The Council has been making consistent efforts for development of world-class infrastructure in Punjab in the area of biotechnology. Towards this end, the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute coordinated by the Council has already been made operational by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India in a transit campus set up at Mohali. The Punjab Biotechnology Incubator, a spin-off of the Council is also operative in Mohali and is providing facilities for quality testing & certification of agri-produce / products. The Council is now facilitating Mohali Biotechnology Park Project on behalf of the State Govt. It is a joint project of GOP & DBT-GOI and is to be developed through Public-Private Partnership. The Park would provide facilities to industry for research & development, processing and other operations in various application areas of biotechnology including agriculture, food, pharma, energy etc.
2.1 International Workshop: Shaping the Future of Advanced Biorefining for Modern Societies.
The increase in agricultural productivity over the years has led to proportionate increase in availability of agri-residues world over. At this juncture, when the concerns related to climate change and excessive dependency on fossil resources are being increasingly felt, various R&D institutions & industry are exploring the possibilities of using agri-residues as renewable source of carbon and energy. Punjab a major paddy producing state generates about 20 million ton paddy straw every year. Presently, most of it is being burnt in fields by farmers due to shortage of time for preparing their farms for sowing next Rabi crop. This leads not only to loss of valuable nutrients present in this rich bioresource but also that of soil microflora & moisture thereby eroding the soil structure & fertility. Hence, technological interventions for utilization of rice straw are of immense relevance to the state. Similarly, various European countries are working on gainful utilization of wheat & barley straw and woody biomass of relevance.
In this context, 24 partners from 13 countries including R&D & academic institutions and industry i.e. 12 European countries along with an Indian partner: The Energy Research Institute (TERI) have initiated the project titled ‘BIOCORE’ (BIO-COmmodity REfining) supported by European Commission at a total cost of 20 million Euros. The project aims at studying the industrial feasibility of biorefinery concept (akin to petroleum refinery) viz. producing a wide spectrum of bio-based products & energy from biomass. Under the project, an international workshop was organized by Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), the project coordinating institute from Europe and TERI, the coordinating institute from India at Brussels, Belgium on 5th March, 2013 with the objective of discussing preliminary results of the project with the relevant stakeholders.
In view of the application potential of project in Punjab for gainful utilization of paddy straw, Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora, Director (Biotechnology), PSCST was invited for participation in the above said workshop. The visit was sponsored by TERI under BIOCORE project. Only 7 Indian & 13 European participants were selected for participation. The workshop included presentations by Coordinators and the key project partners on various aspects of BIOCORE project. They highlighted that under the project, technology patented by French Company including combination of biotechnological and chemical processes has been adopted for fractionation/solubilization of biomass into lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose. The process is being worked out by the for optimizing conversion of generated lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose to biofuel (ethanol) and range of other products like olefinis, organic acids, adhesives, resins, polyols, bio-polymers & specialty chemicals. These processes have so far been tested at laboratory / pilot scale and the cost-economics for setting up of commercially viable units based on the technology being standardized is being worked out.
Further, the assessment is being made under the project for setting up of biorefineries at 5 locations including 3 in Europe (France, Germany and Hungary) and 2 in Punjab, India (Sangrur and Faridkot) as case studies. The pilot testing for solubilization of rice straw (sourced from Punjab by TERI) has been carried out under the project at a capacity of 100 kg per hour biomass. However, the collection and chopping of large quantities of paddy straw for use as feed stock in the biorefinery and the bacterial / fungal infestations during storage thereof could be the challenges in technology adoption. Director (Biotechnology) moderated one of the sub-groups session, wherein she highlighted the status of production & utilization of agri-biomass in the state of Punjab, India. Based on the deliberations during the above said workshop, the project partners plan to prepare a report containing recommendations for setting up of advanced biorefineries for submission to the European Commission.
2.2. Seminar on “Indo-European Collaborative R&D and Business Opportunities”
The Council in collaboration with European Business & Technology Centre (EBTC) organized a seminar on ‘Indo-European Collaborative R&D and Business Opportunities’ on 27th May, 2013 at Chandigarh. The representatives of three major Agri-food biotech clusters of Europe (Italy, France & Netherlands) and universities, institutions and relevant industry of Punjab participated in the seminar to explore possibilities of Research & Development and Business collaborations. The seminar was supported by Milan Chamber of commerce, Italy.
Sh. Suresh Kumar IAS, Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab & Sh. Anirudh Tewari IAS, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Punjab co-chaired the opening session of the seminar, wherein, an overview of the State’s strengths in agri-food biotechnology sector and possible areas of collaboration was given by Dr Neelima Jerath, Executive Director, PSCST & Dr Rakesh Tuli, Executive Director, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali. Ms Cristina Pellegrino of Regione Lombardia and Mr. Gianluca Carenzo, Executive Director, Parco Technologico Padano provided an overview of ‘Feeding the Planet’ project supported by European Commission, under which 3 major European agri-food biotechnology clusters viz. Parco Technologico Padano (Lombardy, Italy), Agropolis International (Languedoc – Roussillon, France) and Oost NV (Food Valley Wageninghen, Netherlands) are working in partnership for R&D in agri-food and biotech sectors followed by discussion session on possible partnerships. The council also organized a visit of European delegation to National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Bio Processing Unit (BPU), Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), Punjab Biotechnology Incubator (PBTI) & Indian Institute of Science Education & Research followed by a wrap-up meeting at council to summarize the concrete outcomes. Based on deliberations during the above said seminar and visits, it emerged that the possible areas of collaboration could be:
1. Setting up of joint facilities / incubators with NABI/BPU/PBTI for:
a. Managing post harvest shelf life of fruits & vegetables e.g low cost controlled atmosphere packaging, edible coatings, application and biosafety of bacteriophages for enhancing shelf life.
b. Protocol development for food quality & safety assessment.
c. Training on processing and adoption of region-wise standards for export.
2. Since Parco Tecnologico Padano, Italy has developed testing protocol for basmati and non-basmati rice, it could share the same with PBTI through capacity building of their scientists.
3.Joint research and translational project for standardizing technologies with NABI/BPU for utilization of rice straw and other such biomass, post-harvest processing approaches for value addition to cereal grains, horticultural crops, specialized diets with fortification for iron, zinc, vitamins A,D, B12, Folic acid, high soluble fibre foods etc.
4.Oost NV (Food Valley Wageninghen), Netherlands and Parco Technologico Padano, Italy have the expertise of developing state-of-the-art terminal markets for fruits & vegetables including low energy low cost storage, grading, packing, coating and value addition to surplus and waste through on-campus SMEs. Department of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture and/or relevant organizations under them could consider making use of their expertise for setting up similar infrastructure in Punjab.
5. As the European clusters and INST are both working in the area of nano-biotechnology, this emerged as a possible area of collaboration between INST and European companies. The potential areas for collaboration could be nano-packaging for improving shelf-life of food items, bio-sensors for monitoring food contamination, and food texture & flavour improvement through use of nanostructure encapsulated additives .
PSCST has been making consistent efforts to promote grass root biotechnological innovations relevant to socio-economic developmental needs of the rural areas of Punjab. A number of projects have been undertaken over the years to empower masses especially rural women & youth. As a further endeavour in this direction, the following programmes / activities are being undertaken:
3.1 Scale up, demonstration & promotion of technology for production of natural vinegar and non-alcoholic self carbonated beverages
The Council, in collaboration with Department of Microbiology, Punjab Agricultural University is implementing project 'Scale-up, demonstration and promotion of technology for production of natural vinegar and non-alcoholic naturally carbonated (NANC) beverages' supported by Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India. The State has abundant availability of fruits and vegetables like grapes, plum, sugarcane, lemon, carrot etc. which are perishable in nature and can be easily processed to natural vinegar / beverage by microbial fermentation process. These, being enriched with vitamins & minerals, are much more nutritive and healthier as compared to synthetic vinegar & carbonated beverages available in the market. Under the project, the following work activities are being carried out:
R&D Studies: Optimization of fermentation parameters
For vinegar production: The process involves primary fermentation of sugarcane juice using Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 35 followed by secondary fermentation with Acetobacter aceti NRRL 746 under batch conditions (50L scale) which yields average vinegar (with acidity 4.5-4.8% w/v) recovery of 70-80% in 22-28 days. The efforts were made to achieve reduction in fermentation time by optimizing agitation rate during primary fermentation, recycling of vinegar batches (replacement of 2/3rd volume of produced vinegar with ethanol) and immobilized cell culture i.e. semi-continuous culture using cells adsorbed on wood shavings.
For beverage production : The process has been standardized involving incubation of juice (lemon, amla or plum) with suitable yeast culture followed by incubation and cold maturation to yield beverage with 2.7 pH, 0.38% acidity, < 1% alcohol and natural carbonation (1.5 bar CO2). Out of various yeast isolates studied, strain 84 - Clavispora lusitaniae EF221824 has yielded the best results in terms of carbonation level (1.5 bar) and ethanol content (0.7% v/v). The optimization of other fermentation parameters viz. acidity, pH, carbonation etc. for beverage production as well as the shelf life studies are in progress.
The salient achievements of R&D studies are as below:
The scale up of natural vinegar production from sugarcane and grapes has successfully been conducted at 50L scale under batch fermentation conditions.
The fermentation time for vinegar production has been reduced significantly by recycling of successive batches and aeration for initial 3 days of ethanolic fermentation to acetic acid.
Semi-continuous fermentation conditions have been standardized at 5L scale to increase the efficiency of sugarcane vinegar production.
The elemental composition of grape vinegar carried out for 16 elements have revealed both grape & sugarcane vinegar to be rich in K, Mg, Na, P, Ca, and S.
Naturally carbonated beverage production from amla, lemon and their blends with carrot & guava has been successfully conducted at 20L scale under batch fermentation conditions.
Amla candy syrup, a byproduct generated during amla processing, which otherwise goes waste has been successfully utilized for production of vinegar & beverage at 5L scale under batch conditions.
The studies w.r.t. bottling and pasteurization of value added products and shelf life have been conducted on both vinegar & NANC beverage.
Demonstration units :
The Council has set up two demonstration units, one at Talwara (within the processing facility set up by the Council in collaboration with Unati Cooperative Society) and the other at Science Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park, Thapar University, Patiala for demonstration of technologies on natural vinegar and naturally carbonated beverages. The natural vinegar production (at 50L batch scale) from sugarcane and amla candy syrup is being undertaken at Talwara. Various capacity building programs have been conducted by both the centres.
Awareness and Training Programmes:
fourteen awareness programmes and eight hands-on training workshops on said technologies have been organized for members of primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmers, SC & rural women, SHGs of various districts viz, Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Ludhiana till date.
Dr. Jatinder.K. Arora, Director, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Dapinder.K. Bakshi, Principal Scientific Officer, Email: email@example.com
Ms. Isha Dutta, Project Associate, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3.2 Promotion and Pilot Production of Low Cost Sanitary Napkins using Cotton Knitwear Waste in Punjab:
With a view to promote healthy menstrual practice among rural women, DST-GOI has got a prototype developed for production of low cost sanitary napkins from cotton knitwear waste. The quality attributes of napkins have been found to be at par with major brands of sanitary napkins available in Indian markets. DST- GOI has initiated an All India Coordinated Project to set up pilot scale manufacturing units for field testing of this prototype in different parts of the country. On behest of DST, GOI, the Council is coordinating the project from Punjab in collaboration with Department of Clothing & Textile, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. The Council has setup pilot unit at Ludhiana by involving local women self help group. The members of adopted SHG have been trained by Dr. Bhavana Chanana, Delhi University, who has developed the technology protocol. A two-days hands-on training workshop was organized by the Council at unit site where Dr Chanana trained the SHG members on SOPs for various steps of sanitary napkin production viz. washing of raw material (cotton knitwear waste), hydro extraction, drying of fibre, lap formation, cutting of top & bottom sheets, sealing of napkins etc. as well as cleaning and management of machinery. As the Society for Technology Development, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh one of the above said 8 organizations has already started napkin production, exposure visit of SHG members to this unit at Mandi was also organized. The napkins produced under the project would be marketed under brand name ‘Suvidha’ by all the organizations. The technology protocol has been recently awarded ‘Societal Innovation Award’ by National Research Development Corporation, an undertaking of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research.
Dr. Dapinder.K. Bakshi, Principal Scientific Officer, Email: email@example.com
Dr. Alkesh, Senior Scientific Officer, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3.3 Prevalence of genetic disorders, existing genetic literacy and its augmentation among SC population of Punjab.
Genetic disorders (congenital malformations / birth defects) are the anomalies that result in early infant mortality / varying degrees of disability. About 8 million children worldwide are born every year with serious birth defects. In India too, more than half a million infants having congenital malformations are born every year. The Council is implementing the project ‘Prevalence of genetic disorders, existing genetic literacy and its augmentation among SC population of Punjab’ with the financial support of Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India. The mandate of the project involves assessment of spectrum of congenital malformations & prevailing perceptions regarding their causative factors and possible preventive measures among SC population of district Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab; sensitizing the target population by imparting scientific knowledge on this aspect & assessing the impact thereof. The activities carried out under the project are as below:
· Selection of survey site: As Amloh block of district Fatehgarh Sahib has high SC population (> 50%), the study is being implemented in this block. Based on highest per cent SC population (as per census data, Punjab), 15 villages out of total of 101 villages of this Block were selected for preliminary survey which was conducted to identify villages with highest malformations in collaboration with Genetic Centre, Govt. Medical College & Hospital; Department of Rural Development & Panchayat; Department of Social Securities and Women & Child Development; Anganwari and ASHA workers. Based on data on congenital anomalies, four villages: Kapurgarh, Khumna, Bhagwanpura and Nurpura were selected under the project.
· Survey for assessment of prevalence of genetic disorders & existing genetic literacy level:
Survey of village Kapurgarh has been carried out w.r.t demographic profiling as well as to assess level of awareness among SC women regarding causative and preventive factors and prevailing perceptions about congenital malformations and its correlation with factors viz. inheritance, consanguinity, mother’s age, dietary uptake during pregnancy etc. The survey revealed that village has 67% SC population, of which 62% belongs to sub caste bazigar and 94% is working as labourer to earn their livelihood. The level of literacy was found to be very low in target population i.e. 59% of males & 78% females were illiterate and out of the rest, only 5 & 1% have completed their education up to secondary & above respectively. About 30 cases of congenital malformations were recorded with maximum cases pertaining to shrunken/deformed limb (10), followed by mental retardation (6), deaf/dumb cases (4), neural tube defect, strabismus (eye defect), malnutrition, night blindness, (2 cases each) and still birth & cleft lip (1 case each). Awareness on the possible causes of congenital malformation was found to be completely lacking among the target population as 76% of them attributed them to supernatural power. Only 5%, 3% and 16% attributed malformations to heredity, mother’s age during pregnancy and mother’s food habits respectively. However, 64% population was not aware of the fact that consanguinity can also lead to congenital malformation. The knowledge on prenatal sex determination was substantial among population, however only 6% were found to know the scientific basis regarding contribution of Y chromosomes in fetal sex determination. Only 54% of population recorded awareness that prenatal diagnosis for genetic disorder is possible.
· Awareness generation:
Contact programme for sensitization of aganwari & ASHA workers of Amloh Block on various causes of congenital malformations & their preventive measures was organized in collaboration with medical personnel from GMCH. For effective percolation of knowledge on various aspects of genetic disorders, exhibits in vernacular language have also been developed.
3.4 Promotion of use of medicinal plants as household remedies among rural women of Punjab – a step towards revival of nature based health care practices.
Medicinal plants are major resource base for the traditional medicines and herbal industry. Though Indian system of traditional medicine has always been viewed as an integral part of its culture but the same has lost patronage over the years. Even in rural sector, where primary health care facilities are lacking, efforts are not being made to use readily available medicinal plants for treatment of common ailments. As there is a strong need to revive Indian system of medicine, the Council is implementing project to promote revival of use of medicinal plants as household remedies for treatment of common ailments among rural women of Punjab with support of Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India
Dr. Dapinder.K. Bakshi, Principal Scientific Officer, Email: email@example.com
3.5 Nutrition & Bone Health of women in Punjab – a community study.
Osteoporosis, a skeletal disorder is one of the important health issues for ageing population in the country. The indicator for osteoporosis is Bone Mineral Density (BMD) which is usually achieved maximum by the age of 30 years and thereafter starts declining gradually. Low BMD levels are associated with increased risk of osteoporotic fractures & related complications. Various contributing factors for low bone mass are poor nutrition in terms of calcium & vitamins and lack of physical exercise. The problem is more severe in women especially pregnant & lactating women due to depletion of calcium resources or post menopausal women due to hormonal alteration. Since, systematic data on incidence of osteoporosis is lacking for the state of Punjab and so is the awareness of management of the same among masses, the Council in collaboration with Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar is implementing the project to undertake epidemiological study to obtain baseline data on incidence of osteoporosis among rural Punjabi women as well as to provide nutritional intervention & counselling of women with low BMD levels with support of SEED Division of Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India
4.1 Field Demonstration of Cultivation & Processing of Selected Aromatic Crops in Dhar Block of District Gurdaspur, Punjab
The Council is implementing above said project in Dhar Block of District Gurdaspur, Punjab in collaboration with Kelkar’s Scientific Research Centre (KSRC), Mumbai and linkage institutions: PAU’s Regional Research Station, Gurdaspur and Unati Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society under support of Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. The project involves standardization of agro technologies under local conditions for optimal yield production of five aromatic crops viz. Lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) and Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens); evaluating their performance in 50 acre area in farmers’ fields, organizing training programmes for capacity building of farmers, setting up farm scale distillation units for value addition through extraction of essential oils and arranging marketing tie-ups for its buy-back through Unati and Keva Biotech, the industrial arm of Kelkar group and Unati. The activities carried out under the project are as below:
· Selection & Identification of project Implementation sites:
Field visits & interactions with farmers of 13 villages (Roug, Narainpur, Sukret, Harar, Dung, Hardusaran, Sarti, Dunera, Palah, Jungath, Bhabbar, Dhar kalan and Bhatwan) of Dhar block, Gurdaspur were carried out in coordination with concerned line departments for preliminary scouting for identification of potential sites for setting up of farmers’ clusters under aromatic crops, nursery raising & setting up of distillation unit for extraction of essential oils. Based on farmer’s response, villages: Roug, Bhangoori and Dhar Kalan selected for setting first farmer’ cluster and villages: Jungath, Palah for second farmer cluster
· Setting up of Nurseries & extension of Cultivation at farmers’ field:
As the project involves demonstrating cultivation of three major aromatic grasses viz. Lemongrass, Citronella & Palmarosa in Dhar Block, the quality planting material sourced from KSRC and Unati, Talwara have been used to set up nurseries as well as phase-wise cultivation of these aromatic grasses at farmers fields in about 15 acre area.
· Standardization of agro-technologies for optimal yield production under local agro climatic conditions.
Research trials to fine tune agro-technologies for cultivation of aromatic crops viz lemon grass, citronella & palmarosa under local conditions have been initiated at Regional Research Station of Punjab Agricultural University, Gurdaspur. Further, multiplication of two minor crops i.e. Geranium & Patchouli have also been initiated at RRS using primary & secondary hardened tissue cultured plants raised at KSRC.
· Awareness and training programmes
About 25 programmes including hands-on trainings, farmer contact programmes on nursery raising for palmarosa, lemongrass, citronella and Exposure visits to successful fields for farmers of various villages of Dhar Block organised
Mr. karamjeet Singh, Project Associate, Email:
4.2 Promotion of Cultivation & Value Addition through Post Harvest Processing of Bioresources in Shivalik belt
PSCST, in collaboration with, Unati Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society Ltd., Talwara has taken up a DBT-GOI supported project for promoting cultivation & value addition through post harvest processing of bioresources (medicinal, aromatic & horticultural crops) in Shivalik belt. DBT, GOI provided financial support for the project for 2004-07. Thereafter, strenuous efforts were made to run the project on self-sustainable basis. An agreement was signed with Unati for operationalization of the processing facility set up under the project at Talwara for a period of three years. Based on the success of the project and to ensure its sustenance in the long run, the agreement with Unati has been renewed for a period of ten years.
The facility is presently processing around 474 MT of Emblica officinalis (294 MT wild and 183 MT varietal); 330 MT Momordica charantia, 18 MT Tinospora cordifolia and 15MT of Syzygium cumini and is providing direct employment to 28 women & 12 men and is successfully generating 4000 man days work / annum for harvesting and sorting of natural bio resources for local community. Further, lemongrass cultivation & processing is being promoted under the project. This year, 800 kg lemongrass oil was extracted by the farmers for which marketing was provided through Unati. The value added products being produced at the facility have found inroads not only in various parts of India but in the international markets also.
Hon’ble Chief Minister visited the Bioresource Processing Facility on 27.8.2012. He appreciated the contribution being made by it for sustainable livelihood generation through value addition of local bioresources. He urged District Administration to provide all possible support to facilitate expansion of processing capacity of the facility and demonstration of more such technologies for socio-economic development of the area.
4.3 Workshop on "Challenges & Opportunities for Integrating Science & Technology inputs for Sustainable Development & Livelihood Generation in Shivalik Foothills"
Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India has initiated new programme – SARTHI (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Transformation Holistic Initiative) to promote innovative projects especially for small & marginal farmers all over the country. In 12th Plan, DST is focusing on empowerment of very small & marginal farmers of Shivalik region including the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttrakhand. In view of the problems of kandi area, the Council organized regional level workshop on “Challenges & Opportunities for Integrating Science & Technology inputs for Sustainable Development & Livelihood Generation in Shivalik Foothills” in collaboration with Regional Research Centre, Ballowal Saunkri, PAU (working for kandi area of Punjab) on 10th & 11th April, 2012 under DST’s SARTHI scheme to identify S&T projects for Shivalik area which could be taken up with the support of DST, GOI. About 100 scientists from agricultural universities & research institutions; officers from development departments; NGOs & progressive farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh participated in the workshop. The experts from universities / research institutions and state development departments of agriculture, forestry, soil & water, animal husbandry etc. provided inputs on challenges & strengths of kandi area, integrated natural resource management approaches, technologies for sustainable livelihood generation viz. minor forest produce, animal husbandry, medicinal & aromatic plants, pisciculture, bee-keeping, organic farming etc., opportunities for dry land agriculture, sustainable agro-forestry models, livestock production & management etc. Two brainstorming sessions for project development under chairmanship of Dr. Vinita Sharma, Advisor, DST-GOI were organized. The niche areas requiring S&T interventions identified were: invasive biomass control management & utilization; primary and secondary value addition to forest / farm produce with backward & forward linkages; integrated cluster development including water management, aquaculture, small animal husbandry, fodder, vegetable sed production and other technologies for livelihood generation. As a follow up of this workshop, DST has invited Expression of Interest for holistic empowerment of area which may include adaptive R&D, field testing of available technologies & their transfer for enhanced livelihood opportunities and drudgery reduction. The Council facilitated submission of 10 EOIs from various academic / R&D institutes & voluntary organizations from Punjab.
5.1 Hands-on Training Workshop on Molecular Biology & Cytogenetic Techniques
Biotechnology and other life science disciplines are being offered at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level courses all over the country. However, the major challenge being faced by both teaching faculty and students is the pace of advancement in these disciplines. The faculty involved though well versed with theoretical aspects lacks in-depth and practical knowledge of the subject to retain the interest of students, hence leading to drifting of good talent to other streams. It is thus imperative that the teaching faculty be well equipped to provide a thorough understanding of subject and practical training of laboratory techniques to the students to captivate their interest. Thus, Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India supports organisation of short term training programs for faculty and mid-career bio-scientists. As an endeavour in this direction, Punjab State Council for Science & Technology in collaboration with Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh organized two-weeks training workshop on ‘Molecular Biology & Cytogenetic Techniques’ for faculty of colleges and institutions of Punjab with the support of DBT, GOI. The workshop was so designed to provide hands-on practical training in the core areas of biotechnology viz. molecular biology and cytogenetics. The program comprised 70% laboratory practicals and 30% expert lectures to empower life science faculty to impart better training to the students as well as to instil research culture in their respective institutions by developing and undertaking research projects
The workshop was widely publicised through advertisement in newspaper and sending letters to all the colleges & institutes of Punjab offering life science & medical programmes. Based on the selection criteria prescribed by DBT, GOI, the received applications were screened and 19 participants including faculty of colleges and scientists from universities/institutions were selected. The workshop was inaugurated on 3rd December, 2012 wherein interactive session between participants and course directors viz. Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora, Director (Biotech), PSCST; Dr. Dapinder K. Bakshi, PSO (Biotech), PSCST and Dr. Gurjit Kaur, Consultant Incharge, Genetic Centre, GMCH was held. To enable participants to perform each experiment by themselves, they were divided into two smaller groups with one group performing practicals on molecular biology techniques in the first week and cytogenetic techniques in the second week and vice-versa. The course schedule included training on good laboratory practices viz. laboratory set up, safety measures, reagent preparation, sterilization techniques, collection of samples, disposal of biohazardous waste; the molecular & biochemical techniques viz. DNA isolation, gel electrophoresis, DNA amplification through polymerase chain reaction, molecular typing, DNA sequencing, high performance liquid chromatography ; and the cytogenetic techniques viz. karyotyping, g-banding, fluorescence in-situ hybridization, pedigree analysis, prenatal & newborn screening. Further, over the course of two weeks, the expert lectures on molecular tools in diagnosis of genetic disorders, homeostasis, aging & inborn errors of metabolic disorders, congenital malformations, cell free fetel DNA, stem cell biology, micro RNA, micro array, biosafety & bioethics, intellectual property rights, grant writing (project development) etc. were delivered by resource persons from coordinating institutions as well as other institutes & universities of repute viz. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Maulana Azad Medical College, Sir Gangaram Hospital and Panjab University. One day visit to Central Scientific Instrumentation Centre, PGIMER was also organized for demonstration of various other techniques viz. Real Time PCR, Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) etc.
The workshop ended with valedictory session held on 14th December, 2012 wherein Dr. Neelima Jerath, Executive Director, PSCST and Sh. Rajesh Jogpal Director, Social Welfare, UT were the guests of honours. Dr. Seema Kapoor, Professor, Deptt. of Pediatrics & Coordinator, Deptt. of Genetics, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi delivered key note address on- ‘Journey through Genetics : Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow’. Dr. Raj Bahadur, Director, GMCH released the manual on Molecular Biology & Cytogenetic Techniques developed by Dr. Gurjit Kaur, Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora and Dr. Dapinder K. Bakshi . The manual was provided to participants for use as ready reference material for their future use. Dr. B.S. Chavan, Consultant, Genetic Centre, GMCH presented vote of thanks. Dr. Neelima Jerath awarded participation certificates to the participants and resource persons.
5.2 19th Popular Biotechnology Lecture Series
Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary & rapidly growing knowledge driven sector. The recent developments in this area are making significant impact on our day to day life especially in the areas of health care, agriculture, agro-processing and environment. The education in this field requires in-depth understanding of basic concepts related to life sciences as well as its grass root and advanced applications. Thus, in order to keep students and teachers abreast of the advancements in this field, as well as to enhance their understanding about the underlying basic concepts, Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India supports the organization of ‘Popular Biotechnology Lecture Series’ across the country. PSCST has been organizing this lecture series every year in various colleges/institutions of the state. The focus of 19th Popular Biotechnology Lecture Series organized this year at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara on 8th February, 2013 was ‘Bioremediation’. Three popular biotechnology lectures were delivered by experts viz. lecture on ‘Bioremediation – an Overview’ by Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora, Director (Biotechnology), Punjab State Council for Science & Technology; ‘Role of Biosurfactants in Bioremediation’ by Dr. Swaranjit Singh, Scientist F, Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh and ‘Bioremediation of xenobiotics and heavy metal ions’ by Dr. Neelam Verma, Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Punjabi University, Patiala. The lectures were followed by elaborate question-answer session. The programme was attended by more than 300 students and teachers from various educational institutions. A compilation of these lectures brought out by Dr. Dapinder K. Bakshi and Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora in the form of booklet was distributed to the participants.
5.3 Awareness & trainings on natural vinegar & beverage production from bioresources.
Under the project ‘Scale up, demonstration & promotion of technology for production of natural vinegar and non-alcoholic naturally carbonated (NANC) beverages’ supported by DST, GOI, fourteen awareness programmes (detailed below) were organized in various districts of Punjab to make self help groups, rural & SC women, farmers & cooperative society members aware about potential benefits on natural vinegar & NANC beverages as compared to their synthetic counterparts available in the market. The lectures covering technical know-how and potential of these technologies as an enterprise were delivered. Further, for those participants who showed keen interest in starting enterprise based on these technologies, eight hands-on training workshops were organized, start-up cultures given and handholding provided whenever required. The programmes were organized in collaboration with Punjab Agricultural University and its Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park, Thapar University, PAMETI, Punjab Institute of Cooperative Training, Unati Cooperative Processing and Marketing Society Talwara
Village / District covered
No. of participants
Departments of Extension Education, PAU
Sheikh Daulat, Jagraon
Punjab Agricultural Management & Extension Training Institute
Saholi, Nabha, Patiala
Punjab Institute of Cooperative Training
Distt. Ropar, SAS Nagar & Fatehgarh Sahib
Agriculture Cooperative Staff Training Institute
Distt. Jalandhar, Kapurthala & Hoshiarpur
KVK, Fatehgarh Sahib
Village Balari Kalan, Distt. Fatehgarh Sahib
Khalsa college Amritsar
Kisan Mela Amritsar
25 (SC )
Hands-on training workshops
Departments of Extension Education and Microbiology, PAU
Distt. Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Sangrur
Distt. Patiala & Ludhiana
Distt. Fazilka, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Sangrur
Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park, Thapar University
- do -
Distt. Nabha, Patiala & Ludhiana
Departments of Extension Education and Microbiology, PAU
Distt. Ludhiana, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Jalandhar
5.4 On-Farm Contact Programmes and Demonstrations on Aromatic Crops in Dhar Block, Gurdaspur.
In view of the potential of kandi area for cultivation of medicinal & aromatic plants, the Council organized twelve on-farm contact programmes in villages Roug, Narainpur, Sukret, Harar, Dung, Hardusaran, Sarti, Dunera, Bhangoori, Jungath & Palah of Dhar Block, to promote cultivation of aromatic grasses under Field Demonstration Project for Dhar Block supported by Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. During these programmes, information on potential of cultivation of aromatic grasses viz. lemongrass, palmarosa & citronella as compared conventional crops in the rain fed regions of the area were provided to the farmers. Further, technology demonstrations (hands-on training) for land preparation, use of farm inputs, nursery raising & cultivation of these crops was provided to adopted farmers (10 nos.) under the project. Three exposure visits of adopted farmers to see the success of lemongrass & palmarosa cultivation at farmers’ fields at Talwara & Mumbai and distillation units set up by PSCST & Unati and Kelkar Scientific Research Centre, Mumbai were arranged to give them first- hand experience of cultivation, processing & marketing of aromatic crops. About 220 farmers participated in above said programmes.
Studies on Biofertilizers, Biopesticides and Medicinal & Aromatic Plants for Punjab by Tariff Commission, Govt. of India.
The Tariff Commission functioning under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India is an expert body to make recommendations on tariff and tariff related issues for trade of goods & services in view of India’s larger economic interests and international commitments. The Commission has on its roll experts in the field of science & technology, cost accounting, economics & statistics and undertakes studies on specifically identified issues. The Chairman, Tariff Commission had urged Govt. of Punjab to utilise the expertise of Tariff Commission for carrying out need based studies. Accordingly, the matter was pursued and the Tariff Commission has agreed to take up 3 studies in the areas relevant to the State. These include one study each on ‘Comparative performance of biofertilizers and biopesticides with their chemical counterparts in terms of usage, efficiency and cost effectiveness’. The scope includes data compilation on country status in terms of state-wise usage, identification of states having highest usage & reasons thereof, status & scope of their usage in Punjab, mode of availability to end-users, quality control mechanism in the country in general and state of Punjab in particular. The study would also include comparative assessment of biofertilizers & biopesticides with chemical counterparts in terms of cost economics & environmental cost and would indicate the gap areas & recommendations. The scope of third study ‘Economics of utilization of bioresources (medical & aromatic plants) in the State of Punjab’ includes data compilation on medicinal & aromatic plants (MAPs) being cultivated, area under their cultivation, source of planting material, availability / adoption of appropriate agri-technologies, status of processing of MAPs, cost economics, market potential, quality control mechanism, research & development and other initiatives. Based the detailed concept notes including background, relevance and scope of work for these studies developed by the Council, the studies have been initiated by the Tariff Commission at their own cost and are scheduled for completion during 2012-13
Information resources on leading issues, events and ideas on climate change.
Knowledge base of the current trends and practices on sustainable building design.
Knowledge City is a mega initiative of the State Government Coordinated
Platforms to engage young people and make themaware on environmental issues.
Conservation of Biological Diversity of Punjab by implementing the Biological Diversity Act 2002.
At the forefront of Sustainable Change