Category Archives: Natural resources

The knowledge superpower – 2

Nanotechnology, with the ability of providing tools to control, manipulate and construct materials at nano-metre scales, in combination with bio, promises unique solution in diseases like cancer. Khandelwal Laboratories has developed a patented technology on Gene Repair Therapy to stimulate dormant genes to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS and promoting research in nanodrug and drug delivery techniques.

The penetration of ICT to grassroots levels, achieved by voice, video and data networks have been phenomenal. Indian Railways’ Passenger Reservation System is a notable example.

Satellite mapping tool ‘Bhuvan’ that is getting ready at ISRO is going to have a great impact on general public and in addressing problems like floods, famines, infrastructure development, education and so on. This will contribute to synergetic application.

India’s space programme operates one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems and the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites built indigenously. Nearly 211 transponders of INSAT and GSAT communication satellites support a variety of communication and broadcasting applications including telemedicine and distance education.

Similarly, Indian remote sensing satellites provide a host of societal and natural resource management inputs in areas relating to agriculture, forestry, water resources and ocean studies to name a few. Meteorological data from geosynchronous satellites like Kalpana are critical to weather prediction and disaster management.

Ref: thetimesofindia

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Pollution could be turning you obese

Good morning friends.  Many of us knows that pollution has bee as any significant change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of the air, water and land that many negatively affect mankind, whether directly by being harmful to people or indirectly by causing natural resources to deteriorate. 

A pollutant might be triggering obesity by influencing gene activity, according to a new study.  

For example tributyltin, a chemical is used in antifouling paints for boats, as a wood and textile preservative, and as a pesticide on high-value food crops, among many other applications.

Tributyltin affects sensitive receptors in animal cells, from water fleas to humans, at very low concentrations – a thousand times lower than pollutants that are known to interfere with sexual development of wildlife species.

Tributyltin and its relatives are highly toxic to snails, causing female snails to develop male sexual characteristics, and it bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish.

The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver  and the nervous and immune systems in mammals are well known, but its powerful effects on the cellular components known as retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in a range of species are a recent discovery.

When activated, RXRs can migrate into the nuclei of cells and switch on genes that cause the growth of fat storage cells and regulate whole body metabolism — compounds that affect a related receptor often associated with RXRs are now used to treat diabetes.

RXRs are normally activated by signalling molecules found throughout the body.

Taisen Iguchi and Yoshinao Katsu of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan described how RXRs and related receptors are also strongly activated by tributyltin and similar chemicals.

Tributyltin impairs reproduction in water fleas through its effects on a receptor similar to the RXR. In addition, tributyltin causes the growth of excess fatty tissue in newborn mice exposed to it in the womb.

The effects of tributyltin on RXR-like nuclear receptors might therefore be widespread throughout the animal kingdom.

The rise in obesity in humans over the past 40 years parallels the increased use of industrial chemicals over the same period.

Iguchi and Katsu maintain that it is “plausible and provocative” to associate the obesity epidemic to chemical triggers present in the modern environment.

The study appeared in BioScience.

ref: thetimesofindia