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IGSTC Industrial Fellowship launched by DST, GOI:

  • The Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC) Industrial Fellowship programme was launched by Secretary, Department of Science and Technology on the occasion of IGSTC’s 11th Foundation day on 14th June 2021.
  • This fellowship would encourage capacity building and would encourage students to think of challenges faced by industry and research solutions for them. It will encourage applied research, technology development and industrial experience in German setup for young researchers.
  • The IGSTC Industrial Fellowship shall support young Indian PhD students and Post-Doctoral researchers in Science & Engineering for industrial exposure at German industries and industrial R&D institutions.
  • Supported by an attractive grant for a maximum of one year, the fellowship aims to motivate young Indian researchers towards applied research and build capacity to foster innovation and technology development through exposure at advanced German industrial ecosystems.
  • This programme will bring talented Indian researchers to Germany to work with German companies or government institutes for applied science. As fellows, they can create a long-lasting relationship between both countries for the future.
  • IGSTC was established by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India & Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Govt. of Germany to facilitate Indo-German R&D networking with emphasis on industry participation, applied research and technology development.
  • IGSTC, through its flagship program ‘2+2 Projects’, has been supporting innovation-centric R&D projects by synergising the strength of research and academic institutions and public/private industries from India and Germany.

The biochemical link between overconsumption of sugar and the development of fatty liver disease:

  • Researchers at IIT, Mandi has conclusively shown that excessive sugar intake leads to a fatty liver.
  • This could offer an incentive for reducing sugar intake to stop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in its early stages. The unravelling of the molecular link between sugar and fat accumulation in liver is key to developing therapeutics for the disease, researchers said.
  • Researchers has used complementary experimental approaches to establish the underlying biochemical relationship between the consumption of excessive sugar and the development of ‘fatty liver’, medically known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
  • This research comes at a time in which the Government of India has included NAFLD in the National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
  • NAFLD is a medical condition in which excess fat deposits in the liver. The disease starts silently, with no overt symptoms for as much as two decades.
  • If left untreated, the excess fat can irritate the liver cells, resulting in scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), and in advanced cases, can even lead to liver cancer. The treatment of advanced stages of NAFLD is difficult.
  • India is the first country in the world to identify the need for action on NAFLD and with good reason. The prevalence of NAFLD in India is about 9% to 32% of the population, with the state of Kerala alone having a prevalence of 49% and a staggering 60% prevalence among obese school-going children.
  • One of the causes for NAFLD is the over-consumption of sugar – both table sugar (sucrose) and other forms of carbohydrates.
  • The consumption of excess sugar and carbohydrates causes the liver to convert them into fat in a process called hepatic De Novo Lipogenesis or DNL, which leads to fat accumulation in the liver.
  • The research team has shown that drugs that can inhibit NF-κB can prevent sugar-induced hepatic fat accumulation. They have also shown that the knockdown of sorcin reduces the lipid-lowering ability of the NF-κB inhibitor.

Technology for oily wastewater treatment by Jadavpur University, Kolkata:

  • Soon automobile servicing industry, food industry, and other low and medium scale enterprises can have a smart, affordable electric field-assisted membrane separation device at their disposal for oily waste water treatment.
  • Low-income group users mostly cannot afford the high cost of treatment technologies available for handling oily wastewater generated at their source points. As a result, large amount of untreated oily wastewater is discharged into the aquatic bodies without following the guidelines of the Pollution Control Board.
  • The technology developed by Jadavpur University, Kolkata, uses a combination of Electrocoagulation and Electroflotation Enhanced Membrane Module (ECEFMM) techniques for waste water treatment.
  • Electrocoagulation is a waste water treatment technique that uses electrical charge for changing the particle surface charge, allowing suspended matter to form aggregates, and electroflotation is the separation of suspended particles from water using hydrogen and oxygen bubbles generated by passing electricity through water.
  • The innovation being an economically feasible wastewater treatment technology (both in terms of capital and recurring investment) for low-scale and medium enterprises, has a good market potential.
  • Moreover, unlike other conventional treatment, it can break the highly stable oil-water emulsion through electric discharge and simultaneously separates oil from water with high efficiency.
  • Besides, by integrating the electrochemical process setup with the membrane module in a single hybrid ECEFMM setup, one process has been eliminated. This significantly lowers the initial capital investment expense along with the additional advantage of reduced installation area requirement.
  • The recovered spent oil after oily wastewater treatment can be further used as an industrial burner oil, furnace oil, mould oil, hydraulic oil and so on.
  • Thus, it creates a huge revenue generation scope for low-income groups by selling this collected spent oil. In a zone of densely concentrated garages, installation of one setup will serve the purpose of wastewater treatment and thereby extend the opportunity towards other low-income group users to control the water pollution level within PCB regulations.
  • It is aligned with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The validation and testing of the prototype have been successfully accomplished, and the pilot-scale validation and testing is on the verge of completion.

ISER Bhopal discovers a new species of African Violets in Mizoram:

  • IISER Bhopal researchers have recently discovered a new species of plant belonging to the African Violets family in Mizoram and adjacent areas in Myanmar.
  • Along with other discoveries by the IISER Bhopal research team in the past few years, this discovery shows that the biodiversity of the Northeastern parts of India is understudied and there are many species of plants that remain undiscovered.
  • This discovery is an outcome of extensive fieldwork across northeast India coupled with rigorous study of past collections kept in herbariums across the world.
  • Northeast India is home to highly diverse flora because of its unique biogeographic placement as part of two biodiversity hotspots: the Indo-Burma hotspot and the Eastern Himalayas.
  • The new discovery brings new insights into the unique evolutionary trajectory of flora in this region of India.
  • Beyond the academic desire to document biodiversity, finding the ‘missing pieces’ of the biodiversity puzzle are important in designing conservation approaches to protect the fragile ecosystem of such hotspots.
  • Didymocarpus is a genus belonging to the plant family Gesneriaceae (commonly known as ‘African Violets’) and its members are distributed from Western Himalayas to Sumatra.
  • Most of these species are narrow endemics and require specialized habitats to survive, thus acting as an indicator of pristine habitats.
  • There are 106 currently known species of this genus, of which 26 are present in Northeastern states of India.
  • The newly-described species Didymocarpus vickifunkiae (Gesneriaceae) is currently known from only three locations in Mizoram and considered an endangered species.
  • It is an epiphyte (plants that grow on trees) and produces light pink flowers during the monsoons.