Category archives for Articles

Diagnosis of dhatura poisoning: a comparative study of the signs and symptoms as per ayurvedic and modern classics


The incidence of Dhatura poisoning is not uncommon. It can occur accidentally due to chewing of the seed with rice or other eatables. Previously accidental exposure to this poison was more when the plant was available abundantly. But now the availability of this plant is gradually reducing but the incidence of its use as hallucinogen is increasing. Dhatura or “Road Poison” is surreptitiously used with betel leaf, tea etc. to rob travellers as it stupefies the person. The victims are commonly rescued from the roadside in a semiconscious state. They can recall only some parts of the incident that had happened. Diagnosis of Dhatura poisoning, as per the Modern texts, can be done basing upon the 9Ds (9 signs and symptoms started with “D”). In Ayurvedic Classics i.e. in Charaka and Susruta Samhita, there is no discussion regarding the signs and symptoms of Dhatura poisoning. Astanga Sangraha/ Hridaya and some Nighantus (Pharmacopoea) discussed on the point which may be taken as criteria for diagnosis of Dhatura poisoning.

Keywords Dhatura poisoning, Road Poison, Susruta Samhita, Astanga Sangraha/ Hridaya, Nighantus.

Earthquake Disaster Risk Mitigation for Northeast India


The Northeastern region of India has witnessed several devastating earthquakes such as the 1869, 1897, 1950 great earthquakes and some high magnitude earthquakes ranging from 6.0 to 8.7. In the light of scientific earthquake predictions given for the region, urgent measures need to be taken for earthquake disaster risk mitigation, both structural as well as non-structural, in addition to efforts made so far.National disasters policies and programmes are yielding results in generating awarenessand increasing the level of preparedness, which are vital for mitigation of disasters.In this paper some aspects are discussed in specific areas of Capacity Building,Techno-Legal Framework, Techno-Financial Regime., and enforcement of Rules &Regulations to further strengthen the institution of disaster management in carrying out structural and non-structural mitigation measures.

Keywords Earthquake, Northeast India, Meghalaya, Shillong

Space-time singularity and Raychaudhuri equation


Prof A.K. Raychaudhuri’s deep involvement and observation with the singularity problem in General Relativity paved way to the formulation of famous Raychaudhuri Equation in General Relativity in general and Cosmology in particular. One of his early concerns was to construct a model of a collapsing homogenous dust ball and show that nothing prevented the ball from collapsing down to the centre r = 0 and thereby demystifying the so-called Schwarzschild singularity at r = 2M. Then, he addressed the most pertinent question of his time: is the cosmic singularity predicted by the FRW model an artifact of the homogeneity and isotropy of space or not? In fact, inspired by the famous Gödel solution, he was looking for a rotating non-singular solution without closed time-like lines. In the process, he discovered his celebrated equation which made the singularity analysis free and independent of these restrictions. The observation and consequent formulation ultimately led to the powerful Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems which established in a very general way, the inevitability of the occerence of singularity in Einstein’s gravity under reasonable energy and causality conditions.The present paper is a brief review of the celebrated Raychaudhuri equation.

Keywords Raychaudhuri Equation, singularity, General relativity, Cosmology.

Flowering of a Bamboo Ampelocalamus patellaris


Ampelocalamus patellaris (Gamble) Stapleton (Dendrocalamus patellaris Gamble) a bamboo was earlier described by Gamble from a doubtful flowering specimen collected by G.Mann. This doubtful specimen was later identified as Dendrocalamus hamiltonii. The true A. patellaris recently flowered in Sikkim in December 2013. The bamboo has now been described for the first time on the basis of flowering material obtained from Sikkim. Paper provides detailed nomenclature, distribution, phenology, illustration and photographs of the species.

Keywords Bamboo, Ampelocalamus patellaris, flowering.

Contributions of Nathaniel Wallich in the context of his time and habitats.


The career and achievements of Nathaniel Wallich were deeply influenced by his habitats and time. Notwithstanding the contributions of Denmark & Serampore to Wallich’s career, he exercised very little voluntary choice in the selection of his first two habitats. In direct contrast he voluntarily selected and actively worked to secure his next two habitats. He used official positions, social benchmarks, travel, networking, publication and service to British East India Company to establish his place in the scientific (read non medical) world of the 19th century Calcutta & London. So successful were his endeavors, that he served as Professor of Botany in Calcutta Medical College and later as vice president of both the Linnaean & Royal Societies in London. Yet there remain discordant notes in his career that easily lend themselves to less than objective evaluation. His original letters put online by Kew Garden are central to a fresh appraisal.

Keywords Nathaniel Wallich, Botany, Denmark, Serampore, Calcutta, London

Assessment of Industrial Hazard for offsite Emergency Planning and Response – A simulated study on environs of Indane (LPG) Bottling Plant, North Guwahati, Assam, India.


Industrial disasters however low in frequency may have a great potential to damage the environment. The damage may be either immediate or long term. In present scenario most of the industrial sites are located in densely populated areas. Relocation of either of the industrial sites or important infrastructure e.g. settlement, school, hospital etc. is rarely possible, so the focus on improving the emergency preparedness, response planning, advance safety measures, mock drill etc. is becoming an integral part of the decision makers. A simulated accident scenario have been made and analysis of hazard/threat zonation has been carried out for Indane (Liquefied Petroleum Gas-LPG) Bottling Plant, Abhoyapur , North Guwahati using Areal Locations of Hazardous Atmosphere (ALOHA), Remotely Sensed data and GIS. In the present study, an attempt has been made to generate the maximum probable threat zones of key hazards such as-toxicity, flammability, thermal radiation and over pressure using various parameters. The result of the study may provide a comprehensive idea for emergency planning and response at district level.

Keywords Emergency preparedness, LPG, ALOHA, remotely sensed data, GIS

Preliminary Investigation of the Physico-Chemical Properties of a Geothermal Spring (Hot Spring) located at Jakrem, Meghalaya, India


The Geothermal spring located at Jakrem village in East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, India was investigated for physico-chemical properties. These characteristic features play a significant role in classifying and assessing water quality. The objective of  undertaking this study is to understand the physico-chemical properties of the spring water and the health risk it poses for human consumption. Sixteen parameters were chosen for investigation. The spring exhibit a temperature of 47°C. A pH of 12 was observed for the spring water making it alkaline in nature. The water was very soft with very low calcium and magnesium contents. The dominant cation was observed to be sodium with potassium being the sub dominant. The alkalinity was mainly due to dissolved carbonates and hydroxides. Fluoride concentration was found to be very high i.e., 7.2 ml-1.

Keywords Geothermal, Health, Hot Spring, Physico-chemical, Risk, Toxic.

Ludwigia natans: a potential aquatic macrophyte for cadmium bioaccumulation and Phytoremediation


Aquatic macrophytes have tremendous potential for remediation of the heavy metal cadmium. A Laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate the Cd bioaccumulation capacity of Ludwigia natans. The macrophyte was grown in the laboratory containing nutrient solution and working Cd standard solutions of different concentrations (1, 10, 50, and 100 mgL-1) and harvested at regular time interval of 5 and 10 days. The Cd accumulation by L. natans showed an increase with time and the maximum accumulation was on the 10th day at 50mgL-1 for both the roots and shoots. Cd accumulation in the plant parts was higher in the shoots as compared to the roots. The maximum bioconcentration factor values (7666) which indicate that the plant was a Cd hyperaccumulator and translocation factor values (2.8) which is >1 which points towards the suitability of L. natans for removing Cd from Cd-contaminated water.

Keywords Ludwigia natans, Cadmium, Accumulation, Bioconcentration Factor (BCF), Translocation Factor (TF)

Glutamate dehydrogenase: A study of its physico-chemical properties from the liver of mice of two different age groups


Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) an enzyme which catalyze the reversible formation of glutamate from \alpha-ketoglutarate, occupies a central position in mammalian nitrogen metabolism since the reaction which it catalyze provides the major pathway by which ammonia become bound to the \alpha-carbon atom of an \alpha-ketoacid to generate glutamate. The activity of GDH is influenced by a number of physical and chemical parameters that contributes to its stability as well as its activity. Physico-chemical studies of partially purified GDH from two age groups (10- and 90-day old), from the mice liver tissue are reported.

Keywords GDH, physico-chemical, mice

Anthropogenic threats and plant diversity conservation in Cherrapunji- one of the wettest places on Earth


The present study was conducted in Cherrapunji plateau covering an area of 792 sq km to assess the conservation significance of the area. It is one of the wettest places on earth with an average rainfall of 11,309 mm. The vegetation of the area may be classified as subtropical broad leaved forest. However, the dominant land use of the area is non forest or degraded grassland (64.2%) followed by open forest (19.4%) and dense forest (16.4%). The area has been degraded to a large extent due to a number of human activities and many previously forested slopes are now grasslands. Most of the forests are in inaccessible areas or in the form of patches preserved by the local people due to socio-religious practices. These remnant patches are rich in plant diversity. A preliminary investigation of rare and threatened plant species reveals the presence of 137 species belonging to 95 genera and 47 families. Human activities coupled by high rainfall have been attributed as the main factors responsible for the loss of biodiversity. An attempt has also been made to evolve effective strategies for conservation and management of plant diversity of the area.

Keywords Plant diversity, rare, endemic, threatened, conservation, Cherrapunji.

A compendium of Monopodial Orchids of Meghalaya


Sixty nine species of monopodial orchids belonging to 7 Subtribes namely Vandinae, Deceptorinae, Phalaenopsidinae, Gastrochilinae, Aeridinae, Pelatantheriinae, Taeniophllinae are enumerated. Up-to-date nomenclature, salient features, phenology and place of occurrence in Meghalaya of each species is provided in the present communication.

Keywords Monopodial, orchid, Meghalaya

Notes on diversity and distribution of tribe Orchideae in Meghalaya


The tribe Orchideae is represented by 28 species, 7 genera falling under 4 subtribes viz. Orchidinae, Herminiinae, Platantherinae and Habenarinae in Meghalaya. Of these, genus Peristylus is largest (11 species) followed by Habenaria (9 species). The genera Brachycorythis, Platanthera and Pecteilis are represented by 2 species each; while remaining genera like Diplomeris and Herminium are represented by 1 species each. Key characters of each ones along with phenology, distribution in Meghalaya and other states of NE India have been given. Colored photographs of species have been provided for their easy identification in the field.

Keywords Orchideae, diversity, Meghalaya

Protoplast fusion in potato improvement


Gene transfer is the basis for almost all crop improvement including potato. Wild species of potato harbors myriad of genes providing resistance against biotic and abiotic stresses. Breeders have been tempted to utilize them for incorporating valuable genes ranging from resistance to grain yield, and produce quality. But many sources of useful genes cannot be included in crop improvement programme in potato due to tetrasomic inheritance, asexual mode of propagation, a heavy load of deleterious recessive alleles and varying levels of sexual and EBN (endosperm balance number) incompatibilities. Gene transfer through transformation, though possible, requires identification, isolation and cloning of the concerned genes. Somatic hybridization through targeted protoplast fusion between two dihaploids of tetraploid potatoes, or between a dihaploid and a wild diploid Solanum species across sexual/ EBN barriers, or between two monoploids of diploid/ dihaploid potatoes offers great opportunities for targeted whole genome manipulation vis-à-vis complementation. The technology is slowly being functionally integrated into the potato breeding program in India at CPRI, Shimla by developing parental lines with increased level of resistance against late blight and Potato virus Y.

Keywords Potato, protoplast fusion, somatic hybrid.

BLAST: An introductory tool for students to Bioinformatics Applications


BLAST which is a sequence similarity search program is an excellent starting point for teaching bioinformatics to students and it has the potential to enhance a student’s grasp of biomedical, biochemical, and biogeochemical concepts. This article discusses the underlying concepts of the BLAST algorithm, the scores and statistics of the alignments; with illustrations using the NCBI BLAST. The article also emphasizes the need for students to be familiarized with the basic concepts and programs of bioinformatics which is a necessity in biological sciences now-a-days because of the recent advances in high-throughput techniques for data generation and analysis.

Keywords BLAST, algorithm, introductory tool, bioinformatics teaching, bioinformatics applications

Monitoring of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in ambient air in the campus of Lady Keane College, Shillong.


Clean air is necessary for healthy life. Air is one of the five vital basic natural ingredients of life system. A first ever study on the ambient air quality in the campus of Lady Keane College, Shillong was undertaken during the month of November, 2013. The findings indicate that the mbient air in the campus possess light air pollution. The current mean concentration of total suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the vicinity of Lady Keane College was found to be 97.42µgm-3which is much lower than the NAAQ Standard limit (200µgm-3). Also, the mean respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) was observed to be 54.40µgm-3which is also lower that the NAAQ Standard limits (100µgm-3). The low concentration of RSPM can be attributed to the immediate and important green surrounding in and around the college.

Keywords Air, health, monitoring, particulate, respirable

Characterization of selected south Indian tea (Camellia spp.) germplasm using morphological traits and RAPD markers


The genetic variation and relationship among the selected south Indian tea (Camellia spp.) germplasm was evaluated using morphological traits and RAPD markers. Ninety four mother bushes were selected for germplasm characterization. Morphological characterization of selected mother bushes identified significant divergence among them.The dendrogram constructed using UPGMA method based on RAPD fingerprinting divides the selected mother bushes into two major groups. The present investigation confirms the ability of RAPD markers to characterize the high variation exists within and between the selected accessions of tea germplasm. The results of the present study indicate that there is no correlation between molecular and morphological (both quantitative and qualitative) relationships.

Keywords Camellia spp., genetic diversity, RAPD markers, morphological markers

The Lyngdoh Mawnai Sacred Grove, West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya: Mapping and analysis of disturbance


The Lyngdoh Mawnai Sacred Grove, representing humid sub-tropical montane forest, is a fairly well preserved sacred grove, covering an area of 20.84 ha, of which about 0.09 ha area was non-forest and 1.9 ha was degraded to various extents.The tree density was found to 1126 ha-1 . Anthropogenic disturbance in form of wood cutting, burning was visible in the peripheral regions while wood-cutting and clearance of ground vegetation for collection of edible fruit was seen within the dense forest area. Disturbance in form of cut stems especially in the 5-12 cm diameter class was found in both – the peripheral as well in the forest interior with peripheral areas exhibiting higher cut stems (26%) than the interior (14% ) of the total stems ha-1.

Keywords Sacred grove, mapping, Meghalaya, West Khasi Hills, Lyngdoh Mawnai sacred grove

Meteorological drought occurrences at Shillong, Meghalaya


Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya receives an annual average rainfall of 2,267 mm. The state is mostly agrarian with mostly rice-potato and potato-potato based cropping system. Rainfed rice mostly practiced in and around this belt. Rainfall analysis was done based on thirty five years (1973-2007) daily rainfall data to study monthly, seasonal and yearly occurrence of drought at Shillong based on India Meteorological Department (IMD) protocols. There was an incident of severe drought in the year 2000; eight years with moderate and eleven years with mild drought at Shillong. The more frequency of drought incidents were recorded for the January, November and December compared to other months.

Keywords Drought year, meteorological drought, rainfall analysis.

Two new distributional records of Liverworts (Marchantiophyta) from Meghalaya


Two liverworts, namely Cyathodium aureonitens (Griff.) Mitt. (Cyathodiaceae) and Fossombronia pusilla (L.) Dumort. (Fossombroniaceae) have been recorded for the first time from the Meghalaya, of which the latter one is recorded for the first time from East Himalayan Bryo-geographical territory. The same have been described with relevant photographs.

Keywords Liverwort, Cyathodium, Fossombronia, meghalaya.

Fourteen new distributional records of Orchid from Mizoram


Fourteen species of orchids are added to the flora of Mizoram for the first time from Murlen National Park, Champhai. The same have been described and photographs of each species provided for their easier identification.

Keywords Orchid, distributional record, Mizoram

New and noteworthy records of Gingers from North-east India


The present paper includes Curcuma latifolia as new record for North-east India, Curcuma amada, Curcuma prakasha, Parakaempferia synantha are new to Mizoram, Gingiber roseum is new to Assam and Globba rubromaculata is new record for Meghalaya. The same are described along with field photographs.

Keywords Gingiber, noteworthy, North-east, India

Pteridophytes of Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram, India


Pteridophytic flora of Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram has been carried out. A total of 33 species belonging to 21 genera and 18 families are enumerated for the first time from the sanctuary. This includes three new distributional records viz., Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott, Pleocnemia submembranacea (Hyata) Tagawa & K. Iwats. and Tectaria decurrens (C. Presl) Copel. from Mizoram, remaining all are new report to this sanctuary. An identification key along with basionym and distribution of each species in Northeast India has been provided in present communication.

Keywords Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary (NGWLS), Pteridophytes, Mizoram.

Seed sterility and germination problems in Schima wallichii (DC.) Korth. and S. khasiana (Dyer) Bloemb


Seed sterility and germination problems in S. wallichii (DC.) Korth. and S. khasiana (Dyer) Bloemb. (family Theaceae) has been studied. Production of high percentage of viable seeds with a capacity to germinate quickly is an ideal pre-requisite for the proliferation of tree species. Natural regeneration of S. wallichii (DC.) Korth. and S. khasiana (Dyer) Bloemb (family Theaceae) suffers due to high seed sterility (50%), poor seed germination and high seedling mortality (80 – 90%). Seed germination results showed that 25oC temperature and completed darkness was the favourable condition for germination in S. khasiana seeds. However, temperature did not have significant affect on the germination of S. wallichii seeds. In both species entire process of embryo germination was completed earlier than the seeds. Thus, the seed coat has slowed germination process in both species. Small proportion of filled seeds and lower percentage of viable embryos could be the reasons for poor regeneration of S. khasiana through seeds in nature. Contrary to this, greater proportion of filled seeds in S. wallichii with higher percentage of viable embryos are the causes of better natural regeneration.

Keywords  Schima, Theaceae, seed sterility, embryo viability