Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - May 16, 2018

Ministry of Science & Technology

Major initiatives and achievements of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) round the year

Healthcare National Biopharma Mission Launched

  • Innovate in India (I3)
  • The programme of DBT, with a funding to the tune of US$ 250 million, is a first of its kind mission that brings together industry and academia to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the bio-pharmaceutical sector.
  • This flagship program of the Government of India, in collaboration with the World Bank, will be implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public-Sector Enterprise set up by DBT.

India is now a leader in vaccine manufacture & development with several advancements

1.Dengue Vaccine

  • The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) is collaborating with the drug major Sun Pharma to use the recombinant EDIII-based sub-unit dengue vaccine candidate, to develop an injectable vaccine that protects against all four dengue strains endemic to India.

2.Malaria Vaccine

  • Vaccine for malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is under toxicology assessment (JAIVAC 2) and another vaccine for malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax has completed Phase I trial (JAIVAC1).

Innovative devices to nurture mother & child health

1.DBT launched “Sohum” an innovative newborn hearing screening device

  • Sohum – a hearing screening device for the newborns developed by the Stanford India Biodesign (SIB) programme’s start-up M/s Sohum Innovation Labs India Pvt. Ltd.

2.Neonatal Resuscitation Device (Neo Breathe)

  • The device is a foot operated resuscitation system that can free-up a hand of the device operator, thereby allowing him or her to use both the hands for holding the mask, leading to effective sealing and better ventilation.

3.Feto-maternal Parameter Monitoring System (Brun)

  • India Bio-design makes new advances
  • India Bio-design program has developed innovative technologies for day-to-day patient use such as
  • Ostomy management device
  • Emergency medical alert device
  • Breathable and customized cast for immobilization of the fractured limb
  • Fluid extraction device
  • Posture support device

Agriculture, Food and Nutrition

1.Biotech-KISAN scheme announced - Impacting Farmers Lives through Science

  • A new, farmer-centric programme called ‘Biotech-KISAN’ was announced that would create a major impact on rural livelihood.
  • The objective of the programme is to demonstrate, scale-up and address issues of local farmers related to water, soil, seed and marketing, with validated technologies.
  • This programme is also expected to create strong a strong interaction platform between scientists and farmers.
  • The programme also includes thematic fellowships in science laboratories located across all the agro-climatic zones.

2.Regulations and guidelines on biosafety of recombinant DNA research & biocontainment

  • Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) at Geneva, Switzerland.

3.New programme for brucella-free villages

  • Launch of “Brucella Free Villages” was announced for implementation on a pilot scale in 50 villages covering 10 states.
  • Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease, seen in animals, and causes economic losses of about ₹ 28,000 crores per year.
  • Three new Brucella diagnostic kits were launched as a part of this programme.

Food and Nutrition

1.DBT supports food formulations for Severe Acute Malnutrition in children

  • The Ready to Use Food (RUTF) supplement with brand name BIB POSHAN, was developed with financial support from DBT.
  • RUTF is equivalent to the F-100 formula (milk-based) used at hospitals across India, but is instead made as a paste that can be safely given to a child to take home.
  • It is not a supplementary food or a method to prevent malnutrition, but is a treatment for a fixed amount of time to get a child back on its normal growth pattern and prevent death.

2.Iron fortification in rice and wheat to address anaemia in school children

Fortified Wheat

  • Wheat flour fortification with elemental iron is technically challenging, primarily due to poor absorption from elemental iron and the presence of phytic acid.
  • Sodium iron ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (NaFeEDTA) is a unique fortificant, since it protects Fe from the phytic acid present in foods by binding more strongly to ferric Fe at the pH of the gastric juice in the stomach and then exchanging the ferric (Fe) for other metals in the duodenum as the pH rises.
  • It is two-to-four fold more bio-available than ferrous sulphate, particularly in meals with high phytate content, thereby making it ideal for use in wheat flour.
  • Testing of urinary zinc over the trial period showed that NaFeEDTA did not affect urinary zinc excretion.
  • As per FSSAI standards, NaFeEDTA, due to its better bioavailability, can be fortified to a lower level than other iron salts in atta, maida or rice to a level of 14-21.25 mg/Kg.

Fortified rice

  • In order to address the problem of anaemia DBT has developed appropriate technology on iron fortified rice premix from broken rice kernels.
  • This iron fortified rice premix matches with the normal rice kernel in shape and size, and when mixed with normal rice in the ratio of 1:100 it provides 50 per cent of recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron to the children.
  • The rice is fortified through a process called extrusion

Bioenergy India’s first biomass to ethanol plant & its commercialization

  • The Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai, has developed India’s first home grown technology to convert biomass to ethanol with speed and efficiency.
  • The technology, which converts agricultural waste into ethyl alcohol, or bio-ethanol, is superior to other prevalent technologies as the rate of conversion is four times faster than those available in the international market.
  • While the time taken to convert biomass to biofuel is about 4 to 7 days with prevalent technologies, the one developed by the team at DBT-ICT does the same in about 18-20 hours, and produces about 300 litres of ethanol per ton of biomass.
  • The produce can be blended with petrol to be used in vehicles as fuel.

Second-generation (2G) Ethanol plant

  • The country’s first second-generation (2G) Ethanol plant was inaugurated at Kashipur in Uttarakhand.
  • The technology was transferred to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to build commercial scale biomass ethanol plants based on the technology.
  • The plants, one at Bina in MP and another at Bathinda in Punjab, are scheduled to be operational by 2018.

Enlighten about BIO-ETHANOL

Bio-CNG from industrial/municipal waste

  • The DBT-ICT Centre, Mumbai has also developed the Rapid-Anaerobic Digestor technology, which can handle any bio-waste (including agri-waste) – dry or wet – and generate biogas within 24 hours.
  • The technology gives a methane yield of greater than 90% and generates zero waste.

Green remediation technology for wastewater

  • A DBT supported project developed phytoremediation treatment process for the degradation of dyes from textile industrial effluent.
  • The study showed that Macrophytes Ipomea neumon, Alternanthera philoxeroides (a massively rooted macrophyte), and Salvinia molesta demonstrated a potential for treating textile dyes and effluents in large scale (constructed wetland system) through rhizofiltration approach.

Anaerobic membrane bioreactor

  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactor removes organic waste from municipal wastewater with 95% efficiency
  • With the support of BIRAC, a technology for removing organic waste from municipal waste water at 95% efficiency has been developed.
  • The technology, called anaerobic membrane bioreactor AnMBR (2000L), is a product of a company called Thermax.

Vortex diode based cavitation devices

  • for enhancing biogas yield and throughput of anaerobic digesters during treatment of wastewater in distillery industry
  • A technology for treatment of wastewater from the distillery industry with enhanced biogas yield, called Vortex diode based cavitation devices, has been developed by a company called Vivira Process Technologies.
  • The technology has shown an increase of 15% in biogas yield over currently available technologies at trials carried out in Dhampur Sugar Mills and Lokmangal Sugar Mills.

The Rhino Digester – cost effective appliance for decentralized waste processing developed

  • BIRAC has supported a technology called Rhino Digester.
  • It can be installed at the source of waste generation–society, apartment or organization, and can convert all organic content of the waste into readily usable resources.
  • A prototype of the appliance has been installed in a canteen to get feedback in a field situation.
  • Co-treatment of domestic septage & municipal solid waste & landfill leachate producing biogas and biofertilizer

Dry thermophilic anaerobic digestion (DTAD)

  • Domestic septage, municipal solid waste and landfill leachate are major sources of waste from cities.
  • Treatment systems that can tackle these are major requirements for sustainable cities.
  • In order to meet this need, a technology has been developed for co-treatment of these wastes by using a process called dry thermophilic anaerobic digestion (DTAD).
  • The technology produces bio-fertilizer.

Molasses Spent Wash Treatment: Decolourization, Detoxification leading to algal biofuels

  • A new technology supported by BIRAC can remediate pollution from wastewater of sugar or distillery industry and use it to grow algal biofuel.

De-metalizer Kit for heavy metal removal from mining wastewater

  • de-metalizer kit, has been developed from biopolymers.
  • Bio-sorption was carried out for the removal of lead ions from aqueous solution containing known concentration of Lead-Pb (II) by implementing hybrid polymers as biosorbent.
  • Nearly 65% of the contaminated lead ions could be removed through dipping approach, whereas nearly 83% of such ions could be removed through direct addition approach at higher concentration level.

Novel bio-toilet technologies

  • DBT & BIRAC, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has supported many novel bio-toilet technologies through ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge for India (RTTC)’ programme.
  • The eco-toilet project of Pradin technologies Pvt. Ltd. in Bengaluru, Karnataka has redesigned the toilet seat.
  • It has also made the entire process eco-friendlier by using ultrasound to dispose and settle neumo matter, thus reducing the use of water.

The NEWgeneratorTM

  • An off-grid, self-sustained, modular, electronic toilet for slums with solar energy, integrated with mixed waste processing unit, water and energy/fertilizer recovery was supported by BIRAC.
  • Undertaken by Eram Scientific Solutions, Kerala, along with the University of South Florida, the system showcased closed-loop resource recovery by integrating the slum e-Toilet with a novel onsite wastewater treatment and recovery solution.

River clean-up technologies

  • DBT is contributing to national efforts to clean up Indian rivers by supporting a major effort along with the Netherlands to implement novel technologies for cleaning up of the Barapullah canal and then finally initiate efforts to keep the Yamuna clean.

Sources – PIB, Ministry of Science and technology, My Gov, pic courtesy -Govt websites