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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 1

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum


N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 2

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Education and Development examination. After HS most of the so-

Can we imagine an India where called brilliant students join professional
every child will get best education and courses. Over the years the social mindset
best facilities where they can narrate their has been developed in such a way that
skills to performance; there will be no parents encourage and force their child to
school drop-outs, no child labor; no become doctor and engineer. Nobody
pressure from the parents to their child to encourage the students to pursue career in
become doctors, engineers and MNC basic science. Without a much deeper pool
professionals! And more importantly there of educated youth in basic science, India
will be no wastage of human resource! may definitely see its gains in software
Now look at the reality. Despite the and manufacturing are evaporating. These
success of a few world-class schools such days government is investing a lot in basic
as the IITs, MITs, India's education system sciences. These are very good steps
is in a dismal state overall. The elementary indeed. But without good quality
education is deliberately destroyed. Of its elementary and high school situation will
1 million schools, most are state-run and not change.
substandard. Therefore many parents want The picture of Northeast India is
to transfer their child to a private school, more serious. Most of educated youths of
whatever the cost. The situation of middle this region remain unemployed. There is
and high school is also very pathetic. The no any proper planning for the utilization
education system is calculatingly of huge natural resources and farming
commercialized and present education field. The menace of corruption brings
system has purposefully detached mother- immense hurdle in development. These are
tongue, history, and geography from the the root cause of youth unrest and
present generation. By 2050, the Indian insurgency. Only a proper scientific and
population will hit 1.57 billion. According prudent education policy will help to
to India's census bureau, 40% of the overcome these problems. At this
populace is below the age of 18, and by juncture, members of Northeast India
2015, 55% will be under 20. Unfortunately Research Forum have to play an effective
India will easily squander its demographic role at their level for the uplift of this
edge. While 96% of India's children enrol region, particularly in education and
in primary school, by the age of 10 about research.
40% have dropped out. Many of them
Dr. Utpal Bora
were unable to cross the barrier of HSLC

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 3

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

by Dr. Kamalesh Prasad


by Dr. Anupom Sabhapondit
By Dr. Binoy K Saikia
By Dr. Suranjana V. Mayani and Dr. Vishal J. Mayani

By Dr. Manab Sarma


By Dr. Saikat Dassharma


By Bhaskar Bora


by Arinjit Hazarika

6) Letter from the members 52

by Dr. Saitanya K Bharadwaj
7) Members Face 53
8) Opportunities/Advertisements/Conferences 54

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 4

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

4. Corruption = 18%
North East India Research Forum was 5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4%
created on 13 November 2004.
• Which area of science is going to dominate
by creating a great impact on society in next
1. How we are growing.
Every forum has to pass through difficult phases
1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology =
at the time of birth. NE India Research Forum is
also no exception. At the very beginning, it was
2. Biotechnology = 11%
a march hardly with few members (from
3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
chemistry only) and today the forum comprised
4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
of a force of 350 elite members. Now we are in a
5. Medicine = 11%
position such that people voluntarily come and
6. Others = 16%
join the group irrespective of disciplines.
7. None = 0%

• Kindly let us know your view regarding the

following topic. What activities of this group
you like most?

1. Research articles = 33%

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

3. Poll conducted and results 1. Every 3 months = 61%

2. Every 6 months = 38%
• North East India is lacking behind the rest 3. Once a year = 0%
of the country due to-
4. Editors of Previous NE-Quest Issues
1. Geographical constrain = 0%
2. Bad leadership = 40% 1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007
3. Lack of work culture = 36% Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 5

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007 • Help master’s students in doing projects in

Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath different organisation-proposed by Dr.
3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007 Khirud Gogoi.
Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur
4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008 • Supporting schools in rural areas by
Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia different ways.
5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008
Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka • Best paper awards.
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008
Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi • Compilation of book on ‘Education system
7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008 of different countries’. Initiative for this
Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan project is taken by Dr. Mantu Bhuyan,
8. Vol 2 Issue 4 January 2009 NEIST, Jorhat, Assam
Editor: Dr. Manab Sharma 7. New activity
9. Vol 3 Issue 1 April 2009
Editor: Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam • Guidelines for the members are being
10. Vol 3 Issue 2 July 2009 formulated by the moderators of the NE
Editor: Dr. Robert Singh Thangjam India Research Forum. These guidelines are
11. Vol 3 Issue 3 October 2009 placed in the forum for discussion.
Editor: Dr. Pankaj Bharali • HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd is willing to
12. Vol 3 Issue 4 January 2010 sponsor some future activities of the forum
Editor: Dr. Abdul Wahab and have asked for space to advertise for
13. Vol 4 Issue 1 April 2010 their products in the N.E.Quest. Starting this
Editor: Dr. Utpal Bora (This issue) issue (July 2009) N.E.Quest is providing one
page for the advertisement. Details about
this deal will be informed soon once
5. A domain in the name of www. finalised. Thanks to Dr. Robert Thangjam is booked. for his initiative in this matter.
• North East India Research Forum cell has
6. Future activities been started in the following colleges,
• Cell in the Dibrugarh University
Proper planning and consequent implementation
always play an important role in every aspect. Contact: Dr. Jitu Ranjan Chetia
Some of the topics / activities / suggestions Dept. of Chemistry
which were being discussed, time to time in the Email:
forum will get top priorities in our future • Cell in Tezpur University
activities. Those are mentioned here, Contact: Dr. Ashim J. Thakur
Dept. of Chemistry
• Preparing complete online database of N.E.
researchers with details.
Phone: +91 (3712) 267008/9/10 extn
• Organising conference in the N.E. region-
• Cell in Manipur University
proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora.
Contact: Dr. Debananda S. Ningthoujam
• Research collaboration among forum Coordinator, Microbial Biotech Lab
members. Reader & Head, Dept of Biochemistry,
Manipur University, Canchipur,
• Motivate student to opt for science Imphal, India Email:

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 6

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

• Cell in Mizoram University 8. Guidelines for the forum

Contact: Dr. Thangjam Robert Singh
Assistant Professor, Department of The moderators formulated some guidelines
Biotechnology, Mizoram University, for the forum which are as follow. These
Aizawl, India guidelines were kept open for discussion in
Email: the forum. With time and need the
Phone: +91 389-2330861/2330859 (O) guidelines will be changed.
• Cell in Govt. Science College, Jorhat
(Jorhat Institute of Technology) 1. Anybody in the forum can start a
Contact: Mr. Prasanta Kumar Bordoloi, meaningful and constructive discussion
Senior Lecturer after discussion with moderators.
Email: 2. Comments from the individual members
Mobile: +91-9957036339 do not necessarily reflect the view of the
• Cell in Arya Vidyapeth College, forum.
Guwahati 3. No single moderator can take a crucial
Contact: Mr. Pabitra Kalita, decision. All decision would be taken by
Senior Lecturer the moderators unanimously or together
Email: with the group as majority.
Mobile No: +91-9613133859 4. One should not write any massage to the
&Dr. Pradip Bhattacharyya, forum addressing some particular
Senior Lecturer members. It should always start with
Email: Dear all / Dear esteemed members etc.
Mobile No: +91-9864087494 5. If one has to write a mail to a particular
• Cell in Pandu College, Pandu member she/he should write personal
Contact: Mr. Sanchay Jyoti Bora mail.
Lecturer, Department of Chemistry 6. Everyone has the freedom to speak but
E-mail: that doesn’t mean that one should attack
Mobile: (+91) 9854078814 personally. Of course we do have
• Cell in Bajali college, Pathsala differences. There can be debate or
Contact: Mr. Arindam Talukdar, discussion, but it should always be a
Lecturer, Environment and Tourism healthy one. One’s personal comment
Dept. should be written in such a way that it
reflects his/her view only. It should not
&Mr. Satyendra Nath Kalita,
Lecturer, Deptt. of Zoology touch other's sentiments/emotions.
Email: 7. Whenever we are in a forum, society,
home, members should be sensitive /
To run the forum smoothly, to make it more caring enough to their comments so that
organised and to speed up activities, formation it does not hurt sentiment of any second
of a committee/team is essential. members.
The combined discussion of the moderators and 8. Members should not post greetings
senior members make the forum feel the
importance of Advisors, co-ordinator, volunteer,
messages (Bihu wish, New Year wish
webmasters etc. Of course it needs more etc) to the forum.
discussion and will be approved by poll. 9. Members should post authentic news
only. The source of the news should be
authentic. No controversial news or

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 7

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

comment should be posted to the violates copyright act. So please send

forum. the article to the person who requests not
10. Our main aim is to discuss science to to everybody through this open forum.
generate science consciousness,
scientific temperament, sensitivity,
awareness and research for the benefit of Ancient Indian Science
the mankind in general and North East
Baudhãyana Theorem
India in particular.
11. In severe cases, moderators can take a
hard decision unanimously or majority
wise (may be through poll). (This point
needs to be accepted by all the
“The diagonal of a rectangle produces
both areas which its length and breadth
produce separately”
While sending request or while fulfilling
request for articles please follow the
following points.
• The forum has been formed to help each
other. When a member requests
articles/literature to forum, members of
the forum are always happy to help the
person by supplying the articles. But at
this stage we have to keep in mind that
the article should be sent to the person
who requested it, not to the whole forum AC2 = AB2 + BC2
as it creates lots of unnecessary mails in
the message box of the forum. Moreover
Baudhayana, (circa 800 BC), was a
if it continues, it becomes an irritation
Vedic Indian learned man, likely a
also for many members.
priest and mathematician. He is the
• It is also the duty of the person who author of one of the earliest and most
requests article to acknowledge the important Sulbasutras — appendices to
person who helped him/her. This can be the Vedas giving rules for the
done by writing ' Request fulfilled construction of altars — called the
by......' in the subject area while Baudhayana Sulbasutra, which
composing the mail and write a thanking contained several important
message in the main message board. mathematical results. The Baudhayana
Sulbasutra contains one of the earliest
Once this is done, then if some other
references to what is known today as
members want to send the article will
the Pythagorean theorem (~540BC).
know about the status of the request.
This will also help members in keeping
mailbox clean. For example Continued to page 14
• Moreover sending articles (copyright
protected articles) to the open forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 8

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Mars' entire surface was shaped by water Six New Planets Discovered
Signs of liquid water had Six diverse new planets
been seen on southern from 'shrunken-Saturns' to
Mars, but the latest 'bloated hot Jupiters', as
findings reveal similar well a rare brown dwarf
signals in craters in the with 60 times the mass of
north of the Red Planet. Jupiter has been
The team of France- and US-based scientists discovered by an
led by John Carter, of the University of Paris international team, including Oxford
made their discovery by examining data University scientists.
from instruments on board Europe's Mars The CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and
Express and Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Transits) space telescope is operated by the
Orbiter. “We're seeing signals of what were French space agency CNES. It discovers
once river beds, small seas and lakes”, John planets outside our solar system --
Carter University of Paris "Now, with the exoplanets -- when they 'transit', that is pass,
Esa and Nasa probes, we have been able to in front of their stars. Once CoRoT detects a
get a mixture of images and spectral transit, additional observations are made
information about the composition of the from the ground, using a number of
rock." He explained that these instruments telescopes all over the world. Although
had revealed clay-type minerals called astronomers cannot see the planets directly,
phyllosilicates - "the stuff you would find in they use the space- and ground-based data to
mud and in river beds." "It's not the species measure the sizes, masses, and orbits of
of mineral itself that's important," said Dr these new planets precisely. This is why,
Carter, "it's more the fact that the minerals among all known exoplanets, those with
contain water. "This enhances the picture of transits yield the most complete information
liquid water on Mars." about planet formation and evolution. "Each
The new findings suggest that at least part of of these planets is interesting in its own
the wet period on Mars, that could have right, but what is really fascinating is how
been favourable to life, extended into the diverse they are," said co-investigator Dr.
time between that giant impact and when Suzanne Aigrain from Oxford University's
volcanic and other rocks formed an Department of Physics. "Planets are
overlying mantle. This indicates that, 4.2 intrinsically complex objects, and we have
billion years ago, the planet was probably much to learn about them yet."
altered by liquid water on a global scale. But The six new planets are:
Dr Carter said that the findings did not paint CoRoT-8b: the smallest in this batch: At
a picture of huge Martian oceans. "It was about 70% of the size and mass of Saturn,
probably a very dry place," he said. "But CoRoT-8b is moderately small among the
we're seeing signals of what were once river previously known transiting exoplanets. Its
beds, small seas and lakes." internal structure should be similar to that of
Source: Science news ice giants, like Uranus and Neptune, in the
Solar System. It is the smallest planet
discovered by the CoRoT team so far after
CoRoT-7b, the first transiting Super-Earth.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 9

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

CoRoT-10b: the eccentric giant: The orbit Scientists Grow New Lungs Using
of CoRoT-10b is so elongated that the planet 'Skeletons' of Old Ones
passes both very close to and very far away For incurable lung
from its star. The amount of radiation it disorder patients, such
receives from the star varies tenfold in as cystic fibrosis or
intensity, and scientists estimate that its chronic obstructive
surface temperature may increase from 250 pulmonary disease, a
to 600°C, all in the space of 13 Earth-days lung transplant may be
(the length of the year on CoRoT-10b). the only chance for survival. Unfortunately,
CoRoT-11b: the planet whose star does the it's often not a very good chance. Matching
twist: CoRoT-11, the host star of CoRoT- donor lungs are rare, and many would-be
11b, rotates around its axis in 40 hours. For recipients die waiting for the transplants that
comparison, the Sun's rotation period is 26 could save their lives. Such deaths could be
days. It is particularly difficult to confirm prevented if it were possible to use stem
planets around rapidly rotating stars, so this cells to grow new lungs or lung tissue.
detection is a significant achievement for the Specialists in the emerging field of tissue
CoRoT team. engineering have been hard at work on this
CoRoT-12b, 13b and 14b: a trio of giants: for years. But they've been frustrated by the
These three planets all orbit close to their problem of coaxing undifferentiated stem
host star but have very different properties. cells to develop into the specific cell types
Although CoRoT-13b is smaller than that populate different locations in the lung.
Jupiter, it is twice as dense. This suggests Now, researchers from the University of
the presence of a massive rocky core inside Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have
the planet. With a radius 50% large than demonstrated a potentially revolutionary
Jupiter's (or 16 times larger than the Earth's), solution to this problem. As they describe in
CoRoT-12b belongs to the family of an article published electronically ahead of
`bloated hot Jupiters', whose anomalously print by the journal Tissue Engineering
large sizes are due to the intense stellar Part A, they seeded mouse embryonic stem
radiation they receive. On the other hand, cells into "acellular" rat lungs -- organs
CoRoT-14b, which is even closer to its whose original cells had been destroyed by
parent star, has a size similar to Jupiter's. It repeated cycles of freezing and thawing and
is also massive, 7.5 times the mass of exposure to detergent.
Jupiter, which may explain why it is less The result: empty lung-shaped scaffolds of
puffed up. Such very massive and very hot structural proteins on which the mouse stem
planets are rare, CoRoT-14b is only the cells thrived and differentiated into new
second one discovered so far. cells appropriate to their specific locations.
CoRoT-15b: the brown dwarf: CoRoT- "In terms of different cell types, the lung is
15b's mass is about 60 times that of Jupiter. probably the most complex of all organs --
This makes it incredibly dense, about 40 the cells near the entrance are very different
times more so than Jupiter. For that reason, from those deep in the lung," said Dr.
it is classified as a brown dwarf, Joaquin Cortiella, one of the article's lead
intermediate in nature between planets and authors. "Our natural matrix generated the
stars. Brown dwarfs are much rarer than same pattern, with tracheal cells only in the
planets, which makes this discovery all the trachea, alveoli-like cells in the alveoli,
more exciting. pneumocytes only in the distal lung, and

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 10

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

definite transition zones between the bronchi an inexpensive device that is powerful
and the alveoli." enough to let doctors easily distinguish
Such "site-specific" cell development has cancerous cells from healthy cells simply by
never been seen before in a natural matrix, viewing the LCD monitor on the back of the
said professor Joan Nichols, another of the camera. The results of the first tests of the
paper's lead authors. The complexity gives camera were published online in the open-
the researchers hope that the concept could access journal PLoS ONE.
be scaled up to produce replacement tissues "Consumer-grade cameras can serve as
for humans -- or used to create models to powerful platforms for diagnostic imaging,"
test therapies and diagnostic techniques for a said Rice's Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the
variety of lung diseases. study's lead author. "Based on portability,
"If we can make a good lung for people, we performance and cost, you could make a
can also make a good model for injury," case for using them both to lower health care
Nichols said. "We can create a fibrotic lung, costs in developed countries and to provide
or an emphysematous lung, and evaluate services that simply aren't available in
what's happening with those, what the cells resource-poor countries."
are doing, how well stem cell or other The team captured images of cells with a
therapy works. We can see what happens in small bundle of fiber-optic cables attached
pneumonia, or what happens when you've to a $400 Olympus E-330 camera. When
got a hemorrhagic fever, or tuberculosis, or imaging tissues, Richards-Kortum's team
hantavirus -- all the agents that target the applied a common fluorescent dye that
lung and cause damage in the lung." caused cell nuclei in the samples to glow
The researchers have already begun work on brightly when lighted with the tip of the
large-scale experiments, "decellularizing" fiber-optic bundle. Three tissue types were
pig lungs with an eye toward using them to tested: cancer cell cultures that were grown
produce larger samples of lung tissue that in a lab, tissue samples from newly resected
could lead to applications in humans. tumors and healthy tissue viewed in the
They're also taking on the challenge of mouths of patients.
vascularization -- stimulating the growth of Because the nuclei of cancerous and
blood vessels that will enable the engineered precancerous cells are notably distorted
tissues to survive outside the special from those of healthy cells, Richards-
bioreactors that the researchers now use to Kortum said, abnormal cells were easily
keep them alive by bathing them in a life- identifiable, even on the camera's small
sustaining cocktail of nutrients and oxygen. LCD screen.
Source: "The dyes and visual techniques that we used are the same sort that pathologists have
06/100624092522.htm used for many years to distinguish healthy
Consumer-Grade Camera Detects Cancer cells from cancerous cells in biopsied
Cells in Real Time tissue," said study co-author Mark Pierce,
A stunning news was Rice faculty fellow in bioengineering. "But
revealed by biomedical the tip of the imaging cable is small and
engineers of Rice rests lightly against the inside the cheek, so
University and researchers the procedure is considerably less painful
from the University of than a biopsy and the results are available in
Texas M.D. By using an off-the-shelf digital seconds instead of days."
camera, Anderson Cancer Center has created

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 11

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Richards-Kortum said software could be "Considering the limited efficacy of current

written that would allow medical drug therapies for heart failure, this
professionals who are not pathologists to use discovery is both exciting and promising,"
the device to distinguish healthy from said Burns C. Blaxall, Ph.D., associate
nonhealthy cells. The device could then be professor within the Aab Cardiovascular
used for routine cancer screening and to help Research Institute at the Medical Center,
oncologists track how well patients were and senior author of the study. "We are now
responding to treatment. taking a closer look at how these compounds
"A portable, battery-powered device like compare to standard heart failure therapies,
this could be particularly useful for global such as beta blockers, to further determine
health," she said. "This could save many their efficacy in treating the disease."
lives in countries where conventional When the heart stops pumping as effectively
diagnostic technology is simply too as it should, the body responds by sending
expensive." more adrenalin to give the heart a pick-me-
Co-authors of the paper include Dongsuk up. While increased adrenalin initially
Shin and Mark Pierce, both of Rice, and restores the heart's vitality, over time heart
Ann Gillenwater and Michelle Williams, muscle cells become less and less responsive
both of the University of Texas M.D. to high levels of adrenalin, triggering the
Anderson Cancer Center. The research was body to pump even more of the hormone to
funded by the National Institutes of Health. the heart. Elevated adrenalin is a hallmark of
Source:Science news: heart failure, and a recent study linked anxiety -- which increases adrenalin -- in
06/100624122100.htm teens and young adults to a higher risk of
heart disease or heart attack later in life.
Targeting Flight-or-Fight Hormone Blaxall's lab is part of a nationwide effort
Response to Combat Heart Failure that has linked adrenalin's ability to propel
Sscientists from the heartbeat strength to a key protein, the beta
University of Rochester adrenergic receptor. When adrenalin
Medical Center found combines with this receptor it orders heart
that two experimental muscle cells to contract with greater speed
drugs have the potential and force. The problem in heart failure
to restore pumping patients is that these receptors are
strength to failing hearts chronically desensitized -- they no longer
in part by harnessing the fight-or-flight respond to adrenalin, so the heart grows
response that makes hearts beat stronger. At weak and does not pump as forcefully as it
the center of this finding is the hormone should.
adrenalin, which normally maintains the "While adrenalin desensitization has been
heart's pumping strength and makes the studied extensively, this is the first report of
heart beat with greater force during crisis. compounds that effectively target this
The newly identified drugs ensure that specific process to reduce heart failure," said
adrenalin's ability to drive heartbeat strength Blaxall. The desensitization is caused in
is maintained, and not thwarted, as it large part by elevated levels of a particular
typically is in heart failure patients. The two enzyme (G-protein-coupled receptor kinase
therapies, when tested in human-like mouse 2 or GRK2) when it interacts with G-
models of heart failure, were found to slow, proteins.
and in some cases halt, the progression of
the disease.
N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 12
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

This research was conducted in M119 and Gallein are not known drugs; they
collaboration with Alan Smrcka, Ph.D., are compounds that act as dyes, or stains,
professor in the Department of and were previously not known to have any
Pharmacology & Physiology at the Medical therapeutic activity.
Center whose laboratory discovered This research addresses a health problem
compounds that could block GRK2 that affects nearly 6 million Americans. The
regulation by G proteins. Smrcka's research result of underlying problems like coronary
team conducted extensive screening and artery disease, high blood pressure or heart
testing to identify these experimental attack damage, heart failure is the gradual
compounds. Two such compounds, M119 loss of the heart's ability to pump with
and Gallein, were identified and put to the enough force to meet the body's need for
test. blood. Half of patients will not live five
"In this study we took an entirely new years past the day they are diagnosed. The
pharmacological approach by altering best treatment for a severe heart failure
signaling pathways after the beta adrenergic patient is a transplant, but with just over
receptor rather than altering the receptor 2,000 transplants done each year and more
itself. In this way the actions of adrenalin than 3,000 people on the waiting list at any
are modified rather than blocked as with given time, research like this is needed to
other therapies, such as beta blockers," said find new options for patients.
Smrcka. "This novel approach is applicable The current research was funded by the
in heart failure and may be useful in other National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
conditions as well." (NHLBI) and the Institute for General
Blaxall's team found that Gallein not only Medicine at the National Institutes of Health
slowed, but halted heart failure progression and the University of Rochester Medical
when delivered to mice with pre-existing Center. Blaxall's lab recently received
heart failure. Similarly, M119 reduced two additional funding from the NHLBI to
characteristics of the disease -- strain-related compare the newly identified compounds to
thickening of muscle tissue (hypertrophy) current standard therapies for heart failure in
and scar tissue formation (fibrosis). Both human-like mouse models. Blaxall, Smrcka
compounds partially normalized the force of and their team are seeking partnerships to
heart muscle contraction by making sure the further develop these compounds.
beta adrenergic receptors became and
remained responsive to adrenalin. This was 06/100624183021.htm
done by both decreasing overall levels of
GRK2 in the heart and by limiting its
M119 and Gallein have been used in a
similar way in the past to target the receptor
desensitization process that occurs in other
conditions, such as chronic pain. For
example, Smrcka and his collaborator Jean
Bidlack, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology
and Physiology at the Medical Center, have
shown M119 can reverse the desensitization
of opiate receptors, which in turn increases
the efficacy of painkillers such as morphine.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 13

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

projects of DBT, Ministry of Chemical &

Fertilizer, Tea Board etc. He visited large
number of countries on various assignments
from Govt. of India, Tea Industry as well as
on invitation from Universities to deliver
lectures. He has been working as a member
of the Expert Group on tea in many tea
growing countries.
He has been actively involved as member of
Dr. Mridul Hazarika
the Board of Management of Guwahati
Dr. Mridul Hazarika is presently serving as Biotech Park; member, Advisory Board,
the Director of Tea Research Association NTRF, member of number of scientific and
(TRA), Tocklai Experimental Station, professional bodies.
Jorhat, Assam. He was the recipient of merit ----0---
scholarship of Govt. of India to study in
residential school. After completing his Continued from page 8
school from Kolkata he specialized in
Chemistry during B.Sc. at Science College, The rope which is stretched across the
Jorhat and subsequently M.Sc. (Chemistry) diagonal of a square produces an area
at Guwahati University. He did his Ph.D double the size of the original square.
from Tocklai Experimental Station under
Dibrugarh University. He did his pioneering This is a special case of the Pythagorean
work on Darjeeling Tea Flavour and Colour theorem for a 45° right triangle.
of Assam Tea. He has over 50 scientific The Katyayana Sulbasutra, written about
publications in Journals in India and abroad. 200 BC, gives a more general version of
He was a special invitee to Minnesota the theorem:
University, USA in 1985 to participate in the
The rope which is stretched along the
International Conference on Biochemistry &
length of the diagonal of a rectangle
Food Processing Industry for his write up on
produces an area which the vertical and
Biotechnology perception for future. He
horizontal sides make together.
held different positions at Tocklai upto
1992. He left TRA in 1992 to join as Deputy
In other words, the square of the
Director at Kothari Agricultural
hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares
Management Centre at Coonor. He
of the sides.
established a Tea Management Institute at
Siliguri under the name Darjeeling Tea
Research and Management Association, The Baudhayana Sulbasutra also gives an
where he was Director up to 1999. He then approximation a square root of two,
joined TRA as Deputy Director in 1999 and correct to five decimal places.
was elevated as Director, 2003. He has been
coordinating number of multi-institutional
Source: Internet

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1. Dr. Sasanka Deka has joined Chemistry Organic Chemicals”. He carried out his
Dept. of Delhi University as Assistant research at the department of synthetic
professor. Before joining this position he organic chemistry, NEIST-Jorhat under the
was pursuing post doctoral research in supervision of Dr. Dilip Konwer.
Italy. He did his Ph.D from National
Chemical Laboratory, Pune. 5. Madan Gopal Borthakur has joined in
Biotech Park, Guwahati. The Biotech Park
2. Dr. Bhaskar Jyoti Sarmah has got Post will provide research infrastructure for R&D
Doc offer from Technion, Israel Institute work to explore the huge bio resource of the
of Technology. At this moment he is region. The department of biotechnology,
working as post doctoral researcher in
under the Union ministry of science and
Gauhati University. He completed his
technology, has sanctioned Rs 24 crore for
PhD from NEIST (CSIR) Jorhat in June
setting up this state-of-the- art Biotech Park
2009 under the supervision of Dr. Dipak
for Assam which will help carry out high-
Kumar Dutta.
end research in the field of biotechnology.
3. Archana Devi, a PhD student of
Department of Chemistry, Dibrugarh ----
University has got INSPIRE fellowship.
Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies: This is one of the
(Innovation in Science Pursuit for
most ancient medicinal system in India, in
Inspired Research) from DST. Selection Sanskrit, the word ayurveda consists of the
of INSPIRE Fellows is based on the words āyus, meaning "longevity", and veda,
screening of applications for eligible meaning "related to knowledge" or "science". In
candidates, 25% of total fellowship from ancient time the Ayurvedic system was divided
national level tests such as NET, GATE into 8 branches - Kaya chikitsa : Internal
etc and 75% of total fellowship from 1st medicine; Baala : Pediatrics; Graha :
Rank Holders of post-graduate programs Treatment of diseases arising from possession
of any recognized university in science by pathogens, evil spirits, etc. Mainly diseases of
stream & undergraduate/post-graduation a mental nature; Urdhvanga : Dealing with the
course in engineering / technology / eyes, ear, nose, throat and dentistry; Salya :
Surgery including plastic surgery; Danstra :
agriculture / pharmacy/applied science
Insect bites, poisons (Toxicology); Rasayana :
streams at recognized universities and Diseases of advancing age; Prasuti :
academic institutions. Gynecology and obstetrics. During those days
all the medicines were derived from plants.
4. Saikat Dassharma was awarded PhD Interestingly, of the top 150 proprietary drugs
degree by Dibrugarh University for his used in the USA in 1993, found that 57% of all
research in the area of chemical sciences prescriptions contained at least one major active
on the topic “Studies on New Synthetic compound currently or once derived from (or
Strategies for Biologically Significant patterned after) compounds derived from
biological diversity.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 15
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NEW & ADVANCED glycosidic bonds and are the oldest
MATERIALS biopolymer present on the earth. Natural
polysaccharides provide two important
functions. They act as an energy source and
Dr. Kamalesh Prasad as a structural material [1]. The basic
function of polysaccharides in living system
INTRODUCTION is as energy stores and in plants and
seaweeds. Apart from energy storage it
What is a polysaccharide ? provides structural stability. The structure of
polysaccharides is often linear, but may
Polysaccharides are polymeric carbohydrate contain various degrees of branching. Most
structures, formed of repeating units (either of the polysaccharides with some exceptions
mono- or di-saccharides) joined together by are soluble in water. The most common
polysaccharides and their source are shown
in Table 1.

Table 1. Few commercially important polysaccharides

Name Structure
Cellulose OH HOH2 C The structural component of plants.
O Wood is largely cellulose and lignin,
HOH 2C while paper and cotton are nearly pure
OH cellulose. Cellulose is a polymer made
n with repeated glucose units bonded
together by beta-linkages. It is insoluble
in water but soluble in LiCl/N,N-
Dimethyl acetamide.
Starch HOH 2C Starch or amylum is a polysaccharide
O carbohydrate consisting of a large
HO HOH 2C number of glucose units joined together
O by glycosidic bonds but linkage is
different from that of cellulose. Starch
O contains both amylose with a linear
n structure and amylopectin with a
branched structure with α-(1 → 6)-
linked branching points. It is the most
important carbohydrate in the human
diet and is contained in such staple
foods as potatoes, wheat, maize (corn),
rice, and cassava.

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κ-Carrageenan Carrageenan is a water soluble
CH 2OH phycocolloid extracted from red algae
O O and is used mostly as stabilizers and
OH structure providers in food and ice-
OH cream industries. It consists of
alternating 1,3-linked α-D-
galactopyranose and 1,4-linked β-(3,6-
anhydro-) D-galactopyranose.
Chitin HOH 2C O Chitin is structurally similar to cellulose,
but it is an amino polysaccharide having
acetamide groups at the C-2 positions in
n place of hydroxy groups in cellulose.
The main source of chitin is Shrimp,
crab and Squid.
Chitosan HOH 2C O Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide
composed of randomly distributed β-(1-
4)-linked D-glucosamine (deacetylated
unit) and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine
(acetylated unit). It is generally obtained
by the de- acetylation of chitin.

Apart from the polysaccharides listed above, materials prepared out of polysaccharides,
other important polysaccharides are the nano-composites as well as the other
alginates, Pullulan, some bacterial modified products are drawing attentions in
polysaccharides. recent days.
After many years of oblivion, the area of
polysaccharide chemistry is presently What is polymer nanocomposite (PNC)?
receiving renewed attention. This is due to
the increase in the understanding of the role Polymer nanocomposites are defined as the
of biopolymers in various biological polymers obtained by introducing nano
processes. Active research on the structured materials in the polymer matrices.
modification of the basic polysaccharides PNC are obtained by reinforcing with small
are under way in various labs to explore the quantities (less than 5% by weight) of nano-
possibilities of applications in newer fields sized particles [9]. The synthesis of polymer
such as in physicochemical, biochemical, nanocomposite is an integral part of polymer
biomedical and industrial applications [2-8]. nanotechnology. Generally nanosized
The main advantages of using (typically 1-100 nm) inorganic materials are
polysaccharides are it is cheap, obtained inserted in certain polymer backbones in
from renewable resources, biodegradable as order to change their properties as well as
well as biocompatible, it is a multifunctional functionalities. The nanocomposites
material, easy to process and the extraction obtained have always improved properties
is also less difficult. The biological over the parent polymer. The nano materials
functions of polysaccharides as glyco- introduced in to the polymer matrices must
proteins and as structural material inspired have very good compatibility with polymer
the carbohydrate chemist to contribute to the as well as must have very good dispersibility
biomaterial engineering. Among the various in the medium used for the preparation of

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the nanocomposite. Nanotechnology is now PNC. Polymer/layered nanocomposites in

recognized as one of the most promising general, can be classified into three different
areas for technological development in the types, namely (i) intercalated
21st century. In materials research, the nanocomposites, (ii) flocculated
development of polymer nanocomposites is nanocomposites, and (iii) exfoliated
rapidly emerging as a multidisciplinary nanocomposites as shown schematically in
research activity whose results could Scheme 1. In the first case polymer chains
broaden the applications of polymers to the are inserted into layered structures such as
great benefit of many different industries. clays, which occur in a crystallographically
PNCs represent a radical alternative to regular fashion, with a few nanometers
conventional filled polymers or polymer repeat distance, irrespective of the ratio of
blends. In contrast to conventional polymer to layered structure. In the second
composites, where the reinforcement is on case, flocculation of intercalated and stacked
the order of microns, PNCs are having layers to some extent takes place due to the
discrete constituents on the order of a few hydroxylated border/border interactions of
nanometers. There are three main material the clay layers. Finally, separation of the
constituents in any composite: the matrix, individual layers in the polymer matrix
the reinforcement (fiber), and the so-called occurs in the third type by average distances
interfacial region. The interfacial region is that depend only on the loading of layered
responsible for communication between the material such as clay. In this new family of
matrix and filler and is also responsible for composite materials, high storage modulus,
bringing the compatibility between the filler increased tensile and flexural properties,
and the matrices. heat distortion temperature, decrease in gas
permeability, and unique properties such as
Important fillers widely used are, layered self extinguishing behavior and tunable
silicates, single wall nanotubes (SWNTs), biodegradability are observed, compared to
inorganic metal oxides etc. Nanoparticles matrix material or conventional micro and
exhibit translational symmetry within the macro-composite materials.

Scheme 1 : A schematic out lay for the formation of different types of polymer nanocomposites

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 18

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Polysaccharide based nanocomposites made them eco-friendly as well [11].

Polysaccharide based materials having nano
Nano structured natural polymeric structured distribution can be achieved by
materials are drawing attentions in the recent controlled polymerization of a synthetic
years in various applications, owing to their substrate by effective hybridization [12].
effective compatibility with natural systems, There are many reports on the preparation of
they may be very useful in applications biodegradable nano composites based on
related to health care and agriculture as cellulose, chitosan and pectin, and in several
environmental friendly composites [10]. The of the reports, clay and its various
important biological functions of derivatives were used as important
polysaccharides are the main reason why ingredient for such preparations. Electro
these materials are being a part of important activity and swellabilty of natural polymers
research in the e field of biomaterials are being also investigated recently to
science. The environmental issues are being broaden the application prospects of these
very important in recent years e.g., global biocompatible materials. Electro-
warming, generally caused by the increase conductivity in bio-polymeric nano
of carbon dioxide emissions and pollution composites are generally imparted by means
due to industrial activity. Polysaccharides, of doping conducting materials or metal ions
which naturally present are being widely in the biopolymers. We have recently
studied for substitutes for petroleum-based carried out some work to prepare
materials. As because polysaccharides are carrageenan based material by in-situ
carbon resources naturally recycled, the polymerization reaction [13] as shown in
concentration of carbon dioxide does not Figure 1 below.
increase, even if they are consumed.
Biodegradability of the polysaccharides

Figure 1: Schematic diagram for the formation of electro active nanocomposite based on
carrageenan and polymerized ionic liquids

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 19

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Modification of polysaccharides to nitric and sulphuric acid. Starch nitrates

prepare new and advanced materials are also used as explosives. Celluloid,
which is an important commercial plastic,
Formation of Polysaccharide Esters is a cellulose derivative of lower nitrate
Polysaccharides are polyols and hence substitution. Polysaccharides react with
readily form esters with a variety of carbon disulphide and sodium hydroxide
esterifying reagents. Commercial esters to give polysaccharide xanthates.
are formed traditionally by reaction with
acids and acid anhydrides. However, in the
laboratory acetates can be prepared by
using other reagents like ketene and vinyl Grafting a synthetic polymer to a natural
acetate. Earliest esters includes cellulose polysaccharide is a way of creating large
acetates used to prepare plastics and fibers, molecules that have some of the
prepared by treating cotton linters with characteristics of each individual polymer.
acetic anhydride using acetic acid as Such works are extensively directed
solvent and sulphuric acid as catalyst. towards the preparation of water
Starch acetates were prepared by following absorbents and biodegradable polymers
same method that with cellulose with that can be cast into sheets. Generating
slight alterations. The derivatives found to one or more free radicals on the
have improved freeze thaw stability and polysaccharide chain and allowing these
stabilizer in colloidal dispersions. Both free radicals to react with the polymerable
organic carboxylic acid esters and monomers that will constitute the grafted
inorganic esters have been prepared. chain initiate grafting. X-ray irradiation,
Polysaccharides esters are generally UV-irradiation, beta irradiation etc. can be
soluble in organic solvents. Some of the used to generate free radicals. Chemicals
most important esters are made of like ceric ammonium nitrate, ferrous ion,
cellulose. Cellulose nitrate popularly hydrogen peroxide etc. also are used as
known as guncotton a major constituent of free radical generators. Following is a
smokeless powder is the oldest inorganic pathway representing grafting on starch
salt of cellulose, which is obtained, by with acrylonitrile.
reacting cellulose with the mixture of

Starch-OH Starch-O + CH2=CH(CN) Starch-O-CH2-CH(CN)


Starch-OH Starch-O + CH2 = CH(CN) Starch-O-CH2-CH


N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 20

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Formation of Polysaccharide Ethers prepared in 1905 by steeping of cellulose in

40-50% sodium hydroxide, followed by
Common industrial ethers are methyl, ethyl, reaction with dimethyl sulphate. Due to
hydroxyethyl, hydroxypropyl, carcinogenic nature of dimethyl sulphate, in
carboxymethyl and aminoethyl derivatives modern methods the reaction is carried out
as well as mixed ethers. Ethers can be by treating alkaline cellulose with methyl
formed with the alcohol groups of chloride in organic solvent. Reaction follows
polysaccharides by reacting with alkyl the route of Williamson ether synthesis as
halides or epoxides. First ether prepared was shown below.

Cell-OH NaOH Cell-O O Cell-O + Na + H2O

Cell-O + CH3Cl Cell-OCH3 + Cl

Ether derivatives of polysaccharides are increasing DS. Methyl and ethyl derivatives
soluble in water. Many of the cellulose of starches are prepared the same way of
derivatives like DEAE cellulose, prepared their cellulose counterpart, except first
by reaction of diethylaminoethyl cellulose starch granules are heated with mineral acid
with N,N-diethyl aminoethyl chloride, are at 100OC, then alkali and methyl chloride is
used as cation exchange resin. Hydroxyl added. Another type of ether substitution,
alkyl derivatives of starch and cellulose can carboxymethyl is substituted successfully in
be prepared by reacting starch and cellulose number of polysaccharides, and
with epoxides and alkylene oxides. carboxymethyl cellulose is one of the most
Hydroxyethyl starches are used primarily as important commercially important
binders for pigmented coatings and surface derivatives.
sizing agents in paper industry.
Hydroxypropyl starches are of importance in Hydroxyalkyl substituted gums represent the
food applications, where they are used as an largest group of polysaccharide ether
edible, water-soluble film coating. derivatives; they are often prepared by the
Formation of hydroxyalkyl derivatives for attack of poly-anion on an oxirane ring to
cellulose increases its water solubility. produce the corresponding hydroxyalkyl
Hydroxypropyl derivatives of starch prevent derivative. The route of reaction is shown
retro gradation of starch chains. Better water below.
solubility of cellulose can be obtained by


N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 21

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Polysaccharide Phosphates and sulphates seems to specific affinity for binding

The hydroxyl groups of polysaccharides nucleic acids and is a potent inhibitor for
can be phosphorylated by reaction with tri- ribonuclease. Dextran sulphate also
polyphosphate at pH 5-6.5. Phosphate inhibits the replication of some viruses
oxychloride, tri-metaphosphate can also be including HIV, and has been considered as
used as phosphorous inducing agents. a possible drug in the treatment of AIDS.
Gums like cassia tora, xanthan, guar also
Most common reagent to give sulphate
been chemically modified to impart more
derivatives for polysaccharides is
trimethylamine sulphur trioxide in N, N- functional properties. Attempts have been
dimethyl formamide. Other sulphating made to modify chitosan in the gel state by
adding mono- or dibasic phosphate salt.
agents include dimethyl sulphoxide/
Figure 2 depicts structures of some
sulphur trioxide. N,N-dimethyl formamide
/sulphur trioxides are used for sulphating important modified polysaccharides.
alginic and pectic acid. Dextran sulphate

Figure 2. Structure of some modified polysaccharides. (A) Carboxymethyl cellulose; (B)

Methyl or ethyl cellulose; (C) Hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose

Preparation of guar gum based heat- prevent strong chain interactions among the
shapeable film materials. mannose units which is essential for double
helix formations. Attempts have been made
Guar gum (GG) or guaran is a to substitute the galacatopyranose unit with
galactomannan extracted from the seed of some block substituents, which can cause
the leguminous shrub Cyamopsis interactions among the mannose units and
tetragonoloba, and consists of (1→4)-linked hence lead to the formation of junction
β-D-mannopyranose main chain with zones. We have observed that, guar gum can
branching at the 6-positions with a α-D- give formation of gel and thin film in certain
galactopyranose. It is a hydrocolloid and ionic liquids and the films thus obtained can
does not form gel in aqueous media due to be given a desired shape upon application of
the presence of branching units, which heat [14] as depicted in Figure 3 below.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 22

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Figure 3. Heat shapeability of guar gum-ionic liquid based thin film.

Application of modified substrates (proteins, enzymes) that

polysaccharides involves minimum cross-linking and
Concomitant with the expanding extraneous chemical reactions may be
commercial utilization of used for affinity partition and
polysaccharides, there is a growing
immunology. Selective modifications
demand for synthetic methods which of polysaccharides were used for the
facilitate selective structural
preparation of permeable membranes
modifications in order to effect, or with higher selectivity, matrices for
ideally tailor, product properties such drug delivery and controlled release
as viscosity, hydrophobicity/
formulations as well as for various
hydrophilicity, polyelectrolyte processes relating to recovery of
characteristics, gelation and metal
biological materials such as
chelating capacity. One of the most preparation of substrates for affinity
important applications of selective chromatography, partitioning,
modifications is the synthesis of
electrophoresis, enzyme and cell
analogues of natural polysaccharides, immobilization.
such as dextran, heparin or Xanthan
Modification of
Gum for purposes of reducing
polysaccharides have considerable
polymer cost, improving physical
properties or ultimately structural importance in the synthesis of
branched polysaccharides, where the
proof for the native polymer.
Polysaccharides have also been branch type and length,
stereochemistry is easily controllable
modified for antitumor, blood
and would help in the studies of
anticoagulant activities for biomedical
applications. Preparation of conjugates structure-property relationship.
Carbamate derivatives of some
of polysaccharides and biological

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 23

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polysaccharides have been reported to Research Council Canada, 75 de

be useful for separation applications in Mortagne Blvd. Boucherville, Québec,
paper industries. J4B 6Y4.
10. Nishino, T., Arimoto, N.,
1. Stryer, L. Biochemistry, W.H. Biomacromolecules 2007, 8, 2712-
Freeman, New York, 1995.
2. Horton, D. In Carbohydrates. 11. Rouilly, A., Rigal, L., J. Macromol.
Sci. Polym. Rev. C42, 447 (2002).
Chemistry and Biochemistry. 2 nd edn.
Vol II A (1978) and Vol II B (1980); 12. Kaneko, Y., Kadokawa, J., J.
Pigman, D. and Horton, D. Eds.; Biomater. Sci. Polymer Edn, 2006, 17,
Academic Press: New York, p 408-
411. 13. Prasad, K., Kadokawa, J. Polymer
Composites. DOI : 10.1002/pc.20862,
3. Aspinall, G.O. In The
In Press.
polysaccaharides Vol I (1982) and Vol
14. Prasad, K., Izawa, H., Kaneko, Y.,
II (1983), Aspinall, G.O.; ed.; Kadokawa, J. J. Mat. Chem. 2009, 19,
Academic Press: New York.
4. Rees, D.A. In Polysaccharides and -----------0--------
Shapes. Rees, D.A. 1977, ed .; Breaking Someone’s Sugar Habit –
Chapmann & Hall: London, p 309. Gandhi’s Story
One day one mother came to Gandhi
5. Kotechkov, N.K. Pure Appl.
Chem. 1975, 42, 327. and said “Bapu, my son eats too much
sugar. It is not good for his health.
6. Fang, J.M.; Fowler, P.A.;
Would you please advise him to stop
Tomkinson, J.; Hill, C.A.S.
eating it?” Gandhi thought for a while
Carbohydr. Polym. 2002, 47, 245. and asked her to comeback after two
7. Mormann, W.; Michel, U. weeks to come with her son. Two weeks
Carbohydr. Polym. 2002, 50, 201. later Gandhi said to the boy, “Boy, you
8. Jerez, J.R.; Matsuhiro, B.; Urzua, should stop eating sugar. It is not good
C.C. Carbohydr. Polym. 1997, 32, for your health.” The boy’s mother was
puzzled why Gandhi took two weeks to
say these, when she asked Gandhi, he
9. Denault, J.; Labrecque, B. 2004.
said with a smile
Technology Group on Polymer
“Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a
Nanocomposites – PNC-Tech.
lot of sugar myself.”
Industrial Materials Institute. National

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 24

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SPECIALTY CHEMICALS: A generate comparatively higher margin

BUNCH OF INTERESTING for the manufacturer. One can realize
COMPOUNDS the importance of these chemicals by
Anupom Sabhapondit comparing the improvement in process
e-mail: performance brought by the use of an
awesomely low dosage of such
Introduction: chemicals in the process. Due to the
very high performance shown by them
Specialty chemicals comprise the group at a comparatively low dosage, they are
of compounds used widely in almost all termed as performance chemicals, too.
kinds of industries, from sugar factories There are examples of a dosage as low
to oil refineries, from water treatment as 1 ppm fastening an industrial process
plants to paper manufacturing units for by more than 50%, provided the perfect
significant improvement of process specialty chemical is chosen for the
performance. As per one survey, the system. And that is the beauty of
global sales of these chemicals were specialty chemicals.
about 500 billion USD in the year 2006.
The history of specialty chemicals is as Chemically the specialty chemicals
old as the history industry itself. Several range from simple inorganic molecules
classes of such chemicals found their like NaI to complicated synthetic
uses even several hundred years ago, polymers. The chemistry of these
might be in other chemical form and in molecules and the way how they
a raw manner. They have been modified perform is indeed very interesting for
with changing requirements of time. In any chemistry student. However, apart
today’s competitive market, all market from introduction to some surfactants in
leaders of specialty chemicals try to the graduate level courses of the
incorporate the latest technology universities, we did not hear about any
available to their products to make the educational institutes in the North East
products more environmentally offering any course on this interesting
friendly, better performing and cost group of chemicals during the 90s. I am
effective. not aware of today’s situation. Since
many of these chemicals are very
Unlike the bulk chemicals, specialty common to graduate students of
chemicals are produced and sold in chemistry, there is a good chance that
smaller volumes and very much young students will contribute
application /customer specific, hence significantly to this field of industrial

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 25

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science if they come to know about several thousand liter capacity. If

such special uses of them during their natural settling would be allowed in
graduate studies. such a tank, it would have taken several
days to get clear sugar juice for further
The objective of this article is to processing. Addition of 1-100 ppm of
introduce the readers who are not suitable flocculant to the dirty juice
familiar with these chemicals, to few makes the solid settle completely in half
most widely used classes of specialty an hour or so, thus saving several days
chemicals in a simple way. Rather than of processing time and making the
explaining the exact chemistry of these process highly economic. This is the
compounds, it is tried to present an impact that flocculant can have on
overview of their applications. If industrial output.
someone finds anything worth
researching, it is easy to gather lots of What does a flocculant do? In a very
information from the internet. simplified way to explain, it makes the
dispersed fine solid in the fluid to come
Flocculants and dispersants: together and form larger particles, large
enough to pull down by gravity to
Flocculants are the class of compounds settle... In most of the cases, a
used for fastening the solid-liquid flocculant needs to neutralize the
separation, mostly of water based surface of the suspended solid particles
systems. Many of the industrial systems so that they cam come close enough to
require settlement of fine, dispersed form larger particles to settle. When
solids for further processing of the they carry the same charge on their
liquid part. Use of few ppm of the surface, they cannot come closer due to
suitable flocculant can make the electrostatic repulsion and remain
separation 100 times faster than the suspended. Potash alum has been
natural settling, thus making the process conventionally used to clear muddy
cost effective. An example will make water and it works by charge
the scenario clearer to the reader. The neutralization. This is an example of use
sugar factories need to use the clear, of flocculant in day-to-day life.
solid free sugar cane juice for making
solid sugar cubes. Before the process of In earlier days, people used inorganic
making solid sugar cubes, the raw sugar molecules like potash alum as
juice which contains lots of fine flocculants. However, a comparatively
particles and dust, is kept in a tank of high dosage of such compounds was

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required to achieve the necessary Due to their capability of doing both,

performance level. This resulted in the charge neutralization and binding
accumulation of inorganics in the nature particles together, only few ppm of a
dumped with the separated solids. This suitable polyelectrolyte can make a
has been an environmental concern, too. liquid practically solid free in just a few
To take care of these disadvantages, minutes. However, it is very essential to
polymers were introduced as make a perfect selection of flocculant to
flocculants. In today’s market, almost achieve this magical effect. Depending
all the flocculants available are on the surface charge of the suspended
polyelectrolytes of different ionicity and particles, it is necessary to select an
molecular weight. In the beginning, anionic, a cationic or a non-ionic
natural polymers like starch and guar flocculant to use. Apart from this,
were used for this purpose. The molecular weight also bears significant
polymer molecule is adsorbed over importance in selecting the most
several fine suspended particles suitable polyelectrolyte for a specific
simultaneously and binds them together, system. A systematic and careful, but
forcing the particles to aggregate and still simple laboratory study is highly
settle. However, many times it needed essential before recommending a
an additional inorganic molecule for flocculant for a specific system. Apart
charge neutralization. With the from good knowledge of flocculant
introduction of polyelectrolytes, the chemistry, it needs a pair of good
need of a separate inorganic molecule experimental hands for a perfect
was eliminated. A polyelectrolyte selection. Therefore, many term the way
flocculant is generally a very high of selecting a flocculant as an art rather
molecular weight (molecular weight of than a science. Even optimizing the
several million Daltons) water soluble application dosage is very critical,
polymer. Generally they are straight because an overdose can make the
chain polymer molecules. Depending on particles’ surfaces charged again,
application, a polyelectrolyte can be resulting in re-dispersion of the settled
non-ionic, anionic or cationic in nature. solid.
It can be mentioned that flocculation is
only one of the applications out of Most of the presently available
hundreds of other industrial applications flocculants are polyacrylamide based
of polyelectrolytes. polymers. Tailor made polymers are
used for different industrial processes.
Generally acrylic acid is used in various

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 27

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ratios to make anionic polyelectrolytes. paper making. They are also

One of few selected vinyl monomers polyelectrolytes in most cases and
having a quaternary ammonium group generally cationic. A retention aid helps
in them is used to prepare cationic retaining various costly additives of the
polyelectrolytes. Most of the common pulp in the paper without much wastage
industrial processes need anionic during processing of pulp to make
polyelectrolytes of different anionicity. paper. In this way it makes the process
economic. The mechanism of action of
All these polyelectrolytes are much less retention aid is not as easy as that of the
toxic than inorganic flocculants. At the flocculant’s and not always completely
dosage they are used, they have almost understood. One single retention aid is
no environmental impact. Cationics are expected to help retaining several
said to have toxic effects towards chemically different compounds in the
aquatic animals and hence restricted in paper. Hence, all the properties of a
some places. polyelectrolyte: the ionicity, the
molecular weight and also the
Dispersants are doing just the opposite stereochemistry play important role in
of what the flocculants do. They keep deciding the overall performance. The
solid particles dispersed in fluid. The screening tests for a suitable retention
mechanism is exactly opposite – they aid for a particular grade of paper is also
impart similar charge over the particles more complicated than screening a
and they start repelling each other, thus flocculant for a specific system. Apart
dispersing on an aqueous medium. from cationic polyacrylamides,
Dispersants are generally similar class derivatised starch is also industrially
of polymers like flocculants, but having used as retention aid.
much lower molecular weight, just up to Corrosion inhibitors:
few thousands and with very high
anionic or cationic charges, mostly Corrosion is a common problem of all
100% charged. Like flocculants, a industries using metals tanks, pipes etc.
suitable dispersant also needs to be Sometimes chemical coatings can help
selected in a proper systematic way protecting metals from corrosion. But it
before the application. is not a feasible way in all the cases.
Corrosion inhibitors, when applied even
Retention aids: at very low dosage, can bring down the
Retention aids are a major class of corrosion to a negligible amount.
specialty chemicals used in modern Generally chloride and oxygen are the

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 28

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common cause of corrosion in water metal surface and create a protective

tanks, pipes carrying various kinds of layer. Along with the corrosion
process water etc. This kind of inhibitors, another class of compounds
corrosion can be minimized by using called inhibitor intensifiers is also used
chemicals which can scavenge chloride at higher temperature conditions.
and oxygen. However, in many cases it Generally they are small inorganic
is required to pump inorganic acids of molecules. Some inorganic molecules
very high concentrations through metal containing Pb were used as inhibitor
pipes. In the upstream oil industry it is also in earlier days. Due to their high
pumped even at a temperature as high toxicity they are not in use today.
as 200ºC or more and for several hours. Several of the existing industrial
In such cases, a simple oxygen or inhibitors have low environmental
chlorine scavenger can not save the acceptability. Therefore it has always
metals from corrosion. There comes the been a challenge to the chemists to
introduction of high performing acid provide lesser toxic inhibitors to the
corrosion inhibitors. A suitable market with changing time.
corrosion inhibitor at a dosage as low as
0.2% may reduce the corrosion of metal Scale inhibitors:
alloys in highly concentrated HCl at
high temperature like 100ºC from 50 As explained by the name itself, this
gram per 100 gram to 0.25 gram per class of compounds is used to stop scale
100 gram. This clearly shows the formation in various engineering
impact of using acid corrosion equipments used in different industries.
inhibitors in the industry. They protect them for insoluble scales
The corrosion inhibitors are classified like CaCO3, BaSO4 etc. Very low
broadly as anodic and cathodic molecular weight polymers of organic
inhibitors depending on how they work. sulphonates, phosphonates and
Some acetylenic organic molecules with carboxylates are used widely as scale
terminal unsaturation have been used as inhibitors. Different chelating agents
acid corrosion inhibitors for years. They including EDTA are also in use.
form a protective polymeric layer over Most of the scale inhibitors prevent the
the metal surface as soon as the formation of the scale itself and keep
corrosion starts. Since last several years, the cation in soluble form by chelation
quaternary ammoniums having big R or other mechanism. Some others make
groups attached to N have also been in the scaled material less compact and
use. They are directly adsorbed on the hence dispersible and removable by the

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use of fluid stream cleaning. In current between the fluid and the pipe makes a
market, various manufacturers offer lot of energy to spend to pump the fluid.
scale inhibitors with fascinating Friction reducers reduce the friction to a
properties like controlled release, high very low level, thus saving a lot of
environmental acceptability, high energy in pumping activities.
temperature – high pH performance etc. Friction reducers are generally polymers
including high molecular weight
Pour point depressants: polyelectrolytes. They are used in a
very low dosage. They can reduce both
This class of specialty chemicals is used the friction between the pipe and the
commonly and widely in the mid and fluid and between different layers of the
downstream oil industries. They can fluid. This reduces the turbulence of
reduce the freezing point of crude oil by flow and hence costs lesser energy.
several degrees centigrade at a very low
dosage without affecting the oil Surfactants:
properties. This makes it possible to
transport the crude even in low This widely known class of chemical is
temperature regions and during the used for various purposes:
cold. They are also used in refined fuels Emulsification, De-emulsification,
in cold places to keep them flowable all wetting of surfaces for better
the time. penetration of fluid into a matrix etc.
The mechanism of action of the pour Emulsifiers may be anionic, cationic,
point depressants is not fully non-ionic and amphoteric. The two
understood. Many times they prevent important parameters determining an
the formation of crystals by wax, thus emulsifier’s performance are the critical
keeping the oil flowable. Therefore, micellar concentration (cmc) and the
sometimes they are synonymously hydrophilic lipophilic balance (hlb).
called as wax inhibitors as well. Most of the chemistry students are
Generally they are oil soluble polymers familiar with cmc, though not with hlb.
having long side chains. The general mechanism of action of
Polyalkylmethacrylate is one of the emulsifiers is a well known one and
widely used classes of polymers for this hence not explained here. The
application. challenges in today’s emulsifier
Friction reducers: research are to design environmental
While pumping a fluid through a pipe friendly, yet high performing
several hundred meters, the friction emulsifiers even for high temperature

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 30

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and extreme pH conditions. Many times COAL: ANSWER TO INDIA’S

it needs stability under high shear. ENERGY CRISIS
Dr Binoy Kumar Saikia
Current challenges for chemists: Indian Oil Corporation Limited,
For all the classes of specialty Kolkata, India-721606
chemicals, current challenges are:
1. Make everything more and more This is a very short and some of the
environmental friendly : make collective reports on clean coal
everything green if possible. technology (CCT) to proper
2. Use the most modern authorities in India to think for a
technology available in your minute and implement in second.
product – improve performance
India faces more problems that just
at lower dosage and still at
need for reliable energy supply.
lower price.
Referring to petroleum energy,
3. Make logistics and handling
India faces a major shortage of
easier and safer – and still at
refining capacity. The refineries all
lower price.
around India are old enough. They
4. Use widely available materials –
need to be replaced soon. They
better logistics and low cost as
operate at a much lower capacity.
well as utilization of unused
The refinery owned and operated by
Reliance is the only one in the
country that is of world class
Search terms for internet browsing:
standard and is sophisticated based
on advanced technologies in the
Flocculants, Coagulants, Waste water
treatment, corrosion inhibitors, scale
inhibitors, Superabsorbent polymers, Thus, a lot is being talked about the
Polyacrylamide, PolyDADMAC,
recent government plans of
EINECS, SPE publications on corrosion increasing solar power generation to
inhibitors, pour point depressant (ppd), 20000 MW by 2022 and wind
Emulsifier, de-emulsifier etc.
power generation to around 33000
Names of many good reference books MW. These figures look impressive,
on each topic are available in but it is practically quite unlikely.
Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.
Interested ones can look into them. India has the cheaper black gold for
------------ energy solution in near future. India

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is traditionally a coal country, with while combustible gases are

currently estimated reserves at >250 obtained at the other well head.
billion tonnes (annual production UCG and similar coal gasification
close to half a billion tonnes, and a techniques can make coal much
production to reserve ratio of 1 to better cleaner energy source than
217 for proven reserves). Coal is the other possible alternatives. It gives
mainstay of Indian energy supplies. several advantages over
India meets close to 60% of its conventional coal mining and
primary energy needs through coal. utilization techniques. Since, coal is
But, India needs to develop new used at the mine itself; it reduces the
technologies and methods which need for mining and transport. Also,
will allow it to utilize this resource the environmental impact due to
in an efficient and environment direct combustion such as
friendly manner. Some of the clean production of oxides of Nitrogen
coal technologies for energy and Sulphur is reduced. UCG also
generation are very briefly allows for exploitation of very deep
mentioned below. There will be mines without the need for
challenges in bringing these constructing mining shafts, and
technologies to market, but with the without requiring miners to go deep
right mix of research investment inside earth. Although it is
and market incentives, coal may successfully implemented at few
stake a place in a sustainable and places in world, the total
secure energy future in India. environmental impacts still not well
understood. Being the world’s third
Underground Coal Gasification largest reserves of coal, India
(UGC) should rely on its core strength.
Instead of investing in other
It is a new technology technique in
technologies, it would be better if
coal gasification. UGC refers to in-
India thinks for investing in clean
situ gasification of coal. In this
coal technologies like UGC.
process, instead of mining, coal is
converted into combustible gases. Hydrolysis of Coal:
This process takes place
underground. This is achieved by Internationally there is considerable
pumping a mixture of required interest in utilizing hydrogen as an
reactant gases directly into the coal energy carrier. The use of hydrogen
bed through one well dug into it, offers considerable potential

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 32

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benefits such as reducing for easy coal to liquid conversion is

greenhouse emissions, reducing necessary for getting petroleum
urban pollution, increased energy from coal. India should think for R
security and increased efficiencies & D in catalysis of coal in near
from the use of advanced energy future as other country had already
conversion technologies. started this project. Coal is
Coal can be used for the production heterogeneous mixture of aromatic
of hydrogen by electrochemical and aliphatic components.
oxidation to produce hydrogen at
lower cost than the current In view of the escalating oil prices
technology (natural gas reforming) and decreasing crude oil reserves in
for distributed power with zero the world, India can obviously think
hazardous environmental emissions. for generating universal catalyst to
In addition, the storage of convert its huge coal resources for
coal/water slurries is commercially liquefaction. Coal is generally
feasible; therefore, the electrolysis liquefied by the conventional
of coal/water slurries helps solve the methods of combustion or
problem of hydrogen storage. gasification which have some
disadvantage too. The process is
The electrolysis of coal simply takes long and suitability for environment
place according to the following is to be always considered from
reactions: time to time. More over the catalyst
C + 2H2O → CO2 + 4H+ + 4e- used are heterogeneous in nature,
4H+ + 4e- → 2H2 which activity decrease with time.
This may be an economical feasible Coal can be now studied for
technology for India to produce conversion to liquid fuel by
hydrogen from the electrolysis of hydrogenation with some
coal for distributed power homogeneous catalyst mainly
generation. More R&D input is organic compounds which are very
urgently required in this direction cheap. India should release here
in India. more fund for catalysis of coal to
liquid for a better energy future.
Coal to liquid by novel catalyst: Coal, efficiently used, is the answer
to a clean and green future of Indian
India has a satisfactory coal reserve economy.
which can survive for next
centuries. Development of a catalyst ------------0----------

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 33

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Mesoporous carbon materials preparation of mesoporous carbon

materials with extremely high surface
Suranjana V. Mayani & Vishal J. areas and ordered mesostructures, with
Mayani potential applications such as catalysts,
Department of Chemical Engineering, separation media and advanced
Hoseo University, 165 Sechul-ri, electronic materials in many scientific
Baebang-myun, Asan-city, Chungnam disciplines.
336-795, Republic of Korea Many advances have been made in
carbon technology in recent years, both
Porous carbon materials are of through continued improvement of
interest in many applications because of existing fabrication methods and
their high surface area and through the development and
physicochemical properties. introduction of new synthetic
Conventional synthesis method can techniques. Porous carbon materials can
only produce randomly porous be classified according to their pore
materials. Recently in the preparation of diameters as microporous (pore size <
porous materials have resulted in the 2nm), mesoporous (2nm < pore size <
development of methods for the

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< 50 nm), and/or macroporous (pore materials, ordered mesoporous

size > 50 nm). Conventional porous carbon materials with graphitic
carbon materials, such as activated pore-wall structure, disordered
carbon and carbon molecular sieves are mesoporous carbon materials with
synthesized by pyrolysis and physical or uniform mesopores which can again
chemical activation of organic be subdivided into mesoporous
precursors, such as coal, wood, fruit carbon materials from
shell or polymers at elevated copolymerization/ cocondensation,
temperatures. Historically, four typical mesoporous carbon materials
methods have been reported to prepare templated with colloidal silica
mesoporous carbons. These are: particles, mesoporous carbon
catalytic activation, carbonization of materials templated with
polymer blends, carbonization of silica/aluminosilicate gels,
organic aerogels and template methods. mesoporous carbon materials
Such series of chemical and physical templated with anodic aluminum
transformations must be governed by oxide and mesoporous carbon
the properties of organic substrates, materials templated with polymer
solvent materials and the catalyst. beads.

Physical and chemical properties of ² Soft-template synthesis of

mesoporous carbon materials mesoporous carbon materials
 High surface areas involves synthesizing mesoporous
 Large pore volume carbons using amphiphilic
 Narrow pore size distribution molecules, carbon nanostructures
 Ordered mesostructures from the self-assembly of block
 Electric conductivity copolymers, ordered mesoporous
 Thermal conductivity carbon materials from the self-
 Chemical stability assembly of block copolymers
 Low density which includes the polystyrene-b-
poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-P4VP)/
Synthesis methods of mesoporous resorcinol–formaldehyde system,
carbon materials the poly(ethylene oxide)-b-
² Hard-template synthesis of poly(propylene oxide)-b-poly(-
mesoporous carbon materials ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO)/
mainly involves synthesis of resorcinol–formaldehyde system,
ordered mesoporous carbon the PEO-PPO-PEO/resol system,

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the PEO-PPO-PEO/phenol– formaldehyde system and the PS-

formaldehyde resin/silica system, P4VP/carbohydrate system in
the PEO-PPO-PEO/ phloroglucinol/ confined space.

SEM images of mesoporous carbon materials

Applications of mesoporous carbon materials

² As sensors ² Electrode materials for batteries

² Supercapacitors ² Hydrogen storage

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 36

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² Fuel cells ² Magnetic materials

² Aerospace industry ² Nuclear fusion reactor

² Medical ² Engineering

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 37

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² As supports for many catalytic structures. Recent developments in the

process. soft-template synthesis of mesoporous
² Sorbent for separation methods. carbon materials create new possibilities
² Sports equipments in overcoming the intrinsic limitations
imposed by the hard template method.
The synthesis is thermodynamically
driven, and therefore depends on the
chemical interactions between
supramolecular templates and carbon
precursors. Although extensive methods
of soft-template synthesis have been
developed to control mesoscopic
architectures and surface properties for
silica and metal oxide materials, similar
methodologies for mesoporous carbon
materials are still in their early stages of
² Electrical furnace development. Till now, only hydrogen-
bonding interactions between soft
templates and carbon precursors have
been exploited for the production of
mesoporous carbon materials.

C. Liang, Z. Li, S. Dai, Reviews:
Mesoporous Carbon Materials:
Synthesis and Modification, Angew.
The wide application in every day’s Chem. Int. Ed. 47 (2008) 3696 – 3717.
life and availability of these ordered
mesoporous materials lead great ---
opportunities for the synthesis as well as The first X-ray
extraction from natural sources of other
highly ordered mesoporous materials.
The success of the hard template
synthesis lies in its simplicity in
replicating the structures of templates. The hand of Mrs.
However, this method is Wilhelm Roentgen: the
thermodynamically not driven. Few first X-ray image, 1895
chemical interactions between hard
templates and carbon precursors occur
during the replication process.
Accordingly, the hard-template synthesis The announcement of Roentgen’s discovery,
suffers from its intrinsic limitations in illustrated with an X-ray photograph of his
the sacrificial use of hard templates, wife’s hand, was hailed as one of mankind’s
insufficient stabilities of replicated greatest technological accomplishments, an
invention that would revolutionize every aspect
mesostructures, and difficulties of of human existence
synthesis of large film and monolithic
N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 38
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Let’s laugh damaged this part of the brain often lose

Dr. Manab Sarma their sense of humor.
(E-mail: While talking about Laughter,
Do you remember last time when psychologist William F. Fry said that
you laugh freely? To answer this three minutes of deep belly laughing is
question I will have to think at least a the equivalent of three minutes on a
couple of minutes. Due to the hectic fitness rowing machine. Renowned
daily schedule we are overflowed with Professor of Medical Humanities,
Stress, Tension, Anger etc. We forgot Norman Cousins wrote in his book,
that God gave us an outlet to drain these Anatomy of an Illness, that he found one
ailments through laughter. “Laugh” – 10-minute interlude of laughter gave him
which really don’t cost anything, don’t two hours of painless sleep. And
need any equipment to apply, rather it researchers found that it takes 17
helps us to improve our efficiency in all muscles to smile and 43 to frown. It
respect – so why we don’t use it. The improves our immune responses, lowers
radio-TV host of "Second Opinion" our serum cortisol (the hormone
( said, “It helps us to survive. It produced by stress), enhances
helps people to cope. When you laugh, it respiration, stimulates blood flow and
focuses everything outward. It's like a raises our pain threshold. In 2006, Lee
shot of morphine. It releases endorphins, Berk at Loma Linda University in
a natural substance released in your body California found that merely anticipating
like pain killers. It's happy juice in the laughter boosted the production of
body. It gives this euphoric type of mood-elevating hormones called β-
feeling that makes you high, Life is full endorphins and the immunity-enhancing
of humor. The whole world is a stage. human growth hormone by 27% and
You have to find the setup-the punch 87%, respectively.
line." Recently, in Western and
How we normally define laugh European culture, practice of Laughing
(laughter)? In general term Laughter is therapy has been increasing day by day
an audible expression, or appearance of as researcher proved that laughing can
merriment or happiness, or an inward decrease the risk of having
feeling of joy and pleasure. Is it only an cardiovascular diseases by 40 percent,
expression of human behavior? No, helps relief of chronic pain in arthritis,
definitely not; as this human behavior is spine lesions, neurological diseases etc.
regulated by brain, and linked with the More than that, it is known that laughing
activation of the ventromedial prefrontal is a strong muscle-relaxing method,
cortex (anterior part of frontal lobes of which also relieves pain. Laughing helps
human brain) (Fig.1), it has a much our immune system to fight against Virus,
deeper impact on our physiology. and experimentally it has even showed
Prof Richard Wiseman in his that mothers who laugh a lot have babies
project “LaughLab” exactly identified who seldom catch cold and a10-15
where jokes affect a human brain with minutes of laughing burn from 10 to 40
the help of MRI technique (Fig.2). It is calories so it helps to loss weight.
the portion located towards the back of You may be surprised that this
the frontal lobes. People who have therapy is not new for our culture. In
Sanskrit it is known as "Hasya-yoga",
but probably due to our ignorance
N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 39
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toward a life of healthy living we have

been neglecting it. This yoga is usually
practiced by some sounds, "Ho-ho"
which comes from the abdomen
(diaphragm), "ha-ha" comes from the
heart or from the thorax, "hi-hi" –
from… the third eye. Recent statistics
says that in India number of people
suffering from heart disease and diabetes
are increasing quite sharply. Therefore,
it would be perfect to learn and use all
these types of laughing with therapeutic
purposes. Fig.3: Smile of Life
At last, just look Fig.3, if he can (Sources:
smile then why not you?
07/full/news.2008.741.html etc.)

Facts behind Mona Lisa’s smile

Fig.1 Ventromedial prefrontal cortex

(brick red) portion of human brain

Leonardo Da Vinci's famous portrait,

the Mona Lisa, an oil painting on poplar
wood, the portrait took Da Vinci four
years (1503–1506) to complete. it was
sold to the King of France for four
thousand gold crowns. The world has
talked about it ever since. After the
revolution in France the painting was
transferred to the Louvre. Napoleon took
Fig.2 MRI picture of brain portion (in possession of it using the panel to
yellow) showing the effect of jokes decorate his bedroom. Who was the lady
in question? One popular theory
suggests that the lady is the Duchess of
Milan, Isabella of Aragon.

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Basic Concepts of Domino organic chemists. In this connection,

Reactions domino reactions play a vital role for the
generation of complex compounds
Dr. Saikat Dassharma starting from simple substrates in a
E-mail: single transformation consisting of
several steps.
Introduction What is Domino reaction?
Organic synthesis is responsible for According to Tietze, a domino
some of the most exciting and important reaction is defined as a process involving
discoveries of the twentieth century in two or more bond-forming
chemistry, biology and medicine, and transformations (usually C—C bonds)
continues to fuel the drug discovery which take place under the same reaction
processes. Synthetic organic chemistry is conditions without adding additional
perhaps the most expressive branch of reagents and catalysts, and in which, the
chemistry in view of its creative power subsequent reactions result as a
and unlimited scope.1 Through the quest consequence of the functionality formed
to construct complex and challenging in the previous step.2 Precisely, domino
bioactive molecules, newer and reaction relates to a sequence of
improved synthetic strategies are always consecutive reactions where one has to
been developed by the organic chemists. start the first reaction by an agent and
The creation of many bonds, rings, and then all other reactions proceed. The
stereocenters in a single transformation product of the first reaction is the
is desirable for high synthetic efficiency, starting material of the next reaction.
i.e., the ultimate goal is to perform Example:
multiple reactions in a single operation A wonderful example of domino
in order to increase molecular reaction is the biosynthesis of lanosterol
complexity. It is noteworthy that the (2) from squalene epoxide (1) with the
development of economically favorable formation of four C—C bonds and six
synthetic methods for organic reactions stereogenic centers (Scheme 1).3
is one of the latest challenges to the


Scheme 1

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Robinson developed the first domino It is noteworthy that even the normal
reaction of a natural product when he Mannich reaction combining an
synthesized bicyclic tropinone (6) by aldehyde (generally formaldehyde), a
putting together a mixture of ketone, and a secondary amine is a
succindialdehyde (3), methylamine (4), domino reaction and most probably the
and acetonedicarboxylic acid (5) first domino reaction described in
(Scheme 2).4 The key step in this literature.
synthesis is a double Mannich reaction.
+ MeNH2 + O

3 4 5
Scheme 2
Some important points to be noted: domino; all the others follow without
• A substrate with several changing the conditions. The domino
functionalities which undergo a processes are time-resolved
transformation individually in the transformations as like as domino stones,
same pot is not a domino where one stone tips over the next,
reaction. which tips the next, and the
• The preliminary formation of a next………such that they all fall down
reactive intermediate such as a in turn.
carbocation or carbanion is not Advantage of domino reaction:
counted as a reaction step. The complex organic molecules are
• In a domino reaction, the generally synthesized by the stepwise
substrates used must have more formation of the individual bonds.
than two functionalities of However, it would be much more
comparable reactivity. They can efficient if several bonds can be
be situated in one or two constructed in one sequence without
molecules, or, as in the case of isolating the intermediates, changing the
multicomponent domino reaction conditions, or adding new
reactions, in at least three reagents. Obviously, this type of
different molecules. In a domino reaction will generate less amount of
reaction, the functionalities react waste as compared to stepwise reactions
in a fixed chronological order to since the amount of solvents, reagents,
allow the formation of defined energy and the labor would be
molecules. dramatically reduced. Consequently, this
Why the name Domino was chosen? would furnish an ecological and
The name domino comes from the economical production of the target
game where one puts up several domino molecule.
pieces in one row and in agreement with The usefulness of domino reaction can
the time-resolved succession of be correlated to:
reactions, if one knocks over the first

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• Number of bonds which are consequence, the intermediate between

formed in one sequences which both steps is likely to be unstable and
is called the bond-forming (often) eludes isolation and
efficiency (or bond-forming characterization. Despite the fact that the
economy) cascade reaction is likely to proceed via
• Increase in structural complexity a highly reactive (unstable) intermediate,
(structure economy) which is prone to elude isolation and
• Its suitability for a general characterization, the final product can
application. often be isolated in good yields, because
Difference between Multicomponent, decomposition of the reactive
Cascade and Tandem reactions intermediate is largely avoided since it is
Reactions proceeding through more transformed in the same instant as it
than a single step in a concurrent fashion appears.6
have been described in various contexts • Tandem reaction:
and different terms have been used to The ‘sequential’ or ‘tandem’
describe them. But sometime they reactions are considered to be two-step
generate confusion such as reactions that proceed in a consecutive
multicomponent reactions, cascade fashion where each of the steps can be
reactions and tandem reactions which performed separately. Thus, it can be
are briefly clarified as follows: anticipated that the intermediate species
• Multicomponent reaction: will be a rather stable compound.
Multicomponent reactions emerged However, encyclopaedia defines tandem
as a powerful tool in organic for their as “locally, two after each other.” So, if
high degree of atom economy, three or even more bonds are formed in
convergent character, and diversity one sequence the term “tandem” can not
oriented organic synthesis. be used at all.2,7
Multicomponent reaction may be Classification of domino reaction
defined as the reaction where three or Domino reaction can be classified
more reactants are combined in a single into different categories depending on
vessel to generate single molecule that the mechanism of the first step.
contain portions of each reactant Combination of the reactions of the same
irrespective of the mechanism of the mechanism is called homo-domino
reaction. According to the definition, reaction whereas a sequence of reactions
multicomponent reactions are usually with different mechanisms is called
domino reactions (but not all).5 hetero-domino reaction.
• Cascade or domino reaction: Cationic domino reaction
The reactions in which the starting The domino reactions in which
material undergoes a transformation via carbocations are generated in the initial
two or more reactions one after another step are called cationic domino
in an inseparable fashion are called reactions. Most of the cationic domino
‘domino’ or ‘cascade’ reactions. The processes is followed by another cationic
choice of words—domino or cascade— processes, i.e., the category of homo-
indicates that both individual reactions domino reactions. In the last step, the
belong tightly together and are rather final carbocation is stabilized either by
difficult to perform in a stepwise the elimination of a proton or by the
(independent) fashion. As a nucleophilic addition (Scheme 3).2

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X _ X +

_ H+

+ Nu

Scheme 3
Diepoxide (7) undergoes acid catalyzed cyclization to bistetrahydrofuran (8) via cationic
domino reaction (Scheme 4).8

0.5 M HCl, THF

25 º C, 2.5 h O O OPMB

Scheme 4
Anionic domino reaction domino reaction is initiated by the
The primary step of anionic domino Michael addition of a nucleophile to the
reaction is the attack of either an anion α,β-unsaturated ketone (9) to furnish a
(such as a carbanion, an enolate or an reactive enolate (10), which in turn can
alkoxide) or a “pseudo” anion as an easily be trapped in a second anionic
uncharged nucleophile (such as an amine reaction to afford the compound (11)
or an alcohol) onto an electrophilic (Scheme 5).
center.2 An excellent example of anionic

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9 10 11

Scheme 5
Radical domino reaction use of protecting groups. In addition to
Radical reactions are ideal for that, radicals are equally feasible to add
sequencing because the product of every to either inactivated multiple bonds or to
radical is radical and thus contributes those bearing polar groups.
many efficient domino reactions with For example, iododiene (12) upon
high grades of chemo, region and treatment with tributyl tin hydride in
stereoselectivity. Domino radical benzene produces the compound (15) via
reactions can form complex, highly the intermediate radicals (13) and (14)
substituted ring systems with minimum (Scheme 6).9



C6H6, 80 º C

12 13 14


Scheme 6
Transition metal catalyzed domino A wonderful example of palladium
reaction catalyzed domino reaction is the
Recently transition metal catalyzed polycyclization of polyenes (16) to give
transformations are receiving much polyspirane (17) (Scheme 7).11
attention as a part of domino reaction.6b,10

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 45

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum


PhO2S 4


2.5% (dba)3Pd2. CHCl3, 10% Ph3Sb

AcOH, PhH, 50-65 ºC

Scheme 7
Enzymatic domino reaction This underwent another (intramolecular)
The enzymes play a vital role to nucleophilic attack on the second
initiate domino reactions.2,6a For epoxide to furnish a bistetrahydrofuran
example, the following domino reaction derivative (21). At the end of this
was initiated by enzymatic hydrolysis of cascade, the resulting alkoxide was
an ester (18) to form a nucleophile (19), trapped by forming a hemiacetal
which opened an epoxide to furnish the attached to a tristetrahydrofuran moiety
corresponding lactone together with a (22) (Scheme 8).12
free alkoxy moiety in the δ-position (20).
MeO CHO Pig Liver Esterase
O 18 O 19

_ _


Scheme 8

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 46

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Pericyclic domino reaction may be stable under the reaction

Pericyclic domino reactions are one conditions; however, the intermediate
of the strongest tools to construct can not be an isolable species but rather
formidable and unusual complex is converted to the final product upon
structures. In this process, both the workup.7
reaction steps take place without the The classic example of domino
incorporation of additional components pericyclic reaction is the Diels-Alder
or reagents. Everything necessary for reaction of 23 with DMAD (24) to
both reactions is present in the starting achieve 26 via intramolecular [4+2]
materials. The product of the initial step cycloaddition of 25 (Scheme 9).13

25 26
Scheme 9
Conclusions Burke, M. D.; Schreiber, S. L. Angew.
The development of domino reactions Chem., Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 46. (c) Ramon,
is still in its infancy. The future goal will D. J.; Yus, M. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed.
be the discovery of domino reactions in 2005, 44, 1602.
more environmentally friendly 6. (a) Mayer, S. F.; Kroutil, W.; Faber,
conditions. K. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2001, 30, 332. (b)
Chapman, C. J.; Frost, C. G. Synthesis
References 2007, 1.
1. Nicolaou, K. C.; Vourloumis, D.; 7. (a) Denmark, S. E.; Thorarensen, A.
Winssinger, N.; Baran, P. S. Angew. Chem. Rev. 1996, 96, 137. (b)
Chem., Int. Ed. 2000, 39, 44. Neuschütz, K.; Velker, J.; Neier, R.
2. Tietze, L. F. Chem. Rev. 1996, 96, Synthesis 1998, 227.
115. 8. Koert, U. Synthesis 1995, 115.
3. (a) Corey, E. J.; Russey, W. E.; Ortiz 9. Takahashi, T.; Katouda, W.;
de Montellano, P. R. J. Am. Chem. Soc. Sakamoto, Y.; Tomida, S.; Yamada, H.
1966, 88, 4750. (b) Corey, E. J.; Virgil, Tetrahedron Lett. 1995, 36, 2273.
S. C. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1991, 113, 10. Ajamian, A.; Gleason, J. L. Angew.
4025. (c) Corey, E. J.; Virgil, S. C.; Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 3754.
Sarshar, S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1991, 113, 11. Dauben, W. G.; Dinges, J.; Smith, T.
8171. C. J. Org. Chem. 1993, 58, 7635.
4. (a) Robinson, R. J. Chem. Soc. 1917, 12. Russel, S. T.; Robinson, J. A.;
111, 762. (b) Robinson, R. J. Chem. Soc. Williams, D. J. Chem. Commun. 1987,
1917, 111, 876. 351.
5. (a) Armstrong, R. W.; Combs, A. P.; 13. (a) Paquette, L. A.; Wyvratt, M. J.;
Tempest, P. A.; Brown, S. D.; Keating, Berk, H. C.; Moerck, R. E. J. Am. Chem.
T. A. Acc. Chem. Res. 1996, 29, 123. (b) Soc. 1978, 100, 5845.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 47

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PROSPECTS OF ECOTOURISM IN the different indigenous groups

LAKHIMPUR DISTRICT supplement the area to make it a unique
site for the tourist from India and as
Bhaskar Bora well as from abroad. Till now there are many remote and unexplored areas
which may provide an immense
The term “Ecotourism” was first coined pleasure to some one coming from over
by Hector Ceballos Lascurain in 1983, crowded technically noised world.
and was initially used to describe Lakhimpur is the home of several snow
nature- based travel to relatively fed rivers, wet lands and reserve forests
undisturbed area with an emphasis on such as Pabha Reserve, Kakoi Reserve,
education. The concept was, however, Dullung Reserve, Subansiri Reserve; to
developed to a scientifically based name a few. These reserve and their
approach to planning, management and skirting snow fed rivers were once the
development of sustainable tourism home of divers fauna like the Asiatic
products and activities. Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Tigers, Slow
Eco-tourism is derived from two words- Loris, Clouded Leopard, Wild dog
‘Ecosystem’ & ‘Tourism’. Together it (Dhole), Himalayan Black Bear, Sloth
is made Ecotourism. To understand Bear, Marval cat, Swamp Deer, White
Eco-tourism we have to understand our winged wood duck, Bengal Florican,
Ecosystem first. python, Fresh water dolphin, Golden
Ecosystem is the system in which we Mahseer etc. But in the last two decades
live – the system which include the time all that has changed due to the
earth, the water, the sky and of course large scale deforestation, population
the living and the non-living objects in explosion, construction of big river
all these systems. It is a dynamic dams and so on. Under this
complex of plant, animal and micro- circumstance a properly channelized
organism communities and their non- ecotourism policy and multifaceted
living environment interacting as a approach for conservation of natural
functional unit. heritage is urgently needed.
But, there is no such specific and Yet despite the long history of habitat
particular unit or scale to measure an loss and degradation, the eco region
Ecosystem. Thus, the term “ecosystem’ still harbors an impressive biological
does not, necessarily, agree to the diversity in the small fragments of
“biome” or “ecological zone”, but can habitat that lie scattered throughout the
refer to any functioning unit at any district. For instance the reserve forests
scale. It could, for example, be a grain in the district bear immense
of soil, a pond, a forest, the sea, the significance as far as biodiversity is
river, a biome or the entire biosphere. concerned. A huge numbers of
And, tourism means-‘the practice of medicinal, ornamentals and valuable
travelling for pleasure’. Thus, a tourism timbers, bamboos and canes etc. are
which contains a visit to an Ecosystem available in the hills and forests of
is known as Eco-tourism. But, that is Lakhimpur. Nature camps and
not all. Eco-tourism is not only trekkings can be organized in these
travelling to such Ecosystems, but also reserve forest with the help of local
conserving them. forest dwelling people. In this forest
Lakhimpur District is located in the rare species like climbing bamboo
northern part of upper Assam. The (Bambusa stractus) and Sia Nahar
geographical location, bio-diversity of (Kayea assimea) is found widely. Apart
this area and also the colorful culture of from this more than 80 species of eye

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 48

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catching wild orchid varieties are European winters. The eminent

scattered in these tropical evergreen biodiversity zone of Bordoibam
forest. Bilmukh Bird Sanctuary is located
River Subansiri, locally called about 50 km from the Lakhimpur town.
“Tharichu” originates from Tibat in the There are nine tea gardens and tea
central Himalaya. After traversing for a estate in Lakhimpur district. Almost all
stretch of 208 Km through Arunachal tea garden in Lakhimpur is situated in
Pradesh debouches near Dullungmukh the fringe of thickly forested foot hills
in Assam. Subansiri is famous for the of Eastern Himalaya. This eastern
mighty Golden Mahseer. Every winter Himalayan region is also one of the
lots of angler from different part of biodiversity hotspots in the world. In
North East India and U.K. coms for the recent times tea tourism, which can
angling. The downstream of river be called one part of ecotourism has
Subansiri is one of the very ideal become quite popular. People all over
habitate for Gangetic River Dolphin the world know Assam as the land of
(Platanista gangetica). But all that has ‘two leaves and a bud’. These tea
changed due to the ongoing estates, their beautiful ambience,
construction of 2000 M.W. mega dam colorful people, the old heritage
in the river Subansiri. Experts say that bunglows of the Managers, some of
in the near future the population of this which were setup by the British, may
Asia’s largest game fish and river blend memories of the past to make
dolphin will dwindle alarmingly. On the Assam a nostalgic destination for many
other hand river Ranganadi is one of the tourist of Europe, Japan and U.S.A.
sub-basin of the river Subansiri. The One permanent eco camp can be
river originates from an elevation of constructed in the vicinity of Ananda
3440m bordering east Kamang and T.G. and Subansiri river. This will
lower Subansiri districts. In the provide good opportunity for those who
upstream of this river there are some are interested in Angling, Trekking and
good potentialities of rafting and nature study.
angling. Apart from these the district of
Moreover the Bordoibam Bilmukh bird Lakhimpur and Dhemaji and Majuli
Sanctuary, Knowarbari doloni, have also some historical place and
Khabalu, Satajan wetland etc. are some monuments like Lateku pukhuri,
of the fascinating sites for migratory as Podumoni than, Basudev than,
well as residential bird watching in Malinithan, Rajgarh road and Vaisnav
Lakhimpur. Bordoibam Bilmukh bird satras etc. These are some ancient and
sanctuary is an ideal sanctuary shared important centers of Pilgrimage and
shared between the Lakhimpur and cultural Tourism.
Dhemaji District-diverse natural ---
heritage and picturesque surrounding of Save the most beautiful species of Assam:
green and sleepy mising village can The River Dolphine
easily attract any nature lover.
This ideal birding site was formed after
a massive earthquake that occurred in
the year 1950. Apart from several
endangered aquatic birds like adjutant
stork and fishing eagles, some most
endangered migratory water bird seek
refuge amidst its cozy sanctum during It is our turn to save this Platanista
ganetica, The Ganges River Dolphine
the freezing Siberian, Tibetan and
N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 49
Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

TRAITS NEEDED TO BE the time to see the big picture will help
SUCCESSFUL us stay focused and keep us motivated.

Arinjit Hazarika 3) Proactive: A unique ability that sets

Training and Placement Officer, successful people apart from the rest is
Dibrugarh University proactiveness. Being proactive means
(E-mail: assessing the situation and developing a
positive response for it. Proactive
What does it take to succeed? A people use their resourcefulness and
positive attitude? Yes, but that is not initiative to find solutions rather than
enough. There are innumerable just reporting problems and waiting for
examples of people who are successful other people to solve them.
for a limited period of time, but they Once we decide to be proactive,
can’t sustain the momentum. Why exactly where we focus our efforts
Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin becomes important. There are many
Tendulkar are so successful in spite of concerns in our lives, but we do not
many ups and downs? There should be always have control over them.
some basic traits that highly successful Proactive people focus their efforts on
people possess. Below is a list of the things over which they have
general traits that will help anyone get influence, and in the process often
ahead in any field: expand their area of influence. Reactive
people often focus their efforts on areas
1) Dream, Dream and Dream: We all of concern over which they have no
dream, but we all dream different! It is control. Their complaining and negative
the difference in our dreams that brings energy tend to shrink their circle of
about a difference in our actions. We influence.
dream to own a car, to buy a house, but
it is when we dream to make a 4) Respect Time: Seldom we will see a
difference in our work, will our other CEO walking late to a conference or a
dreams be taken care of. MD being late for the meeting. “Time is
And here we are talking about, money” and for a manager, a leader and
ideating. Dream of bringing in a new all successful men and women “It is
deal, starting a new project, working on more than money, it is wealth”. Being
a new brand, and innovating new ways late for a presentation, constantly
of doing a particular task. The coming late to office, running behind
innovative ideas that make a difference time for a meeting with a client all go to
and bring value to the organization will show sloppiness, a lack of discipline
take us higher up the ladder. and a disorganized lifestyle. Respect
time, thereby respecting yourself!
2) Commitment: When it takes more
than six months to accomplish a goal, 5) Passion: Do we love our job? Do we
people who are committed will stay the even like it? Being passionate about our
course to the very end. Most people job is more than the old adage "do what
want their goals accomplished in a you love". It's looking forward to going
week. It is true that there are short term to work. It's time flying by when we are
goals; but, when we have a long term there.
goal it can get a little overwhelming It’s not necessary that we need
when things don't seem to be moving as the organizational environment or the
fast as we would like. However, taking boss’ attitude to drive us or put us
down. A person passionate at job can be

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 50

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consistent in his job by his own drive Remember, excellence is a habit not an
and when situations are bad he act. It takes practice and perseverance.
continues to work with the same vigour 9) Self management: If success
or may be more. There is no need to depends on effective action, effective
search for means of motivation; the action depends on the ability to focus
work itself is a cause to enjoy it. The our attention where it is needed most,
crux is-if we don’t love what we do, no when it is needed most. Strong
one else will either. organizational skills, effective
6) Learn, Unlearn and Relearn: We productivity habits, and a strong sense of
need not know everything about the job discipline are needed to keep our self on
that we do. But we constantly need to track.
learn new things, grasp new ways and
imbibe new perspectives that best suit 10) Networking: Networking is not
our present work. We need to keep a only for finding jobs or clients. In an
economy dominated by ideas and
tab on the latest news, trends and buzz
innovation, networking creates the
related to our field of work. channel through which ideas flow and in
Nobody wants a robot, whose which new ideas are created. A large
breadth of knowledge is limited to network, carefully cultivated, ties one
his/her task at work alone, but someone into not just a body of people but a
who is well informed and updated about body of relationships, and those
the latest trends, news and happenings relationships are more than just the sum
in the field of work, around the world. of their parts. The interactions those
This will keep us in the good books of relationships make possible give rise to
our superiors and will also make us a innovation and creativity – and provide
good company at official gatherings so the support to nurture new ideas until
that we get a fresh perspective always they can be realized.
to anything related to our work. ---
7) Public speaking: The ability to Achieving the Goal
speak clearly, persuasively, and Barak Obama: childhood to present –
forcefully in front of an audience –
whether an audience of one or of
thousands – is one of the most
important skills anyone can develop.
People who are effective speakers come
across as more comfortable with
themselves, more confident, and more Child Obama at Obama a basket
attractive to be around. Being able to Hawaii beach ball player
speak effectively means we can sell
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu to a
anything – products, of course, but also Kenyan father and an American mother,
ideas, ideologies, etc. Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Graduated from
8) Chase Excellence: That’s the theme Columbia University and Harvard Law School,
behind the success of the biggest worked as a community organizer, university
lecturer, and civil rights lawyer before entering
blockbuster of 2009, “3 Idiots” – Chase
politics. According to childhood fellows: ‘he
Excellence, Success will follow. To be used to be a naughty boy particularly among
successful at anything, we need to be an his female seniors. Once he destroyed the
expert first in that particular thing. school’s fence which made from bamboos.’ ‘In
Unless we know the product we are a creative writing lesson, other students said
that they wanted to be a doctor or pilot, but
selling, its make, its parts, the
Barry claimed that he wanted to be a
chemicals, used, and its functions, we president.’
will not be able to market it or sell it. --------------

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 51

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Letter from the members

First of all, I must thank again to the moderator of the North-East India research
Group. I hope I am the only person who have been highly benefited by this forum. I
have joined at the early stage. I pray for its long-live. I have now so many senior
friends through this forum. Three greatest helps form this forum are
1) I had received my first postdoctoral offer in the late of 2007 through this
forum, which was my first application. It was amazing. I couldn’t accept that
offer as I couldn’t submit my thesis on time.
2) I have received DST-DFG award to attend the 59th meeting of Nobel laureates
and student, 2009, Lindau, Germany. I came across the advertisement of DST
for application through this forum only. I already shared my experience and
feeling in the forum. I must remain grateful to Dr. Ashimjyoti Thakur, Dr.
Arindam Adhikari for their kind help.
3) At last, I am here in the University of Mississippi, USA as a postdoctoral
fellow for the greatest help from the forum. I was applying for postdoc
position (from,, since June 2009, and
couldn’t get any due to lack of funding or position available or out of
competition. In November there was a mail from Dr. Diganta Sarma in the
forum with an advertisement for postdoc position and I applied. I am lucky
enough to get this position and be here in Mississippi.
Finally I must thank again to all the forum members for their participation in thought,
sharing their experience, giving the important links in the forum. I hope the forum
with an excellent addition of NEQUEST will give a new dimension of research in NE
INDIA in near future.

(Dr. Saitanya K Bharadwaj)

Acknowledgement: The editor is highly indebted to Dr. Manab Sharma for his kind
help in making this issue in this readable form. The help from Dr. Arindam Adhikari,
Dr. Ashim J Thakur and Dr. Pankaj Bharali are also sincerely acknowledged.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 52

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

among the successful candidates in 2002.

After qualifying in GATE and CSIR-NET
examination he has perused his PhD at
IIT-Guwahati. Currently he is working as
lecturer at Department of Chemistry,
Dibrugarh University.

Jitu Ranjan Chetia

Jitu Ranjan Chetia has completed his
college education from Gorgaon Collage,
Nazira and M.Sc in Chemical Sciences
from Tezpur University. Subsequently he
pursued his PhD under the guidance of
Professor N N Dass and Professor
Aradhana Dutta at Department of Rahul Kar
Chemistry, Dibrugarh University. Rahul Kar has completed his college
Currently he is working as Instrument education from Arya Vidyapith College,
Officer at the same department. He is Guwahati and M.Sc from Dibrugarh
associated with many socio-cultural University. He secured 1st class 1st position
organizations and a good actor. He is also in M.Sc among the successful candidates
a renowned quiz-master. in 2003. After qualifying in CSIR-NET
examination he has perused his PhD at
NCL-Pune under the guidance of Dr.
Saurv Pal in the area of theoretical
chemistry. Currently he is working as
lecturer at Department of Chemistry,
Dibrugarh University

Bolin Chetia
Bolin Chetia has completed his college
education from Science College Jorhat and
M.Sc from Dibrugarh University. He
secured 1st class 1st position in M.Sc

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 53

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

International Ph.D. Program, Zurich, Switzerland

The Life Science Zurich Graduate School houses several Ph.D. programs that cover distinct areas of
the life sciences. Each program offers research and education opportunities in a stimulating
international environment for ambitious students who wish to work towards a Ph.D. degree. Accepted
students perform their research project in one of the participating research groups of their favorite
program, according to their scientific interest. Advanced teaching and training courses are offered
throughout the curriculum. The program language is English throughout. Ph.D. studies usually last 3-4
years. Applicants must hold or anticipate receiving a Master’s degree or equivalent from a university
in a relevant field before starting the Ph.D. program. Applicants accepted for the program will have to
register with either the University of Zurich or ETH Zurich, depending on the affiliation of their future
research group.

Application deadlines: December 1st and July 1st

International PhD-Program in Austria 2010

International PhD-Program ‘Cell Communication in Health and Disease’ – CCHD 2010

At the Medical University of Vienna, CCHD, a PhD Program in biomolecular Medicine supported by
the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), has been established. The program offers cutting-edge education in
the fields of Neurobiology, Vascular Biology, Immunology, and Inflammation Research and
integrates basic, applied, and clinical sciences, as well as a huge spectrum of experimental techniques.
Admitted PhD students will receive funding for at least three years including support to visit
international conferences and specialized workshops. Applicants must hold a final degree in the
diploma studies of Medicine, Dentistry, or in ny scientific/technical subject-related diploma studies
(such as Cell or Molecular Biology) by the commencing term of the program. Further information on
research topics and courses, as well as application forms are available at:

PhD position in Interfaces in inorganic-organic nanocomposite hybrid materials

YKI, Institute for Surface Chemistry is the internationally leading institute in the area of
surface chemistry. YKI offers a stimulating work and research environment as well as good
working conditions. Within this EU-funded project, you also get a chance to work with
international partners from industry and academia. The PhD project will be aimed at the
design and fabrication of functional nanocomposites using inorganic nanoparticles and
polymers. The focus will be on fundamental understanding of the nanoparticles and polymer
interaction at molecular level. Design and characterization of inorganic-organic
nanocomposite with the focus of interface engineering will be the key elements of this PhD
project. Thus it is an advantage if the skills of the candidate are multidisciplinary, with a
strong background in polymer chemistry and nanomaterials, and a preference for additional
experience in colloid and surface science. Furthermore, the applicants should be energetic,
highly motivated and possess excellent communication skills both in Swedish and English.
You will be employed by and based at YKI in Stockholm. YKI is located on the campus of
the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Please send your CV and cover letter to our HR
Manager:, no later than 15th August 2010.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 54

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum




The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science & Technology.
Government of India, New Delhi and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
(JSPS) conduct the India-Japan Cooperative Science Programme (IJCSP) to promote
bilateral scientific collaboration between Indian and Japanese scientists. Applications
are invited from eligible Indian researchers /scientists to submit proposals for joint
projects and joint workshops under IJCSP. Areas of cooperation : The support is
available to the following scientific areas :
- Molecular and Supramolecular Science
- Advanced Materials, including Polymers and Nano-materials
- Modern Biology and Biotechnology
- Manufacturing Sciences
- Astronomical and Space Science
- Surface and Interface Science including Catalysis
Who can apply : The joint application must include one Indian and one Japanese
Principal Investigators, who would be responsible for technical as well as administrative
co-ordination of the project and its periodic scientific and financial reporting to the
DST/ JSPS respectively.
Further details in respect of Japanese participants JSPS website ( may
be referred to. Kind of support available : DST provides the following support under the
Programme: For Indian Researchers – Cost of International airfare to and from the
designated research location, visa fee, air port taxes, overseas medical insurance
premium for the approved visit duration and airport transfers in India. For joint
workshops/ seminars to be organized in India, local travel cost of selected Indian
participants and organizing expenses may also be considered for support as per DST
norms. For Japanese Researchers – Costs of accommodation in a guest house, per diem
anddomestic travel expenses in India including airport transfers as per DST norms.
Processing : The formats for joint project/seminar proposals and other details are
available at the websites: or Project proposal is to
be submitted through e-mail to (preferably in MS Word format in one
file indicating file name as PI name & area code) as well as by Post (3 copies ) in the
prescribed format on or before the given deadline through proper channel to :
Dr Naveen Vasishta, Scientist, International Division, Department of Science &
Technology, New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi-110016
Japanese Principal Investigators need to submit proposals with a matching research/
seminars plan to JSPS simultaneously. Japanese Researchers are requested to contact
JSPS for their application submission period, documents to be submitted etc. The
website: https://wwwshinsei. (available only in Japanese)
may be referred for details.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 55

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum




Department of Science and Technology

CLOSING DATE : 15 July 2010

Under the framework of India- South Africa inter-governmental bilateral agreement on
cooperation in the fields of science and technology signed in 1995, a new programme of
cooperation has been agreed for the years 2008 to 22011. Under this Programme of
Cooperation n we are pleased to announce the call for joint research project proposals
between South African and Indian scientists / researchers, and invite all local scientists/
researchers wishing to participate to submit their proposals by the due date indicated
Who may apply?

South Africa : This call is s open to all working researchers residing in South Africa
and affiliated with a recognised higher education or research institution such as a
university, university of technology or science council. An application must designate
two principal investigators, one in South Africa and the other in India, who will bear the
main responsibility for the project, including its technical and administrative
coordination as well as scientific and financial reporting. The South h African applicant
must be in possession of at least a master’s degree (preferably a PhD). Commercial
institutions and private education institutions are not eligible to apply under this
India : The Principal Investigator (PI) and other investigators in n India should be
Scientists/ faculty members working in regular capacity in UUGC recognized
Universities/ Deemed Universities, Academic Institutes and National Research &
Development Laboratories// Institutes. The Indian PI should not be retiring or leaving
the parent institute during the proposed duration of the project.
How do I apply?

South Africa: Application forms for South African applicants may be downloaded
electronically from the NRF F website ( A compulsory soft copy and
scanned signature page off the South African application must be submitted to: Mr
Raven Jimmy (
No hard copies of the app plication will be accepted.
Only applications endorse ed by the research office or its equivalent at higher education
or research institutions will be accepted.
India : Application forms for Indian applicants may be down loaded from the
websites r

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 56

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Ministry of Science and Technology

Department of Science and Technology
Technology Bhawan
New Mehrauli Road
New Delhi – 110 016

Call for Preliminary Research Proposals on Faunal Research of NE

The Department of Science and Technology through its Program Advisory Committee on
Animal Sciences aims to strengthen wild life research in North Eastern (NE) Region,
which is one of the hotspots of biodiversity. Initially, a Brainstorming Session was held at
Manas Sanctuary, Guwahati, in November, 2008, wherein participation was from local
administration, forest department, NGOs and academic institutions. Then, a thematic
workshop with participation from all parts of NE region was organized in October, 2009
at the Department of Zoology, Guwahati University.
Herewith, the Department invites preliminary research proposals/ideas on various aspects
of faunal research. Such proposals should emanate from the researchers based in NE
Region or should actively involve a researcher from the NE region. The proposals
may be submitted in the following format : (i) Name and affiliation of the PI (s), (ii) The
state of art in the subject (iii) Objectives (iv) Research Methodology (v) Biodata of the PI
(s) with research publications in the last 05 years (vi) Tentative budget
Five hard with a soft copy of the proposal may be submitted by July 31, 2010 to : Dr.
Bhanu Pratap Singh, Scientist "G", Department of Science and Technology, Room No. 2,
Hall D, Technology Bhawan, New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi – 110 016. Tel No. 011-

Government of India
Ministry of Science & Technology
Department of Science & Technology


The “Better Opportunities for Young Scientists in Chosen Areas of Science & Technology
(BOYSCAST)” programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) provides
opportunities to the young Indian scientists to visit institutions abroad, interact with scientists there,
get trained in latest research techniques and conduct R&D in specially chosen frontline areas of
science & technology. Applications are invited from Indian Nationals for the award of fellowships
under the BOYSCAST programme for conducting advanced research and undergoing training in
advanced research techniques in overseas research laboratories/institutes, in chosen frontline areas of
science & technology for the period of three to twelve months.

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 57

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Details about the Northeast India Research Forum

Date of creation of the forum : 13th November 2004

Area: Science and Technology
Total number of members till date: 350

1. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D. 2. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.
Institute of Surface Chemistry, Royal Chemical Science Dept
Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam
Email: Email:

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

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

Editorial Team of N.E. Quest

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

HOD, Biochemistry Dept. Tezpur University India
Manipur University, Imphal, India

3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D. 4. Shanta Laishram, Ph. D.

Australia, Dept of Pure Mathematics, University of Waterloo, Canada
5. Robert S. Thangjam, Ph.D.
Mizoram University, India
6. Babita Baruwati, PhD 7. Pankaj Bharali,
USA Research Institute for Ubiquitous
8. Pranjal Saikia Energy Devices; National Institute
Guwahati of Advanced Industrial Science and
Email: Technology, Japan
9. Sasanka Deka, Ph.D. 10. Áshim Thakur, Ph.D.
National Nanotechnology Laboratory, 11. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.
Lecce, Italy 12. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.
Email: 13. Khirud Gogoi, Ph.D.

Cover Page designed by : Anirban, Pune

Logo designed by : Manab Sharma

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 58

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2010. 59