voltammetric


successfully accomplished. sensors:
Voltammetric sensors have
advantages of low cost, easy to handle,
no pre-treatment of samples etc.
compared to spectroscopic sensors.
Working electrode surface has been
modified with surfactants, lipids,
carbon nanotubes and polymers
impregnated with a suitable redox
active organic molecules which can
interact selectively with the analyte. In
the lab of this author voltammetric
sensors have been developed, under
Fast Track project of DST, for vitamin
c, thiourea, caffeine and Zn2+ ion10-15.
The sensor for Zn2+ could distinguish it
from Na+, Ca2+, K+, Mn2+ and shows
very little interaction with Fe2+ and
Cu2+. One voltammetric sensor to
distinguish urea and thiourea is under
development (unpublished work).
Table 1 shows the electrode surface
modifying agents to target the analyte.
One CSIR project has been very
Fig 2: Structure of few active center recently received to design and
analogues of ferredoxins. develop voltammetric sensor for
neurotransmitter dopamine.
The principal outcomes of this
research work were – Table 1:
(1) Positive surfactants impart a Analyte Working Modifying
positive shift in redox potential of Electrode agent
the model system and negative Vitamin GC Catechol in
surfactant a negative shift both in c SDS
aqueous and non-aqueous medium. Thiourea GC Ferrocene in
(2) When the charge is made static surfactant, lipid
around the model system, that is in Caffeine GC Vitamin K3 in
the form of film, the influence on PVP, lipid
redox potential is manifold Zn2+ GC Diphenylamine
compared to when the charge is not in composite
static that is in solution. film of
(3) Charge of surfactants also effects SWCNT and
diffusion co-efficient by order of CTAB
103 times.
(4) Protonation/deprotonation of Conclusion:
carboxylates in case of can tune the The department of Chemistry,
redox potential by mV. Gauhati University is playing a
(5) Microemulsions may be employed pioneering role in the research of
as a new medium for applied electrochemistry in the North
electrochemistry. East India. So far ten people have

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 30


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

obtained Ph.D. degree for their pyridine complex of


research in electrochemistry of active protoporphyrinato IX iron(III):
center analogue of metalloproteins. Effect of ligand binding, surfactant
Recognition came when the reputed concentration and proton coupling
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, on redox potential, Ind. J Chem. ,
Mumbai has initiated collaboration 44A, 2005, 2228-2232.
with the department for doing 6. D K Das, B Das, O K Medhi
electrochemistry of metalloproteins. Electrochemistry of
The department will surely one day (Protoporphyrinato IX) iron(III)
take a leading role in the country and its Imidazole complexes in
electrochemistry research. Liposomes of L- -
Phosphatidylcholine, J Surface Sc
Acknowledgement: Financial help and Technology, 24 (2008) 79-86
received from Department of Science 7. R C Roy, D K Das, B Das
and Technology, University Grants Electrochemistry of
Comission, Council of Scientific and [Fe4S4(SCH2CH2CO2)4]6- in
Industrial Research are duly liposomes and microemulsions
acknowledged. Indian J. Chemistry 47A (2007)
1252-1256.
Further reading: 8. R.C. Roy, D.K. Das, Influence of
charged microenvironment on
1. D.K. Das, O.K. Medhi redox potential and diffusion
Electrochemistry and spectra of coefficient of [Fe4S4(SPh)4](Nbu4)2
six coordinated high-spin in DMF and inside CTAB film on
(tetrahydrofurane) electrode surface J Chem Sci, 2005,
protoporphyrinato IX iron 117, 657-661.
encapsulated in aqueous surfactant 9. R.C. Roy, D.K. Das, Redox linked
micelles., Indian J Chem., 37A, protonation/deprotonation on the
1998, 980-984. carboxylate of
2. D.K. Das, O.K. Medhi The role of [Fe4S4(SCH2CH2COO-)4]6- in
heme propionate in controlling the aqueous micellar solutions., Ind. J
redox potential of heme: Square Chem., 44A, 2005, 1597-1601.
wave voltammetry of 10. D K Das Electrochemical detection
protoporphyrinato IX iron(III) in of Zn2+ ion using diphenylamine/
aqueous surfactant micelles., J carbon nanotube /
Inorganic Biochem., 70, 1998, 83- cetyltrimethylammonium bromide
90. film modified glassy carbon
3. D.K. Das, O.K. Medhi Effect of electrode. J Surface Sc. and
surfactant and pH on the redox Technology 24 (2008) 149 - 162.
potential of microperoxidase-11 in 11. R. Bhattacharjya, D.K. Das
aqueous micellar solutions., J Vitamin K3 encapsulated
Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans., 1998, poly(vinylpyrrolidone) film
1693-1698. modified glassy carbon electrode
4. D.K. Das, C. Bhattaray, O.K. for studying the vitamin K3 –
Medhi Electrochemical behaviour caffeine interaction, Indian J Chem,
of (Protoporphyrinato IX) iron(III) 47A (2008) 394-396.
encapsulated in aqueous surfactant 12. R. Bhattacharjya, D.K. Das,
micelles., J Chem. Soc. Dalton Ferrocene encapsulated lipid and
Trans., 1997, 4713-4717. surfactant film on electrode surface.
5. D.K. Das, O.K. Medhi Aqua A voltametric sensor for the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 31


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

determination of trace amount of An insight on Hybrid nanocrystals


thiourea, Indian J Chem 46A
(2007) 276-279 Sasanka Deka
13. A Hussain, M Sarma, D K Das
Significant effect of egg albumin Nanochemistry Division, Italian
on the redox potential of vitamin Institute of Technology, Via Morego
K3 J Ass. Sc. Soc 47(2006)11-14 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
14. R. Bhattacharjya, D.K. Das Email: deka3sasanka@yahoo.co.in,
Catechol (1,2-dihydroxybenzene) ssdeka@gmail.com
inside charged film on electrode
surface. A new voltammetric Colloidal hybrid nanocrystals
sensor of vitamin C Ind. J Chem, (HNC) are new class of materials or
45A, , 2006, 909-912 represent last-generation breeds, where
15. R.C. Roy, R. Bhattacharjya, D.K. different inorganic sections are joined
Das, Effect of film charge on the together through a common interfacial
mid-point potential of encapsulated area and sharing of the common
ferrocene, Ind. J Chem., 43A, 2004, contact junctions by the constituent
1689-1691. domains. This leads to diverge the
physico-chemical properties of the
About the author: individual components. Such
multimaterial nanocrystal
heterostructures contains two or more
materials of same or different
functionalities, such as
photoluminescence, magnetism, or
catalytic activity, etc. They are
attractive candidates for enabling the
Dr. Diganta K. Das is presently bottom-up fabrication of unique
working as Reader in the Department materials and target advanced
of Chemistry, Gauhati University, applications in several technological
Guwahati. He obtained his Ph.D. fields concurrently. In the present
from Gauhati University. His research article I will discuss the basics of
interests are bioinorganic chemistry, heterostructure/hybrid nanocrystals
electrochemistry, and development of based on only inorganic materials,
voltammetric sensors. He can be their exciting synthesis strategiesy.
reached at: digkdas@yahoo.com Moreover, we will stick to
nanoheterostructures only since the
----xxxx---- nanoscience and technology become
too broad and popular and the scope
IN PRAISE OF SCIENCE this article is too limited to define all
the terms of nanomaterials.
Science is not formal logic–it needs
the free play of the mind in as great a We can have two types of
degree as any other creative art. It is inorganic heterostructures. One
true that this is a gift which can strategy for binding together two
hardly be taught, but its growth can different materials is to grow one
be encouraged in those who already material on top of the other in an
posses it. epitaxial fashion. In this assumption,
Max Born (1882-1970) German one can consider the core-shell
Physicist. Nobel Prize, 1954. nanoparticles as the simplest example

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 32


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

of such heterostructures. In the so- core material in CdSe@CdS and


called core/shell NCs, for instance, an CdSe@ZnS and CdS is the core
additional inorganic material is semiconductor in CdS@ZnS system.
uniformly grown around a nanocrystal From Figure 2 we can see that CdS and
core, for special purposes. A more ZnS has a larger band gap than that of
elaborate shape can be achieved when CdSe, again ZnS has a larger band gap
a second material is grown only on than that of CdS. To explain the other
specific regions of a starting type of core/shell system, we can
nanocrystal. This process can be consider the example of CdSe@CdTe.
triggered by the different reactivities of In this system, both, CdSe and CdTe
the individual facets of this starting has almost equivalent gap. But their
nanocrystal. To explain such band alignment is different, when they
heterostructure, at first we can take the form core/shell heterostructure. In the
example of semiconductor- present case either CdSe or CdTe
semiconductor core@shell might be the core. This type of
heterostructure. The different heterostructure is called Type-II
possibility of combination of system.
semiconductor materials to form a
nanoheterostructure is shown in Figure
1. For instance Figure 1a and 1b shows
the formation of spherical core@shell
and double shell heterostructures,
respectively. Again semiconductor
nanorods can be overgrown by another
material of different band gap as
shown in Figure 1c and 1d. Here Figure 1. Semiconductor-
generally the surface of a semiconductor core@shell
semiconductor nanocrystal is covered heterostructures. (a) spherical
by another semiconductor material in core@shell, (b) spherical
the form of a shell either having a core@shell@shell or double shell, (c)
larger band gap than the core material asymmetric core@shell nanorods and
or relatively different band alignment. (d) asymmetric core@shell@shell or
These types of core/shell double shell nanorods where a 0-D
heterostructures are useful for many sphere is present as the inner-core.
biological applications. Different band
alignments of semiconductors are
shown in Figure 2, taking into account
the example of CdSe, CdS, ZnS and
CdTe. If the band gap of the core
material is smaller than the shell
semiconductor, then it is called Type-I
heterostructure. This type of band gap Figure 2. Bulk values of the band-edge
alignment leads to a confinement of positions and band alignment of
the charge carriers in one compartment CdSe/CdS, CdSe/CdTe and CdSe/ZnS
of the heterostructure. Thus we can core/shell heterostructure.
achieve a chemically stable system and
high photoluminescence. CdSe@CdS, In the same way as the growth
CdSe@ZnS and CdS@ZnS core/shell rate of some facets of a nanocrystal can
heterostructures are example of Type-I be made extremely slow, also the
system. In these examples, CdSe is the nucleation of a second material can be

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 33


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

suppressed on them. In this case a so- different kind of products. Other


called “anisotropic hybrid nanocrystal” examples of magnetic oxide-
will be grown. In synthesizing various semiconductor hybrid nanocrystals are
hybrid nanocrystals (both core/shell seen in Figure 3c and 3f. Here either
and anisotropic), the first key the iron oxides or the semiconductors
requirement is to prevent separate (CdSe or CdS) domains are grown at
homogeneous nucleation of the second some specific sites of the other one.
inorganic material. To promote The growth of the second material (as
heterogeneous nucleation of the second well size and shape) could be well
material on the surfaces of the first controlled by the concentration of the
material, the surface capping precursor materials, amount of solvent
molecules should not be bound and time and temperature of the
strongly such that they interfere with reaction. Figure 3d and 3e also show
the hetero-interface formation and the some peculiar type of
interfacial chemistry of the two nanoheterostructures forming
materials must be compatible. core/shell or Pt/ZnO hollow and
Category of hybrid nanostructures, porous nanocage.
metal-semiconductor, metal oxide-
semiconductor, metal-metal
heterostructure systems are interesting
from the view point of basic
understanding of the hetero-junction or
the hetero-interface and for practical
applications. To understand this in a
better way, readers can refer to Figure
3. Few of the reaction schemes used to
synthesize nanoheterostructures
consisting metal-semiconductor-oxides
are explained pictorially.

Magnetite nanocrystal domains


on gold nanodomains can be grown by
a thermal-decomposition reaction
followed by oxidation reaction as
shown in Figure 3a. Same type of
thermal decomposition reaction of
Co2(CO)8 has been carried out in
Figure 3g to decorate CdSe@CdS
core/shell nanorods with Co metal Figure 3. Different reaction schemes
domains. In this type of hybrid (a-g) are available in the literature to
nanocrystals, Co spheres are deposited prepare hybrid nanocrystals of
at specific sites (tip) of the CdSe@CdS different functionality. Further
nanorods. FePt nanocrystals are explanation and ref. of each scheme is
introduced to Cd-acetylacetonate and available in Ref 1.
elemental sulfur environment to
manipulate the synthesis of FePt@CdS In conclusion, hybrid
core/shell or FePt-CdS heterostructure nanocrystals are important class of
nanocrystals (see Figure 3b). The materials from the view point of basic
temperature of the reaction is the main research of complex materials and
controlling factor for the formation of engineering of nanomaterials.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 34


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Although several methods are About the author:


available in the literature to synthesize
such kind of heterostructurs, still
plenty of rooms are there to make new
combinations. If a new combination
gives rise to a new functionality and
adorability with cheap manufacturing
cost, then definitely that
heterostructure will be acceptable for Dr. Sasanka Deka presently a senior
further applications. researcher at Italian Institute of
Technology, Genova, Italy. He
Further reading: obtained his Ph.D. from the University
1. “Hybrid Nanocrystals: Synthesis, of Pune after carried out his research
Characterization, Optical and work on materials chemistry at
Magnetic properties” S. Deka, A. National Chemical Laboratory, Pune,
Figuerola, D. Dorfs, L. Manna. India. His interest and area of research
Book chapter in Encyclopedia of works are nanotechnology,
Semiconductor Nanotechnology. multifunctional materials, hybrid
Ed. Ahmad Umar, American nanocrystals for optical, photonics,
Scientific publishers, California, to electrical and biological applications,
be published in 2009-2010. metal oxides for fuel cell gas
reforming catalyst and novel
2. D. J. Milliron, S. M. Hughes, Y. nanocrystals for hybrid photovoltaic
Cui, L. Manna, J. B. Li, L. W. cells.
Wang and A. P. Alivisatos, Nature ----xxxx----
430, 190 (2004).
3. P. D. Cozzoli, T. Pellegrino and L. From DNA to proteins, one of the life`s
Manna, Chem. Soc. Rev. 35, 1195 core processes (http://nobelprize.org)
(2006).
4. M. A. Hines and P. Guyot-Sionnest,
J. Phys. Chem. 100, 468 (1996).
5. S. Deka, A. Quarta, M. G. Lupo, A.
Falqui, S. Boninelli, G. Lanzani, G.
Morello, M. De Giorgi, C.
Giannini, R. Cingolani, T.
Pellegrino and L. Manna, J. Am.
Chem. Soc. 131, 2948 (2009).
6. Quarta, A. Ragusa, S. Deka, C.
Tortiglione, A. Tino. R. Cingolani
and T. Pellegrino, Langmuir, in
press (doi/abs/10.1021/la901831y)
7. S. Deka, A. Falqui, G. Bertoni, C.
Sangregorio, G. Poneti, G. Morello,
M. D. Giorgi, C. Giannini, R.
Cingolani, L. Manna and P. D.
Cozzoli, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131,
12817 (2009).

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 35


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

In-Vitro and Cryopreservation potential sector in bio-diversity which


Techniques for Conservation of encompasses the entire microbial flora
Microbial Resources of the globe and that gold-mine area is
the microbial diversity. Microbial
Debajit Thakur diversity, being an integral part of
Biotechnology Department, Plant biodiversity includes bacteria, fungi,
Improvement Division actinomycetes, microalgae, protozoans
Tocklai Experimental Station, TRA, and other monerans. A total of
Jorhat-8, Assam 16,04,000 species of Monera, Protista,
Fungi, Plantae and Animalia have been
1. Introduction: described globally (Whittfield, 2002)
Biodiversity may be precisely however it is likely to be 17,980,000
defined as the co-existence of various species i.e. about 11 times more than
flora and fauna in a particular the presently known species. Of these,
ecological niche. India has a rich and India has over 126,188 species of
varied heritage of biodiversity, bacteria, fungi, plant and animals with
encompassing a wide spectrum of nearly 72% of India’s biowealth
habitats from tropical rainforests to constituted by fungi (18.23%), insects
alpine vegetation and from temperate (40%) and angiosperms (13.50%)
forests to coastal wetlands. India (Khoshoo, 1995). India is rich in its
figured with two hotspots - the biodiversity resource and there are
Western Ghats and the Eastern about 850 (0.67%) moneran species,
Himalayas - in an identification of 18 2577 (2.04%) Protistan species, 23,000
biodiversity hotspots carried out in the (18.23%) fungal species, 2500 (2%)
eighties (Myers. 1988). In 2000, species of algae, 74,875 (59.27%)
Norman Myers and a team of scientists animal species and 24,886 (17.79%)
have brought out an updated list of 25 different plant species in India
hotspots (Myers et. al. 2000). In the (Khoshoo, 1995). Watve et al. (1999),
revised classification, the 2 hotspots observed a possible estimate of several
that extend into India are The Western fold higher myxobacterial diversity in
Ghats/Sri Lanka and the Indo-Burma India than the species recorded
region (covering the Eastern worldwide so far.
Himalayas); and they are included To save microorganisms is
amongst the top eight most important different from animals and plants,
hotspots. In addition, India has 26 because microorganisms are not
recognized endemic centers that are typically classed as plants or animals,
home to nearly a third of all the which include bacteria, cyanobacteria,
flowering plants identified and fungi, protozoa and virus, but they are
described to date. important to humans for the benefits
Generally when we talk about and harmful effects. Microorganisms
bio-diversity, it is quit obvious to are also the essential parts of
discuss about visible components of environment, contributing to the
the ecosystem only. This may include maintenance of stable ecosystems
the rare, endemic and exotic plant and because they are found in nearly all
animal species. Undoubtedly those environments. Unfortunately,
exotic, endemic flora and fauna conserving the microbial diversity was
contributes to the richness of bio- not concerned as that for the animals
diversity and natural beauty in a and plants. However, existing
particular geographical area. But in conservation programs for animals and
addition to that we have another plants diversity, such as the nature

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 36


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

reserves, will likely cover all but a few to most microorganisms. In these
specialized environments, so it should techniques, cryoprotectants and growth
not establish special reserves for conditions are also important for
maintaining microbial diversity. successful preservation. The
However, we also need to preserve conservation results could be affected
microorganisms off site. The by lots of factors during the
techniques to maintain microbial (virus, preliminary culture preparation, by the
bacteria, fungus) diversity include: choice of protectants, preservation and
regeneration methods with minimum
(i)Isolating and sampling: These consequences for the strains. With the
methods are used to obtain pure strain development of microbiology the
microorganisms for special needs and requirements for the culture
keep them in a suitable medium, which preservation increase. It is not enough
contains the nutrition, as the to perform a successful conservation; it
microorganisms need. is also necessary to keep the strain for
a long–term period.
(ii)Microbial identification: The
procedure of the identification involves 1.1. Some Microbial culture
staining standard and microscopic collections in India
examination, and also includes
biochemical analysis of proteins and • Biodiversity Documentation Centre,
DNA. Jawaharlal Nehru –
• Centre for Advanced Scientific
(iii)Storage of microorganisms. To Research, Jakkur, Bangalore
preserve microorganisms is to maintain • Centre for Cellular and Molecular
a strain for an indefinite period or Biology, Hyderabad –
continuous culture. • College of Agriculture, Maharana
Pratap Agricultural University,
It is important that Udaipur
microorganism resources are preserved • Defence Material and Stores
in a physiologically and genetically Research and Development
stable state. Therefore, frequent Establishment Culture Collection
subculturing on a slant is not • Defence Research and
recommended. Subculturing may also Development Organization, New
lead to contamination. A variety of Delhi
methods are available for strain
• Delhi University Mycological
preservation, which keep their vitality
Herbarium
and authenticity. The major methods
• Department of Microbiology, Bose
that give stable preservation are freeze-
Institute
drying, L-drying (drying from the
• Division of Standardization, Indian
liquid state), cryopreservation (in the
Veterinary Research Institute,
vapor phase of liquid nitrogen or in a
Izatnagar, Bareilley, UP
deep freezer) and subculture under
mineral oil (Mikata 2002; Smith and • Fungal Culture Collection,
Onions 1994). The methods used for University of Delhi, New Delhi 70
preservation depend on the microbial strains of fungi
species. Freeze-drying is suitable for • Indian Institute of Science,
preservation of bacteria, Bangalore http://www.iisc.ernet.in
Actinomycetes, yeasts, and spores of • Indian Type Culture Collection
fungi. Cryopreservation is applicable

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 37


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

• Division of Mycology and Plant Drying


Pathology, Indian Agricultural Preservation by shelf freeze-
Research Institute, New Delhi, drying
www. iaripusa.org Preservation by spin freeze-
• MACS Collection of drying
Microorganisms Preservation by liquid drying
• Marathwada Agricultural (L-drying)
University (Collection of insect Preservation by vacuum drying
pathogens), Parbhani
• Microbial Type Culture Collection Maintenance of strains by
and Gene Bank (MTCC) 3020 metabolically active methods should
cultures of fungi, be used only in case a strain cannot be
• Institute of Microbial Technology, preserved by one of the metabolically
Chandigarh, www.imtech.res.in inactive methods, or in addition to one
• National Bureau of Agriculturally of these methods. Strain preservation
Important Microorganisms methods can be described as follows:
(NBAIM), Kusmaur
• National Collection of Dairy 2.1. Subcultivation:
The subcultivation is a method
Cultures, National Dairy Research
of periodical cultivation on agar
Institute, Karnal,
nutrient medium and it is the oldest
http://www.ndri.nic.in
method used for microorganisms
• National Collection of Industrial
maintenance and preservation in
Microorganisms National
laboratory and industrial conditions. A
Chemical Laboratory, Pune,
main principle in the cultivation is
http://www.ncl-india.org/ncim
taking cell material from great amount
• University of Mumbai, Food and of colonies. Using a single colony is
Food Technology, Mumbai. not recommended because this
increases the unwanted selection
2. Methods for maintenance and probability. Thus the control of the
preservation of microbial strains: innate strain characteristics, activity
change and vitality could be
Microorganisms require special impossible (Donev, 2001).
preservation methods in order to
ensure optimal long-term viability and The choice of nutrient medium
genetic stability. In general each for strain cultivation is essential for the
preservation method can be assigned to method application. Choosing correct
one of the following groups:
nutrient compounds is the base of
a) Metabolically active methods
further preservation of taxonomical,
Periodic transfer on agar or in
morphological and biochemical culture
liquid medium
properties. The regularity of the
Keeping agar cultures under
cultivation is different for the separate
mineral oil
microorganisms groups and varies
b) Metabolically inactive preservation
from 30 days to several years, at
techniques
preservation temperature 3-5°C.
Cryopreservation
According to some scientists the
Freezing and low temperature
temperature increasing over 5°C leads
storage in or above liquid
to quick lost of cell viability (Ruban,
nitrogen
1989). The average conservation
Freezing and low temperature
longevity for yeasts is 1 to 3 months.
storage below -70°C
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 38
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Data exist that some bacteria are years (Arkadieva and Pimenova, 1985;
conserved for 5 to 12 months and Kupletskaya and Arkadieva, 1997).
microscopic fungi over 5 years. Fungi
are the longest preserved by 2.3. Water or water–salt solutions:
subcultivation strains and have been There are data for
kept since 1895 (Novik et al., 1998; microbiological objects preserving in
Valagurova et al., 2000). water or water–salt solutions. The cells
are placed in indifferent liquid medium
and they approach a hypobiotic state.
The suspension density, the presence
of Ca2+ ions in the medium, the
solution composition and pH, the
preservation temperature influences the
quantity and protection of the cells at
rest. For example, it is determined that
direct cause for the accelerated death
of Escherichia coli with population
number over 109 cells/ml is the
Figure shows a part of Streptomyces cultures accumulation of lethal metabolites in
producing bioactive metabolite maintained in the intercellular medium. Their
slants at TRA, Jorhat
concentration grows with the cell
density increasing. The optimal pH for
2.2. Mineral oils:
1 month preservation of E. coli is pH 8
Other cultures preservation
and for S. cerevisiae - pH 5.5. This
method is under mineral oil. It was
method is recommended for short term
applied for the first time in 1914 by A.
storage at 4-8 °C for 1 week to 12
Limier to keep the gonorrhea agent
months (Claudia et al., 2002; Vachitov
(Neisseria gonorrhoeae). In 1921 by
and Petrov, 1992).
this way M. Michelle preserved in
broth gonococci, meningococci and
2.4. Drying:
pneumococci (Krasilnikov, 1967). The
The cultures conservation
method essence is covering the well
method that imitates the natural
grown culture on liquid or agar
conditions is drying preservation. It is
nutrient medium with sterile non-toxic
based on the natural microorganism
mineral oil. The most common used oil
properties to fall into anabiosis. Sand,
is paraffin or vaseline with layer
soil, mud, active carbon, saw-dust,
thickness 1 to 2 cm. The aim is to limit
synthetic balls and tablets, polymer
the oxygen access that reduces the
matrixes, high disperse materials, filter
microorganisms’ metabolism and
paper etc are used as microbic material
growth, as well as to restrict the cell
carrier. The large carrier surface
drying during preservation in freezing
adsorbs part of the moisture. The
conditions. According to some
drying is performed at room
investigations the microorganisms
temperature or by heating up at 36-
conservation period under Vaseline oil
40°C. In 1966 Coe and Clark applied
without subcultivation is 1 to 12 years
the method for strains Staphylococcus
depending on their properties. Optimal
aureus, announcing preservation date 6
and utmost time limits are established
months (Norris and Ribbons, 1970).
for cultivation of different taxonomical
There are references for
groups. Different genera yeasts are
stability investigations after
studied and it is determined that the
conservation on different carriers and
conservation period varied from 1 to 7
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 39
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

following drying of representatives of (stored at low temperatures of minus


the genera Shigella, Salmonella, 135°-196°C) at room temperature
Proteus, Bacillus, Streptococcus, could lead to lethal recrystallization in
Pseudomonas, Corynebacterium, the temperature range between -130 to
Rhodococcus, Serratia, -110°C (Ivanov and Puchkov, 1989;
Mycobacterium, with advisable Tsutsayeva, 1987).
conservation time to 12 month at
temperature 4 °C (Bilko, 1988; 2.6. Freezing in liquid nitrogen:
Champagne and Gardner, 2001). In The method of freezing to -
1954 Anner for the first time used 196°C and preservation in liquid
vacuum to speed up the process of nitrogen or its vapor is basic for most
microbial suspension drying. The of the culture collections.
method is named “L-drying”. It is used Actinomycetes, bacteria, yeasts, fungi,
for the conservation of spyrochetas, plant and animal viruses and cell
leptospyras, salmonellas and some cultures are conserved that way.
yeast and virus strains (Norris and According to some scientists the
Ribbons, 1970). optimal cooling rate for fungi is
1°C.min-1, for yeasts 7-10 °C.min-1, for
2.5. Cryogenic conservation: bacteria and actinomycetes 2-
-1
In the last decades of twentieth 45°C.min (Sidyakina, 1988).
century the cryogenic conservation
was characterized with quick 2.7. Lyophilization:
accumulation of significant results Lyophilization, vacuum –
from fundamental investigations in sublimation drying or freeze-drying are
microbiological science. It is well the commonly accepted names for the
known that the laboratory process of taking away the entire
microorganisms could not always be quantity freeze moisture from the solid
lead to anabiosis by cooling and matrix of the wet containing materials
freezing. Often the cells die or remain by vacuum sublimation. The
alive but not viable. The temperature lyophilization consists of the following
decrease affects the biological systems stages:
and series of mechanical, physiological • material freezing to low temperatures
and biochemical changes occur. – below the eutectic temperature;
Depending on the cooling and • primary drying when the ice crystals
overcooling level, the cells suffer sublimate influenced by the passed in
different damage consequences by the the system heat energy in vacuum
“temperature shock” ( Feofilova, 2003). conditions;
During the cryogenic treatment • secondary drying when after the ice
of the cells a great number of damage separation the remained material
factors are known (Safonova et al., moisture is desorbed in maximum deep
1991). The literature gives theoretical vacuum conditions (Pushkar et al.,
and experimental data referred to the 1984). There are a great number of
influence of the freezing and thawing literature data for the microbiological
rate upon the form of the crystals and cultures lyophilization (Arkadieva et
their destructive action to the cell al., 1975; Kupletskaya, 1987; Urakov,
(Donev, 2001; Novik, 1998). 1988). From all microorganisms
The thawing of different groups the bacteria sustain
microorganisms is usually in water lyophilization the best (Mehandjiska et
bath at temperature 25-41°C. The al., 1989).
slower static thawing of the cells

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 40


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

3. Protectants
Protective compounds- cryoprotectants, 5. Example of data sheet to create
are found to eliminate most of the industrially important microbial
multiple destructive factors during database:
freezing of biological structures. Name of the Microorganisms :
According to the location of their
action the cryoprotectants are divided Collection Details: Biochemical Tests:
in two groups:
Collection No: Urea Hydrolysis:
• endocellular cryoprotectants – media, Collected By: Catalase Test:
penetrating cells;
Date of collection: Citrate Utilization Test:
• extracellular cryoprotectants – media,
connecting with the extracellular water. Season (Weather): Methyl Red Test:
Locality: Gelatin Liquification Test:
Endocellular protectants: The
application of protective media with Site : Nitrate Reduction Test:
endocellular mechanism presents a cell
District: Starch Hydrolysis Test:
penetration. The media overcooling
before the freezing contribute to small State : Test for Indole Production:
crystal formation, which restricts the
Altitude: H2S Production Ability:
mechanical disturbing action during
the cryogenic treatment. The main Habitat: Ammonia Reduction Test:
endocellular protective media are
Soil (type, pH): Endospore Formation:
glycerol (glycerin, 1, 2, 3 propantriol,
C3H8O3) and dimethylsulphoxid Substrate: Special Characteristics:
(DMSO, C2H6SO).
Temperature:
Extracellular protectants: Some of Morphology:
the extracellular protectants applied to
preservation 16S rRNA sequence data:
of the biological objects in frozen state Similarity with other organisms (With
are polyvinylpyrrolidone, hydroxyethyl the help of Blast)
starch and dextran.
6. Conclusion:
4. Quality control after preservation: For all biological materials
After preservation of a preservation, cryopreservation and
microbial strain controls are freeze-drying are the preferred
necessary. At least viability and techniques for long-term storage. The
purity, and where appropriate, the potential of storing lives is extended to
identity of the preserved culture have many thousands of organelle, cell,
to be checked immediately after tissue, organ, and body types including
preservation. A registration form for microorganisms, plants and animals.
the freeze-drying process per batch More recently, cryopreservation has
(e.g. vacuum, product temperature, been used as an appropriate technique
shelf temperature, condenser to preserve plants and animal species.
temperature, time) should be filed. However, many cells and tissues,
Any remark on the viability or which need for long-term bio-storage
properties of a batch has to be await suitable methodologies. As
archived and remain available to different biologies of organisms make
compare with future controls. different responses to cryoprotectants

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 41


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

and freezing, preservation protocol 6. Donev, T. N., 2001. Methods for


may need adjustments, or be conservation of industrial
constructed afresh for the materials microorganisms, Sofia: NBIMCC,
under study. Freeze drying is widely 93.
employed to conserve micro- 7. Feofilova, Е. P., 2003. Appl.
biodiversity. This is one of the key Biochem. Microbiol. 39 (1), 5-24.
roles performed by microbial culture 8. Ivanov, S. A. and Puchkov Е. О.,
collections. However, there is no 1989. Microbiology. 58, 699-701.
unique method to store all biological 9. Khoshoo TN 1995 Census of
material. India’s biodiversity: Tasks ahead .
The support of culture Curr Sci,69(1): 14-17.
collections is an essential element of 10. Krasilnikov, N. A., 1967.
the microbiological science, practice Preservation methods for culture
and their development. The man has collection microorganisms,
accomplished to choose and select Moskva: Nauka, 151 (in Russian).
thousands of useful microorganisms, 11. Kupletskaya, М. B. and Arkadieva
which now are the base of the Z. А., 1997. Microbiology. 66 (2),
biotechnological processes. Some of 283–288.
them are strains involved in the 12. Mayer, N., Mittermeier, R. A.,
production of dairy, bakery, spirits, Mittermeier, C. G., Fonseca, G. A.
alcohol, vaccines, antibiotics, enzymes, B. and Kent J. 2000. Biodiversity
silage, vinegar etc. Parallel with the hotspots for conservation priorities.
process of isolation, selection and Nature. 403: 853-858.
genetic engineering a need arises for 13. Mikata, K. (2002) Studies of long-
the preservation of strains, their vitality, term preservation of yeast cultures.
specificity, activity, immunogenicity Microbiol. Cult. Coll., 18, 3–16.
and other properties in laboratory 14. Myers, N. 1988 Threatened biotas:
conditions. The production standard 'hotspots' in tropical forests
and quality depend on the right choice Environmentalist 8: 187-208.
of preservation methods of the 15. Norris, J. R. and Ribbons D. W.,
industrial strains. 1970. Methods in microbiology,
London, New York: Acad. Press,
Further reading: 319.
16. Novik, G. I., Astapovich N. I.,
1. Arkadieva, Z. A., Pimenova M. N., Kadrinkova N. G., Ryabaya N. Е.,
1985. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol. 1998. Microbiology. 67 (5), 637-
21 (5), 645-648. 642.
2. Bilko, I. P., 1988. J. Microbiol. 50 17. Ruban, Е. L., 1989. Appl. Biochem.
(1), 96-97. Microbiol. 25, 291-301.
3. Champagne, C. P. and Gardner N. 18. Safonova, V. I., Novikova N. I.,
J., 2001. Elect. J. Biotechnol. 4 (3), Sidyakina Т. М., Bozjeva L. Т.,
146-152. 1991. Microbiology. 60 (2), 368-
4. Claudia, C., L. Lastra, Hajek A. E., 376.
Humber R. A., 2002. Can. J. Bot. 19. Sidyakina, Т. M., 1988. Methods
80 (10), 1126-1130. for conservation of
5. Donev, T. N., 2001. Methods for microorganisms. Ser. Conservation
conservation of industrial of genetic resources, Pushchino:
microorganisms, Sofia: NBIMCC, AS USSR, 59.
93. 20. Smith, D. & Onions, A. H. S.
(1994) The preservation and

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 42


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

maintenance of living fungi, 2nd M.Sc., Lady Tata Memorial Junior


ed., CAB International, Fellowship under 2000-2002
Oxfordshire, pp.122. programme from LTMT, Mumbai,
21. Tsutsayeva, А. А. (Ed.), 1987. Senior Research Fellowship from
Cryobiology and biotechnology, CSIR (Govt. of India), in 2002. He
Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 216. worked postdoctoral research at
22. Vachitov, Т. Y. and Petrov L. N., Institute of Microbial technology
1992. Microbiology. 61 (6), 1087- (CSIR, Govt. of India), Chandigarh,
1095. India. He has also received fellowship
23. Valagurova, Е. V., Kozairitskaya V. from Department of Science &
Е., Pindrus А. А., Azimtseva О. А., Technology, Govt. of India, under the
2000. J. Microbiol. 62 (4), 3-8. Scientific and Engineering Research
24. Watve MG, Shete AM, Jadhav N, Fast Track Scheme for Young
Wagh SP, Sheetal PS, Chakraborti Scientists (FAST) in 2006. He has
SS, Botre AP & Kulkarni AA 1999 published his research findings in
Myxobacterial diversity of Indian eminent publishers like Elsevier,
soils-How many species do we Springer, Willey etc. and published
have ? Curr Sci, 77(8): 1089-1093. five book chapters. At present Dr.
25. Whittfield J 2002 Neutrality versus Thakur is working as a Biotechnologist,
the niche. Nature (News feature), at Department of Biotechnology,
417: 480-481. Tocklai Experimental Station, TRA,
Assam, India. He can be reached at
About the author: debajitthakur@yahoo.co.uk.

----xxxx----

WHAT IS SCIENCE?

Science is organized knowledge.


Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
English philosopher. Education.

Science is the systematic classification


Dr. Debajit Thakur received his Master of experience.
of Science degree in Botany George Henry Lewes (1817-78)
(specialization in microbiology) from English writer and critic.
Gauhati University, Assam, in 1999
and his doctorate in Life Sciences in Science is simply common sense at its
2004 from Dibrugarh University, best that is, rigidly accurate in
Assam. Dr. Thakur has joined as observation, and merciless to fallacy in
research fellow in the Department of logic.
Biotechnology at North East Institute Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95)
of Science & Technology (CSIR, Govt. English biologist.
of India), Assam, India, in 1999, where
he worked on microbial diversity, Science is nothing but trained and
exploration of microbial bioactive organized common sense differing
molecules, biotransformation of β- from the latter only as a veteran may
lactam antibiotics, and biocontrol of differ from a raw recruit: and its
plant pathogens. He has received methods differ from those of common
National Merit Scholarship during sense only as far as the guardsman's

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 43


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

cut and thrust differ from the manner Cancer Drug Delivery and
in which a savage wields his club. Challenges
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95)
English biologist. "The Method of Manashjit Gogoi
Zadig" in Collected Essays IV. Indian Institute of Technology,
Bombay
Science is nothing but developed
perception, interpreted intent, common Cancer represents perhaps two hundred
sense rounded out and minutely diseases that cause abnormal and
articulated. uncontrolled growth of malignant cells.
George Santayana (1863-1952) U. Cancerous cells are highly unorganized
S. philosopher and writer. The Life and irregular in shape and size. The
of Reason. internal structures of cancerous cells
are inconsistent and misshapen. It is a
Science is facts; just as houses are life threatening disease that has been
made of stone, so is science made of affecting mankind since ancient times.
facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, Bone cancer has been discovered in the
and a collection of facts is not mummies of Egyptian and Peruvian
necessarily science. civilizations. Symptoms of cancer and
Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) primitive ways of treatment were
French mathematician. documented in papyruses of different
ages such as Edwin papyrus (2500BC),
Science is the great antidote to the Leyde papyrus (1500BC), and Ebers
poison of enthusiasm and superstition. (1500BC) etc. Hindu epic the
Adam Smith (1723-90) Scottish Ramayana (500BC) too describes the
economist. The Wealth of Nations, use of arsenic paste for cancer
1776. treatment. Around 400BC, the term
“carcinoma” was coined to represent
Science is what you know. Philosophy cancer by Hippocrates- father of
is what you don't know. medicine. Carcinoma comes from
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Greek “Karkinoma” meaning
English philosopher, “Crab”[1]
mathematician.
The exact causes and the ways of
It requires a very unusual mind to initiation and spreading of cancer are
undertake the analysis of the obvious. still not well understood, but both
Alfred North Whitehead (1861- external factors (e.g. tobacco smoking,
1947) English philosopher and infections, exposure to retroviruses,
mathematician. chemicals and radiations) as well as
internal factors (e.g. inherited
[Science is] the labor and handicraft of metabolism mutations, hormones and
the mind. immune conditions) are believed to be
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) the reasons for cancer formation and
English essayist, philosopher, growth. These factors may act together
statesman. or in sequential manners to initiate and
promote cancer. Till date, no complete
[Science is] the literature of truth. curing procedure for cancer is
Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler available, only remission or palliation
Shaw) (1818-85) U. S. humorist. is possible with the current treatment
----xxxx---- procedures. A cancer is said to be in

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 44


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

remission state when all clinical dose of anticancer drug could not
evidence of cancer has been administered to the patient(s). So,
disappeared and the microscopic foci treatments become futile. One more
of cancer cells may still remain. problem associated with the
Effective treatment modalities include chemotherapeutic drug is that the
surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, tumor cells become resistant to
hormone therapy, immunotherapy and multiple drugs i.e. development of
hyperthermia. Each of these modalities multiple drug resistance (MDR) cells.
has their own advantages as well as Exposure to drug results in over
disadvantages and usually combination expression of certain proteins like P-
of two or more modalities give the best glycoprotein (P-gp), Multidrug
result. Early detection, regular Resistance-associated Protein (MRP),
screening, examinations and then Lung Resistance related Protein (LRP)
application combination therapy play etc. in tumour cells. These P-gp and
an important role in cancer prevention MRP are expressed in cell membrane
and treatment. It is evident that the risk and they pump out the drug from the
of developing cancer can be reduced cancer cells and hence responsible for
by controlling tobacco and alcohol, substantial reduction of effect of drug.
obesity and sun exposure, having LRPs are present in cytoplasm of cell.
healthy diet and physical activity. There exist few other groups of
Routine cancer screening is also a proteins which are responsible for
necessary to prevent cancer [2,3]. development of MDR cells by altering
the drug target through gene mutation.
Chemotherapy is the treatment Therefore, people are looking for more
procedure of any disease using a advanced drug delivery systems [2, 4].
specific drug. Chemotherapy for
cancer is used in a narrower sense of
treating cancer with the aim to kill or
control cancerous cells. The
chemotherapeutic drug is highly toxic
or even life threatening. More toxic
drugs are more effective. They kill
both malignant and normal cells. So,
due to the application of
chemotherapeutic drug (s), patients Nano-carrier Drug Tumour cell Endothelial Cell

have to tolerate lot of side effects and Figure: EPR effect where nano-carriers reaches the tumour cell through the

the qualities of the life deteriorate.


pores of poorly organized endothelial cells

Chemotherapeutic agents reduce the


white blood count, red blood count and With the advancement of science and
platelet count of the patient that means technology, nanoparticles are emerging
the immune system of the patient is as effective drug delivery systems for
being suppressed. Therefore it makes treating cancer. Nanoparticles like
the patients more susceptible to other liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles,
infections. In addition to these, patients dendrimer, nanocapsule, magnetic
loss hair, experience nausea, vomiting, nanoparticles, nanoparticles made of
pain and suffer from diarrhea, different biocompatible and
constipation etc. Sexual and biodegradable polymer have been
reproductive power is also affected by explored for tumor targeted drug
chemotherapy. Due to these colossus delivery. The basic requirements of
amount of side effects the effective these nanoparticles are (i) ability to

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sustain in blood for long time, (ii) acid tagged nanoparticles can be used
sufficient tumor accumulation and (iii) for active targeting of this kind of
controlled drug release. cancer cells. Similarly, anti-HER2
(Human Epidermal growth factor
It is well established that nanoparticles Receptor 2) antibody can be
are often engulfed and cleared by conjugated to target some of the breast
reticuloendothelial system (RES). RES cancer cells having higher expression
is a part of our immune system (body’s of HER-2. There exists a host of
defence system) and it clears the proteins/ receptors in different cancer
foreign materials from our body. The cells to target drug delivery [5].
nanoparticles could be made to escape
from RES system and long circulating Once the drug loaded nanoparticles
in the blood by modulating the size, reach the tumor sites the next objective
surface size and composition. Often is to effectively release the drug there.
these nanoparticles are coated with Different triggered release mechanisms
polyethylene glycol (PEG) to make like acid triggering, light triggering,
long circulating. PEGylation of heat triggering and enzyme triggering
nanoparticles inhibits the adsorption of are being tried to release the
protein on the nanoparticles surface chemotherapeutic drug at the tumor
makes them stealth nanoparticles and site.
hence protects it from being opsonized.
Although application nanomedicine, is
The microvasculature of tumor tissue able to address lot of problems raised
is not uniform and the lymphatic in convention chemotherapy, lot more
drainage system that removed the problems are still there to be answered.
body’s waste is also not well organized. Introduction of pegylated/stealth
As shown in figure, the portion of the nanoparticles, increase the efficacy of
blood vessels that supplies nutrients to anticancer drug but it has some side
the tumor becomes leaky and effects like skin toxicity, hand–foot
unorganized. Normal drug present the syndrome also. Passive targeting via
blood can reach different parts of the EPR effect reduces the toxicity of
body even through the well organized anticancer drug. Nanoparticles are
endothelial cells, but nanoparticles supposed to get accumulated in tumor
cannot go through the well organized tissues only, but they accumulate in
endothelial cell due to their size. But it lung, liver, spleen and kidney due to
can reach the tumor sites through leaky porous microstructure of these organs.
vasculature and get accumulated there Active targeting process has also some
because of the poor lymphatic drainage problems like: (i) antibody tagged
system. This process is called nanoparticles bind to their targets so
Enhanced Permeability and Retention strongly that they make a barrier that
(EPR) effect. It is passive targeting of won’t allow other nanoparticles to
the cancer cells. The other way of enter into the tumor sites and (ii) they
targeted drug delivery is active are very rapidly cleared by RES
targeting. Cancer cells over express system. Since there is lot of challenges
some of proteins or receptors e.g. folic in cancer drug delivery, it bears lots of
acid is required to cell proliferation. potentials also. So, extensive research
Due to higher proliferation rate cancers is going on world-wide on cancer drug
cell need folic acid and folic acid delivery to solve these issues and
receptor are being over expressed on significant mile-stone yet to be
the surface of tumor cells. So, folic achieved. We hope with rapid

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advancement in nanomedicine, the day A green or an evergreen revolution?


is not too far when cancer will be Its time to think about neglected and
cured completely. underutilized crops

Further reading: Nabanita Bhattacharyya


1. M. M. Robert et al, Cancer, New Lecturer, Nowgong College
York, 1993 Nagaon, Assam.
2. S. S. Feng and S. Chien, Chem.
Engg. Sci. 58 (2003) 4087–4114 There is all total 7000 edible
3. American Cancer Society, (2002). plant species discovered so far, among
Cancer Prevention & Early which only a few species are utilized
Detection, Facts and Figures 2002. for global food security. Again, the
4. http://www.chemotherapy.com/sid human civilization has been using only
e_effects/side_effects.jsp (visited three crops i.e. rice, wheat and maize
on 24.09.09) to meet more than 50% of its dietary
5. T. L. Andresen et al. Prog. Lipid energy need. This narrow bio-diversity
Res. 44(2005) 68-97 in the food basket has posed a definite
threat to the food security especially in
About the author: context of global climate change and
population explosion. There is no
doubt that substantial increase in food
production could be achieved as a
result of the first green revolution led
by the incredible efforts of Dr. M. S.
Swaminathan in 1960’s in India. In the
first green revolution, scientists gave
emphasis only in the three major crops
i.e. rice, wheat and maize. As a result,
the global food production was
Mr. Manashjit Gogoi hails from improved dramatically. Due to
Titabor, Jorhat, Assam. He did his increased importance posed on the
Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical production of only a few crop species,
Engineering from Assam Engineering several traditionally valued crops faced
College, Guwahati and then worked in negligence in respect of agricultural
North-East Institute of Science and R&D priorities and production policies.
Technology (Formerly Regional Such marginalization of these crops
Research Laboratory) Jorhat as a encouraged rapid loss of their genetic
Project Assistant. Latter on he did diversity as well as related traditional
Master of Technology in knowledge and cultural identity
Bioelectronics from Tezpur University, associated with their agricultural
Tezpur, Assam. Presently, he is practices and consumption. Some
working for his Doctor of Philosophy examples of such neglected species
in Indian institute of Technology- with great nutritional value are minor
Bombay. His research topic is millets and wild vegetables.
"Temperature Sensitive
Nanostructured Magnetic Materials According to the concept of the
and Nanovesicles for Biomedical first green revolution, researchers
Applications". developed new varieties of wheat and
----xxxx---- rice with the ability to produce high
yields when grown with irrigation and

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 47


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

fertilizers. But, food security is minerals, fibre, vitamins and essential


currently facing tremendous challenge fatty acids and enhance taste and
due to the unpredictable changes in colour in diets. They can also be used
weather and deficiency in nutritional to prevent chronic diseases like cardio-
factors. Each year, 80 million new vascular diseases and diabetes, in the
faces have been added in world general population, as well as diseases
population. In 2050, world population due to under nutrition, like anaemia
will reach 9 billion. In present and stunting (Green, 1993). In this
scenario, malnutrition affects 70% of regard, they deserve special attention
the world population. India has 40% of in R&D along with heavily focused
world’s malnourished children. This high yielding varieties of major cereals
statistics usher a need for the and commodity crops. Ethno botanical
sustainability in food production which studies are becoming more popular
can be achieved only by evolving throughout the world and these studies
strategies through a second green are focused on documenting the
revolution or more accurately an traditional uses of plants by native
evergreen revolution. The themes of cultures (Ozgen et al, 2004). This kind
the sustained green revolution must be of approaches may provide a broader
the production of value added quality dimension to the under utilized crops.
food, sustainability of ecosystem and
agriculture without damaging the
ecological balance. Although, there are
many choices of vegetables sources,
many of them are neglected today
because of the preference towards
uniform characteristic in modern
agriculture technology and marketing
(Yildirim et al, 2001). It is now the
peak hour to explore the genetic
diversity of the underutilized or
marginalized crops as well as the
traditionally used wild vegetables to Fig.: Houttuynia cordata Thunb.
meet the ever increasing problem of
hunger and malnutrition. New plant
resources have to be preserved to The North Eastern part of India
broaden the biological diversity in is the home of several tribes with great
human nutrition (Williams, 1993). treasures of traditional knowledge
Diversification of production systems especially regarding food habit and
by including a broader range of species wild medicine. Numerous wild
can contribute significantly to vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants
improved health and nutrition, have been used by the tribes since long
livelihoods, household food security before to ensure nutritional and health
and ecological sustainability (Qualset security. One of such potential wild
et al., 1995; Thrupp, 1998). More over leafy vegetables is the Houttuynia
this is the present need to explore the cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae). This is
potentials of the underutilized and wild a perennial herb with creeping root
species to grow well in poor, marginal stock and heart-shaped leaves and
soils with low inputs and to withstand available entire South East Asia
severe stresses arising from soil and including China, Japan, Thailand and
climate. Wild plant species provide North East India. This has been used

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 48


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

by the local communities of this part of market. Acta Horticulturae, 318:


the world as an herbal medicine 41-45.
against various ailments including Ozgen U, Kaya Y, Coskun M (2004)
diarrhoea, dysentery, gonorrhoea, eye Ethnobotanical studies in the
troubles, measles, skin diseases and villages of the district of Hica
haemorrhoids. Modern research (Ptrovince Erzurum), Turkey.
approaches have revealed its broad Economic Botany, 58: 691-696.
pharmacological activities, including Williams DE (1993) Lyanthes
anti-leukemic, anti-oxidative, anti- moziniana (Solanaceae): An
mutagenic, anti-inflammatory and anti- underutilized Mexican food plant
viral effects as well as the ability of with new crop potential.
promoting immunologic function Economic Botany, 47: 387-400.
(Zhang et al, 2008). This medicinal Yildirim E, Dursun A, Turan M
herb has been used by the local people (2001) Determination of the
as a nutritive leafy vegetable also. nutrition contents of the wild
plants used as vegetables in
Although the potential of a Upper Coruh Valley. Turkish
single species has been cited in this Journal of Botany, 25: 367-371.
article, there are numerous such Zhang Y, Li S, Wu X (2008)
resources available throughout the Pressurized liquid extraction of
traditional cultures still surviving in the flavonoids from Houttuynia
remote corners of the modern cordata Thunb. Separation and
civilization and awaiting to be Purification Technology, 58:
explored with proper scientific 305-310.
measures. The alarming call is ringing
in full tune to realize the importance of About the Author
these species and their potentiality for
solving the global problem of
malnutrition.

Further reading:

Biospectrum 2009 - International


Symposium on Second Green
Revolution: Priorities,
Programmes, Social and Ethical Ms. Nabanita Bhattacharyya has
Issues, held at Rajiv Gandhi been working as a lecturer in Plant
Centre for Biotechnology Physiology and Biochemistry,
(RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram, Department of Botany, Nowgong
Kerala, India, from 2 – 4 July, College, Assam. Her research area
2009, organized by School of includes Stress Physiology,
Biosciences, Mar Athanasios Phytoremediation, Environmental
College for Advanced Studies, Physiology and Biochemistry.
Tiruvalla (MACFAST), Kerala, Currently she is doing her PhD in the
India, in association with RGCB, Dept. of Biotechnology, Gauhati
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, University, Assam under Prof. S Sarma.
India. Email:
Green C (1993) An overview of msnbhattacharyya@yahoo.co.uk
production and supply trends in ----xxxx----
the U.S. specialty vegetable

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

8. PH.D. THESIS ABSTRACT


much attention by virtue of their
Thesis Abstract of Babita Baruwati, unique electronic or physical structure,
Ph.D. and multidisciplinary applications. Due
to their high electrical resistivity values
Thesis Title: “Studies on the these materials are in great demand as
Synthesis, Characterization, Surface high frequency magnetic materials.
Modification and Application of
Nanocrystalline Nickel Ferrite” Nanocrystalline ferrites with
particle sizes well below the
Research Guide: Dr. S.V. Manorama, microwave skin depth offer promise as
Indian Institute of Chemical low loss materials at high frequencies.
Technology, Hyderabad- 500 607, These nanomaterials are also used in
India. various fields of electronics, as
magnetic recording media, as
Man’s quest towards revealing ferrofluids, in catalysis due to their
new facts or things is unlimited. This easy separation and hence reusability
often leads to the improvement of the and also in gas sensors due to their
earlier existing ideas. We talk about high sensitivity towards some reducing
new ideas, debate on them, try to prove gases like LPG, H2S etc at very low
them and then if they are plausible we operating temperatures. Considerable
accept them. It is for this reason that researches are being directed towards
nano science and technology is the using these nanomagnetic particles as
focus of much discussion these days. MRI contrasting agents, in drug
Moreover, nanotechnology now delivery systems and in environmental
encompasses almost all the branches of remediation. Recently there is a report
science whether it is physics, on the use of NiFe2O4 as a promising
chemistry, biology or engineering. material for spintronics. The physical
There are various branches of and chemical properties of spinel
nanotechnology that have now entered nanocrystals are greatly influenced by
the popular lexicon; for example, nano the synthesis route; this is the reason
materials, nano engineering, and nano why various approaches are being
medicine. The reason behind the thrust adopted to produce spinel ferrites, to
towards the development of materials realize the desired properties. Over the
in the nanometer scales is the decades research has been focused
extraordinary change in the towards obtaining the required material
conventional physical and chemical along with other favorable physical
properties when brought to the properties. Synthetic control over the
nanometer region. This change in the nanocrystal phase is therefore an
physical and chemical behavior of the additional degree of freedom in the
nanomaterials when compared with the search for new materials’ properties.
bulk counterparts is achieved due to
the enormous increase in surface to The present thesis is an attempt
volume ratio. towards the realization of the influence
of synthetic conditions in the
In the race of development of morphology of nanosized NiFe2O4 and
nanomaterials, ferrites are attracting subsequent electronic and magnetic
behavior. An attempt also has been
made for surface functionalization of

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these nanosized NiFe2O4 to make them


amenable for specific applications. NiFe2O4 nanoparticles are
This includes the use of these synthesized via hydrothermal route at
functionalized particles as catalyst
225 οC for 2 hrs using Ni(NO3)2.6H2O
support for the development of a
and Fe(NO3)3.9H2O as precursors.
magnetically separable catalyst. Also
The pH of the reaction medium was
these materials are synthesized via
maintained at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 by the
surfactant-mediated routes to achieve
addition of NH4OH solution. The
excellent control over morphology and
phase purity and the crystallinity of the
magnetic properties and to make them
as synthesized nanoparticles are
soluble in specific solvents so that they
confirmed with XRD studies.
can be used for specific applications.
Crystallite sizes are calculated using
Scherrer formula. It was observed that
The Thesis has been divided
the crystallite size increases slightly
mainly to 4 chapters.
with the increase in pH of the reaction
medium. TEM micrographs of the as
Chapter 1 begins with an
synthesized nanoparticles show that
introduction to ferrite nanoparticles
the particles are almost spherical in
with an overview of the synthetic
morphology and are highly dispersed.
methods, properties and applications.
The sizes of the nanoparticles are in
The reasons for the tremendous
the range 10-12 nm that is comparable
interests in ferrites, the challenges in
with the crystallite size calculated from
the development of suitable synthetic
Scherer formula. We have not
methods for better control of the
observed any noticeable change in the
properties and the scientific concepts
shape with the different pH values.
have been discussed.
Atomic absorption
Chapter 2 deals with the spectroscopy studies reveal that the
synthesis of NiFe2O4 nanoparticles by weight percentage ratios of Fe to Ni in
hydrothermal route and the effect of samples 7-10 are 2.34, 2.1, 2.06, and
reaction conditions on the conductivity 1.8 respectively. This shows that the
behavior of the material. Here we are sample synthesized at pH 7 is nickel
discussing in detail about the change in deficient, while the amount of nickel
conductivity from n-type to p-type increases with the increase in pH. This
when the pH of the reaction medium may be due to the increased
has been changed keeping all other precipitation of Ni2+. For pH<7 the
conditions identical. We observed n- Ni2+ions would have more solubility
type conductivity in these synthesized thereby resulting in mixed phases of
materials when the pH of the reaction NiFe2O4 and Fe2O3 while for Fe3+
medium was maintained at either 7 or given very low solubility product of
8. When the pH of the reaction Fe(OH)3 not much change in its
medium has been increased to a value precipitation would take place under
greater than or equal to 9, the materials these pH conditions.
starts exhibiting p-type conductivity
behavior. A detailed study on the The first observation of the
structural, morphological, electrical, dissimilar conductivity behavior in the
magnetic and elemental analysis has materials synthesized at different pH
been made and correlated to values was made from the gas sensing
understand the mechanism of studies. It was observed that the
conductivity. samples synthesized at pH 7 and pH 8

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showed a decrease in resistivity values of the Ni2+ to Ni3+, which is the


in a reducing gas atmosphere i.e. condition prevailing at high pH and
(Ra−Rg) > 0 while those synthesized at less Ni corresponds to Fe2+
pH 9, 10 showed a increase in compensating for Ni2+ deficiency that
resistivity values i.e. (Ra−Rg)<0. These happens at low pH. This then explains
observations are typical of n-type and the presence of more Ni3+ in the
p-type semiconductors respectively. samples prepared at high pH viz. 9 and
10. This fact is also confirmed by our
From thermo emf studies it has AAS analysis where the ratio of Ni to
been observed that the Seebeck Fe increases with the increase in pH.
coefficient is negative for samples 7 This is also supported by the XPS
and 8 and positive for 9 and 10 analysis showing the presence of Ni3+
corroborating with n-type conductivity in the samples prepared at high pH.
behavior in sample 7, 8 and p-type We further calculated the ratio of Ni3+
conductivity in samples 9,10. to Ni2+ from the areas under the
deconvoluted XPS spectra for Ni and
DC conductivity studies show obtained values for this ratios as 0.06,
that the as synthesized samples obey 0.08, 0.11 and 0.3 for samples 7, 8, 9
the Arrhenius characteristics typical of and 10 respectively showing a trend of
a semiconductor. increasing Ni3+/Ni2+ ratios as pH
increases. In short n-type conductivity
We have also observed an can be represented by “Fe3+ ⇔ Fe2+”
increase in the conductivity values of and the p-type conductivity by “Ni3+
the samples with the increase in pH of ⇔ Ni2+”.
the reaction medium. i.e σ7< σ8< σ9<
σ10. Also we observed a transition VSM and Mossbaüer studies
temperature for each sample where the reveal the magnetic properties of the
conductivity behavior was changing samples. VSM plots shows slight
from semiconducting to metallic. The ferromagnetic nature of the as
possible mechanism is discussed. To synthesized samples at room
explain the differences in the temperature but the magnetization is
conductivity types in different samples, not saturating even up to the applied
we have put forth the following field of 10,000 Gauss. The slightly
arguments on the basis of XPS analysis. ferromagnetic nature is also seen from
Mössbauer spectra where we have
The reason for the n-type obtained a sextet instead of a doublet.
behavior in samples 7 and 8 is However the nature of the spectra are
attributed to the presence of Fe2+ and typical of the relaxed type, which may
this conductivity is predominantly due be attributed to the transition from
to hopping of electrons from Fe2+ to ferromagnetic to superparamagnetic
Fe3+. Similarly, p-type conductivity in nature of the sample. The relaxed
samples 9 and 10 is attributed to the spectra also confirm the non-saturating
presence of Ni3+ and the conductivity is nature of the hystersis loop.
due to the hole transfer from Ni3+ to
Ni2+ ions. It can be explained simply Chapter 3 has been divided
that the type of conductivity is merely into two parts. In part A we have
due to the deficiency or excess of Ni discussed about the surface
species. Excess Ni corresponds to Fe3+ functionalization of the hydrothermally
deficiency (cation vacancy) that is synthesized NiFe2O4 nanoparticles
being compensated by change in some with dopamine to ensure its high

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 52


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dispersibility in high polar solvents found to be 8.54 by Inductively


like water, ethanol etc. This opens up Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission
the possibility of using these surface Spectroscopy (ICP–AES) analysis. As
functionalized nanoparticles as a a representative the percentage of Pd in
support for noble metal to design a the catalysts after 5 cycles of reactions
novel magnetically separable catalyst is 8.49 that is almost the same as the
system that can be used for catalysis of unreacted catalyst. From the ICP-AES
a number of scientifically and analysis it can be inferred without any
industrially important organic ambiguity that there is no significant
transformation reactions. loss of Pd due to leaching etc. during
Characterization of the prepared the reaction and it provides the
catalyst system has been done with excellent reusability of the catalyst.
XRD, FTIR, TEM, ICP-AES, XPS and
VSM. The excellent efficiency and
reusability of the catalyst system for a
wide range of organic reactions have
been discussed in the part B. These
include hydrogenation of a range of
unsaturated organic compounds, Heck
coupling reaction and Suzuki reaction.

Anchoring of dopamine
molecules on the surface of NiFe2O4
has been achieved via refluxing.

N a 2 P d C l4
D A in H 2 O Pd
R eflux/ S on ication D il N H 2 N H 2
pH -9

F errite H 2 N term in ated F errite P d on H 2 N term inated F errite

Schematic representation of the


surface modification as well as NiFe2O4-DA-Pd catalyst (a) before
anchoring of Pd nanoparticles on the reaction, (b) after 3 times and (c) 5
surface of NiFe2O4 nanoparticles times reactions. (d) shows the
magnetic separation of the catalyst
Confirmation about the from the reaction medium.
anchoring of the organic moiety on to
the surface of the NiFe2O4 X-ray photoelectron
nanoparticles has been confirmed by spectroscopy studies were carried out
FTIR spectroscopy. Pd nanoparticles to establish the oxidation state of Pd in
are then anchored to the free amine the catalyst. The Pd 3d5/2 binding
group of dopamine molecules by energy spectra consists of a single peak
taking Na2PdCl4 as the Pd source and at the binding energy 334.42 eV with
then reducing it by using hydrazine an FWHM of 1.6 eV that is attributed
monohydrate. Below is the schematic to the Pd in zero oxidation state.
representation of the total reaction
procedure. The magnetization Vs applied
field plot for the particles show that the
The weight percentage of Pd particles are superparamagnetic at
before reaction in NiFe2O4-DA-Pd is room temperature. The magnetization
does not saturate up to the maximum
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 53
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applied field and the coercivity is


almost negligible. The magnetization
results indicate the suitability of using
nanosized NiFe2O4 as a magnetically
separable catalyst support. The
synthesized catalyst system has been
used for a number of reactions namely
Hydrogenation, Heck and Suzuki
coupling reactions. Table 1, Table 2
and Table 3 gives the summery of
Her work experience lies in the field of
Suzuki, Heck and hydrogenation
nanomaterial synthesis,
reactions respectively carried out on
characterization and applications in gas
NiFe2O4–DA-Pd catalyst.
sensors, catalysis and environmental
remediation.
In Chapter 4 we have made an
attempt to synthesize monodisperse
She has published her work till now in
and size selective NiFe2O4
17 highly reputed international
nanoparticles with solvent selective
journals and presented many oral and
dispersity. Such particles are in great
posters in various national and internal
demand in the recent field of
seminars including three American
technology due to the excellent control
Chemical Society conferences. Some
over the magnetic properties because
of her works are highly cited by other
of their size selectivity.
authors in international journals.
These particles are synthesized
Selected publications
by using different precursors and
reaction conditions and are highly
1 Glutathione promoted expeditious
dispersible in nonpolar organic
green synthesis of silver
solvents. The effect of reaction
nanoparticles in water using
conditions like temperature, ratio of
microwaves , Babita Baruwati,
surfactant, reaction time etc. on the
Vievek Polshettiwar, Rajendar S
morphology of the synthesized
Varma, Green Chem. 11, 926,
particles are also discussed. At the end
( 2009)
the inferences made from the study and
2 Magnetic nanoparticle-supported
the scope of future work has been
glutathione: a conceptually
included. Finally appendix deals with
sustainable organocatalyst, Vievek
all other works carried out during the
Polshettiwar, Babita Baruwati,
PhD period.
Rajendar S Varma, Chem Comm.
1837,(2009).
About the author
3 Self-Assembly of Metal Oxides
into Three-Dimensional
Babita Baruwati is currently working
Nanostructures: Synthesis and
as a research associate at United States
Application in Catalysis, Vievek
Environmental Protection Agency,
Polshettiwar, Babita Baruwati,
Cincinnati, OH. She finished her PhD
Rajender S Varma, ACS Nano 3,
from Indian Institute of Chemical
728–736 (2009).
Technology, Hyderabad in March,
4 Bulk Synthesis of Monodisperse
2008, in Materials Science. She was a
Ferrite Nanoparticles at Water-
student of Gauhati University during
Organic Interfaces under
her MSc in Physics.
Conventional and Microwave

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 54


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Hydrothermal Treatment and Their Thesis Abstract of Saitanya Kumar


Surface Functionalization Babita Bharadwaj, Ph.D.
Baruwati, Mallikarjuna N.
Nadagouda, Rajender S. Varma J. Thesis Title: “Synthesis, Structural
Phys Chem C, 112, 18399, (2008). Evaluation and Studies of Reactivity
5 Monodispersed NiFe2O4 of Heteroperoxovanadates (V) And
Nanoparticles: Nonaqeous Development of Solid acid Catalysts
Synthesis and Characterization, for Organic Transformations”
Babita Baruwati and Sunkara V
Manorama Materials Chemistry Research Guide: Prof. Mihir K
and Physics, 112, 631–636) (2008) Chaudhuri, Department of Chemistry
6 “Heck and Suzuki coupling Indian Institute of Technology
facilitated by Pd on amine Guwahati, Assam–781039, India.
terminated NiFe2O4: A
magnetically separable catalyst” This thesis is based on the
Babita Baruwati, Debanjna Guin, results of studies of a few chosen
Sunkara V Manorama, Organic aspects of peroxovanadium chemistry
Letters 9, 5377 (2007) and heterogeneous catalysis. The text
7 “Pd on Amine Terminated Ferrite has been distributed over five chapters.
Nanoparticles: A Complete The introductory chapter of the thesis
Magnetically Recoverable Facile presents an overview of different
Catalyst for Hydrogenation aspects of peroxovanadium chemistry
Reactions” Debanjan Guin, Babita with special reference to
Baruwati, Sunkara V Manorama, haloperoxidase activity and insulin
Organic Letters, 9, 1419 (2007) mimesis, and a brief account on the
8 “Hydrothermal synthesis of highly importance of heterogeneous catalysis
crystalline ZnO nanoparticles: A for organic transformations. The
competitive Sensor for LPG and second chapter provides experimental
EtOH” Babita Baruwati, D procedures, source of reagent and
Kishore Kumar & Sunkara. V. solvents, and particulars of the
Manorama, Sensors and equipment and instruments used.
Actuators B 119, 676 (2006) Chapters 3 to 5 present the newer
9 “S, N and C doped titanium results gathered during the Ph.D.
dioxide nanoparticles: synthesis, research.
characterization and redox charge
transfer study” K. Madhusudan Chapter 1: Introduction and Scope
Reddy, Babita Baruwati, M. of the Work
Jayalakshmi, M. Mohan Rao and
Sunkara V Manorama Journal of
Solid State Chemistry, 178, 3362 This Chapter highlights the
(2005) importance of peroxovanadium related
10 “Tailored conductivity behavior in coordination chemistry and gives an
nanocrystalline NiFe2O4” Babita account to their reactivity, biochemical
Baruwati, K Madhusudan Reddy, relevance and commercial importance,
Sunkara V Manorama, Rajnish K especially with reference to
Singh, Om Parkash, Applied haloperoxidase activity and insulin
Physics Letters, 85, 14 (2004) mimetic action of peroxovanadium
compounds.
----xxxx---- Briefly speaking vanadium
haloperoxidases (VHPOs) are the

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enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of and titania. Solid acid catalysts are
halides by H2O2. VHPO possesses found to replace not only mineral acids
trigonal bipyramidal geometry around but also catalyze the organic reactions.
vanadium in the native site and a After laying the foundation as
distorted tetragonal structure in the indicated above, the scope of work in
active form (peroxo-intermediate). the present Ph. D research have been
Structural characterization has revealed brought out very clearly.
that vanadate is covalently linked to
the Nε of the imidazolyl moiety of a
Chapter 2: Materials and Methods
histidine amino acid, and further
through hydrogen bonds to a variety of
amino acid side chains (e.g. Arg, His, The sources of chemicals and
Ser, Lys) and interstitial water in the solvents, methods for quantitative
proximity of the active center. Special chemical estimations, determination of
emphasis has been put on to the elements and particulars of all
understanding of chemistry of equipment used for physico-chemical
bromoperoxidase activity because of studies are provided in this Chapter.
its remifications on the synthetic The characterization was done using a
applications to bromo-organic variety of physico-chemical techniques,
compounds having commercial for example, elemental analysis, IR,
importance. Quite apart from the UV-Visible, Raman, GC-MS, NMR,
activity highlighted above, SEM, XRD.
peroxovanadium complexes are also
found to be potential clinical Chapter 3: Synthesis,
alternatives of insulin for the treatment Characterization of newer
of diabetes. Hence, insulin-mimetic Peroxovanadates and Study of their
action of peroxovanadium complexes Reactivity
is briefly reviewed in this Chapter.
Besides bio or abiomimetic catalysis, With the increased interest as
development of abio catalytic systems (i) model for vanadium haloperoxidase,
is yet another domain of contemporary (ii) compounds with insulin mimetic or
importance. This aspect, with reference antitumor activity and (iii)
to heterogeneous catalysis and its stoichiometric or catalytic oxidants of
direct bearing with Green Chemistry organic compounds, a myriad of
and Green Technology has been dully peroxovanadium compounds has been
projected in this Chapter. The potential studied in the last two and a half
advantages of heterogeneous catalyst decades. In continuation to our interest
in organic reactions are (a) good in the chemistry of peroxo and
dispersion of active sites, (b) heteroligand peroxo compounds, the
constraints of the pores, (c) easier and following work has been done as a part
safer to handle, d) easier to remove of the present Ph.D. research.
from the reaction mixture and (e)
reusability. Among various Accordingly, this Chapter
heterogeneous catalysts, the focuses on the synthesis and
importance of solid acid catalyst has characterization of newer peroxo-
been emphasized in this Chapter. The vanadium complexes with
effects of supported material in heteroligands such as 3,5-dimethyl
reactivity of solid acid catalysts have pyrazole and citric acid, at or near
physiological pH. Interestingly, while
been also discussed, synthesizing the abovementioned
highlighting the importance of alumina

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compounds, we have often


encountered the formation of a stable
µ-hydroxo peroxovanadate (V),
3-
[VO(O2)2(OH)(O2)2OV] species. This
observation and akinness of OH- to F-,
directed us to synthesize the
corresponding µ- fluoro complex.
The Chapter has been
subdivided into four subsections. The
first three subsections have been
organized to discuss the synthesis and
characterization of different
heteroperoxovanadates with
heteroligands like 3,5-dimethyl
pyrazole, citric acid and fluoride,
respectively, whereas in the fourth
subsection, the reactivities of all these
compounds have been illustrated.

3.1 Synthesis and Characterization


of Oxodiperoxo-dmpz-vanadates
(dmpz= 3,5 dimethylpyrazole)

The complexes Figure 1 Ortep diagrams and


DmpzH[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] (1), chemdraw structures of anion of
K[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] (2) and compound 1 and 3
Na2[V2O2(O2)4(dmpz)] (3), have been
synthesized from aqueous solutions.
Typically, V2O5 or AVO3 was reacted While compound 1 is a
with dimethyl pyrazole(dmpz) and diperoxo-pyrazole-vanadium anion
hydrogen peroxide at a pH ca. 5 or 5.5 with pyrazolium as the counter cation,
to afford yellow crystalline and compound 3 is a binuclear
microcrystalline compounds. peroxovanadate with two coodinatively
nonequivalent vanadium atoms and
Characterization of the
less commonly encountered µ-η1: η2-
compounds 1-3 was made by elemental
analysis, IR, Raman, UV-Vis and 1H O2 group. The binuclear unit with µ-
NMR spectroscopy. X-ray crystal η1: η2-O2 group in compound 3 is
structure determination of 1 and 3 has rather uncommon in vanadium
been carried out to delineate their chemistry.
structure. Compound 1 and 3 crystallize
dmpz, 50% H2O2 in the monoclinic P2(1)/c and
V2O5(aq. soln.) DmpzH[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] monoclinic
(1) C2/c, respectively. In case
K[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] (2) of compound 1, the basal positions are
dmpz, 50% H2O2
KVO3 (aq. soln.)
dmpz, 50% H2O2 occupied by pyrazole and two peroxo
NaVO3 (aq. soln.) groups and the distance of vanadium
Na2[V2O2(O2)4(dmpz)] (3)

Scheme -1
from the basal plane is 0.687 Å. The
V=O, V-O (peroxo) and V-N bond
lengths are 1.59 Å, 1.85-1.91 Å, 2.10
Å, respectively similar to those

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observed in some other vanadium cation has been found to be labile


complexes. Notably, these complexes between the nitrogen of pyrazole and
constitute examples of rather less the peroxodic oxygen thus, activating
frequently synthesized hexa- the peoxo group for nucleophilic attack.
coordinated peroxovanadates (V). Compound 3 having the µ-η1: η2-O2 is
The crystal structure of found to be more electrophilic than
compound 1 shows both intra and compound 2. The electron density of
intermolecular H-bonding (Figure the bridging peroxo group being pulled
2). As expected, the hydrogen from the by V(V) (d0-Lewis’ acid) makes the
protonated nitrogen in the ligated peroxo group more prone to
pyrazole forms H-bond with the nucleophilic attack.
peroxo group of neighboring Like Bisperoxovanadium
peroxovanadates (N-H···O2, 2.040 Å) imidazole monoanion, reported by
and the counter pyrazolium cation Crans et.al, (JACS, 1997, 119, 5447)
forms hydrogen bonds with two peroxo the compound 1 has been found to
groups (N-H···O2, 1.813 and 1.837 Å) show highly encouraging insulin
from different peroxo-vanadates. mimetic activity. Several in vitro as
well as in vivo experiments confirmed
glucose uptake upto 2800 µg/mL by
this compound.

Section 3.2 Synthesis and


Characterization of oxo-peroxo-
citrato-vanadates
Figure 2 Hydrogen bonding network
in complex 1 The synthesis of
citrato(peroxo)vanadates(V) has been
shown to be highly pH dependent.
Density Funtional Theory Reaction of aqueous solutions of
(DFT) has been used to investigate metavanadate or vanadium pentoxide
structural and electronic properties, with citric acid (CA) at ca. 4oC with
and reactivity of 1–3. Structure the molar ratio V: CA:: 1:1.5 for one
optimizations were performed using hour yielded the citratovanadates
both VWN and BLYP functionals. The A2[V2O4(C6H6O7)2].2H2O [A = Na(4),
bond lengths and angles matched with K(5), NH4(6)] whereas maintenance of
the experimental results. The the molar ratio of V: CA: H2O2 at 1:
electrophilicity of all complexes has 1.2 :4 results into citrato-
been calculated, and found to be 6.28, monoperoxovanadates,
1.84 and 5.19 for compounds 1, 2, and A2[V2O2(O2)2(C6H6O7)2].2H2O [A =
3, respectively. These results are in Na(7), K(8), NH4(9)]. The pH was
line with the results of our maintained in the range of 3-5 by
experimental studies, as discussed in adding the corresponding alkali
section 3.4 of this Chapter. solution, AOH (20% for A= Na or K;
In VHPO, the peroxo group is 2.5% for A= NH4). A similar reaction
activated by hydrogen bonding being with V: CA: H2O2 being maintained at
formed by amino acid side chains. 1: 1.2: 8 at pH 7.2 afforded
Compound 1 forms H-bonding with diperoxovanadates(V),
pyrazolium N-H (c.f. haloperoxidase Na3[VO(O2)2(C6H6O7)].4H2O (10).
+ +
structure). Further from DFT The corresponding K and NH4 salts
calculations, the proton of pyrazolium could not be synthesized as of now.

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Attempts to prepare these salts have


resulted to the µ-hydroxo
peroxovanadates. The pH at was fixed
at 7.2 in order to go close to the
physiological pH. Notably, the sodium
alt of citrato(diperoxo)vanadate(V) is
the first example of this kind. The
crystal structures of compound (4) and
(8) have revealed that the bond angles
and bond lengths are similar to those
reported earlier.

Section 3.3 Synthesis and Structural


Evaluation of µ-hydroxo and µ-
flouro peroxovanadates

The expedient synthesis of both


A3[VO(O2)2(OH)(O2)2OV], [A =
Na(11), K(12), NH4(13)] and
A3[VO(O2)2(F)(O2)2OV], [A = Na(14),
K(15), NH4(16)] require vanadium
pentoxide or metavanadate, hydrogen
peroxide, and alkali fluoride for the Figure 4 ORTEP diagrams of
later. The characterizations of all anions of complexes 12 and 14.
compounds were made by elemental
analysis, IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy.
X-ray crystal structure determinations Section 3.4 Studies of Reactivity
were done to delineate the structural
feature. Peroxo-metal complexes are
reported to bring about a variety of
Although the ORTEP diagrams
oxidation/ oxygen transfer reactions
of compound 12 and 14 show
such as sulfides to sufoxides and
symmetric dinuclear complexes, there
sulfones, hydrocarbons to alcohol,
are differences in the bond lengths and
olefins to epoxides, alcohols to
bond angles. The compounds 12 and
aldehydes and ketones. In this section
14 crystallize in the monoclinic space
reactivity of the newly synthesized
group P2(1)/c with four molecules in
complexes, DmpzH[VO(O2)2(dmpz)]
the unit cell. Each vanadium atom in
(1), K[VO(O2)2(dmpz)].H2O(2),
compound 12 and 14 are coordinated
Na2[V2O2(O2)4(dmpz)].H2O (3),
with two peroxo ligand in a C2v fashion
A2[V2O4(C6H6O7)2].2H2O [A = Na(4),
and one oxo group. However, the
K(5), NH4(6)],
differences in the structure come from
A2[V2O2(O2)2(C6H6O7)2].2H2O [A =
the presence of bridging hydroxo or
Na(7), K(8), NH4(9)],
fluoro group. An independent
Na3[VO(O2)2(C6H6O7)]. 4H2O (10),
confirmation of presence of fluorine
finally A3[VO(O2)2(OH)(O2)2OV] [A
was done by 19F NMR spectroscopy. A
= Na(11), K(12), NH4(13)], and
singlet peak at 77.6 ppm (with
A3[VO(O2)2(F)(O2)2OV] [A = Na(14),
reference to C6F6) was observed for
K(15), NH4(16)] has been carried out
compound 14 as well as for 15 and 16.
with respect to oxidation of bromide,

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sulfide, alcohol and also bromination extract bromide from “bittern” (Sea
of chalcones. water), the natural source of bromide
and also demonstrate a catalytic
An internal comparison of the
protocol for bromination of phenol
results has been made to enable us
with sea water without external
comment on their relative efficiency.
addition of Br -.
The reactivity order of the catalysts is
found to be as follows: In order to make the
presentation more articulate, this
Chapter has been divided into two
Na2[V2O2(O2)4(dmpz)] (3) >
DmpzH[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] (1) > sections. While Section 4.1 includes
K[VO(O2)2(dmpz)] the extraction of bromide from sea
(2) >
water as quaternary ammonium
Na3[VO(O2)2(C6H6O7)].4H2O (10) >
A2[V2O4(C6H6O7)2].2H2O [A = Na(4), tribromides followed by their
K(5), NH4(6)] characterization, the methodology for
>
A2[V2O2(O2)2(C6H6O7)2].2H2O (A = oxidative organic bromination of
Na(7), K(8), NH4(9) phenol without isolating the active
>
brominating species from sea water is
A3[VO(O2)2(OH)(O2)2OV], [A =
Na(11), K(12), NH4(13)] > incorporated in Section 4.2 of Chapter
A3[VO(O2)2(F)(O2)2OV], [A = Na(14), 4.
K(15), NH4(16)].
Section 4.1 Extraction of Bromide
from Sea bittern: An Eco-friendly
Chapter 4: Oxidative Extraction of Bio-mimetic Process
Bromide from ‘Sea Bittern’ and
Bromination of phenol directly with The detailed experimental
sea bittern by bio-mimicking procedure for extraction of bromide
catalysis has been laid out in this section.
It is now well established that Tetrabutyl ammonium tribromide
the naturally occurring bromoorganic (TBATB), benzyltrimethyl ammonium
compounds in marine aquatics are tribromide (BTMATB),
catalyzed by VBrPO enzymes in cetyltrimethylammonium tribromide
presence of H2O2 followed by (CTMATB), tetraethyl-ammonium
bromination of the organic substrates. tribromide (TEATB), and
However, synthetically bromoaromatic tetramethylammonium tribromide
compounds are prepared by (TMATB) have all been prepared from
bromination with molecular bromine sea water and characterized.
which has been a cause of great
environmental concern. Taking cues
from the bromoperoxidase activity and Catalyst, H2O2 , H+
keeping environmental safety in mind 3-4 hrs
in conjunction with knowledge and
experience that we gained in the
peroxovanadium chemistry, it was Figure 5 Pictorial representation of
possible to develop newer and eco- extraction of bromide from sea water
friendly brominating agents i.e.
tribromides, “the store house of A set of catalysts has been separately
bromine” and bromination protocols used to extract bromide from sea
from a solution of KBr or NH4Br. In bittern. Bromide (present as MgBr2)
the present Ph.D. work, like my was oxidized by H2O2 in presence of
predecessor, it has been possible to

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 60


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each catalyst and very dilute H2SO4. catalyzed by solid acids, nitration and
The efficacy of the catalysts was sufoxidation cannot be ignored.
assayed by the isolation of TBATB, Nitration of organic compounds
and then the best catalyst was occupies an important position in the
identified. chemical industries because
nitroaromatic compounds are
extensively utilized as chemical
Section 4.2. Direct Bromination of
feedstocks for a wide range of useful
Phenol with Sea bittern
materials. Likewise, sulfoxides are
This section is to demonstrate synthetically useful intermediates for
the bromination of phenol directly by the construction of various chemically
sea bittern as a representative example. and biologically active molecules
Several test runs have been carried out including therapeutic agents such as
and the reactions were monitored by anti-ulcer, antibacterial, antifungal,
GC to calculate the yield of the anti-athrosclertic and antihypertensive,
reaction. Generally, bromination of for instance. Hence selective oxidation
phenol results in mono-, di- as well as of organic sulfides to sulfoxides is a
tri- bromo phenol. However, pivotal reaction in the sphere of
controlling the experimental conditions, organic synthesis.
we have been able to obtain p-
This Chapter describes
bromophenol selectively with 70%
preparation and characterization of two
conversion. This appears to be a useful
newer solid acid catalysts followed by
observation.
their application in selected organic
transformations, viz. nitration of
Chapter 5: Development of Solid
organic compounds and oxidation of
acid Catalysts for Organic
thioethers.
Transformations
(a) Preparation and Characterization of
Heterogeneous catalysis is a rapidly Newer Solid Acid Catalysts
growing area as it assists in controlling
the environmental pollution. It has Two solid acid catalysts have been
many advantages like easy operation, developed by control heating and
separation, reusability and hence kneading of alumina or titania with
widely used in petrochemical phosphoric acid at a range of
industries. Among heterogeneous temperature 200-2200C. With the
catalysts, solid acids have been the specified molar ratio, this process
subject of most detailed and extensive resulted in the formation of Al(H-
studies. They have been introduced 2PO4)3, (A-cat) and
mainly to replace highly corrosive (TiO2)5.45[Ti4H11(PO4)9].4 H2O, (T-
mineral acids in reaction medium. cat) with alumina and titania,
Hence, they are the beginners to play a respectively. The catalysts were
significant role in the greening of fine characterized by chemical analysis as
and pharmaceutical chemical well as IR, powder XRD, SEM/EDAX,
manufacturing processes. In this regard, TG/DTG analysis.
several solid acid catalysts have been
developed for some organic (b) Nitration of Organic Compounds
transformations. While discussing with Nitric Acid
industrially important organic reactions
Both A-cat and T-cat serve as
efficient solid acid catalysts for

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 61


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nitration of a variety of organic Recently he completed his Ph.D.


substrates with nitric acid (70%) alone. working under the guidance of
The protocols are applicable to various Professor M. K. Chaudhuri at IITG. He
substituted aromatic and polyaromatic had a short stay at NEIST Jorhat
compounds. Substrates possessing (formerly RRL Jorhat) prior to
groups prone to oxidation preferably working at IITG. He has published six
get oxidized rather than being nitrated. papers in reputed international journals
and co-inventor of one Indian Patent.
(c) Chemoselective Sulfoxidation He attended several national and
with H2O2 or HNO3 international conferences including
CRSI 2007 in Delhi University,
A variety of organosulfur compounds PANIIT Global conference at
have been oxidized chemoselectively California, 59th meeting of Nobel
in presence of phosphate impregnated Laureates and students 2009 at Lindau
titania, i.e. T-cat. Terminal oxidant viz. Germany. Dr. Bharadwaj can be
HNO3 or H2O2, has been used. An reached at
internal comparison of the results saitanyabharadwaj@yahoo.co.in
points to the fact that T-cat/nitric acid
system oxidizes simple alkyl or aryl ----xxxx----
sulfides more efficiently and
selectively than the T-cat/hydrogen Thesis abstract of Pranjal Saikia,
peroxide system. These systems Ph.D.
chemoselectively oxidize sulfur in
presence of double bond, nitrile, Thesis Title: Preparation,
alcohol, aldehyde, benzylic methylene Characterization, and Evaluation of
and nitrogen or sulphur atoms in a Cerium Oxide Comprised Novel
heterocyclic position. Also oxidized Nanosized Composite oxides for
refractory sulfurs (DBT, 4-mehyl DBT Catalytic Applications
etc), these are very important as they
are found in transportation fuels. Research Guide: Dr. B. M. Reddy,
Glycosyl sulfide was easily oxidized to Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
the corresponding sulfoxide, which are Division, Indian Institute of Chemical
important in chemical glycosylation. Technology, Hyderabad, India.

About the author Ceria (CeO2) has been extensively


employed as an important component
of automotive three-way catalysts
(TWC) for reducing the exhaust
pollutants. Besides this, fuel cell
processes, oxygen permeation
membrane systems, deNOx catalysis,
exhaust combustion catalysts, and
catalytic wet oxidation signify the
applicability of the CeO2-based
materials. The most important
Saitanya Kumar Bharadwaj is characteristics for which CeO2 can act
currently working as a research as a promising catalyst for these
associate in the Chemical Engineering applications are elevated oxygen
Department of Indian Institute of transport capacity by forming labile
Technology Guwahati (IITG). oxygen vacancies and the redox couple

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 62


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Ce3+/Ce4+ with the ability of ceria to release of oxygen i.e., the oxygen
shift between CeO2 and Ce2O3. Despite mobility was proposed to be due to the
widespread applications, pure ceria is presence of O vacancies associated
poorly thermostable and undergoes with terbium incorporation to ceria
rapid sintering under high temperature lattice. The Tb takes part in the crystal
conditions, which leads to loss of defect generation and thereby O
oxygen buffer capacity and vacancies in ceria host by generating
deactivation of the catalysts. Therefore, strain in the lattice. The nature of
several attempts to overcome the support imposes a huge influence on
problem were made in the literature the physicochemical and catalytic
and are still a matter of interest. One properties of the oxide catalysts.
such approach is the substitution of Unsupported oxides are susceptible to
another metal or metal oxide into the a fall in the surface area and a decrease
ceria lattice, thereby facilitating the in the stability during high temperature
formation of mixed oxides. The applications. Therefore, investigation
combination of two metals in an oxide of CeO2-TbO2 mixed oxides on various
can lead to novel structural and supports is highly essential for better
electronic properties of the final oxide, catalytic evaluation. Motivated by
consequently favouring its catalytic these facts, preparation of various
activity and selectivity. Particle size, unsupported and supported CeO2-TbO2
phase modification, structural defects catalysts [CeO2-TbO2/M (M= Al2O3,
and chemical non-stoichiometry also SiO2, and TiO2)] was planned for the
influence the redox and catalytic present investigation. Modified
properties of the ceria and its aqueous coprecipitation and deposition
composite oxides. As a result, interest coprecipitation methods have been
to make nanosized materials other than utilised for the preparation of the
conventional ones is going on aforementioned catalysts. To study the
increasingly. Though several supported effect of the supports on sintering
and unsupported ceria-based mixed behaviour of the catalysts, prepared
metal oxides have been investigated, catalysts were subjected to different
the search for the second metal/metal calcination temperatures.
oxide to improve both the stability at Characterization of the catalysts has
high temperature and the chemical been carried out using various
activity, by introducing oxygen (O) techniques like thermal analysis (TG-
vacancies in the ceria is still a topic of DTA), X-ray diffraction (XRD),
intensive research. Considering this Raman spectroscopy (RS),
fact, the effect of a lanthanum like Tb transmission and high resolution
on the properties of Ce-based oxide is electron microscopy (TEM-HREM),
worth studying. It is already reported UVvisible diffuse reflectance
in the literature that incorporation of spectroscopy (UV-DRS), X-ray
terbium as promoter allows for an photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Ion
improvement of the redox performance scattering spectroscopy (ISS),
of M/CeO2-based catalysts. Regarding temperature programmed reduction-
oxidation-reduction, oxygen storage oxidation (TPR-TPO), and BET
capacity and a high ability to attenuate surface area (SA). All the synthesized
oscillations of oxygen partial pressure catalysts were evaluated for the
in the reacting environment, terbia potential oxygen storage capacity
modified ceria has been found to (OSC), and CO oxidation. Thus, the
posses better catalytic properties. The thesis primarily deals with the
enhanced capacity for storage and synthesis, characterization and activity

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 63


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of various unsupported and supported Chapter 3 deals with the preparation


ceria-terbia oxides aiming at the and intensive characterization of
enhancement of performance in terms CeO2–TbO2 mixed oxide by various
of thermal stability and catalytic point spectroscopic and non-spectroscopic
of view. The thesis has been organized techniques and the evaluation of the
into six individual chapters. catalyst system for OSC and CO
oxidation activity. The CeO2–TbO2
Chapter 1 comprised of a thorough (80:20 mol % based on oxides) catalyst
literature survey on ceria and its was prepared by an aqueous
composite oxides including structural, coprecipitation method. The sample
redox properties, and potential was subjected to heat treatments from
applications in catalysis with relevant 773 to 1073 K to have information on
references. A short introduction to its thermal stability. The XRD results
catalysis in general and heterogeneous suggest that the CeO2–TbO2 sample
catalysis in particular is also included. primarily consists of nanocrystalline
Importance of supported ceria-based cubic Ce–Tb oxides with composition
materials has been discussed at length Ce0.8Tb0.2O2 over all the calcination
in this chapter. The main objectives temperatures. The samples are
and the scope of the present thermally quite stable and no phase
investigation are also clearly outlined. segregation was observed up to the
calcination temperature of 1073 K. The
Chapter 2 deals with the experimental Raman measurements revealed the
procedures and the techniques existence of cubic ceria-terbia phase
employed in this investigation. The and establish the generation of defects
details pertaining to the preparative in the lattice leading to the formation
methodologies employed to obtain the of oxygen vacancies. The XPS line
unsupported and supported ceria-terbia shapes and the corresponding binding
mixed oxides are presented with energies indicated that the Ce and Tb
appropriate references in this chapter. are present in both 3+ and 4+ oxidation
The experimental details related to states, the latter being predominant.
BET SA, TG-DTA, XRD, RS, UV- Ar-ISS measurements indicated no
DRS, XPS, ISS, and TPR-TPO surface enrichment of ceria on the
techniques are given with necessary surface of the mixed oxide. It could be
theoretical background. The confirmed from the plot of intensity
experimental aspects of the potential ratio of Tb/Ce versus number of scans,
oxygen storage capacity measurements which gave a parallel pattern (Fig. 1).
and CO oxidation reaction are also The TEM-HREM results confirmed
described in detail in this chapter. that the Ce-Tb-oxide nanocrystals have
average particle dimension of ~5-6 nm
when treated at 773 K, and there was a
nominal increase in the particle size
upon subjecting the catalyst system to
1073 K (Fig. 2). The experimental
images revealed that the Ce-Tb-oxides
are mainly in the cubic geometry. The
UV-vis DRS measurements confer
information about Ce4+ ← O2− and
Fig. 1: ISS pattern of Ce-Tb mixed Ce3+ ← O2− charge transfer transitions.
oxide The redox nature of the system was

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studied with the help of TPR-TPO of oxygen vacancies leading to the


measurements. defective structure formation is
revealed by Raman spectroscopic
analysis. Both Ce and Tb are present in
3+ and 4+ oxidation states, as revealed
by the XPS measurements. The
predominance of 4+ states in both the
cases is disclosed.

Fig. 2: TEM-HREM pattern of Ce-Tb


mixed oxide calcined at 1073 K

The reduction temperature of the Ce-


Tb-oxide was observed to be lower
than that of the pure ceria and
exhibited better redox properties even
after severe heat treatment. The OSC Fig. 3: CO oxidation activity of Ce-
of the resultant solid solution, Tb/Al2O3 mixed oxide
measured by a thermogravimetric Very interestingly, Ar-ISS
method, is found to be quite high measurement indicated surface
thereby leading to remarkable CO enrichment of ceria on the surface of
oxidation activity (100% conversion at the mixed oxide. This may lead to
773 K). The results are correlated well enhanced catalytic activity of the
with the structural characterization catalyst system. The TEM-HREM
data. All the results pertaining to results ascertained the formation of
CeO2–TbO2 catalysts are compiled in nanometer sized mixed oxides of Ce-
this chapter. Tb. The grain size does not increase
above 10 nm upon increasing the
Chapter 4 deals with structural and calcination temperature from 773 to
redox characteristics of CeO2– 1073 K. The UV-vis DRS
TbO2/Al2O3 samples and their measurements disclose information
evaluation for OSC and CO oxidation about the lowering of symmetry and
activity. The CeO2–TbO2/Al2O3 consequent strain development at the
composite oxide (80:20:100 mol % cerium sites. The TPR-TPO analyses
based on oxides) was obtained by a shows that the reduction temperature
deposition coprecipitation method. The of the system is substantially low and
addition of alumina resulted into even after severe heat treatment its
remarkable stabilization of CexTb1–xO2 redox property remains intact. The
nano-crystals against thermal sintering OSC as well as the CO oxidation
at higher temperatures. Alumina activity (Fig. 3) of the resultant system
remains as an inert carrier and does not is found to be quite remarkable. More
form any unfavorable inert compounds details pertaining to this interesting
with ceria or terbia. The XRD analysis catalytic system are presented in this
of the sample calcined at 773 K chapter.
revealed the presence of a cubic phase
with the composition Ce0.8Tb0.2O2. Chapter 5 deals with the preparation
There is no evidence for phase and physicochemical characterization
segregation up to the calcination of CeO2–TbO2/SiO2 catalysts by
temperature of 1073 K. The presence
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 65
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various spectroscopic and non- to be quite remarkable. All the results


spectroscopic techniques and their in details pertaining to this catalyst
evaluation for OSC and CO oxidation system are compiled in this chapter.
activity. The CeO2–TbO2/SiO2
(80:20:100 mol % based on oxides)
was obtained by an aqueous deposition
coprecipitation method. These samples
were subjected to various thermal
treatments. The addition of silica
remarkably enhances the surface area
of the final catalyst. The XRD results
suggest that the CeO2–TbO2/SiO2
sample primarily consists of
Fig. 4: XRD of Ce-Tb/SiO2 mixed
nanocrystalline cubic Ce–Tb oxides
oxide calcined at different
with composition Ce0.8Tb0.2O2 over the
temperatures. (C and T are the patterns
amorphous SiO2 surface at all the
for pure ceria and terbia respectively)
calcination temperatures investigated
(Fig. 4). However, the peak widths of
the nanosized materials are so large
that it is not easy to draw an exact
statement whether small amounts of
segregated phases are present or not.
The Raman measurements also
revealed the existence of cubic ceria-
terbia phase and indicated the
formation of oxygen vacancies as a
result of lattice defects formation. The
XPS patterns indicated that the Ce and
Tb are present in both 3+ and 4+
oxidation states. However, stabilization Fig. 5: Raman spectral patterns of Ce-
of Ce(III) was observed at higher Tb/TiO2 mixed oxide calcined at
calcination temperatures. The TEM- different temperatures. (C and T are
HREM results pertaining to CeO2– the patterns for pure ceria and terbia
TbO2/SiO2 indicated well-dispersed respectively)
Ce–Tb oxide nanocrystals (~3 nm)
over the surface of amorphous SiO2 Chapter 6 deals with the preparation,
matrix when treated at 773 K, and structural evolution and catalytic
there was no apparent increase in the activity (OSC and CO oxidation) of
crystallite size upon subjecting to 1073 CeO2–TbO2/TiO2 samples. The CeO2–
K. The experimental images revealed TbO2/TiO2 composite oxide
that the Ce–Tb- oxides are mainly in (80:20:100 mol % based on oxides)
the cubic geometry and exhibit high was obtained by a deposition
thermal stability. The UV-vis DRS coprecipitation method. The addition
measurements disclose information of titania resulted into enhancement of
about Ce4+ ← O2− and Ce3+ ← O2− surface area of the final catalyst. In this
charge transfer transitions. The TPR- case, the XRD results suggest that the
TPO analyses indicated the interesting mixed oxide calcined at 773 K
redox property of the catalyst system. primarily consists of poorly crystalline
The OSC as well as the CO oxidation mixed oxides of Ce-Tb and TiO2-
activity of the resultant system is found anatase phase and a better

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 66


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

crystallization of these oxides occur storage capacity of all the systems is


with increasing calcination temperature. substantially high, alumina supported
At high temperatures, however, titania ceria-terbia system being the best one.
does not remain as an inert carrier and Accordingly, all combinations have
form unfavorable compounds with shown potential catalytic activity for
ceria or terbia (as shown by the newly CO oxidation. In terms of conversion
formed Raman peaks marked in Fig. 5). as well as light-off temperature (50%
The exact composition of the newly conversion), all the investigated
formed compound(s), however, could combinations could be promising
not be confirmed by XRD and Raman catalysts for use in modern TWC
measurements. formulations.

The XPS measurements About the author:


indicated that the Ce and Tb are
present in both 3+ and 4+ oxidation
states, the latter being predominant.
The HREM results ascertained the
formation of nanometer sized mixed
oxides of Ce-Tb, whose grain size does
not increase above 11 nm upon
increasing the calcinations temperature
from 773 to 1073 K. Information about
Dr. Saikia was born in Na Ali
the lowering of symmetry and
Dhekiajuli, Jorhat. He received B.Sc.
consequent strain development at the
(Chemistry) degree from N.N. Saikia
cerium sites could be obtained from
College, Titabar and M.Sc. (Inorganic
the UV-vis DRS measurements. The
Chemistry) degree from Cotton
TPR-TPO analyses show the high
College, Guwahati. He was a recipient
reducibility of the system and even
of NET-JRF (CSIR) fellowship in the
after severe heat treatment the redox
year 2004. He obtained his Ph.D.
property remains intact. The OSC as
degree from Osmania University,
well as the CO oxidation activity of the
Hyderabad in 2009. He completed his
resultant system is found to be quite
thesis work at Indian Institute of
remarkable. More details pertaining to
Chemical Technology (IICT),
this interesting catalytic system are
Hyderabad under the supervision of Dr.
presented in this chapter.
B.M. Reddy. He was a DST-DAAD
Exchange fellow to Ruhr University,
The satisfactory outcome of the
Bochum, Germany for three months.
thesis work eventually leads us to the
He has worked as a post doctoral
consensus that using soft chemical
fellow at University of Cincinnati,
routes nanometer sized ceria-terbia and
USA.
different supported ceria-terbia mixed
----xxxx----
oxide solid solutions could be
successfully synthesized. * Every time you smile at someone, it
Physicochemical characterization of all is an action of love, a gift to that
the catalyst formulations showed that person, a beautiful thing.
the systems are thermally quite stable,
and possess very high surface area. * Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has
Remarkable redox property was not yet come. We have only today.
disclosed by the catalysts even after Let us begin.
severe heat treatment. The oxygen ---Mother Teresa

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 67


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

9. MEMBER’S FACE
1. Dr. Bipul Ch. Sarma, 2. Ms. Bulumoni Kalita

Ms Bulumoni Kalita is presently


Bipul Ch. Sarma, son of Gobinda Nath working as a CSIR senior research
Sarma and Ranu Debi, was born in fellow at Department of Chemical
Malikuchi, Nalbari District of Assam, Sciences, Tezpur University (TU),
India. He received his primary and Assam. She obtained her B.Sc. degree
secondary school education in Nalbari. in Physics from Cotton College,
He then completed his intermediate Guwahati (First class with distinction;
education from Nalbari College, and B. 2000) and M.Sc. in Physics
Sc. from B. Borooah College, specializing in Condense Matter and
Guwahati. After the completion of his High Energy Physics from Gauhati
M.Sc. (in Organic Chemistry) from University (First class 2nd position;
Cotton College, Gauhati University, 2003). She worked at Physics
Guwahati, in 2003, he joined as junior Department of Indian Institute of
research fellow in a DST sponsored Technology, Guwahati for a couple of
project at Indian Institute of months as research fellow.
Technology, Guwahati under the Subsequently, she joined the research
supervision of Prof. J. B. Baruah group of Dr. Ramesh Ch. Deka in 2005
during February 2004 to June 2004 and in the Department of Chemical
then he moved to the School of Sciences, TU as a junior research
Chemistry, University of Hyderabad to fellow and shortly submitting her
pursue the Ph.D. degree in 2004 under thesis entitled “Structural and
the supervision of Prof. Ashwini Electronic Properties of Bare and
Nangia. He qualified CSIR-UGC- Supported -Palladium Nanoclusters: A
National Eligibility Test for Junior Density Functional Approach”. Before
Research Fellowship (JRF) held in her doctoral studies she qualified
June 2003 and was awarded research CSIR-UGC NET and GATE
fellowship by the Council of Scientific examination in 2004 and 2005,
and Industrial Research (CSIR) during respectively. Her principal research
2004-2009 (JRF and SRF). He is the interests lie in the fields of
recipient of Dr. K. V. Rao Scientific computational study of small metal
Society Annual Research Awards for clusters and related to that. She is
Young Scientist 2009 under the currently investigating the structural
category of Chemistry and Allied and electronic properties of palladium
Sciences. Recently he completed his nanoclusters as well as their interaction
Ph.D. thesis entitled "Structural and with small probe molecules viz. carbon
Thermal Analysis of Organic Solids" monoxide, oxygen etc. via density
and published over nine articles in the functional methods. She has extended
reputed international journals. her study to understand the changes in

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 68


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

various structural and electronic Recently, he has received the 2009


properties of some of the stable OSA Foundation travel grant of $ 1000
palladium clusters on zeolite support in order to attend an international
and their role in catalytic activities. conference in USA. His research
Her research has been published in interests are:
prestigious journals like Journal of • Holographic data storage and
American Chemical Society, Journal of content-addressable searching, Volume
Physical Chemistry C, etc. She has holographic correlators, Imaging
attended and presented her work at through volume holography.
various national and international • Digital holography and three-
conferences. dimensional imaging, digital
holographic microscopy, digital
3. Mr. Bhargab Das holography for bio-medical imaging.
• Have strong desire to work in
the field of 3D imaging through
holographic techniques, 3D image
processing, 3D displays and integral
imaging.
• He also has interests in
various interdisciplinary studies.
Availability of informative literature
and multidisciplinary atmosphere at
Bhargab Das was born on 16th May, IIT Delhi has also attracted him
1979 at Gauripur, Dist. Dhubri, Assam. towards the fascinating fields of
He did his schooling from P. C. biomedical imaging, biophotonics,
Institution H. S. School. Then he medical optics, nanophotonics etc.
completed his Higher Secondary and
Bachelor’s Degree from B. N. College, 4. Ms Moyurima Borthakur
Dhubri. He has completed Master’s
degree in Physics from Gauhati
University, Guwahati, Assam in March
2003. In January 2005, he joined
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in
order to pursue Ph.D. degree in
Photonics. Shortly, he is going to
submit his thesis entitled
“Investigations on high density
holographic data storage and content- Ms Moyurima Borthakur was born and
addressable search” working jointly brought up in Jorhat, Assam did her
under the guidance of Dr. Joby Joseph schooling from Hemalata Handique
(Associate Professor, Physics Memorial Institute, Jorhat and
Department, IIT Delhi) and Prof. completed her higher secondary (1998)
Kehar Singh (Emeritus Fellow, from Jagannath Baruah College, Jorhat.
Physics Department, IIT Delhi). He She obtained her B.Sc. degree in
has published 6 research articles in Chemistry from Govt. Science College,
peer reviewed international journals Jorhat (First class 2nd position; 2001)
and presented 7 papers in various and M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from
international/national conferences. He Gauhati University (First class 1st
qualified GATE in 2003 and CSIR- position; 2003). In 2004, she joined
UGC NET in December 2003. North East Institute of Science and

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 69


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Technology (NEIST), Jorhat and not worth knowing, life would not be
started her Ph.D. work as CSIR-JRF worth living.
(2005) under the guidance of Dr. Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912)
Romesh Chandra Boruah, Sc-G, Head French mathematician.
of Medicinal Chemistry Division. She
has completed her thesis work on Science is not formal logic–it needs the
“Studies on Conjugated Carbonyl free play of the mind in as great a
Compounds and Related Systems. degree as any other creative art. It is
Synthesis of Some Steroidal Aza true that this is a gift which can hardly
Heterocycles.” Her research work was be taught, but its growth can be
designed to utilize conjugated carbonyl encouraged in those who already
compounds for the synthesis of some posses it.
novel steroidal and non-steroidal aza Max Born (1882-1970) German
heterocycles using newer Physicist. Nobel Prize, 1954.
methodologies. Her work was further
extended towards the bioreduction of ... they are ill discoverers that think
organic compounds. She has published there is no land when they can see
several papers in international referred nothing but sea.
journals along with some Indian Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Patents being filed. She has attended English essayist, philosopher.
and presented at many places in India
on her work at many national and One thing that makes the adventure of
international conferences. She was working in our field particularly
awarded the Best Performing SRF of rewarding, especially in attempting to
NEIST, Jorhat for the year 2008-09. improve the theory, is that... a chief
Very soon, she will be joining as a criterion for the selection of a correct
Research Scientist at Jubilant Chemsys, hypothesis... seems to be the criterion
Noida. of beauty, simplicity, or elegance.
----xxxx---- Murray Gell-Mann (1929- ) U. S.
Physicist (Nobel Prize, 1969).
BEAUTY IN SCIENCE
All of physics is either impossible or
I do not know what I may appear to the trivial. It is impossible until you
world; but to myself I seem to have understand it, and then it becomes
been only like a boy playing on the trivial.
seashore, and diverting myself in now Ernest Rutherford (1871- 1937)
and then finding of a smoother pebble English physicist, born in New
or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst Zealand. Nobel prize for chemistry
the great ocean of truth lay all 1908.
undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) The aim of science is to seek the
English physicist, mathematician. simplest explanation of complex facts.
We are apt to fall into the error of
The scientist does not study nature thinking that the facts are simple
because it is useful; he studies it because simplicity is the goal of our
because he delights in it, and he quest. The guiding motto in the life of
delights in it because it is beautiful. If every natural philosopher should be
nature were not beautiful, it would not ``Seek simplicity and distrust it.''
be worth knowing, and if nature were Alfred North Whitehead (1861-
1947) English mathematician.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 70


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10. READER`S PAGE


Abdul Wahab newsletter of the forum. I have been
J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical associated with the forum from its
Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of inception in 2004. Initially we had very
the Czech Republic, Prague few members, but at present the forum
has 308 members after five years of its
I am not sure about the quality birth. We have been organizing couple
of the materials of NE Quest issues. of discussions through the forum in
But a striking trend is clear after the different times and taking steps for its
release of 10 issues so far. When the development. Recently some forum
NE Quest was started there were cells have also been started in the
around 100 members and the number universities and colleges of north east
of articles published at the beginning with the initiative of some of the senior
issues were 10−11. Now after 3 years, forum members. We would like to set
forum members are swelled to more up many more in the near future. And
than 300, but unfortunately the also we are planning to make an
numbers of article contribution are advisory board for the N.E. Quest soon
decreasing to 5−6. So this is not a after discussion for maintaining the
healthy sign for a vibrant forum. quality of contents in the newsletter.
Therefore, I request valuable members However, it is very unfortunate that we
for more participation, may be with have received meagre response for
smaller articles, because no body articles, science news and even for
publish here their original research or views and comments on the forum and
results. N.E. Quest. Therefore, I request all the
respected members to contribute to
make the newsletter a successful one.
Buljit Buragohain
Research Scholar, Centre for Energy,
Indian Institute of Technology
Guwahati, Assam

I am very happy to become a member


of the NE India Research Forum. It is
really a very good initiative. The aim
of the forum is praiseworthy. The
newsletter "The N. E. Quest" published
by NE India Research Forum is
very informative. It will be very
helpful to the students of North East
India, if we print the newsletter and
distribute in the libraries of
colleges and universities.

Editorial Addition

It is my great pleasure to write a few


lines on the North East India Research
Forum and the N.E. Quest, the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 71


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11. HIGHER STUDIES ABRAOD


Country: Japan

Top 30 Japanese Universities:

1. University of Tokyo http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/index_e.html


2. Kyoto University http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en
3. Osaka University http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en
4. Tokyo Institute of Technology http://www.titech.ac.jp/english/
5. Tohoku University http://www.tohoku.ac.jp/english/
6. Keio University http://www.keio.ac.jp/
7. Kyushu University http://www.kyushu-u.ac.jp/english/index.php
8. Nagoya University http://www.nagoya-u.ac.jp/en/
9. Hokkaido University http://www.hokudai.ac.jp/index-e.html
10. Tsukuba University http://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/english/
11. Kobe University http://www.kobe-u.ac.jp/en/
12. Chiba University http://www.chiba-u.ac.jp/e/
13. Waseda University http://www.waseda.jp/top/index-e.html
14. Hiroshima University http://www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/
15. Kanazawa University http://www.kanazawa-u.ac.jp/e/
16. Okayama University http://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/index_e.html
17. Tokyo University of Science http://www.sut.ac.jp/en/
18. Tokyo Metropolitan University http://www.metro-u.ac.jp/index-e.html
19. Tokyo Medical and Dental University
http://www.tmd.ac.jp/TMDU-e/
20. Osaka City University http://www.osaka-cu.ac.jp/english/
21. Niigata University http://www.niigata-u.ac.jp/index_e.html
22. Kumamoto University http://www.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/univ-e.html
23. Tokushima University http://www.tokushima-u.ac.jp/english/
24. Osaka Prefectural University http://www.osakafu-u.ac.jp/english/
25. Gifu University http://www.gifu-u.ac.jp/english/
26. Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
http://www.tuat.ac.jp/index-e.html
27. Yokohama National University http://www.ynu.ac.jp/index_en.html
28. Yamaguchi University http://www.yamaguchi-u.ac.jp/english/
29. Nagoya City University http://www.nagoya-cu.ac.jp/english/
30. Kagoshima University http://www.kagoshima-u.ac.jp/contents/english/

Internationally Reputed National Laboratories (Selected)

1. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)


http://www.aist.go.jp/index_en.html
2. National Institute for Materials Science http://www.nims.go.jp/eng/
3. RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research)
http://www.riken.go.jp/engn/index.html
4. National Institutes of Natural Sciences http://orbitalphase.com/english/index.html
5. National Institute for Environmental Studies
http://www.nies.go.jp/index.html

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 72


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

12. OPPORTUNITIES/ ADVERTISEMENTS/


CONFERENCES
Commonwealth Split-site Doctoral Scholarship for Indian Students 2010

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, United Kingdom has offered


Commonwealth Split-site Doctoral Scholarships tenable in the United Kingdom for
the year 2009-2010. These scholarships are available in all disciplines including
Medicine and Dentistry.

Eligibility: Citizen and Residency: Candidates should be citizen of India.

Qualification Requirement : Hold by 1st October 2010, a first degree of upper second
class Honours standard (or above) or a second class degree and a relevant
postgraduate qualification which will normally be a Master’s degree AND in the
fields of medicine and dentistry, have qualified between 1 October 2000 and 1
October 2005.
Duration: 12 months period of study or two six months periods.
Please follow the link below: http://www.ugc.ac.in/more/splitedoctoralship.pdf

PhD position in Bioinformatics/ Molecular Evolution, ETH Zurich

Three-year Ph.D. studentship is available at the Computational Biochemistry


Research Group (CBRG), department of Computer Science at the Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), highly reputable internationally. CBRG is a
member of the Swiss Bioinformatics Institute (SIB) and benefits from SIB training
courses and networking.

Successful candidates will have a strong background in bioinformatics, computer


science, statistics, and/or computational biology. Fluency in a major scripting
language, and experience in software development is a must. Some background in
biology is desirable, but interest in biology and bioinformatics is required. Candidates
should be highly motivated and have the ability to work independently. As the
research will involve a mix of disciplines, candidates with experience in several fields
will be preferred (bioinformatics, genetics, protein structure, computational science,
mathematics, physics, statistics).
The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr Maria Anisimova, whose interests
include a variety of topics in Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics.

To apply, please send a single PDF file to maria.anisimova@inf.ethz.ch containing:

* CV (with publication list if applicable)


* a scanned academic transcript (list of grades in university courses)
* a short statement of research interests, mentioning research topics of master/diploma
theses (not exceeding two pages)
* three references
Please mention “PhD position” in the subject of your e-mail. The position is open
until filled (but quick response is recommended).
N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 73
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Postdoctoral Fellow, Touro University California

Touro University - California has a postdoctoral fellowship available immediately in


the lab of Miriam Gochin, in development of fusion inhibitors active against HIV.
Further information on the lab can be obtained from our website:
http://209.209.34.25/webdocs/TUResearch/MGochin.htm
The position requires a PhD, preferably in chemistry, analytical chemistry or
biochemistry, and experience in working with peptides, and with biophysical
techniques and analysis including fluorescence, NMR, and kinetics. Experience in
macromolecular NMR structure determination is a plus. Please send a cover letter,
resume and list of three references to miriam.gochin@tu.edu.
Contact: Human Resources, Touro University California, Vallejo, CA, United States
Email: miriam.gochintu.edu

Postdoctoral position, University of Oklahoma

Postdoctoral positions are available in the fields of bionanotechnology and


nanomedicine. The successful candidates will have an opportunity to work on cancer
treatment or tissue regeneration in a multidisciplinary group and at the interface of
nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. The postdocs will work on one of the
following projects: use biological nanofibers for bone tissue engineering; use
nanoparticles and phage display to develop novel cancer therapeutics and gene
delivery carriers; use nanotechnology to treat myocardial ischemia.
Please visit research website: http://chem.ou.edu/Details/Chuanbin-Mao.html.
Applications should be e-mailed to cbmao@ou.edu.

Contact: Chuanbin Mao, Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma,


Norman, OK 73019, United States.

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13. THROUGH THE LENSE OF MEMBERS

Beauty of being together by Md. H. Rasid Castle in a Swedish village by A. Adhikari

Gift of nature…by P. Bharali

Jhanji river, Assam & Portrait of a village by K. Gogoi

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 76


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N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 3, October 2009 77


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Related Interests