Wednesday December 13, 2017

Government to set up National Institute of Medicinal Plants

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

To promote  traditional medicines, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government is planning to set up National Institute of Medicinal Plants (NIMP) at a cost of about Rs 100 crore.

“The government is considering setting up of National Institute of Medicinal Plants (NIMP) for which an allocation of Rs. 100.00 crore has been made during the 12th Plan, out of which funds amounting to Rs. 50.00 lakh are earmarked during the current financial year.  In this connection, the government is in the process of identifying suitable land in the country,” Minister of State, AYUSH(I/C), Shripad Yesso  Naik  informed Lok Sabha today.

To identify the medicinal and aromatic plants, the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), an organization under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been assigned a task to carryout survey and documentation of all plant resources of the country , Naik said.

The BSI is the nodal repository for reference plant collections and at present houses about 3.2 million specimens in its different herbaria.

The MoS , AYUSH(I/C) also informed  that  to prevent misappropriation of the country’s traditional medicinal knowledge a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) has been set up which entails transcription of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha codified texts into English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.

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Beware Vegans! Flowering Plants ‘Hear’ When Eaten and Become Defensive, Says Research

Research Was Conducted by Playing Recordings of a Feeding Caterpillar to Flowering Plants

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Flowering plants
Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli (representative image). Pixabay
  • Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli is found out in a study
  • The plants were made to hear vibrations of a feeding caterpillar and other was just sounds with same acoustics
  • The plants listening to caterpillar vibrations showed production of mustard oil which made the caterpillar crawl away

June 23, 2017: Plants and animals can be a source of energy for us but when it comes to defense, plants are not behind. In some cultures and communities, people have started choosing a vegan lifestyle as they are against animal slaughter. The viral videos on how animals are treated in slaughterhouses make people take up the vegan lifestyle. Most people think that plants do not have a conscience but research show otherwise.

Research show that plants do react to external stimuli and some research shows that they also communicate through chemical signals. They grow towards light, compete with other plants for water and nutrients and also signal for help when needed.

In recent news about science, a research published in Oecologia which was conducted in University of Missouri suggests that plants can hear when they are being attacked and can also become defensive from the attack. Heidi Appel (senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences) and Rex Crocoft (professor in the Division of Biological Sciences) carried out the research by conducting experiments in which they placed caterpillars on the flowering plants of cabbage and mustard.

ALSO READ: Find out why Hinduism always emphasizes on being a vegetarian

They put up a piece of reflective material and a laser on a leaf to measure its movement as a response from vibrations of feeding caterpillar and then they recorded the sounds of caterpillar feeding and played them to similar plants and on the other hand, they played sounds with similar acoustics but a different source to other plants.

The results showed that when caterpillars fed on both plants, the plant exposed to vibrations of caterpillars produced more mustard oils as it is unpleasant to caterpillars so they crawled away and those who were played sounds with similar acoustics showed no change in chemical response.

Appel and Crocoft said that more future researches would be upon how the vibrations are sensed by the plants and how plants would react to other vibrations to keep the pests away. Crocoft stated, ‘Plants have many ways to detect insect attack, but feeding vibrations are likely the fastest way for distant parts of the plant to perceive the attack and begin to increase their defenses.’

Appel said,’ ‘This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.’

This research was part funded by National Science Foundation and it could prove to be a useful tool in agriculture!

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Plants can be Renewable and Biodegradable alternative to Polymers used in 3-D Printing materials: Research

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Plants, Pixabay

New York, March 5, 2017: Plants could be a renewable and biodegradable alternative to the polymers currently used in 3-D printing materials, researchers have found.

A new paper, published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies, found that cellulose might become an abundant material to print with.

“Cellulose is the most important component in giving wood its mechanical properties. And because it is so inexpensive, it is biorenewable, biodegradable and also very chemically versatile, it is used in a lot of products,” said Sebastian Pattinson, lead author of a paper, from Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT).

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“Cellulose and its derivatives are used in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, as food additives, building materials, clothing — all sorts of different areas. And a lot of these kinds of products would benefit from the kind of customisation that additive manufacturing [3-D printing] enables,” Pattinson added.

When heated, cellulose thermally decomposes before it becomes flowable, partly because of the hydrogen bonds that exist between the cellulose molecules. The intermolecular bonding also makes high-concentration cellulose solutions too viscous to easily extrude.

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“We found that the strength and toughness of the parts we got… was greater than many commonly used materials for 3-D printing, including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA),” he said.

Cellulose acetate is already widely available as a commodity product. In bulk, the material is comparable in price to that of thermoplastics used for injection molding and it’s much less expensive than the typical filament materials used for 3-D printing. (IANS)

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India’s Enigma: The Mystical and bizzare practices of the North-East

From head-hunting to brewing various alcoholic beverages, this land is home to many cultures and traditions

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Representational Image, A place in the North-east of India. Image Source: exoticnortheast.in
  • Untouched from the modernization, the North-Eastern states of India remain wild and unexplored making it a treasure trove of biodiversity
  • From head-hunting to brewing various alcoholic beverages, this land is home to many cultures and traditions
  • North-eastern states prefer matriarchal society in India 

The land of the seven sisters, guarded by the mountains and fed by the mighty Brahmaputra River encompasses amazing valleys, magical waterfalls, and dense forests with their exotic fauna. This slice of paradise is home to diverse religious, ethnic, and linguistic tribes each with their own cultures and beliefs.

Untouched from the modernization, the North-Eastern states of India remain wild and unexplored making it a treasure trove of biodiversity. The sub-tropical climate along with a lot of monsoon rains has helped create one of the last remaining great wildernesses of India in this region.

From head-hunting to brewing various alcoholic beverages, this land is home to many cultures and traditions. Exotic and endangered species like the Red Panda and Golden Langurs are found in the dense forests .

The gateway to these North-Eastern states is Assam, the most vibrant of seven states. With thousands of hectares under tea cultivation and an impressive 35 percent under forest cover, this place is predominantly symbolic of one color-green. It houses not only Asia’s largest river island but also the world’s smallest river island, mentioned India today Website.

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Assam is also the land of mysteries. The mystery revolving around the disappearance of the visitors to the two secret tunnels of  Talatal Ghar, built by the Ahom kings of Assam has made authorities to restrict access to them.

Bhut jolokia (also called bih jolokia, raja mirchi or ghost chillies) is the hottest chilli in the world with 1,001,300 Scoville heat units. Mostly found in Assam and Nagaland, it plays an important role in the kitchens of the North East.

North East
Head-hunters in Nagaland. Image Source: Indiatoday.in

The North-East is home to the last surviving head-hunters. Even though the Naga headhunting stopped back in the 1940s you can still spot many elders of the Konyak tribe with tattooed faces, meaning they’re from the headhunting clans. According to the culture, killing and severing an enemy’s head was considered a rite of passage for young boys and this triumph was rewarded with a prestigious facial tattoo.

The only matriarchal society of India is in Meghalaya. Women are the head of the household of the Khasi tribe which is one of the few societies in the world that follows a matrilineal system. They are the one that does the hard labour to earn a living for the family while men take the back seat. The birth of a girl brings cheers of jubilation and when a boy is born, they accept it humbly as God’s gift.

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Participants play music in Nagaland. Image Source: alamy.com

On January 12, 2013, 368 participants in Nagaland gathered to play Knocking On Heaven’s Door, by Guns N’ Roses with an aim to promote the brotherhood, the Sky Group. A Guinness World Record was created for the world’s largest electric guitar ensemble.

Jonbeel Mela is an annual fair which dates back to the 15th century when the kings organised it to discuss the prevailing political situations.  Held in the Morigaon district of Assam, the main attraction of the fair is the barter system that takes place.

Nghah lou dawr, meaning shops without shopkeepers is something unique you find in Mizoram. All you need to do is drop the money in the deposit box for the items taken.  This act of trust is something very rare and hard to see in this world.

– prepared by NewsGram team.

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