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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Aug 2006

Tea chemicals|Hexane diol|Potassium hydroxide|Microfluidics

Highlights of Some of the Articles
INDIAN SCIENCE IS DYING - SAYS THE PRIME MINISTER’S ADVISOR Science in India is in its death bed. Sounding this red alert is none less than the Prime Minister’s scientific advisor C N R Rao. An angry Rao has shot off a letter to Prime Minister highlighting the threat faced by the fragile structure of science in India. “Indian science will be finished in the next five years. Our universities have dried up.There are only a handful of scientists left .Even the smaller countries like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have become global players and have overtaken us. India’s position as a potential leader in science will soon be in question if the present situation continues,” Rao told. At the last meeting of the Science Advisory Council to the PM (SAC-PM), the 30-member group apprised Singh about the grim situation of science in the country. “I’m really worried. I’m saddened that the best of us in government and public affairs may only consider science as a budget item, possibly as a non-productive expenditure. I’m writing this, as a warning,” Rao has said in his five page note to the PM, copy of which is said to be available with the Times Of India. Stating that India’s performance in basic sciences has come down markedly, both in terms of percentage of contribution to world science and percentage of high quality research papers, Rao said, “While China contributes 12% to world science, India lags with a mere 3%.The increasing number of high impact papers from India, which is less than 1%, is of serious concern. Terming the bureaucracy “unbearable”, Rao said. “We cannot have the personnel department in Delhi deciding on who is a good scientist or who is able to head an institution.Why not set up a separate parallel mechanism or scientific and higher educational institutions?” The scene, according to Rao is grim on the research front too. “The research contribution from universities in hitting an all time low.They are unable to perform and compete.Moreover, even our top institutions are not performing well in terms of research papers and the number of research students they train.The number of PhDs from IITs and other institutions is much lower than the numbers coming out of similar institutions elsewhere.” Rao said Brazil produces more PhDs than India while Taiwan has invested more than $100 million in universities. “Science in India is only a lip sympathy.Our investment in science is pathetic. Today we spend only 85% of the GDP on science,” he added. Echoing Rao’s views is Roddam Narasimha, member of SAC-PM. “We are stuck on the old groove and our PhDs too long a duration,” he said. “The suggestions made here are to be taken seriously if India has to be a leader in science.They may be ignored only at the cost of becoming a mediocre or a marginal performer,” Narasimha said. While the above remarks of the advisor to the Prime Minister are sweeping, the situation in the country may not be as bad as it is made out.Some excellent achievements have been made and a few of the Indian companies have been able to challenge the international players in research and development front. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the over all R&D scenario in the country remains uncertain and confused. The chain of CSIR Laboratories on which huge investments have been made by the government are not meeting the expectation of the nation.This could be due to several reasons including the bureaucratic interference in its functioning and lack of guidelines to the institutions by the government. The absence of target driven activity could be one reason for the lackluster performance of these laboratories. The situation calls for corrective steps and appropriate type of incentives from the government as well as the industries. Unfortunately, the contribution of the industries both in public and private sector towards R&D functions are very inadequate. Most of the industries view R&D functions more as “glorified trouble shooting and quality control activities”. While it is true that the turn over of the Indian industries are much lower compared to the multi national companies operating internationally, even the percentage of the revenue spent in India are meager and do not compare with the international companies in percentage terms . The outburst of Prime Minister’s scientific advisor would be worthwhile, if it would provoke everyone to look into the scenario and initiate remedial steps.The industries have large role to play but the bitter fact is that they are not playing their due role in the R&D front. Most of them are pre-occupied with the short term gains and purchase of technologies from abroad, instead of having long term objectives of developing sustainable R&D methods and techniques.
Tea is an amazing crop with considerable amount of pharmacological functions. According to Zongmao Chen (TRI, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences , Hangzhou), more than 500 chemical constituents are present in Tea. Apart from its pharmacological values, more than 20 elements are found in tea which in traces, improves the well being of humans. Ingestion of fluorine from tea drinking has been reported to prevent caries, that would cause dental decay. Tea prevents stroke, heart attack and cancer.Green tea is in the spot light because of its powerful antioxidant compounds called polyphenols which are less abundant in black tea. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the most powerful antioxidants ever discovered. Laboratory tests have shown EGCG is 25 times stronger than vitamin E at protecting DNA from damage that can cause cancer. Tea drinkers have less intestinal cancer. Green tea inhibits blood clotting and thus benefits the heart and may also boost the immune system. Black tea too has all these qualities but to a lesser degree.
Black tea has three times more caffeine than green tea, but only about half that of coffee and has no content of EGCG.
The tea industry would open up, if the tea industry and research institutes could substantiate the food value of the infused leaf and prove the point. The present world production of tea would not be enough to cater to the consuming countries, if freshtea leaf could be sold in vegetable market like spinach. Increase in consumption of infused-tea-leaf would alleviate the problem of over supply of tea and improve the price to take tea industry out of depression.  Fulian Yu and Ning Xu, (TRI, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) has stated in the article ‘Tea Germplasm Resources of China’, that there are more than 3300 accessions of tea germplasm. Normally tea polyphenol content is 22 to 23%, but some varieties have over 40%, with highest going to 53.7%.These teas are easily the best for extracting polyphenols. Similarly there are high Amino Acid germ plasm from Yunnan Province, China of more than 3.3% and Angi white tea having 6.3%. These are teas with caffeine content in tea from 0.14% to 6.96%. Establishing germ plasm banks and developing traits suitable for specialised teas and industries is an important aspect the industry needs to explore for future. Consumption of tea prevents several ailments such as cancer, arthritis, hypertension, skin diseases and heart problem.Tea extracts improve neuromuscular function, prevent gastric ulcers, protect the B-cells of islets of langerhans and help in regeneration of damaged cells; and combat blood sugar in control of diabetes. Not only tea checks tumour growth and inflammation, it also keeps the intestines healthy. This article further discusses the following details
  • Quality Standards
  • Flavonoid component
  • Caffeine
  • Wine from tea
  • Tea into yoghurt
  • Iced Teas
  • Tea leaves as vegetables
  • Pickled tea
  • Chemical analysis of Black tea
Appearance White or slightly yellow lumps, rods, pellets/flakes or white brittle mass with fibrous texture giving a clear and colourless solution of 10.0%
Chemical formula KOH
SPECIFICATIONS Caustic potash flakes Potassium hydroxide (as KOH) 90.0% min. Potassium carbonate (as K 2 CO 3 ) 0.5% max. Chlorides (as KCL) 105 max. ppm Iron (as Fe) 10 max. ppm Caustic potash lye Potassium hydroxide (as KOH) 47% min. Potassium carbonate (as K 2 CO 3 ) 0.5% max. Chlorides (as KCL) 105 max. ppm Iron (as Fe) 20 max. ppm Application sector
* Potassium carbonate
* Dye stuff industry
* Pharmaceutical industry
* Rubber industry
* Miscellaneous applications include cosmetic preparations, alkaline batteries
The article also discusses the following details: o Sectorwise applications
o Recent developments
o Manufacturing process
o Indian Producers and installed capacity
o Countrywise exports
o Countrywise Imports
o Indian demand-Period 2006
o Global Scenario
o Global demand
o Driving factors for demand
o USA Scenario
o Major internatioal products
o Closures
o New projects
o Recommendations
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - 1,6-HEXANEDIOL This article discusses the application aspects and process technology as well as Indian import/export trends for 1,6-Hexanediol PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS Synonym 6-Dihydroxyhexane,
Hexamethylene glycol,
Alpha omega Hexanediol,
Omega Hexanediol
CAS NO 29-11-8 EINECS NO 11-074-0 Molecular formula C 6 H 14 O 2 Appearance Physical state: Solid Colour White Form Fine plates Melting point 41 deg c Solubility Solvent 0.1 g/ml water clear Stability Stable Hazardous decomposition Carbon Products onoxide,Carbondioxide Hazardous polymerization Will not occur Toxicity Oral Rat 3,730 mg/kg LD50
Applications The specific structural configuration of 1,6-Hexanediol is effective in providing exceptional stability characteristics in many of its derivatives. In general,1,6-Hexanediol is used as a flexibilizing agent. It imparts high impact resistance and excellent low temperature properties in final products. Good color stability, caustic resistance and hydrolytic stability are other important features. The most important enduses for 1,6-Hexanediol are found in surface coatings, polyurethanes and specialty acrylates. Other end uses include adhesives, polymeric plasticizers, unsaturated polyesters and dyestuffs. It is a useful compound for producing polyurethane elastomers and as an additive to other synthetic resins. It is also being used increasingly as an intermediate for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications.. This article further discusses the following details:
  • Process
  • Producers
  • Indian Scenario
In keeping with the Supreme Court ruling that all life saving drugs should remain under price control, the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry has drafted a new pharmaceutical policy, proposing to bring most of the 354 “essential drugs” under price control, in addition to retaining the 74 drugs currently under control. The Supreme Court order had come in response to an earlier policy formulation which proposed to remove the “rigours of price control” through a reduction in the span of price control. Therefore, the latest move by the ministry which is yet to be endorsed by other government departments and the Union Cabinet marks a reversal of the policy direction. Significantly, the ministry’s move also comes with some concessions. This article further discusses the following details:
  • Number of drugs under price control
  • How the prices are controlled?
  • Basis for shortlisting bulk drugs for price control
  • The views of the panels
  • Contents of the latest policy draft
MICROFLUIDICS - RECENT INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS Microfluidics offers a route to next generation advanced manufacturing. Microfluidics is already making its mark in printing, chemicals and life sciences, but many more sectors are starting to see the potential of technology enabling very small sample size, precise process control, rapid heat transfer, improved control of hazardous processes and the production of complete ‘lab-on-a-chip’ disposable devices. In the not-too-distant future, microfluidics will be enhancing household,personal care and healthcare products,underpinning a new generation of handheld diagnostic and monitoring tools and encouraging innovators in all industries to conceive entirely new products. Industries must engage with this new technology even if it means changing strategies and philosophies. MINERAL RESOURCES OF WEST BENGAL West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation Limited, the only State PSU in the mineral sector of West Bengal was set up in the year 1973, with a view to exploring various mineral resources of the state, to examine the potential usefulness of those mineral resources, to convert them into marketable commodities and trading the goods and services related to such mineral resources. Some strategic minerals of West Bengal, their resources and industrial uses are discussed in this article. WORK ETHICS- IT’S RELATION TO BEHAVIOURAL SAFETY The underlying principles on which lies the organization’s structure and function is termed as Work Ethics. Using the novel and innovative approach of the Behavioural Safety Process (BSP), an attempt is made to improve safety in establishments by modifying the Human Behaviour to act safe ‘always’. The Behavioural Safety Process is based on the fact that an organisation’s work culture draws strength from its basic work ethics. The article discusses about the relation between Work Ethics and the unique concept of Behavioural Safety. INDIA’S CREDITABLE RECORD IN FAST BREEDER REACTORS Dr.Georges Vendryes, Honorary Executive Vice President of the French Atomic Energy Commission, described India’s next step in its nuclear power programme as one that will be watched by the world. Commissioning a prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) after its success with fast breeder test reactor (FBTR) is a milestone not just for India but also the world. India’s uranium reserves can support 10,000 MW generating capacity. But when the same uranium comes out of pressurised heavy water reactors as spent fuel, it can be processed into plutonium and residual uranium and used in the fast reactors, to fuel electricity capacity of 5,00,000 MW.This is due to the breeding potential of the fast reactors, using the plutonium-uranium. Speaking at a function at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam, India, to mark two decades of successful operation of the FBTR, Dr.Georges Vendryes said that India is moving straight from FBTR to PFBR.He said that India possessed unique expertise to handle the kind of fuel used in fast breeder reactors (which produce more fissile material even as they use them). When India and France parted ways after India’s nuclear test in 1974, India lost the opportunity to get enriched uranium from France and many other countries also backed out of any collaboration.So, India had to develop technology to use mixed uranium and plutonium carbide fuel.It has now gained full mastery of the technology. For over three decades, India had been isolated from the world nuclear order. Today, India is among the advanced countries in nuclear energy field. IGCAR is the first to have the capability to reprocess plutonium rich carbide fuel.The technology enables it to more efficiently use the limited uranium resources.In 2010, it will commission the prototype fast breeder reactor, which will mark the start of the era of fast reactors that will propel India to a world leadership position. If the resource can support 10,000 MW of pressurised heavy water reactors, the reprocessing facility can push the capability up to 5,00,000 MW. The Atomic Energy Commission said that fast breeder reactors hold the key to India’s energy independence.IGCAR would be a major centre for nuclear research and development with the fast breeder reactor as its workhorse.
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