CSIR-IHBT introduces Asafoetida cultivation in India:
- Due to efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, a historical shift in farming practices is in the offing with farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region.
- CSIR-IHBT brought in seeds of asafoetida and developed its agro-technology.
- Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high value spice crop in India. India imports about 1200 tonnes of raw asafoetida annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spends approximately 100 million USDper year.
- Lack of planting material of Ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in cultivation of this crop.
- Since asafoetida is a major condiment in Indian cuisines, team CSIR-IHBT made relentless efforts for introduction of this important crop in the country. The institute introduced six accessions of seeds from Iran through ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR), New Delhi in October, 2018.
- ICAR-NBPGR confirmed that in the past thirty years, this has been the first attempt for introduction of asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) seeds in the country.
- CSIR-IHBT raised the plants of heeng at CeHAB, Ribling, Lahaul & Spiti, H.P. under the vigil of NBPGR.
- The plant prefers cold and dry conditions for its growth and takes approximately five years for the production of oleo-gum resin in its roots, therefore cold desert areas of Indian Himalayan region are suitable for cultivation of asafoetida.
- Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assa-foetida as an oleo-gum Although, there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, but only Ferula assa-foetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.
- In India, we do not have Ferula assa-foetida, but other species Ferula jaeschkeana is reported from the western Himalaya (Chamba, HP), and Ferula narthex from Kashmir and Ladakh, which are not the species that yield asafoetida.
- Further, CSIR-IHBT scientists also organized training programs on asafoetida cultivation and laid out demonstration plots in villages of Madgran, Beeling and Keylong in Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh in collaboration with officers of State Agriculture Department for establishment of seed production chain and cultivation of asafoetidaat commercial scale.
6th India International Science Festival to be held in virtual format:
- The 6th edition of India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 will be held from 22ndto 25th December, 2020. The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan announced.
- Harsh Vardhan said IISF 2020 will be organized at virtual platform even at a much upscaled level than the earlier ones, this being the new normal. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said that this year, CSIR will spearhead the IISF 2020 with support of all other concerned ministries and departments.
- He said that besides promoting love and passion for science among young people and students by bringing science outside the labs, IISF 2020 must also reflect on the role of Indian Scientists and S& T innovations for not just Atmanirbhar Bharat but global welfare also.
- The first and second IISF were held in New Delhi, the third in Chennai, the fourth in Lucknow, and the fifth IISF was held in Kolkata. ALL these IISFs had generated immense response from people within India and from abroad.
- IISF is an annual event organised jointly by science & technology-related Ministries and Departments of the Government of India and Vijnana Bharati (Vibha). IISF is a festival to celebrate the achievements of India’s scientific and technological advancements with students, innovators, craftsmen, farmers, scientists and technocrats from India and abroad.
- IISF 2020 expects participation of large number of scientist and institutions from India and abroad as well as young people. Several events are expected to be lined up on various themes before and during IISF 2020.
ARCI-low-cost method to Synthesize Tungsten Disulfide Nanosheets:
- Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), have developed an improved and commercially viable synthesis route for two-dimensional tungsten disulfide used in photocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction and petrochemical catalyst.
- These materials are potential candidates for applications in field emission tunneling transistors, Li-ion battery electrodes, and lubricants.
- Two-dimensional tungsten disulfide or 2D-WS2 has extremely low coefficient-of-friction, and this makes it a solid lubricant under high shear load in forging as well as an effective additive to automotive lubricant oil and extreme performance grease.
- Such remarkable range of properties and potential applications has triggered worldwide efforts, in recent years, to develop new synthesis techniques that are efficient, cost-effective, and capable of producing 2D-WS2 in bulk quantities and reproducible quality. But most of the known methods for the generation of 2D-WS2 either produce minuscule amounts of the product or involves high cost or lack reproducible quality.
- The method is cost-effective as it uses cheap raw material in the form of metal oxide powders and makes use of various commercially viable bulk production routes for nano-precursor production, like high energy ball milling and wet-chemical methods.
CSIR-CMERI Develops Sustainable MSW Processing Facility:
- The changing ecological scenarios requires special attention to address the issue of ‘Sustainable Processing of Municipal Solid Waste’. This is not only a necessary component of converting waste into useful end products but also to maintain a cleaner environment and to safeguard contamination of soil, air and water.
- Ineffective processing of Wastes are the root of all diseases as the dumped Landfills become the Contamination Hubs for Pathogens, Bacteria and Viruses. Besides, they also become the cauldron for emission of Methane Gas, especially during the churning mechanisms deployed during Composting processes.
- Composting also does not yield impactful economic returns for the entrepreneurs. The mixed nature of wastes in the current scenario can easily lead to infiltration of heavy metals into agricultural produce, through the indiscriminate creation of Composts.
- The CSIR-CMERI developed Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility has not only helped achieving Decentralised Decimation of Solid Wastes, but has also helped create value-added end-products from abundantly available redundant stuffs such as Dry Leaves, Dry Grass etc.
- The primary focus of CSIR-CMERI is to unburden the common households from the segregation responsibilities through Advanced Segregation techniques.
- The Bio-Digestion process adopted has minimum pollution factor. The MSW facility has been equipped with special capabilities to deal with a diverse range of waste including Masks, Sanitary Napkins, Diapers etc.
- The MSW facility has been with special disinfection capabilities to help Break the COVID Chain through UV-C Lights and Hot-Air Convection methods. We have also achieved optimum Energy Sufficiency in the MSW facility by adding the Solar energy technology, which can also feed the surplus Energy Supply onto a Mini-Grid.
- This CSIR-CMERI MSW Technology envisions a Zero-Landfill and a Zero Waste City in addition to developing Job-Creation opportunities. This technology will also help create a revived Green Energy reliant India”.