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ENVIS Bulletin Vol7(2) : Himalayan Ecology Summary of completed/ongoing projects

R.K. Pathak
Department of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong 793022, Meghalaya The present study has been undertaken to find out the demographic, biological and cultural proximates of health and disease among the two tribes, viz., the Sherdukpen and Nocte of Arunachal Pradesh. An executive summary of the present work are as follows : 1. The infant mortality rate among the Sherdukpen is 12.61% while the same is 6.86% among the Nicte. In both tribes, infant mortality rate is higher among females than among the males. 2. Diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory diseases, pneumonia, and fever are found to be the major causes for infant mortality in both the tribes. 3. Parent’s illiteracy and low occupational status, bigger family size, consanguinity, higher birth order, lower age at marriage and child birth, are the factors related to high infant mortality rate. 4. Reproductive wastage is 14.07% and 9.39% among the Sherdukpen and Nocte, respectively. The reproductive wastage is more in case of (a) mothers aged 35+years, (b) Mothers with higher birth order of 5+children, and couples having consauguinaus marriage. 5. During the period of growth all anthropometric measurements register constant increase with corresponding increase in age of samples of both the populations. As expected, males have higher average values than females for various anthropometric measurements considered in both the populations. 6. About 41% of the Sherdukpen and 50% of the Nocte pre-school children suffer from malnutrition (mild, moderate, severe). Similarly, around 39% of the Sherdukpen and 36% of the Nocte school-aged children suffer from the tree grades of malnutrition. Among the Sherdukpen and the Nocte, percentage of malnourished adults is about 42% and 46%, respectively. Nutritional status is found to the inversely related to the family size, and a significant impact of education on nutritional status is found in both the tribal groups. 7. Haemoglobin level is significantly higher in the Sherdukpen than the Nocte, and in both populations, males have higher values than females. 15.94% Sherdukpen and 33.96% Nocte children suffer from anaemia. The percentage of anaemic adults is 15.08% and 18.06% in the Sherdukpen and the Nocte, respectively. In both the groups a greater percentage of females suffer from anaemia than the males. Family size and education are the factors found to be significantly related to haemoglobin levels in the two populations. 8. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure is significantly higher in males than females of both the tribes. Hypertension is not prevalent since only a couple of individuals in each population are found to be hypertensive. 9. Morbility pattern in the two populations show that diseases of the respiratory and digestive system are most common. Children are more affected than adults, and females are more affected than males. Morbility ailments are higher in the Nocte as compared to the Sherdukpen. Lower educational status and bigger family size are related to higher mobidity in both the tribes. 10. Occurrence of dental caries and gingivitis, is quite high in both sexes of the two populations. However, among the two, dental health of the Sherdukpen is better as compared to the Nocte. Both populations maintain poor dental hygiene, and many individuals indulge in smoking and chewing. 11. The overall health condition, in respect of various health indicators considered in the present study, is found to be better among the Sherdukpen than among the Nocte. ENVIS Bulletin Vol7(2) : Himalayan Ecology MICROBIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL STUDIES OF THE TRADITIONAL
Jyoti Prakash Tamang
Microbiological Research Laboratory, Department of Botany, Sikkim Government College, Gangtok, Sikkim 737102 Traditional fermented beverages constitute an integral part of dietary culture and have strong ritual importance among the ethnic people in the Darjeeling hills and Sikkim. Description of alcohol-drinking custome in the Sikkim Himalayas has been cited in some historical documents. On the basis of average consumption rate, common traditional fermented beverages are kodo ko jaanr, bhaate jaanr, makai ko jaanr and lesser-known alcoholic beverages which are consumed by less than 10% population are gahoon kon jaanr, jao ko jaanr, simal tarul ko jaanr and faapar ko jaanr. Raksi is a distilled liquor prepared from fermented starchy materials. Total annual consumption of kodo ko jaanr in the Darjeeling hills was 40178.7 ton and in Sikkim was 35748.7 ton; bhaate jaanr was 9538.8 ton in the Darjeeling hills and 6648.1 ton in Sikkim; makai ko jaanr was 10463.8 ton in the Darjeeling hills and 4800.7 ton in Sikkim during 1996-97. Survey data indicate that 57.6% of people prepare fermented beverages for home consumption in the Darjeeling hills and 76.7% in Sikkim. It showed that production of the traditional fermented beverages is mostly done at the individual household level. Microbial marcha and jaanr smaples varied from 103 to 108 cfu/g. Sixty strains of filamentous moulds, 203 strains of yeasts and 163 strains of lactic acid bacteria were isolated from marcha and jaanr samples. Microorganisms originally associated with marcha and various types of jaanr samples were filamentous moulds: Mucor circinelloides, Mucor sp.(close to Mucor hiemalis), Rhizopus chinensis, Rhizopus stolonifer variety lyococcus; yeasts: Saccharomycopsis fibuligeru, Hansenula anomala, Saccharomyces cerevisiae; lactic acid bacteria: Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactobacillus spp. Marcha making technology reflects the traditional method of sub-culturing desirable inocula from previous batch to new culture using rice as base substrates. This technique preserves the microbial biodiversity essential for beverages production. Marcha retains its potency in situ for over a year. Proximate jaanr and raksi samples has been analysed. Increase in alcohol, acidity, reducing sugar and mineral contents in almost all types of jaanr samples was remarkable. Jaanr contains about 1.7 MJ/100 g calorie and it serves as high calorie food beverage to low-income group of people. Jaanr is also rich in minerals mostly Fe, Zn, Mn and Co. Changes in microflora and some biochemical profiles during kodo ko jaanr and bhaate jaanr fermentation were studied. Amylolytic activity of isolates were tested and found that Saccharomycopsis fibuligera showed highest amylolytic activity indicating that it is the dominant and main starch-degrader in jaanr fermentation. Kodo ko jaanr was prepared at the laboratory by using a mixture of cell suspension of selected strains of mould, yeasts and lactic acid bacteria, previously isolated from marcha. The product was organoleptically compared with market sample using the consumers’ preference trail, and it was found that laboratory-made jaanr was more acceptable than the market sample. Laboratory-made jaanr may have advantages over the jaanr prepared by using marcha due to better quality, maintaining consistency and maximum utilization of susbtrates. Outlines of findings are : • Microbial biodiversity ranging from filamentous moulds (Mocor circinelloides, Mucor sp.(close to Mucor hiemalis), Rhizopus chinensis, Rhizopus stolonifer variety lyococcus;) to amylolytic and alcohol-producing yeasts (Saccharomycopsis fibuligera, Hansenula anomala, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and lactic acid bacteria (Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactobacillus spp.) associated with marcha and various types of jaanr products has been isolated, characterised, identified, indexed and preserved. ENVIS Bulletin Vol7(2) : Himalayan Ecology • Proximate composition of these traditional fermented beverages have been determined to • Attemp was made to upgrade the traditional processing of beverages using selected strains instead of conventional marcha - a step for sustainable development in the Sikkim Himalayan regions. ENVIS Bulletin Vol7(2) : Himalayan Ecology ENVIRONMENTAL CORRELATES OF REPRODUCTIVE PHEROMONES IN
J.P. Bhatt
Fish Pheromones & Behaviour Study Unit UGC-SAP, Department of Zoology, H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar (Garhwal) 246174 To ascertain the environmental correlates of sex-pheromones release and action mechanism in Schizothorax richardsonii, initially the chronology of its reproductive behaviour is established. The development of pre ovulatory follicles is triggered by 140C temperature and 11.55 L:12.05 D photoperiod. The water held pre ovulatory females overnight attracts the males significantly as compared to the water held ovulatory females, water contained no fish and food odour (L-serine). This finding suggests the pre ovulatory ovary as a source of sex-pheromones. The production of milt in males exposed with the water previously held pre ovulatory females and with the extract of pre ovulatory ovarian extract indicates that ovary at this level synthesize and release ‘priming pheromones’ that stimulate spermatogenesis is male. The retention time (Rt), Rf value and biological activity of the purified and isolated compound (sub-fraction III) from the pre ovulatory ovarian extract of S. richardsonii are much
close to the commercial sex steroid 17α, 20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17α20βP). Hence
former (sub-fraction III) may be considered the holocous/derivative of the later (17α20βP).
S. richardsonii 14o C and 11.55 L: 12.05 D temperature-photoperiod regime favours the ovarian proliferation while maximum ovarian development occures on 18o C and 13.44 L: 10.16 D. • Milt in male is formed on 17-18oC for a short period i.e. 20-25 days. • Results of the experiments indicate that males exhibit a significant preference to the water which held females (P<0.01) over the water which held males, water that had not held any fish and also over the water containing food odour L-serine (P<0.05). • Of ovarian extracts on introducing into the experimental maze, males show a significant preference (P<0.01) towards the ovary extract at pre ovulatory (POVE) stage over the extracts at ovulatory (OVE), post ovulatory (PtOVE) and regressed (ROE) stages of ovarian cycle. • Of three purified fractions (free steroid fraction - F fr, glucuronide fraction - G fr, and sulphated fraction - S fr of pre ovulatory ovarian extract, G fr evokes significant attraction (P<0.01) in male as compared to others including food odour (L-serine). • Milt volume (ml) is elevated four times more (P<0.01) in males exposed with the water that previously held pre ovulatory females and with free steroid fraction (F fr) of pre ovulatory ovarian extract as compared to the males treated with water which held post ovulatory female or with the extract of post ovulatory ovary. • The milt volume increases maximum on 24 hr exposure. • Of the commercially available sex steroids (Estrone, β-D glucuronide, 17, β-estradiol-3-17, β-estradiole-5-sulphate, βestradiole-3-glucuronide-17-sulphate and 17α20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17α20βP), last one i.e. 17α20βP is found potent to attract S. richardsonii and to promote milt volume in 12 hr exposure period. • None of the test solutions commercial sex-steroids, water which held pre ovulatory females free steroid (F fr) and glucuronidated (G fr) fractions of pre ovulatory ovarian extract (except sulphated fraction) elicit the sexual behaviour (locomoter, chasing and nudging activities) in male of the present study model. • Based on physical, chemical (Rf: 0.27, Rt: 17.00 values) and biological characteristics (mode of action), the such fraction III isolated from the ovarian fraction (F fr) of S. richardsonii may be considered homologous/derivative of the sex steriod 17α20βP.


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