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CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 4

29 FEBRUARY 2004

 

 

Ocean  Development and Vice President, CSIR, who graced the occasion as Guests of Honour.

“Indian foods are increasingly being viewed as healthy foods the world over,” said Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and expressed confidence that this “marriage between modern science and ancient history would help protect our culinary heritage from being exploited by others”.

 

 

Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka (second from left) releasing the

First Announcement of the forthcoming National Convention on 'Science and Tradition of Food Å

 India's Heritage of 5000 years'. Seen at the extreme left is Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Science & Technology and Ocean Development

 

Detailing the genesis of the MoU, Dr Prakash said, “the MoU would help institutionalize the power of science and the richness of tradition so that India's leadership in providing a wholesome healthy and nutritious foods is not just reestablished but made eternal through digitization”.  The traditional knowledge of 5000 years of heritage has references to specific foods termed `Sukha Karakas', which are known to not just help prevent diseases or cure diseases, but also causing happiness.  “Perhaps this will begin a new culture and a new era unifying us with nature, through a healthy food that gives happiness, and to build a healthy society,” said Dr Prakash.

 

As a first step of this important collaboration, CFTRI and ASR are organizing a National Convention on `Science and Tradition of Food – India's Heritage of 5000 years,' during 1‑2 May 2004.  Shri T.N. Chaturvedi released the brochure on First Announcement of the forthcoming convention on this occasion.

 

 

NAL signs MoU with Arun Fabrics

 

THE National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Arun Fabrics on 27 January 2004, agreeing to work on commercial exploitation of countour weaving technology by using Jacquard, in areas of mutual interest to both the parties.

 

 

Science Spectrum: CCMB

 

Dependence of Heterochromatic Silencing and HP1 Localization in
Drosophila melanogaster on RNAi Machinery

 

SMALL RNA molecules are known to play multiple roles in regulating gene expression, e.g. targeted degradation of mRNAs by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) (posttranscriptional gene silencing, PTGS), developmentally regulated sequence‑specific translational repression of mRNA by micro‑RNAs (miRNAs), and targeted transcriptional gene silencing (TGS).  RNAi activity is known to limit transposon mobilization and providing an antiviral defense.

 

Genes which normally reside in achromatic domains are silenced when packaged into heterochromatin, as exemplified in Drosophila melanogaster by position effect variegation (PEV) Loss‑of‑function mutations resulting in suppresion of PEV have led to the identification of critical components of heterochromatin, including proteins HP1, HP2, and histone H3 lysine 9 (H3 Lys9) methyltransferase.

 

Manika Pal‑Bhadra, Sumit G. Gandhi, Madhusudana Rao and Utpal Bhadra from the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad; Boris A. Leibovitch and Sarah C.R. Elgin from the Department of Biology, Washington University; and James A. Birchler from the Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, in their report published in Science, 303 (2004), 669, have demonstrated that this heterochromatic silencing is dependent on the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery.  Using tandem mini‑white arrays and white transgenes in heterochromatin, loss of silencing has been shown as a result of mutations in piwi, aubergine, or spindle‑E (homeless), which encode RNAi components.  These mutations result in reduction of H3 Lys9 methylation and delocalization of HP1 and HP2, most dramatically in spindle‑E mutants.

 

Phylogeography and Origin of Indian Domestic Goats

 

The domestic goat Capra hircus is an important livestock species in developing countries including India.  Being a good source of meat, milk, fiber and skin, it is popularly known as `poor man's cow'.  Goats are the most adaptable and geographically widespread livestock species, ranging from the high altitude of the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan and humid coastal areas of India.  Archaeological evidence indicates that the goat was one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans around 10,000 years ago at the dawn of the Neolithic period in the Fertile Crescent. It has been suggested that at least two wild species of the genus Capra have contributed to the gene pool of domestic goats, whereas some studies suggest that an independent domestication in Pakistan gave rise to the Cashmere breeds.  However, though the archaeological evidence is there, origin of the domestic goat remains controversial.

 

A worldwide survey of domestic goat mtDNA diversity, carried out by a team of researchers earlier, led to the identification of three major mtDNA lineages: Lineage A was the most common in all continents; Lineage B was found in the Indian subcontinent, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia; and Lineage C was observed in a few samples from Mongolia, Switzerland, and Slovenia.  These three lineages were judged to have diverged over 200,000 years ago. This ancient divergence time and the different geographical localizations of the lineages suggested the likelihood of either multiple domestication events or introgression of additional lineages after the original domestication.  The predominance of a single lineage in goats was in contradiction to the dual origin of livestock species reported in cattle, sheep, and pigs.

 

India has around 123 million goats; comprising 20 recognized breeds and nondescript (local) goats, which together make up approximately 20% of the world's goat population.  Indian goat breeds exhibit enormous variations in fecundity; production of meat, milk, and fiber; draught‑ability; disease resistance; and heat tolerance. A previous analysis of Indian goats, reported in literature, was confined to a very small number of samples (just 14 individuals from five breeds); no detailed study of Indian goat breeds had been carried out to understand their origin, divergence, and past migration patterns.

 

Manjunath B. Joshi, Kumarasamy Thangaraj and Lalji Singh from the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad; Pramod K. Rout and Ajoy K. Mandal from Central Institute of Research on Goat (CIRG), Mathura; and Chris Tyler‑Smith from University of Oxford, UK, in their publication in Molecular Biology and Evolution, 21(2), 2004, have reported the findings of their extensive investigation on 363 goats belonging to 10 different breeds from the major geographical regions of India, using mtDNA sequence data from the HVRI region.

 

The study presents evidence for population structure and novel lineages in the Indian goats and cannot reconcile the genetic diversity found within the major lineage with domestication starting 10,000 years ago from a single mtDNA ancestor. The study proposes that goats have had a more complex history of domestication than indicated by previous studies. It suggests that the diversity within the major A lineage dates back more than 35,000 years, indicating that domestication involved a considerable number of females 10,000 years ago and that diverse lineages in addition to B and C have been incorporated at low frequency.

 

Also, appreciating that there is still as much mtDNA variation among Indian goat breeds as among mtDNA sequences from human populations living on different continents, the researchers feel that goat genetic history is likely to be linked to the human history. In the Indian context, the researchers point out that there is a major linguistic and geographic distinction between the Dravidian‑speaking south of India and Indo‑Aryan‑speaking northern India.  Although the first modern humans may have migrated to India about 50,000 years ago, Dravidian speakers probably entered about 10,000 years ago and Indo‑Aryan speakers about 3,500 years ago.  Although the current Dravidian/Indo‑Aryan boundary does not correspond to the goat mtDNA boundary, the two could have a common historical basis in the sequential human migrations into this region, with the goat mtDNA lineages accompanying the Indo‑Aryan speakers penetrating less far than the humans.

 

The Pashmina goats, the researchers feel, appear to have had a different demographic history from the other breeds.  These goats are adapted to living in a cold environment at high altitude in the Himalayas where the human population density is low.  Perhaps early on their numbers reached a limit set by the environment, and cannot expand further.  Whether the expansion seen in the other breeds has affected only mtDNA lineages or the entire genome could be assessed by analyzing autosomal and Y‑chromosomal markers.  If all loci show the same pattern, it is likely that the population has increased in size, but if other loci show different patterns, there could have been selection on the mtDNA.

 

DUET Gene Essential for Chromosome Organization and Progression during Male Meiosis in Arabidopsis

 

Plants, unlike animals, do not have any primordial germline. In plants, specialized meiotic cells (sporocytes), needed for reproduction are straight away derived from subepidermal cells in anthers and ovules. Progression through the meiotic cell cycle is an essential part of the developmental programme of sporogenesis in plants.  Sporocytes undergo meiosis to form multicellular haploid gametophytes. But little is known about the control of meiotic progression in plants.

Thamalampudi Venkata Reddy, Jagreet Kaur, Bhavna Agashe and Imran Siddiqi of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and Venkatesan Sundaresan of Department of Plant Biology and Agronomy, University of California Davis, USA, in their research article published in Development, 130(2003), 5975, report that the duet gene is necessary for chromosome organization and progression during male meiosis in Arabidopsis and encodes a PHD finger protein.

 

The present study identifies the duet mutant of Arabidopsis as a male sterile mutant, which lacks pollen and undergoes an aberrant male meiosis.  Male meiocyte division results in the formation of two cells instead of a normal tetrad. In wild type, male meiosis extends across two successive bud positions in an inflorescence whereas in duet, meiotic stages covers three to five bud positions, indicating defective progression.

 

Normal microspores were found to be absent in the mutant and the products of the aberrant meiosis were uni‑ to tri‑nucleate cells that later degenerated, resulting in anthers containing largely empty locules.  Defects in male meiotic chromosome organization were observed starting from diplotene and extending to subsequent stages of meiosis. There was an accumulation of meiotic structure at metaphase 1, suggesting an arrest in cell cycle progression.  Double mutant analysis revealed interaction with dyad, a mutation causing chromosome cohesion during female meiosis.  Cloning and molecular analysis of duet indicated that it potentially encodes a PHD‑finger protein and shows specific expression in male meiocytes.  Taken together these data suggest that duet is required for male meiotic chromosome organization and progression.

 

 

Sponsored/Consultancy Projects taken up and Technical Services rendered by CECRI

 

THE sponsored/consultancy projects taken up and technical services rendered by the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, during November-December 2003 include:

 

Sponsored Projects

·        Development of water based acrylic lacquer for electro deposition Å M/s Thakkars Chemistry, Salem (Rs 190,000)

·        Development of stabilized zinc electrode for silver oxide zinc battery — DRDL, Hyderabad (Rs 498,000)

 

Consultancy Projects

·        Recommendation of suitable anticorrosive paint scheme for M S structures — Hindustan News Print Ltd, Kottayam (Rs 61,000)

·        Advise on setting up of 1000A pilot cell for electro-refining of lead from lead antimony metallic fraction scrap lead acid battery — M/s Met Trade India Ltd, New Delhi (Rs 189,000)

 

Technical Services

·        Testing of 12V, 40 Ah mono bloc tubular battery as per IS 13369;1992 — M/s Gowell Industries, Hyderabad (Rs 24,000)

·        Testing of three types of 12V tubular batteries as per IS 13369;1992 — M/s TAFE, Chennai (Rs 72,000)

·        Preparation of acrylic lacquer for concrete slabs — M/s Southern Group of Companies, Chennai (Rs 12,000)

·        Testing of 12V 80 Ah tubular lead acid batteries as per IS 13369:1992 — Shri Amman Battery Industry, Dharmapuri (Rs 24,000)

·        Testing of process raw materials like grid, oxide and paste — M/s Exide Industries Ltd, Haldia (Rs 170,000)

 

 

Central Fuel Research Institute, DhanbadR&D Highlights: 2002‑2003

 

THE R&D programmes at the Central Fuel Research Institute (CFRI), Dhanbad, pertain to Coal Resource Quality; Coal for Steel; Coal for Power; Petroleum, Natural Gas and Chemicals; Coal for Domestic, Foundry and Cement Industry; Waste Utilization and Environment Management; Coal and Lignite; Energy Management; and Ecological Development. During the year 2002‑2003, the institute pursued 27 R&D projects. It filed a total of 18 patents – eight in India and 10 abroad; published two research papers in foreign journals and six in Indian journals; sixteen papers were presented in national seminars/symposia. Nineteen technical reports were published. The external cash flow of the institute amounted to Rs 62.9 million during the year.

 

The institute organized a one‑day seminar on `Integrated Rain Water Management‑cum‑Mosquito Control' on 24 May 2002, which was inaugurated by the Minister for Science & Technology and Information Technology, Jharkhand. The Jharkhand Chief Minister released a mosquito repellent with brand name `GETOUT'.

 

 

Highlights of the major R&D programmes during the year are as follows:

 

Coal Resource Quality

 

Testing and Analysis of Coal : For quality assessment of the coal/lignite resource in the virgin areas, 19680.95 m of coal cores, obtained under the exploration programme of CMPDIL, MECL, GSI and other drilling organizations, were processed, and 36527 band by band and overall coal/lignite samples were analyzed. In addition, 5290 coal/lignite samples were characterized for their quality, petrographic properties, carbonization behaviour and other related physico‑chemical parameters to provide technical aid to the coal producers and consumers of the country. Petrographic analysis involving determination of rank and maceral distribution are routinely carried out for different organizations like ONGC, SAIL, CMRI, TISCO, NTPC, CPRI, etc. This includes petrographic studies for the coal bed methane project.

 

Studies on boreholes from Jamuna and Kotma block of Sohagpur coalfield revealed the existence of three persistent coal seams 2 to 2.5 m length. These seams are of medium ash with low moisture.

 

Analytical studies made on the coal samples of Talchar coal field revealed that coals from  Konark, Baitani, Gopal Prasad East, Jagannath OCP, Kolinga East, Chhendipadall and Utkal‑D block of Talcher Coalfield are low in rank, refractory in nature and can be suitably utilized for thermal power generation after necessary deshaling.

 

Coal for Steel

 

Pilot Plant for Beneficiation of Coals from Lower Seam of Jharia Coalfield: A pilot plant was being established for the treatment of fine coal to develop washing scheme for  beneficiation of difficult to wash lower seam coking coals of Jharia coalfield. During the year, work on the primary crusher area, civil work for motor control centre, control room, civil and structural work of the main Fine Coal Treatment Pilot Plant (FTCPP), MCC panels, size classifying screens, oil agglomeration unit and froth flotation/oleo flotation unit was completed, and the installations of Data Acquisition System (DAS) and spiral HM cyclone was in progress.

 

Studies on Non‑coking Coal for Corex Process: The COREX smelting reduction (SR) process offers a unique opportunity of exploiting non‑coking coals for hot metal production. Studies were undertaken under a project sponsored by Ministry of Steel, Government of India and JVSL, Bangalore, on using non‑coking coal for the COREX process. The aim being  detailed characterization of some selected coal sources to assess the extent of modifications in desired quality parameters by judicious preparation techniques and to identify the coal that suits best for the SR process. The first phase of the study, i.e. detailed characterization of four coal samples, was completed. Also, smelting reduction studies with two coals of Tedicheria area have been completed. Kakatia 5 inclined `B' coal crushed to 75 mm can be used as such for blending with imported coal. Kakatia 2A inclined `E' coal needs deep washing for such use. Different alternatives of the washing circuit for the coals of Kakatia mines have been developed.

 

Studies on Coking Potentiality of V/VI/VII Seam Coal of Muraidih Colliery: Under a project sponsored by Bharat Coking Coal Limited, Dhanbad, studies were undertaken with the objective of finding the coking potentiality of washed clean from V/VI/VII and seam coal of Muraidih colliery. The face lithology of V/VI/VII seams consisting of three benches were being prepared after fresh measurement of coal seams and bands. Sample collection and screen analysis of ROM coal sample were completed and washability studies were in progress.

 

Coal for Power

 

Sampling and Analysis of Coal from VII Seam (Quarry B) and Barrel Washer Rejects of Deshaling Plant, West Bokaro: Under a project sponsored by Tata Iron and Steel Company, Hazaribagh, sampling and analysis of coal, were undertaken from VII seam (Quarry B) and Berrel Washer Projects of Deshaling Plant, West Bakaro. Sampling from the mine face and from the Barrel washer deshaling plant at West Bokaro has been done, Characterization of raw coal and products have been completed for commercial evaluation/proper utilization of the coal.

 

Design and Manufacture of a Jig (20 tph): A 20 tph jig has been designed for beneficiation of coking and non‑coking coals for BLG Minerals Pvt. Limited, Kolkata. Fabrication of the jig on the basis of CFRI design has also been completed.

 

Washability Studies on Cleaning Potentiality of Coal from North Urimari Open Cast Project at Different Ash Levels and Identification of Washing Units for the Proposed Washery: Sponsored by the Central Coalfields Limited, Ranchi, a project was undertaken for investigating the cleaning potentiality of North Urimari coal at different ash levels. The sample has been collected from the mine and the washability studies were being carried out.

 

Washability Studies on Coal from K.D. Hesalong Mines of North Karampura Area (CCL): Under a project sponsored by Monnet Daniels Coal Washeries Pvt. Limited, New Delhi, washability studies were carried out on coal from K.D. Hesalong Mines of North Karampura Area (CCL), to find out its utilization in PSEB.

 

Washability Studies on Ib‑Valley Coals: Washability studies were undertaken for Tata Power Company Limited, Jamshedpur, on Ib‑Valley coals of Mahanadi coalfield, so that these could  be judiciously  used by the client.

 

Sampling and Analysis of Imported Coal: Sampling and analysis of imported coal for determination of nature of coal was undertaken at the instance of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited, Raygada. The samples were characterized for petrographic analysis, proximate, LTGK, Swelling Index, Roga Index and MTPL. The studies revealed that the tested coal is coking in nature.

 

Development of Equivalency Chart between UHV and GCV : Development of equivalency chart between UHV and GCV was undertaken for SSRC, Department of Coal, Government of India, with a view to reviewing the present system of gradation of coal based on useful heat value and establish a relationship between useful heat value (UHV) and gross calorific value (GCV) based on analysis data from run of mine samples drawn from several mines from Wardha Valley Coalfield, Umser Coalfield, Pench‑Khanan Valley Coalfield, and 9 ROM samples from Singareni Collieries Company Limited. Studies in the area were also carried out by the CFRI Ranchi, Bilaspur and Nagpur units for ROM samples from various coalfields.

 

Based on the relationship between UHV and GCV, the price of coal would be rationalized. This would benefit both producer and consumer industries.

 

GHG Inventory Estimation for Energy & Transformation Sector : A project was undertaken on GHG Inventory Estimation for Energy & Transformation Sector, under the sponsorship of  Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India. Data on supply and consumption of solid and liquid fuels in various sectors have been collected, and the activity data and the emission factors of different fuel types were used to estimate the carbon dioxide emission from different fuels for the period 1980‑1999. Furthemore, the emission from the energy and transformation sector for the same period and state‑wise emission for the period 1994 were also estimated. The final report was under preparation.

 

India is a party to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). One of the commitments under the UNFCC is to furnish an Indian National Communiction (NATCOM), providing information on the inventories of greenhouse gases (GHG) of anthropogenic origin by sources and removal of sinks and a general description of steps taken or envisaged to implement the convention. The Ministry of Environment & Forests is the nodal ministry for the subject of climate change and has initiated activities relating to preparation of NATCOM.

 

The national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories provide a tool for assessing progress in estimating emission levels and also provide a crucial reference point for other assessment tools, like climate change indicators and mitigation strategies.

 

Emission from Coal Combustion in Power, Steel and Cement Sectors — Reduction of Uncertainties in Emission Coefficient of CO2: Undertaken at the instance of Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India, the project  pertains to studies on reduction of uncertainties in emission co‑efficient of CO2 emission from coal combustion in power, steel and cement sectors. Relevant chemical data of coking, non‑coking coals and lignites were used to calculate the Carbon Emission Factor (CEF) and Net Caloric Values (NCV) of the respective type of coals. The grade‑wise production data of different coal types were used for estimating the weighted mean values of the respective parameters. The calculated values were compared with that of the default values suggested in IPCC guidelines.

 

Direct measurement of CO2, SOX, NOX emission were carried out at Talcher Super Thermal Power Project, Anpara Super Thermal Power Stations, Jamul Cement Plant and Bokaro Steel Plant. Detailed characterization of the feed and products were done to estimate the emissions and compared with the direct measurement value. The emission coefficients in terms of weight of CO2 per unit of production from the individual plants were estimated. The draft report has been reviewed by external peers and the final report was under preparation.

 

Also, studies were being made on the influence of rank and maceral/microlithotype and physico‑chemical composition on combustion of pulverized coal, at the instance of SSRC.

 

Petroleum, Natural Gas and Chemicals

 

Phenanthrene and 9 : 10 Phenanthrenequinone : The process for purification of crude phenanthrene and conversion of refined phenanthrene (95% pure) to 9:10 phenanthrenequinone (99% pure) through liquid‑phase oxidation has been demonstrated to the sponsor M/s. Castron Technology Limited (CTL), Dhanbad. A patent application jointly by CFRI and CTL has been made and sent to CSIR for filing. The process know‑how document has been also prepared.

 

Based on the basic engineering package and data generated by CFRI, M/s CTL is erecting a pilot plant, with partial funding  from DSIR.

 

Catalysts for Wax Production :  Under a project on Development of Catalysts for Wax Production, sponsored by Department of Science & Technology, two catalysts were prepared by different methods (precipitation and impregnation), using appropriate precursor salts of cobalt and magnesium, and their performance was being studied.

 

De NOx by Catalytic Decomposition : With a view to developing the catalysts and process parameters for decomposition of NOX, six catalysts were prepared under an in‑house‑project, containing aluminum, magnesium, titanium, cobalt, tungsten and silver in different combinations as mixed oxide and hydrotalcite type compounds. Among catalysts studied, the maximum decomposition of NOx (52.2%) was achieved with Co/Ag2O catalyst at 400<F128M>É<F255D>C.

 

Design and Development of Nano‑Material Technology for Pre‑reforming of Hydrocarbons including Naphtha : In continuation of the work on development of catalysts and reaction parameters, 22 batches of Ni/MgO/Al2O3/La2O3 catalysts with and without promotor were prepared in 20g/30g lot by Aerogel method in a 2 litre autoclave. Initially, two catalysts (30g each) were tested for activity at SCIL, Cochin. The test showed that 30.0% NiO in the catalyst exhibits highest activity, with 97% naphtha conversion at 550<F128M>É<F255D>C and 5 kg/cm2 pressure and at WHSV 5 and, therefore, the preparation of catalysts with this concentration of NiO was continued with change of precursor of the active constituents, control of preparation conditions, etc.

 

A pre‑reformer reactor unit was installed, which can work upto 30 kg/cm2 pressure and has an HDS module in the feed line. Work on testing of catalysts for conversion of naptha was being carried out. CFRI was also carrying out studies on selective catalytic alkylation of naphthalene.

 

Coal for Domestic, Foundry and Cement IndustryUse

 

Carbonization Potential of Dhori Washed Coal with Washery Cleans :  Laboratory studies on coking potentiality of Dhansar washed coal and two washery clean coal were carried out for CMPDIL, Ranchi, and the final report submitted.

 

Modification of Existing Beehive Coke Ovens : Eight ovens were constructed for M/s Arun Fuels, Chirkunda, Dhanbad, with modified technology and were heated up. The plant has started production . The performance has been quite satisfactory.

 

Erection and Commissioning of Briquetting Plant for GHCL Coke Breeze of Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Limited, Varaval, Gujarat : The curing chamber has been designed and constructed under the CFRI  supervision for the sponsor Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Limited, Varavat, Gujarat. The plant has been commissioned by a  CFRI team and trial run done. The report was sent to GHCL and satisfactory Evaluation Certificate has been received.

 

Techno‑Economic Feasibility Studies of Non‑recovery Type Coke Ovens :  The techno‑feasibility studies of different types of non‑recovery coke ovens were carried out for M/s Tata Metaliks Ltd, Kolkata. The feasibility report has been prepared and sent to the sponsor.

 

Waste Utilization and Environment Management

 

Mitigation of GHG via in situ Infusion of Fly Ash with CO2 in Thermal Power Plant vis‑a‑vis Associated Carbon Sequestration and Adoption : The study made at the instance of Ministry of Environment & Forests, New Delhi (through Winrock International India), on the infusion of different fly ashes with CO2 under varying pressure and moisture envinces significant infusion of these ashes in the range of 6‑15% under optimum conditions. The infusion of these ashes with varying concentrations (o.5 to 5N) of KOH and Ca(OH)2 was observed to be relatively higher (9.2‑18%). The leaching characteristics of these infused fly ashes also decreased. The findings, if adopted commercially in the TPPs, may go a long way in mitigating the CO2 emission from coal combustion in TPPs to the atmosphere. Apart from direct mitigation of CO2 generated in TPPs, the specific properties of infused fly ash, low bulk density, higher WHC together with appreciable content of essential plant nutrients, could be gainfully utilized for agricultural/forestry purposes with ultimate contribution to carbon sequestration in the soil besides consumption of CO2 during photosynthesis of the various crops/plants during their growth in fly ash amended soil.

 

Popularization of Bulk Use of Fly Ash from Different Thermal Power Plants (Anpara, Obra and Harduagan) in Agriculture and Reclamation of Degraded/Wasteland: The bulk utilization of pond ash of Anpara, Obra and Harduagnaj TPPs in agriculture sector and for reclamation of waste degraded/alkaline land around these TPPs holds great promise in amending the soil texture/fertility status, and significantly increases the yield (20 – 40%) of various crops over control on sustainable basis. After obsering the beneficial effects of pond ash during demonstration trials in selected farmers' fields in improving the soil fertility and crop productivity, the farmers of the other villages in the vicinity of these TPPs are now willing to use pond ash in their fields. This will help the sponsor, UPRVUNL Lucknow, Government of U.P., in solving its fly ash/pond ash disposal problem to a great extent.

 

Other projects pursued in the area pertain to: Mitigation of GHGs and SPM in landfill/overburden dump areas of Talchar coalfields of MCL in the vicinity of different TPPs through afforestation, Comparative durability study of fly ash, and Development of bio‑specific biosensors.

 

 

State‑of‑the‑Art Nodal Codex Food Laboratory at CFTRI dedicated to the Nation

 

THE Nodal Codex Food Laboratory (NCFL), the state‑of‑art infrastructure established at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, was dedicated to the Nation on 9 January 2003 by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Science & Technology, and Ocean Development and Vice President, CSIR.

 

 

 

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resource Development,

Science & Technology and Ocean Development, dedicating the Nodal Codex Food Laboratory (NCFL)

to the Nation and looking into the Video Microscope at


the Nodal Codex Food Laboratory as Dr V. Prakash, Director, CFTRI, looks on

NCFL, the only facility of its kind in India, has been established through a joint venture of CSIR and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, for precision testing of food and food products to the international benchmarking levels.  At NCFL, tests on all major foods, such as cereals, pulses, plantation products, spices, oils and fats, dairy products, fruit and vegetable products, confectionery and bakery, are carried out with high precision for both nutritive constituents as well as for contaminants and additives. 

 

NCFL is equipped with the latest state‑of‑the art analytical instruments such as Gas Chromato‑ graph, Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer, High pressure Liquid Chromatograph, Video Microscope, Automated Amino Acid Analyzer, Atomic Absorption Spectrometer, Fully Automated Fat, Fibre and Nitrogen Analyzers, Spectrophotometers and Spectrofluorimeter.  Besides, the laboratory is also equipped with specialized instru‑ ments for testing of Genetically Modified Foods.

 

The laboratory has been certified by ISO 9001:2000 and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories as per ISO‑17025 guidelines for conducting more than 200 chemical and 40 biological tests on food products. NCFL is a national facility providing service to both governmental and private agencies concerned with food business and quality control for enabling them to meet National and International Standards and Specification.  NCFL is also a Central Food Laboratory and analyzes appeal samples received from courts and ports under its jurisdiction as per Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) specification.

 

 

International Symposium on Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Health

 

THE Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow, organized an International Symposium on 'Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Health' during 5‑8 November 2003. The symposium was sponsored by CSIR; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); USA; Indo‑US Forum for Science & Technology; Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India; Department of Science & Technology (DST); Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); Board of Research on Nuclear Sciences (BRNS); DAE and several other scientific and academic societies of India. The aim of the symposium was  to provide an overview of the application of genomic and molecular biology technologies in understanding the mechanism of action of different toxicants, suggesting biomedical measures and identifying susceptibility factors that influence an individual's response to environmental agents.  A galaxy of eminent scientists from USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Finland, Slovenia, France, along with the experts and a large number of young scientists and students from all over the country participated in the symposium.

 

Prof. Y.K Gupta, Director, ITRC, in his welcome address, gave the genesis of the workshop.  Emphasizing the need for establishing new links and developing international collaborations in the emerging area of genomics and proteomics, he stressed the need for sharing data and discussing various uses to guide future research in India using these technologies to improve environmental health and guiding regulatory activities.

 

 

Prof. Peter S. Spencer, Director, Centre for Research on Occupational & Environmental Toxicology,

Oregon, USA,  delivering his inaugural address at the International Symposium on

Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Health

 

Prof. Peter S. Spencer, Director, Centre for Research on Occupational & Environmental Toxicology, Oregon, USA and Chief Guest at the function, delivered the inaugural address.  He appreciated the role of ITRC in the field of health and safety of industrial and occupational workers and the common man.  Dr M. Cunningham of NIEHS, USA, said that young scientists need to be trained in the new emerging field of toxicogenomics and urged for international collaborations for exchange of thoughts and creation of social awareness about scientific research and education.  Dr P.K. Seth, Scientist‑in‑Director's Grade, ITRC and CEO, Biotech Park, Lucknow, stressed on impetus for the toxicogenomics research in India and possibilities of collaborative programme involving India and developing centres to streamline the research activities in the emerging area of genomics and proteomics.  Prof. S.S. Parmar, Vice‑President, Continuing Medical Education, Windsor University, St. Kitts, West Indies, in his presidential remarks advised the younger scientists to pursue research in the emerging field of genomics. He also thanked ITRC for organizing the International symposium in the area of molecular toxicology and hoped that it would form the basis for international collaborations in the new emerging areas of toxicology.

 

Dr D. Parmar, Scientist, ITRC and the Organizing Secretary, proposed a vote of thanks.

 

The scientific session of the symposium started with the key note lecture of Prof. Peter S. Spencer.  In his talk on 'Searching for protein and genomic expression signatures of axonal neuropathy', Prof. Spencer dealt with CNS protein changes and secondary genome modulation in animals treated with organic solvents that possess or are biotransformed to metabolites containing gamma‑diketone moieties that produce neurotoxicity.

 

In the first scientific session on Toxicogenomics for Predictive and Mechanistic Toxicology,   Dr M. Cunningham of NIEHS, delivered the plenary lecture followed by the invited talks of Prof. C. J. Omiecinski, Dr S.R. Nagalla and F. Becker of USA and Dr P.K. Seth and Dr S. Ramachandran of India. Prof. Omiecinski of the Pennsylvania State University, USA, in his invited talk discussed the importance of toxicogenomic profiling in studying in vivo responsiveness of hepatocyte culture models.  Dr Nagalla of Oregon Health and Science University, USA, gave a brief account of global genomic and proteomic profiling to monitor toxicological phenotypes. Dr  Seth gave a brief outline of the toxicogenomic research programme of India.  Dr Ramachandran of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, gave a talk on Gene Expression Variation in Natural Population: A perspective from (TG/ CA)n Repeats.  Mr Frank Becker of Genomic solutions, USA, discussed the applications of microarrays in environmental toxicology.

 

The session II on Polymorphic Genes, SNPs and Predisposition to Toxicity/Diseases started with the plenary lecture by Dr Lalji Singh of Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.  In his lecture Dr Lalji Singh mentioned that every disease including the infectious diseases has a genetic basis.  Prof. S.S. Agrawal delivered the invited lecture on 'Causation and susceptibility to disease'.  Prof. Agrawal reported that of the various factors found to be associated with diseases, one factor that was found common in many diseases was genetic susceptibility.  Prof. Ulrich M. Zanger of Dr Margaret Fischer‑Bosch Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Stuttgart, Germany, in his talk discussed the impact of genetic polymorphism in relation to other factors on expression and function of human drug metabolizing cytochrome P450s.  Dr Rajendra Kaul of University of Washington Genome Center, Seattle, USA, spoke on technologies for studying long range and genome wide genetic variation among populations of interest.  He discussed the limitations of the current technologies available to sequence human and other large genomes.  Dr Katja Mitrunen of Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland, in her talk on Genetic predisposition to environmentally induced diseases discussed susceptibility to environmentally induced diseases like cancer, CNS disorders and asthma in individuals having polymorphism in xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes and DNA repair enzymes.  Dr Mitali Mukherji of Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, gave an account of rich and diverse genetic pool derived from various linguistic lineage as well as separated by distinct geographical boundaries of Indian population.

 

On the second day, sessions on Current Trends in Genetic Toxicology and Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurotoxicology, Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection were held.  The session on Current Trends in Genetic Toxicology started with the plenary lecture of Prof. Diana Anderson of University of Bradford, UK. Speaking on oestrogenic compounds and oxidative stress in human sperm and lymphocytes in the comet assay, she gave an account of DNA damage induced by oestrogenic compounds.  The plenary lecture of Dr Anderson was followed by invited talks of Prof. P.S. Chauhan and Kaiser Jamil from India, Dr M. Fillipic from Slovenia and Prof. Hasan Mukhtar from USA.  Prof. P.S. Chauhan, from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, India, delivered his invited talk on Genetic Toxicology within the domain of New Biology: 'Are we better prepared to address the old and critical issues?''

 

Prof. Costas loannides, University of Surrey, Surrey, UK, gave a brief account on the role of hydrazine in mutagenicity and carcinogenicity of the edible mushroom Agaricus bisporus. Dr M. Fillipic from National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana, Slovenia, while speaking on 'Mutagenicity of cadmium: implication of reactive oxygen species and inhibition of DNA repair' discussed the mechanism of cadmium mutagenicity that has been classified as human carcinogen, though its mechanism of action remains unclear.  Dr Kaiser Jamil from Bhagwan Mahavir Medical Research Centre, Hyderabad, gave an account of impact of some organophosphorus and organochlorine pesticides on human lymphocytes in vitro.  Using comet assay, she showed that the pesticide caused DNA damage, suggesting that these pesticides could alter the genetic material, particularly chromosomes, in mammalian cultures.  Prof. Hasan Mukhtar, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, while discussing 'Emerging role of chemoprevention in cancer management' emphasized that chemoprevention can be targeted at one or more stages of multistage carcinogenesis, process of initiation, promotion and progression.

 

In the fourth session on Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurotoxicology, Neurodegeneration and NeuroprotectionProf. Henry W. Strobel, Texas Medical School, Houston, USA, delivered the plenary lecture.  He gave a brief account of cytochrome P450s expressed in brain and the cytochrome P‑450 responses to brain environmental insults.  The plenary lecture of Prof. Strobel was followed by invited talks of Prof. J.D. Geiger and Prof. Gundu R. Rao from USA, Prof. H. Wiegnad from Germany and Dr R.C. Srimal and Dr P. Seth from India.  Prof. J.D. Geiger from University of North Dakota,  discussed the brain energy stores which are known to be important regulators of sleep as well as neural cell life and death as observed with acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders.  Prof. Herbert Wiegand, Medical Institute of Environmental Hygiene, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany, in his lecture on Dysregulation by polyhalogenated hydrocarbons of intracellular calcium homeostasis: Neurons, astrocytes and macrophages showed that polyhalogenated hydrocarbons interfere with intracellular calcium homeostatasis by changing receptor mediated signal transduction pathways in mammalian cells.  Dr R.C. Srimal, former Director, ITRC, reported that though several mechanisms are involved in the etiology of neurobehavioral toxicity, free radical mediated injuries are mostly predominant.  He also provided evidence that free radicals aggravate the clinical condition of the patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke.  Prof. Rao from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, reviewed the known risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD), role of toxicants, eicosanoids, inflammatory mediators in vascular biology and specifically, the role of platelets and platelet‑derived biomolecules on hypertension, atherogenesis, thrombosis and stroke.  Prof. U.K. Misra of Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, in his lecture discussed the role of apoptosis, a normal physiological process in neurodegenerative disorders.  Dr Pankaj Seth, National Brain Research Centre, New Delhi, discussed molecular approaches for understanding the pathogenesis of human neurotrophic viruses such as JCV and HIV‑1, neuroinvasive viruses involved in white matter diseases in the brain as well as the immune system.

 

On the third day of the symposium, sessions on Molecular Basis Of Human Diseases and Microbes and Environment were held.  In the session on Molecular Basis of human diseases, Prof. S.K. Brahmachari, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi,  delivered the plenary lecture. In his talk, Prof. Brahmachari discussed the variability of human genome sequence and suggested that its differential expressibility might hold the key for determining disease susceptibility of individuals.

 

The plenary lecture was followed by invited talk of Prof. Newman Stephens of University of Manitoba, Canada, who spoke on Molecular biology studies of smooth muscle cytokinesis: Non‑muscle myosin light chain kinase (nmMLCK) — a new player in the field.

 

Dr S.K. Srivastava of University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA, spoke on Aldose Reductase (AR) mediates TNF alpha growth factors, and hyperglycemia‑induced cellular toxicity and differentiation by attenuating transcription factors of NF‑Kappa and AP1.  Prof. S.K. Gupta, Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, discussed molecular mechanisms for the cardioprotective effects of curcumin in experimental myocardial infarction. Prof. Subrata Sinha, Department of Biochemistry (AIIMS), New Delhi, in his talk on 'Dissecting the molecular basis for phenotypic heterogeneity in glioma' elaborated on the three grades of glial tumours originating from astrocytes: diffuse astrocytoma (AA), anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) classified as WHO grade II, III and IV respectively'. He gave a brief account about the heterogeneity within a single histological grade of tumor. Prof. Y.K. Gupta spoke on 'Oxidative stress in neurological disorders'. He discussed the adverse effects of free radicals in neurological diseases especially in epilepsy, Alzheimer's stroke and Parkinson's disease. He subsequently presented the evidence about various models to show the different antioxidant properties of various exogenous and endogenous chemicals towards removal of free radicals for their therapeutic values for the prevention of the diseases. Dr R.C. Srivastava, former Deputy Director, ITRC, Lucknow, spoke on 'Japanese encephalitis virus infection'. He reported that Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection is a major health concern affecting 30 million population who are at risk in India and South east Asia.

 

In the session on Microbes and Environment, the progress made in the area of bioremediation using microorganisms as a tool for clean up of the contaminated environment were discussed in detail. In the plenary lecture, Dr Yuji Nagata of University of Tohuku, Japan, described the biodegradation of gamma‑hexachlorocyclohexane (lindane) — a chlorinated insecticide by a Sphingomonas paucimobilis UT26. Invited talks were delivered by Dr Ashwani Kumar, Dr R.K. Jain and Dr Rishi Shankar of India, Dr M. Takeo of Japan and Dr Gesche Heiss of Germany. Dr Ashwani Kumar of ITRC, discussed the potential of bacterium strain ITRC‑5, a versatile Pseudomonas aeruginosa to bioremediate the toxic HCH isomers present in the environment. Prof. M. Takeo, Himeji Institute of Technology, Japan, discussed the degradation of aromatic amines and nitroaromatic compounds. He reported that mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds such as 4‑nitrophenol (as a model compound) could also be degraded by the bacteria isolated from activated sludges. Prof. Gesche Heiss, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, emphasized the need to study the biodegradation of pollutant such as 2,4,6‑trinitrophenol (TNP), used as intermediates to synthesize dyes of explosives. She discussed the regulation of degradative  genes in the gram positive bacteria Rhodococcus erythropolis HL PM‑1, which utilize this TNP as a sole nitrogen source. Dr R.K. Jain, Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, discussed a phenomenon known as bacterial `Chemotaxis' through which the bacterial populations reach the chemicals. This process would make the effective elimination of nitroaromatics and / or other pollutants too. Dr Rishi Shanker, ITRC, explained the underlying principles of engineering the natural cytochrome P‑450s from prokaryotic and eukaryotic origin towards its application in the field of bioremediation.

 

In the session on Environmental and Molecular Toxicology,  Prof. Colin Jefcoate, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA in his Plenary Lecture, shared his findings on the mechanism of adipocyte differentiation by dexamethasome, a glucocorticoid. In his invited talk, Dr J.T.M. Bluters of Centre for Allergy and Environment, Technical University, Munich, Germany, gave an account of the role of xenobiotic metabolism in etiology of IGE‑mediated allergic diseases, which are found to be at the increase especially in the western hemisphere. Prof. Josef Abel from the Medical Institute of Environmental Hygiene, Germany, discussed the regulation of arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) which is important for regulation of cell growth and differentiation. Dr John D. Imig of Vascular Biology Center, Medical College of Georgia‑Augusta, USA, in his talk discussed the role of CYP450 enzyme regulation and kidney dysfunction. Prof. J.F. Nabonne from CNRS University Bordeaux 1 Talence, France, discussed the vulnerability of reproductive system in wild life and human by organic and inorganic contaminants. Dr S.J.S. Flora, Defense Research and Development Establishment, Gwalior, India, discussed the occupational health hazards associated with the use of toxic metals, especially in semiconductor industries. Gallium arsenide, one of the substrates has been found to produce adverse effects on the pulmonary, haemapoietic and immune system.

 

Dr Mukul Das of ITRC gave an overview of the mechanism of argemone oil toxicity that led to epidemic dropsy in the last decade of the 20th century. He reported that liver, lungs, kidney and heart are the target sets for argemone oil toxicity.

 

The symposium concluded with panel discussion and valedictory session. The panel session was moderated by Prof. Y.K. Gupta. Prof. S.S. Parmar chaired the discussion. Participants appreciated the idea of holding this symposium which was a long felt need. The panelists and dignitaries critically reviewed the recommendations made in the deliberations during various sessions of the symposium. The members felt that lectures in all the sessions have been excellent and have thrown light on new areas of research. Besides, the symposium provided an opportunity of developing new projects in the allied areas of toxicology. It was felt that more attention should be given on environmental issues which are of direct relevance to human health. Dr P.K. Seth, while stressing the need for collaboration, said that the international scientific community should come forward and stand together for the common cause of health and should not hesitate to extend capabilities to each other for the benefit of the society. Prof. Y.K. Gupta in his final remarks said that for such collaborations, a clear cut road map should be chalked out with time bound targets to achieve the goal. He also encouraged the young scientists to promote the cause of toxicology for benefitting health and environment. The experts and members appreciated the efforts of the Organizing Committee in taking lead in holding an important activity for the benefit of the society. The symposium ended with the vote of thanks from the organizing secretary.

 

 

Special Events at IMTECH during CSIR Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

 

THE year‑long celebrations of CSIR's Diamond Jubilee Year at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, comprised a series of highly stimulating, thought provoking lectures, workshops and entertaining events. These included:

 

Special Lectures — The special lecture of the series included: `Global Perspective of Parasitic Diseases' by Prof. R.C. Mahajan, Emeritus Professor, PGI, Chandigarh; `Fabulous Beginning of a Fascinating Story for the Design of Novel Antimalarials' by Prof. A. Surolia, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; `Life of a Tree' by Prof. H.Y. Mohan Ram, Emeritus Professor, Delhi University; `Chemistry Beyond the Molecule — Supramolecular Chemistry and Biology' by Prof. Gautam R. Desiraju, School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad; `Role of Drugs & Pharmaceuticals in Health Care' by Prof. C.L. Kaul, Director, NIPER, Mohali and `Structural Genomics of Microbial Pathogens' by Prof. M. Vijayan, Associate Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

 

Prof. M. Vijayan. Associate Director, IISc, Bangalore, delivering the concluding lecture of
 CSIR Diamond Jubilee Celebrations at IMTECH, on 'Structural Genomics of Microbial Pathogen'

 

Training Programmes: Training Course on Operation and Maintenance  of Fermenters (5‑10 May 2003) —  Organized by the Biochemical Engineering Research & Process Development Centre in collaboration with NIULAB Equipment Co. Pvt Ltd, this short‑term course was attended by 25 participants from various well known industrial outfits. The objective of the course was to review the fundamentals and recent developments in the areas of process design, application and control of fermenters as well as maintenance including preventive maintenance of fermenters.

 

Hindi Sangosthi Hindi Sangosthi on `Promoting S&T in India: Need for Collaborative Efforts of Government, Industry & Academia' was held on 25 August 2003. The keynote address was delivered by Shri Sudhir Kumar, Joint Secretary, CSIR, New Delhi. Other invited speakers on this occasion were Dr P.S. Ahuja, Director, IHBT, Palampur; Dr Dinesh Abrol, Scientist, NISTADS, New Delhi; Prof. S.K. Kulkarni, Panjab University, Chandigarh; Shri Vivek Singhal, Chairman, Biotech Consortium India Ltd, New Delhi; and Dr Laxman Prasad, DST, New Delhi, who spoke on the need to create a synergy among these three important segments.

 

Science Quiz Competition An Inter‑College Science Quiz Competition was organized on 5 September 2003 in which seven 3‑member teams from different colleges including Panjab University and PGIMER participated. Teams from Government College (Boys), Sector‑11; DAV College, Sector‑10 and Panjab University respectively were first, second and third prize winners. The teams were awarded their prizes on 26 September 2003 on the occasion of the CSIR Foundation Day.

 

[For special events at IMTECH, please also see CSIR News, 53(2003) 370]

 

 

Dr R.A. Mashelkar appointed Vice Chairperson of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health

 

DR Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, Director General of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), one of the largest chains of industrial research and development institutions in the world, and Secretary, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, has been appointed Vice Chairperson of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH). Dr Mashelkar, an internationally renowned Chemical Engineer, is well known for his contributions towards protecting the Intellectual Property Rights, particularly those pertaining to traditional knowledge, of the developing countries, and launching an IPR movement in India.

 

The Chairperson of the Commission will be Ms Ruth Dreifuss. She was a member of the Swiss Government between 1993-2002 and served as President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999. As Federal Minister of Interior her responsibilities included, amongst others, public health and scientific research.

 

 

 

 

This was announced by the Director-General of WHO, Dr LEE Jong-wook, in Geneva on 12 February 2004. The Commission has been established as a result of a resolution at the 2003 World Health Assembly (WHA56.27), adopted at the 56th World Health Assembly held on 28 May 2003, requesting the WHO Director General to establish a time-limited body to "produce an analysis of intellectual property rights, innovation, and public health, including the question of appropriate funding and incentive mechanisms for the creation of new medicines and other products against diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries."

 

The other eight members of the Commission are (in alphabetical order):

 

·        Professor Carlos Correa, a lawyer and economist from Argentina, is Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property and Economics Law, at the University of Buenos Aires.

·        Professor Mahmoud Fathalla is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, former Dean of the Medical School at Assiut University, Egypt, and Chair of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research.

·        Dr Maria Freire is Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, and previously directed the Office of Technology Transfer at the US National Institutes of Health from 1995 to 2001.

·        Professor Trevor Jones is Director-General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and was previously Director of Research and Development at the Wellcome Foundation Limited.

·        Mr Tshediso Matona, an economist and trade policy expert, is Deputy Director-General in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry.

·        Professor Fabio Pammolli is Professor of Economics and Management at the University of Florence. He is the Director of European Pharmaceutical Regulation and Innovation Systems at the University of Siena.

·        Professor Pakdee Pothisiri, with a background in public health research, is Senior Deputy Permanent Secretary of Health, Government of Thailand, and formerly Secretary General of the Thai Food and Drug Administration.

·        Professor Hiroko Yamane is Professor of International Economic Law, Economic Lawnd European Community Law at the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, specialising in trade law, competition and intellectual property rights. 

·        The terms of reference and criteria for selection of Commission Members are contained in a document submitted to WHO's Executive Board in January 2004, according to which the Commissioners are appointed in their individual capacity rather than as the representative of an institution or government body, and will have complete independence in carrying out their work. The Commission will be supported by reference groups for the purposes of consulting key stakeholders, including the research and development-based industry and civil society groups.

 

Terms of Reference

 

    The Commission will:

·        Summarize the existing evidence on the prevalence of diseases of public health importance with an emphasis on those that particularly affect poor people and their social and economic impact

·        Review the volume and distribution of existing research, development and innovation efforts directed at these diseases

·        Consider the importance and effectiveness of intellectual property regimes and other incentive and funding mechanisms in simulating research and the creation of new medicines and other products against these diseases

·        Analyze proposals for improvements to the current incentive and funding regimes, including intellectual property rights, designed to stimulate the creation of new medicines and other products and facilities access to them

·        Produce concrete proposals for action by national and international stakeholders

 

The Commission intends to hold its first meeting in Geneva in late March. Throughout its work, it will be supported by a Secretariat within WHO which will help it to organize the programme of consultations, studies and other activities necessary for drafting the report. It will submit its report to WHO's Executive Board in January 2005.

 

 

Dr V. Prakash, Dr Lalji Singh, and Dr T.S. Prahlad awarded Padma Shri

 

 

 

DR V. Prakash, Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore; Dr Lalji Singh, Director, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad; and Dr T.S. Prahlad, former Director and presently Distinguished Scientist, National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore, have been awarded the national honour Padma Shri, on the Republic Day this year.