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As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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Watch: IIT Mandi Researchers Use ‘Pollutant Diesel Emissions’ For Water Treatment

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IIT mandi uses diesel soot sponge for water treatment

Mandi- Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have used the soot emitted by diesel engines to mop up oil and other organic pollutants from water. Their work has been recently published in the journal – Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Although diesel engines are known to be superior to other internal combustion engines in terms of lower fuel consumption and better energy release efficiencies, they are associated with significant amounts of particulate emissions.

 The particulates largely comprise soot, which is formed in the fuel rich regions of the burning diesel jets. Increasing environmental concerns and stringent emission standards require the development of both conventional and unconventional means for reducing soot.

 Studies in this area have focused on improving the engine design and incorporating special filters and treatment units at the exhaust end of the vehicle.

Dr. Rahul Vaish, Associate Professor, School of Engineering at IIT Mandi and his research students Vishvendra Pratap Singh and Moolchand Sharma have looked at this problem from a different perspective.

They rationalized that while it is impossible to bring down soot emissions to zero, it is possible to find a use for the soot produced.

 Carbon species such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and candle soot have shown their potential in many fields,

says Dr. Vaish,

so why not automobile soot?

It is known that carbon species can absorb various organic pollutants in water. Carbon nanotubes, filter paper, mesh films, and graphene have been used for removing oil from water. Given that the typical carbon content of soot is between 90 and 98%, the team explored the possibility of using this pollutant as an adsorbent of oil and organic contaminants in water.

 There is a rapid increase in oil and chemical leakages from oil tankers or ships and industrial accidents with expansion in oil production and transportation in the last few decades,

the authors write in their recently published paper, justifying the need for new materials to mop up oil and prevent catastrophic environmental outcomes.

 In an earlier study, Dr. Vaish used candle soot to successfully remove two cationic dyes, rhodamine B and methylene blue from water, thereby showing the possibility of organic from water thereby showing the possibility of organic chemical removal by soot. Extending this earlier work, the research team incorporated diesel exhaust soot into polymer sponges to study their capability to adsorb oil and other organic materials from water. This hydrophobic sponge showed high absorption capacity for various oils, without the need for complex pretreatments.

The researchers found that the highest oil absorption capacity was 39 g/g for engine oil. An interesting observation was that the sponges were recyclable and retained 95% efficiency even after 10 cycles.

The diesel soot impregnated sponge could also absorb pollutants like methylene blue, ciprofloxacin, and detergent from the water. This has practical implications.

Apart from oil spills, organic pollutants such as traces of dyes and detergent coming from industries and households are a major contributor to water pollution,

says Dr. Vaish.

The soot impregnated sponge can help in developing cost-effective remediation processes for common domestic and industrial pollutants. Such a development would additionally serve to repurpose automobile waste.

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Campus Watch

Last date for Admissions to UHF Diploma extended

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Nauni University Admissions Date for Diploma

Solan: The Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has extended the last date to apply for its one-year Diploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and BakeryDiploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri.

The last date to apply for the diploma run by the Department of Food Science and Technology of the university has now been extended to January 29. Earlier the last date for application was January 17. The counselling for the diploma programme will now be held on January 31.

The PRO also informed that this year, the university has also reduced the fee charged for the diploma to Rs 5000. Earlier, the fee for this diploma was Rs 20,000. The decision was taken to ensure that more and more people can apply for the programme, he said.

The minimum educational qualification for this diploma programme is Class 10+2 with at least 40 per cent with no age cap for admission. A total of 35 seats are available in the programme. Prospectus and application form can be downloaded from the university website (www.yspuniversity.ac.in)

The PRO further informed that the programme has also been linked to the Skill Development Allowance scheme of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Any person enrolled in the programme can also apply for this allowance.

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Two JRF among HP Varsity’s 11 disabled students who cracked UGC NET 2018

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Disabled HPU Students Clears UGC NET

Shimla-Crossing milestones in academics, disabled students of Himachal Pradesh continue to achieve what is otherwise considered insurmountable for them.

Eleven differently-abled students have cleared UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET). Two of them qualified for the Junior Research Fellowship. Five of these students are visually impaired.

It’s important to mention that disabled students had to fight a legal battle to claim their right to higher education in Himachal Pradesh University. Even after ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016’ was passed, the students had to fight for its implementation as the government did not make it easy for them.

Two students who qualified for the JRF include Saveen Janha, an M.Phil in Hindi, and Pankaj Sharma, P.hD in Tourism Administration. Both are physically disabled, informed Ajai Shrivastava, a member of the State Advisory Board on Disability and HPU Executive Council (EC).

Indu Kumari, a visually impaired student, who is pursuing her M.A. in Political Science, cleared the NET examination in her very first attempt. Similarly, visually impaired Roma Negi, a resident of Rampur, has cleared the exam in History in her first attempt. She wants to pursue her P.hD from HP University.

Other names include Anuj Kumar (Economics), Vinod Sharma (Political Science), Jasbir Lubanand (Political Science), Vinod Sharma Yogacharya (Yoga), Priyanka Thakur (Law), Ajay Kumar (History). Some of these students have cleared the NET examination twice. Raj Kumar is a Ph.D in Education and has cleared the NET exam in the same. He had also passed the NET examination in History and this time cleared the exam in Political Science.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikander Kumar has congratulated all these students and appreciated their hard-work despite facing hardships due to their disability. He said these students have brought laurels to the State.

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