Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Glaciers in Sikkim melting at faster pace
Science and Technology
- Quantum chemistry based software for radiation therapy
- Biofortified high protein variety of Wheat
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Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Glaciers in Sikkim melting at faster pace
Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun an autonomous research institute for the study of Geology of the Himalaya under the Department of Science and Technology, have found that glaciers in Sikkim are melting at a higher magnitude as compared to other Himalayan regions.
Outcomes of the study:
- The study assessed the response of 23 glaciers of Sikkim to climate change for the period of 1991-2015.
- The study revealed that the glaciers in Sikkim have retreated and deglaciated significantly from 1991 to 2015.
- Compared to other Himalayan regions, the magnitude of dimensional changes and debris growth are higher in the Sikkim.
- A major shift in glacier behaviour has occurred around 2000.
- Contrary to the western and central Himalaya, where glaciers are reported to have slowed down in recent decades, the Sikkim glaciers have shown negligible deceleration after 2000.
- Summer temperature rise has been prime driver of glacier changes.
- Accurate knowledge of magnitude as well as the direction of glacier changes can lead to awareness among common people regarding water supplies and possible glacier hazards.
- The study can provide ample baseline data on glacier changes and systematically explore the causal relationship between glacier parameters and various influencing factors.
- A clear understanding of glacier state will help orienting future studies as well as taking necessary measures.
Science and Technology
Quantum chemistry based software for radiation therapy
Indian researcher from IIT Bombay along with his research group is working to develop new methods for quantum chemistry and implement them in efficient and free software to study electron attachment to aqueous DNA which has big implications in radiation therapy-based treatment of cancer.
About the project:
- The research group is a collaboration of chemists, computer scientists, and engineers who are united towards a common goal of development of efficient quantum chemistry methods and free software, which can be routinely used by scientists all over the globe to solve their chemistry problems.
- The efficiency of these newly developed quantum chemistry methods allows the research group to solve the Schrodinger equation for the attachment of electrons to DNA in the presence of the bulk aqueous environment.
- The deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is the carrier of genetic information in human body, and electron attachment to DNA is one of the crucial steps in radiation damage to human cells.
- His team has shown that the electron attachment to DNA solvated in bulk water happens through a doorway mechanism, and the presence of the aqueous environment allows this electron attachment to take place at an ultrafast time scale.
- This newly proposed mechanism of electron attachment to aqueous DNA has big implications in radiation therapy-based treatment of cancer.
- This study can help in the development of a new class of radio-sensitizers, which makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy and thereby protects the normal cells.
- Computational modeling can greatly reduce the development cost of new radio-sensitizers, both in terms of money and time.
- Quantum chemistry is one of the new branches of chemistry which tries to understand the chemical properties of atoms and molecules without performing a lab experiment.
- Instead, in quantum chemistry, the Scientists try to solve the Schrödinger equation for the molecules, and it gives every measurable quantity about that particular molecule, without actually doing the measurement.
- However, the mathematical equations resulting from the application of the Schrodinger equation are very complicated and can only be solved using computers.
- Therefore, one needs to develop new theories and write efficient computer programs to solve these equations.
Biofortified high protein variety of Wheat
Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have developed a biofortified durum wheat variety MACS 4028, which shows high protein content.
- The wheat variety developed by the ARI scientists group on Wheat improvement has high protein content of about 14.7%, better nutritional quality having zinc and iron content of 40.3ppm and 46.1ppm respectively, good milling quality and overall acceptability.
- MACS 4028 is a semi-dwarf variety, which matures in 102 days and has shown the superior and stable yielding ability of 19.3 quintals per hectare.
- It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, foliar aphids, root aphids, and brown wheat mite.
- The MACS 4028 variety is also included by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra programme for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to alleviate malnutrition in a sustainable way and can boost the Vision 2022 “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat”, the National Nutrition Strategy.
- The wheat variety MACS 4028 has been notified by the Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops (CVRC) for timely sown, rainfed condition of Peninsular Zone, comprising Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- Wheat is the second most important cereal crop after rice in India.
- Staple food for North India and North West India.
- Provides balanced diet compared to rice as it is rich in protein, vitamins and carbohydrates.
- Wheat is rabi crop, shown in the beginning of winter and harvested in the beginning of summer.
- Wheat crop in India is grown under six diverse agroclimatic zones.
- In the peninsular zone of India (Maharashtra and Karnataka states), wheat cultivation is majorly done under rainfed and limited irrigation conditions.
- Under such conditions, the crop experiences moisture stress.
- Hence, there is a high demand for drought-tolerant varieties.
Kuposhan Mukt Bharat:
- NITI Aayog launched the National Nutrition Strategy aimed at Kuposhan Mukt Bharat.
- The strategy intends at bringing nutrition to the center-stage of the National Development Agenda and eradicate it in a phased manner.
- It calls for convergence between four proximate determinants of nutrition– uptake of health services, food, drinking water & sanitation and income & livelihoods.
- It envisages Kuposhan Mukt Bharat – linked to Swachh Bharat and Swasth Bharat.
- It also gives prominence to demand and community mobilisation as key determinant to address India’s nutritional needs to bring behavioural change efforts to generate demand for nutrition services.