BOOK REVIEW-THE KITE RUNNER BY KHALED HOSSEINI

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

The Kite Runner is a remarkable and compelling novel that has become a cherished, yet another classic. It is a sweeping narrative of family, love, and friendship set against the terrible background of Afghanistan’s history during the previous three decades.

The Kite Runner is a riveting and dramatic narrative of treachery and redemption that left the readers both excited and touched. It depicts the narrative of Amir and Hassan, two best friends who are also specialists in the art of kite flying and are as close as brothers. The two young boys reside in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan and this year they’ll try harder than ever before to win the local kite-fighting championship, a traditional Afghan pastime—which is Amir’s last hope of regaining his father’s affection. But, like the kites fighting in the skies, conflict descends on Afghanistan, turning the nation into a deadly region.

In this work, the kite was utilised as a metaphor. Amir wants to please his father by winning the game, while Hassan demonstrates his naive allegiance by being a kite runner, in the early stages of the storey. Khaled Hosseini’s words are quite solemn, like as Hassan’s dialogue “For you, a thousand times over” when Amir replied “Hassan, come back with the kite.” It expresses Hassan’s earnest commitment to their friendship. Baba is a hero to his son, treating his servant’s son as if he were his own. Amir attempts to amaze him for the most part and becomes exhausted, but Hassan makes it look easy As a result, he despises Hassan for that reason alone. “There is just one sin, only one,” Baba said of lying. That is thievery. Theft is the root of all other sins. When you kill a guy, you take away a life… you take away his wife’s right to a husband, and you take away his children’s right to a father. When you tell a falsehood, you are robbing someone of their right to know the truth. Cheating robs you of your right to justice… there is no more heinous conduct than stealing.” In the second part of the storey, he develops into an irony.

People are frequently compelled to make enormous sacrifices in battle, and the young Amir himself commits a treachery, directed at his best mate Hassan, that will plague him for the rest of his life. When Amir and his father are forced to escape Afghanistan for America, The Kite Runner has become the narrative of Amir’s search for atonement, as he seeks to atone for the wrongs he did as a child in Kabul.

The tale is fast-paced and never dull, and it brings us to a weird, intriguing, yet oddly familiar world, the world of Afghan life. Not only is the storey itself brilliantly constructed, but the book also explores the very art of storytelling. Hosseini’s writing strikes a great balance between being clear and yet powerful, and not only is the story itself brilliantly constructed, but the book also explores the very art of storytelling. Amir becomes a writer himself, and he reflects on his experiences in the tale as if his lifetime were a work of fiction.

The kite runner’s finest feature is its feeling of fate and justice, of virtue triumphing over bad in the end, despite all obstacles. Without giving anything away about the plot, Amir returns to Afghanistan and undertakes a new series of sacrifices in order to put things right. The message underlying the finale might be taken differently by various readers, but it gives a glimmer of hope for the characters’ futures, as well as possibly for war-torn Afghanistan.

Khaled Hosseini writes with a heart that recalls, and remembers well, his motherland. Though most of us think of Afghanistan as war-torn and exhausted, obsessive and confining, even terrifying, Hosseini recalls what it was like before all of that. He provides the Afghan community a face, which has the potential to be quite strong.

He doesn’t offer us a narrator that is pleasant, admirable, or even excusable, but he does give us a narrator who is real, fragile, and suffers as a result of his flaws. There is no atonement for certain sins, just pardon.

BOOK REVIEW – THE BLUE UMBRELLA BY RUSKIN BOND

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

The Blue Umbrella has received widespread acclaim from readers and reviewers alike, and is considered one of Ruskin Bond’s best works. The narrative is brief and straightforward, yet it eloquently hits on a fundamental quality of humanity: compassion. Binya Ruskin instils a spirit of kindness in youngsters via his work. It’s a fantastic book that everyone should read. The author’s writing style is admirable since it is basic yet effective, and his imagination is warm and inviting. This collection of lines captures the enthusiasm of people living in mountainous places, a location dear to the author’s heart as his birthplace.

Binya is a poor little girl who lives in a tiny mountainous village in Garhwal with her mother and older brother, Bijju. She comes upon some city folks enjoying a picnic in the valley one day while herding her two cows back home. She is captivated by their well-groomed appearance and wealth. She aspires to be like them, and amid their numerous possessions, a blue frilly umbrella strikes her eye. She has a strong desire for it. The city folks, on the other hand, are drawn to her naive beauty and the necklace around her neck. The pendant is made of a leopard’s claw, which is generally regarded as a mascot in the hills. Binya exchanges her necklace for a blue umbrella.

The blue umbrella is so lovely that it quickly becomes a topic of talk among the villagers, and the youngsters admire her umbrella so much that they want to touch or hold it at all times. Binya is in seventh heaven and only shuts it once in a while since she thinks it looks so lovely while it’s open.

Ram Bharosa owns a tiny shop without a refrigerator where he sells food, groceries, and soft beverages. He is so enamoured with the umbrella that he decides to acquire it under all circumstances. As a result, he makes Binya an offer to buy the umbrella. She, on the other hand, declines the offer. He is turned off by the refusal. He quickly recruits a youngster from a nearby hamlet to work in his business. Binya is out in the forest gathering porcupine quills when the boy, who is devoted to him, snatches the umbrella from her.

Bijju, ironically, catches the youngster. When the child discloses Ram Bharosa’s involvement in the theft, the locals shun him and refuse to visit his business. As a result, Ram Bharosa suffers a setback, and his livelihood is jeopardised. Binya is saddened by Ram Bharosa’s predicament and feels guilty for his suffering. She then gives Ram Bharosa her umbrella. In exchange, Ram gives her a pendant with a bear’s claw embedded in it, which is thought to be fortunate than a leopard’s.

When it comes to little children, various individuals with varied perspectives account for a sense of belonging when it comes to what is good and what is wrong.

In this narrative, it is a lovely trip of the umbrella, rather a risk worthy umbrella, from one hand to another, encapsulating a confusing attitude to how to cope with its beauty from the perspective of a youngster.

On the list, it is a highly recommended book. Adults may use it to educate themselves that power by empathy, rather than power via arrogance, is the only road to succeed. The author has flamboyantly inflated the setting and people, according to a mild critical viewpoint. Apart from that, everything is very gentle and enticing. The enthusiasm for the umbrella is a metaphor for our desire for small pleasures in life.

BOOK REVIEW- ROOM BY EMMA DONOGHUE

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

The extraordinary novel “Room” by Emma Donoghue is constructed on two extreme constraints: the narrator’s constrained point of view, a 5-year-old child named Jack, and the limits of Jack’s physical environment, an 11-by-11-foot room where he lives with his mother. We begin the book with our feet firmly planted in these constraints. We only know what Jack knows, thus the tension is palpable, as is our perplexity as to why these individuals are at this location. Jack appears to be content in a routine that he finds reassuring, in a location where he can see his mother at any time of the day. For him, she has devised an organised, energetic routine that includes exercises, music, and readings. The room’s primary items are given letters — Rug, Bed, Wall — which is an excellent decision because they are named beings to Jack. In an environment where his mother is his only other company, Bed is as much a buddy as anything else. In this manner, Jack is a super-charged form of a typical youngster, giving infinite pleasure and purpose to everything he does.

Donoghue gracefully directs these constraints. Jack’s voice is one of the novel’s true accomplishments: she has created a kid narrator in him who is one of the most fascinating in recent memory, his voice so ubiquitous that I could hear him chattering away throughout the day when I wasn’t reading it. Jack is lovable simply because he is lovable, as Donoghue reworks language to reflect the delicacy of a child’s learning without making him coy or excessively adorable. Donoghue gives us a glimpse into Jack’s world through dialogue and well placed hints of eavesdropping, without relying on heavy-handed or clumsy narrative. The reader understands together with Jack, and we frequently learn more than he can comprehend, yet the gap between his knowledge and ours is a zone of emotional resilience, as it is in most children’s stories.

Her creativity rises even further when she animates the novel’s physical environment through her protagonists’ rituals: they run around a handmade track; they watch Television, though not much since “it rots our brains”; they tie eggshells together with a needle to form a snake. Toys and books are regarded as valuable as gold. A lollipop is a discovery, and the tale shows early on that Room is truly a jail, with an antagonist having the key, and Ma being held captive.

The meticulous, methodically built structure of the characters’ days takes on a new tone once it is apparent that Ma does not want to be there. Ma becomes a heroic character because she can engage and fascinate a vibrant, intelligent kid despite enduring the sadness of their position.

Jack doesn’t have to change because this is his normal. The space works as a large womb, a real extension of a mother’s body in many respects, a small region of absolute intimacy and care. It’s a child’s paradise for a while, but it’d be his horror if he grew up there.

Overall, Donoghue goes the extra mile with “Room,” bringing her narrative to a dramatic conclusion that seems just right. This is a remarkable work that may be seen through a variety of perspectives: psychological, social, and political. It offers a fresh, comprehensive perspective on the world we live in while presenting an absolutely unique approach to talk about love. Never before has a modern literary classic portrayed a child’s innocence, inventiveness, and perseverance as well as this novel does.

Ma, the main character, has made numerous significant decisions regarding Jack’s upbringing. He’s been raised to think that the sound-proofed shack where he and Ma live, the ‘Room,’ is the sole reality. For example, he believes Ma is the only woman in the world and that he is the only ‘Jack’. This tough choice by Ma enables Jack to have a relatively normal upbringing. Jack is a cheerful, curious youngster like any other because of this decision – he is kept unaware of the tragedy wherein he lives for his own safety. The story then does take a turn and the author handles issues like as schooling, upbringing, and dealing with PTSD symptoms with remarkable humility, leaving the reader with a profound sense of respect and compassion for the protagonists.

We could talk about Room for hours if we wanted to, that’s how essential it is. Room will linger with you long after you put it back on your bookshelves, emotionally compelling, troubled, and with a ray of hope.

ROLE OF INDIA IN QUAD

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

The Quadrilateral Dialogue was established in 2007 when four countries—the United States, India, Japan, and Australia—joined forces. However, it did not take off at first due to a variety of factors, and it was resurrected in 2017 after almost a decade due to factors such as growing country convergence, the expanding importance of the Indo-Pacific area, and rising threat sentiments toward China, among others.

Since then it has evolved into a platform for diplomatic discussion and coordination among participating countries, who meet on a regular basis at the working- and ministerial levels to discuss shared interests like ensuring a rules-based international order.

SIGNIFICANCE FOR INDIA

The Quad, ASEAN, and the Western Indian Ocean are the three groupings in which India participates as a partner in the Indo-Pacific area.

India as a Net Security provider

In the region of Indian Ocean India must be a Net Security Provider. Its supremacy in the IOR must be maintained and sustained if it is to claim this position as a Region. QUAD offers India with a platform to strengthen regional security through collaboration while also emphasising that the Indo-Pacific concept stands for a free, open, and inclusive area.( Inclusive here refers to a geographical notion that encompasses all countries inside it as well as those having a stake outside of it)

Countering China

The Quad offers India with a forum to seek collaboration with like-minded countries on a variety of problems, including maintaining territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as peaceful dispute settlement. It also shows a united front against China’s unceremonious and aggressive actions towards the nation which is especially important now, since ties between India and China have deteriorated as a result of border intrusions along the Tibet-India boundary in many locations. The Chinese policy of encircling India with the String of Pearls poses a direct threat to India’s maritime sovereignty, which must be addressed.

Framing post-COVID-19 international order

QUAD can assist India in not just recovering from the pandemic’s impacts through a series of integrated measures, but also in securing a part in the modern international order. Enhancing such cooperation was one of the first actions made in 2021. The vaccination initiative will serve as a good litmus test for the QUAD administrations’ ability to work together.

Convergence on other issues

On a range of topics, India shares common interests with other Quad members, including connectivity and infrastructure development, security, especially counter-terrorism; cyber and maritime security; multilateral institutions reform, and so on. Assistance from members on these problems might help India achieve its strategic and economic objectives.

Supplementing India’s defence capabilities

Assistance in the sphere of defence among Quad countries, such as joint patrols, strategic information exchange, and so on, can help India overcome its disadvantages in terms of naval capabilities, military reconnaissance, technology, and surveillance systems.

Ensuring a free Indo Pacific

The Indo-Pacific region must be accessible and vibrant, regulated by international norms and bedrock values such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of conflicts, and the nations involved must have the right to make decisions, free of coercion.

Counter-terrorism Table top Exercise for QUAD nations to improve collaboration and common capabilities in dealing with potential terrorist threats, as well as examine CT response systems.

INDIA’S ROLE IN THE INDO-PACIFIC

In the Indo-Pacific, India’s geographic and geopolitical importance provides a counterbalance to China’s rising influence in the Indian Ocean. India’s security concerns, centred primarily on China’s encirclement policy through port facilities in India’s neighbourhood mainly Gwadar and Hambantota and the desire to maintain and protect open and free sea lanes of information exchange against concerns about China’s chokepoint in the South China Sea and increasing maritime presence in the ocean

India’s critical significance in the Indo-Pacific may be seen as a multiple framework. First, unlike the Asia-Pacific architecture, the Indo-Pacific architecture allows New Delhi to move above its long-held standing as a middle-power. This is bolstered by India’s admission to the League of big powers especially the United States and Japan and the development of tight strategic ties with Washington and its regional allies. This promotes India’s great-power ambitions and force projection capability inside the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Second, India’s Act East Policy and Extended Neighbourhood Policy benefit from New Delhi’s strong participation in the Indo-Pacific. New Delhi’s stronger relations with ASEAN members have also bolstered this boost.

Third, the development of India-US strategic relations, particularly in military, works as a significant counterweight to India’s adversaries. Increased engagements between New Delhi and Washington are exemplified by the four foundational contracts signed between the two countries, which include the General Security of Military Information Agreement, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement—all of which promote in-depth partnership Most significantly, the improved partnership boosts India’s military capacity, particularly when it comes to striking targets with precise accuracy.

Fourth, under India-Australia ties, which were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020, India’s strategic position is bolstered yet further. In fact, Canberra and New Delhi inked nine agreements, the most important of which are the Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement, both of which provide a framework for the two nations’ security cooperation.

Fifth, and most significantly, during COVID-19, India demonstrated its ability to be a first responder to a regional disaster by giving medical assistance to its near neighbours, including the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Seychelles. In addition, India sent medical quick response teams to Comoros and Kuwait to help them prepare for the epidemic. In addition, nine Maldivians were evacuated from Wuhan, China, the site of the pandemic.

In addition, India pushed for virtual summits like the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation web conference on March 2020 and the “Extraordinary Digital G20 Leaders’ Summit” to help develop a worldwide reaction to the epidemic on 26 March 2020. In addition, New Delhi established a SAARC Emergency Response Fund for Coronavirus, with India contributing an initial 10 million USD.

In addition, as countries attempt to move manufacturing away from China, India is viewed as one of the world’s new “favoured” investment destinations. The enormous scale of India’s marketplace as well as the low labour costs, make it a desirable destination. Apple, for example, created a production facility in India in partnership with Foxconn, while Samsung, of South Korea, ceased operations in China and moved manufacturing units to India.

There is little dispute about India’s rising position in the Indo-Pacific, not just as a significant participant but also as a responsible actor.  As a result, India’s manoeuvring room in the post-COVID international order is anticipated to expand, as India is seen as one of the major movers in guiding policy and protecting allied interests in the Indo-Pacific. COVID-19 has, in fact, expanded the Quad framework, allowing important parties to play a more active role in addressing critical conventional and unconventional regional issues.

POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION: PRINCIPLE AND APPLICATIONS

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an in-vitro (laboratory) technique used to produce huge amounts of DNA.

•             PCR is a cell-free amplification method that produces billions of identical copies of any DNA of interest. PCR, which was invented by Karry Mullis in 1984, is today regarded as a fundamental technique for molecular methods. It is the most widely used approach for multiplication of target nucleic acids.

•              The method usually combines complementary nucleic acid hybridization and nucleic acid replication principles, which are applied repeatedly over many cycles to amplify a single and original copy of a nucleic acid target, which is often undetectable by standard hybridization methods, and multiply to 107 or more copies in a short amount of time. In result, it gives a large number of targets which may be identified using a variety of ways.

ADVANTAGES:

•             Despite being simple it is a very powerful technique.

 •            It enables for massive amplification of any particular sequence of DNA given that short sequences on each side of it are known.

•             Improves sensitivity and specificity while allowing for speedier diagnosis and recognition.

PRINCIPLE OF PCR:

Double-stranded DNA in question is denatured, resulting in two independent strands and  each strand is allowed to hybridise using a primer (renaturation). The enzyme DNA polymerase is used to synthesise DNA from the primer-template duplex. To create various forms of target DNA, the three processes of denaturation, renaturation, and synthesis are performed numerous times.

ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR PCR:

•             A target DNA which is around 100-35,000 bp in length.

•             Two primers (synthetic oligonucleotides of 17-25 nucleotides length ) that are complementary to regions flanking the target DNA.

•             Four deoxyriobonucleotides  are used(d ATP, d CTP, d GTP, d TTP)

•             MgCl2 (Magnesium Chloride)

•             Nuclease free water

•             Taq DNA polymerase buffer

•             A thermo-stable DNA polymerase is one that can tolerate temperatures up to 95 degrees Celsius.

The target DNA, two primers (in excess), a thermo-stable DNA polymerase (Taq DNA polymerase), and four deoxyribonucleotides are all included in the reaction mixture. It is a method that includes a series of cycles for DNA amplification.

KEY FACTORS OPTIMAL FOR PCR:

•             PRIMERS:

When it comes to determining PCR, these are crucial. Primers with no secondary structure and no complementarity amongst themselves (17-30 nucleotides) are excellent. In PCR, complementary primers can combine to produce a primer dimer, which can be amplified. The replication of target DNA is prevented as a result of this action.

•             DNA POLYMERASE:

Because it can resist high temperatures, Taq DNA polymerase is chosen. After the heat denaturation stage of the first cycle, DNA polymerase is introduced in the hot start procedure. This prevents the misaligned primers from extending, which is common at low temperatures.

Verification or proof reading of exonuclease (3′-5′) activity is absent in Taq polymerase, which might lead to mistakes in PCR products. Tma DNA polymerase from Thermotogamaritama and Pfu DNA polymerase from Pyrococcusfuriosus are examples of thermostable DNA polymerases with proof reading activity.

•             TARGET DNA:

In general, the smaller the target DNA sequence, the greater the PCR efficiency. A mplification of DNA fragments up to 10 kb has been documented in recent years. In PCR, the sequence of the target DNA is also crucial. As a result, CC-rich strand sections obstruct PCR.

•             PROMOTERS AND INHIBITORS:

 Addition of Bovine serum albumin (BSA) improve PCR by shielding DNA polymerase, humic acids which are commonly present in ancient samples of target DNA, hinder PCR.

EACH CYCLE HAS THREE STAGES:

1.            DENATURATION:

The DNA is denatured and the two strands split when the temperature is raised to around 95 degree celsius for about one minute.

2.            RENATURATION OR ANNEALING:

The primers base pair with the complementary regions flanking target DNA strands as the temperature of the mixture is gradually lowered to around 55 degree celsius.  Annealing seems to be the term for this procedure. Due to the high concentration of primer, annealing occurs between each DNA strand and the primer rather than between the two strands.

3.            EXTENSION OR SYNTHESIS:

The 3′-hydroxyl end of each primer is where DNA synthesis begins. By connecting the nucleotides that are complementary to DNA strands, the primers are expanded. The PCR synthesis process is quite similar to the leading strand DNA replication process.  The optimal temperature for Taq DNA polymerase is about 75 degree celsius. (For E.Coli DNA Polymerase is used). By increasing the temperature, the process can be halted (about 95 degree celsius).

Each cycle lasts around 3-5 minutes and in most cases, it is performed on computerised equipment. The corresponding sequence of the second primer lies beyond the new DNA strand linked to each primer. Long templates allude to these additional strands, which will be utilised in the second cycle.

The strands are denatured, annealed with primers, and exposed to DNA synthesis in the second cycle of PCR. Long and short templates are produced at the end of the second round.

The original DNA strands, as well as the short and long templates, are the starting materials for the third cycle of PCR. For each cycle, the procedures are used again and again. About a million-fold target DNA is produced by the conclusion of the 32nd cycle of PCR, according to estimates. As double-stranded molecules build, the small templates containing precisely the target DNA increase.

TYPES OF PCR:

1.            Real-time PCR

2.            Quantitative real time PCR (Q-RT PCR)

3.            Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR)

4.            Multiplex PCR

5.            Nested PCR

6.            Long-range PCR

7.            Single-cell PCR

8.            Fast-cycling PCR

9.            Methylation-specific PCR (MSP)

10.          Hot start PCR

11.          High-fidelity PCR

12.          In situ PCR

13.          Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR) PCR

14.          Asymmetric PCR

15.          Repetitive sequence-based PCR

16.          Overlap extension PCR

17.          Assemble PCR

18.          Intersequence-specific PCR(ISSR)

19.          Ligation-mediated PCR

20.          Methylation –specifin PCR

21.          Miniprimer PCR

22.          Solid phase PCR

23.          Touch down PCR, etc

APPLICATIONS OF PCR:

1.            PCR IN CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS:

PCR’s specificity and sensitivity make it ideal for diagnosing a variety of human illnesses. RFLP is not involved in the development of many genetic diseases (restriction fragment length poly-morphism). For all of these problems, PCR is a godsend since it delivers straight DNA information it is accomplished by amplifying DNA from the appropriate area and then analysing the PCR results directly.

o             PRENATAL DIAGNOSIS OF INHERITED DISEASES:

It is used to diagnose hereditary disorders in the womb utilising chorionic villus samples or amniocentesis cells various c onditions such as sickle cell anaemia, p-thalassemia, and phenylketonuria can thus be identified in these specimens using PCR.

o             DIAGNOSIS OF RETROVIRAL INFECTIONS:

                PCR from cDNA is a useful technique for detecting and maintaining retroviral infections, such as HIV.

o             DIAGNOSIS OF BACTERIAL INFECTIONS:

o             PCR is used for the detection of bacterial infections such as tuberculosis which is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

o             DIAGNOSIS OF CANCERS:

PCR can identify some virally-induced malignancies, such as cervical cancer caused by the human papillomavirus it can also identify malignancies caused by chromosomal translocations (chromosome 14 and 18 in follicular lymphoma) containing known genes.

o             PCR IN SEX DETERMINATION OF EMBROYS:

The sex of human and animal eggs fertilised in vitro may be identified using PCR using sex chromosome-specific primers and DNA probes. This method can also be used to identify sex-related abnormalities in fertilised eggs.

2.            PCR IN DNA SEQUENCING:

 The process is useful for sequencing since it is considerably easier and faster to amplify DNA. Single strands of DNA are required for this function. Asymmetric PCR involves preferred amplification of a single strand. Strand removal can also be accomplished by digesting one strand.

3.            PCR IN FORENSIC MEDICINE:

For amplification, a single molecule from any source (blood strains, hair, semen, etc.) of a person is sufficient. As a result, PCR is critical for crime detection.

4.            PCR IN COMPARISON WITH GENE CLONING:

In comparison to traditional gene cloning procedures, PCR offers a variety of benefits. Improved efficiency, small amounts of beginning material (DNA), cost-effectiveness, low technical expertise, and the time frame are only a few of them. In the long run, PCR may be able to replace most gene cloning applications.

5.            PCR IN GENE MANIPULATION AND EXPRESSION STUDIES:

The benefit of PCR is that the primers do not need to be complementary to the target DNA. As a result, it may alter and amplify the nucleotide sequence in a portion of the gene (target DNA). The coding sequence of a protein of interest can be changed using this approach. Gene manipulations are also crucial for studying the impact of factors on gene expression.

The study of mRNAs, which are the results of gene expression, requires the use of PCR. Reverse transcription-PCR is used to accomplish this.

6.            PCR IN COMPARITIVE STUDIES OF GENOMES:

PCR using random primers can be used to assess the differences in the genomes of two species. Electrophoresis is used for separation of products for their comparative identification and it is predicted that two genomes from closely related species will produce more comparable bands.

The study of evolutionary biology, more especially phylogenetic biology, relies heavily on PCR. It has transformed palaeontology and archaeological research since it can amplify even minute amounts of DNA from any source (hair, mummified tissues, bone, or any fossilised material).

PENICILLIN PRODUCTION

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

Penicillin, which is now an essential element of our antibacterial arsenal had a huge influence on the twentieth century’s second half. Deep-fermentation techniques, which were established largely for the synthesis of Penicillin during WWII, paved the way for the creation of medications and aided the emergence of the young biotechnology sector in the 1970s. In the presence of blood, pus, and bodily fluids, it is effective against some gram-positive bacteria. It is soluble in water, acetone, ethyl alcohol, and ether, but less so in benzene, chloroform, and other organic solvents.

 It is a secondary metabolite, like other antimicrobials, and is only generated in the stationary phase. The industrial manufacturing may be divided into two processes: upstream and downstream.

When the development of the fungus is hindered by stress, it produces certain species of Penicillium. Penicillin production is likewise restricted by feedback in the synthesis process.

α-ketoglutarate + AcCoA → homocitrate → L-α-aminoadipic acid → L-lysine + β-lactam

Because the by-product L-lysine hinders homocitrate synthesis, exogenous lysine should be avoided in its manufacture.

The cells are cultivated using a process known as fed-batch culture, in which the cells are continually exposed to strain, which is necessary for inducing its synthesis. It’s also crucial to consider the carbon sources available: glucose inhibits its synthesis, but lactose does not. The pH of the phases, as well as the amounts of nitrogen, lysine, phosphate, and oxygen, must all be monitored closely.

THE FERMENTATION PROCESS

INOCULUM: The source of inoculum is master stock (spores). They are cultivated working samples are immersed in water and mixed with wheat bran and nutrition solution in a flask. A four-day-old shaking flask culture is inoculated into a seed tank for three days.

THE MEDIUM: In 1958, Jackson created a medium for the manufacture of penicillin. Fermentable carbohydrate (corn steep liquor (3.5%), organic nitrogen source, lactose (3.5%), glucose (1%), potassium di-hydrogen phosphate (0.4%), calcium carbonate (as a buffer) (1%),  phenyl acetic acid precursor, edible oil (0.25%), pH near 6.

As temperature is very important aspect during its production it should be around 280 degree Celsius and the supply of oxygen in the bioreactor acts as a limiting factor in its production the aeration speed should be between 3.0-1.5.

Fermentation is the method through which Penicillin is commercially produced. It’s a fed-batch technique performed in aseptic conditions in stainless steel tank reactors with capacities ranging from 30 to 100 thousand gallons. The fermentation process consists of two to three seed development phases, followed by a fermentation production phase that lasts 120 to 200 hours. For this procedure, a variety of carbon sources have been used. During the active Penicillin synthesis phase, sugar is also utilised to regulate the pH value.

During fermentation, mini-harvest techniques are commonly used. They entail removing 20-40 percent of the overall of the fermenter’s contents and replacing it with new sterile medium. This method can be done multiple times during the process without lowering the overall Penicillin yield per fermenter; in fact, it can increase it.

Penicillin is discharged into the fermentation medium and collected at the end. With a 2-5 percent increase in total extraction efficiency, whole broth extraction is best conducted at an acidic pH. Amyl, butyl, or isobutyl acetate is used to extract cooled acidified broth from a solvent.

These fermentations are extremely mechanised and computerised in today’s world. For optimum antibiotic synthesis, all essential precursors, such as ammonia, sugar, carbon dioxide, and oxygen, are carefully monitored, along with temperature and pH. During the active manufacturing phase, the pH should be between 6.4-6.8.

PURSUIT FOR A BETTER YIELD

Penicillin was first produced using the fungus Penicillium notatum toward the conclusion of World War II, yielding one milligramme per cubic decimeter. Today’s yield is 50 grammes per cubic decimeter, thanks to the use of a new species (Penicillium chrysogenum) and better extraction techniques.

These yields can be increased further by improving the medium’s composition, isolating the above- mentioned Penicillium chrysogenum, which grows better in large deep fermentation tanks, and developing a submerged culture technique for mould cultivation in large volumes of liquid medium through which sterile air is forced.

Its manufacturing has remained mostly reliant on traditional strain improvement. The most important occurrences in high-yielding Penicillium chrysogenum strains are the expansion of the Penicillin biosynthetic gene cluster between tandem repeats. There have also been created molecular methods that are not based on increasing biosynthetic gene dosages.

 THE EARLY PRODUCTION OF PENICILLIN

The consortium of British and American experts came together to enhance manufacturing processes and their initial objective was to find the strains of Penicillium chrysogenum that generated the most penicillin. They quickly discovered that a Penicillium chrysogenum strain acquired from a mouldy cantaloupe at a Peoria local farmers market produced greater amounts of Penicillin than those recently tested. Scientists utilised x-rays and ultraviolet light to produce even more mutants from the farmer’s market strain.

Following those experiments, it was discovered that growing Penicillium in immersed culture media rather than on a plate surface enhanced growing efficiency, and that changing the nutrient base from sucrose to lactose or corn-steep liquor (a nutrient-rich by-product of corn processing) also increased yield. 

MODERN PRODUCTION METHODS

Major advances in contemporary manufacturing processes have improved output while lowering costs. Nowadays, commercial generating strains of Penicillium chrysogenum are produced utilising submerged culture in 50,000-gallon stainless steel tanks that are continually agitated and aerated. With a 90 percent recovery rate, these commercial strains can now produce 40-50 gram of Penicillin per litre of culture. This is a huge leap forward over the first Peoria farmer’s market strain, which only produced 0.15 grams per litre and had extremely low recovery rates.

Amplification of the biosynthesis gene cluster, an increasing amount of peroxisomes, and increased levels of transporter proteins that secrete newly production out of the peroxisomes and the cell are among the genetic and cellular modifications that result in increased production in modern Penicillium strains.

Penicillin related antibiotics now generate more than $15 billion in annual sales worldwide. Despite the fact that costs are at an all-time minimum, these sales figures exist. Penicillin currently costs $10 per kilogramme, compared to $300 in 1953. Though Europe is the world’s largest manufacturer of beta-lactam antibiotics, newer production facilities are moving to China and other Asian countries with reduced labour and energy prices.

BOOK REVIEW- THE BOOK THEIF BY MARCUS ZUSAK

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

It’s the year 1939 Germany during the Nazi era. The country is gasping for air. Death has never been busier, and it will continue to be so.

Marcus Zusak’s gripping debut novel tells the storey of Liesel, who sees her younger brother’s death while travelling through Germany on a locomotive. Liesel clutches a volume she finds concealed in the snow while standing at her brother’s grave, regardless of the fact that she has yet to learn to read. When Liesel is placed with a foster family on Himmel Street, she quickly settles into a happy but impoverished life. The risks, however, are raised tremendously when news of the inevitable war and Hitler’s impact on Germany and the Jewish race reaches Liesel and her foster family, posing a significant threat to the family because they take on a Jewish soldier and hide them in their home as an act of honour for an old friend. Soon, Liesel, her family, and her friends on Himmel Street are pushed into the adversities that only war can bring, experiencing devastation and misery but ultimately making memories that will help them survive Nazi Germany’s challenges.

The importance of the plot was one of the reasons why this work was able to accomplish all of the aforementioned goals. I discovered that allowing readers to explore Liesel’s romance through words provides a significant reprieve from the war-focused storey, giving us glimpses of the carnage while deflecting skillfully with other crucial plot points, such as the relationships between the children on Himmel Street, Liesel’s tense relationship with her foster mother, or Liesel’s infatuation with stories and words. Zusak achieves a nice medium in between dark, tortured horror thriller and the study of youth and Liesel’s coming-of-age storyline by doing so. Thereby, Zusack guarantees that ‘The Book Thief’ transcends a single genre, offering readers who enjoy a variety of reading styles a sample of a novel from every perspective.

I was taken aback when I first opened this book and saw that Liesel was not the narrator. I wasn’t sure how attached I would feel to the protagonist’s rise and fall in Nazi Germany without hearing it directly from her. I realized how important it was having Death as the narrator which only enhanced my love for the work tenfold. Death provided a genuine insight into the impact of war on society, giving readers a look into the tragedies that may rip men, women, and children apart. One of the hallmarks of a great novel is how it makes the reader think about a particular topic, and I can confidently say that not only did Zusak give an opinion on the insufficient disparity between social classes and demographics, but he also managed to give voice to something that–in our lives–will never be given a chance to speak, much like the oppressed people who were suppressed during Adolf Hitler’s reign.

This book was quite eye-opening for me. It is among the first novels about the war that I have read that is written from the perspective of someone who lives in Germany. It makes you realise that so many people in Germany suffered as a result of the war, and that they weren’t all as bad as they are frequently depicted.   The grief surrounding Liesel’s narrative sneaks up on you until you realise how common it was and continues to be for so many others.

Overall, I found this to be one of the most pleasant and powerful novels I have ever read. All authors aim to strike all of the correct notes in their novels, but it’s uncommon for an author to nail every single stride on the first try. The narrative gives the storey an unusual viewpoint. Death says a lot of things that are intellectual and even beautiful.

In some respects, The Book Thief leaves you with a feeling of guilt when you think about it. Because it is British bombs that fall on Germany, and it is British bombs that murder so many people in the narrative, leaving the reader’s cheeks wet in tears.

KALA AZAR (visceral leishmaniasis)

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

INTRODUCTION

After moving to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, a parasite causes illness. If not treated, it nearly invariably leads to death.

People get this condition by sandfly bites, which contracted the parasite after consuming the blood of a parasite-infected person. There are more than 20 distinct Leishmania parasites that cause the illness around the globe, and 90 different sandfly species that carry the infection.

However, in India, there is just one parasitic species, Leishmania donovani, and only one sandfly species, Phlebotomus argentipes, that spreads the illness.

Visceral leishmaniasis, commonly known as kala-azar, is marked by recurrent bouts of fever, significant weight loss, spleen and liver enlargement, and anaemia (which may be serious).

In underdeveloped nations, if the illness is not treated, the mortality rate can reach 100% in as little as two years.

SYMPTOMS

When people develop visceral leishmaniasis, the most typical symptoms are

 FEVER

 ENLARGEMENT OF SPLEEN AND LIVER

Misdiagnosis is critical, because kala-azar has a near-100 percent death rate if not treated properly. It does not always leave its hosts unmarked, even after restoration. A secondary form of the illness called post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis, or PKDL, may develop after effective treatment—usually a few months after kala-azar, but as long as many years with the Indian strain. This illness begins with tiny, measles-like skin lesions on the face that grow in size and spread throughout the body.

In individuals who have recovered from the illness , it is characterised by a hypopigmented macular, maculopapular, and nodular rash and  generally emerges 6 months to a year or more after the disease appears to be cured, although it can happen sooner or even simultaneously.

It is thought to have a crucial role in the disease’s maintenance and transmission, notably by functioning as a parasite reservoir. The lesions may eventually consolidate into disfiguring, bloated formations that resemble leprosy, causing blindness in certain cases if they extend to the eyes.

The visceral type of Leishmania is caused by two different species of Leishmania. L. donovani is the species found in East Africa and the Indian subcontinent, whereas L. infantum, also known as L. chagasi, is found in Europe, North Africa, and Latin America.

LIFE CYCLE

 Life cycle is completed in two hosts: humans and sandflies. The adult female sandfly feeds at night and is a bloodsucker. When a Leishmania-infected person is bitten by a fly, the parasite is consumed along with the blood.

The protozoan is an amastigote, which is spherical, non-motile, and just 3–7 micrometres in diameter. The amastigotes inside the sandfly’s stomach soon change into the promastigotes, which are elongated and motile forms. It is spindle-shaped and thrice the size of the amastigote, and has a single flagellum that allows it to move. They live extra cellularly in the alimentary canal reproducing asexually and migrating to the proximal end of the gut where they become ready for a transmission.

The promastigotes are introduced after being released locally at the biting site as the fly bites. Promastigotes infect macrophages once inside the human host. They revert to their tiny amastigote form inside the cells.

In macrophage cells, amastigotes reproduce. They tear down their host cell by sheer mass pressure after repeated replication, although there is also new hypothesis that they are able to exit the cell via activating the macrophage’s exocytosis response.

The protozoans in the daughter cells then move to new hosts in fresh cells or through the circulation. The infection progresses and affects the spleen and liver in particular. Sandflies eat the liberated amastigotes in peripheral tissues, which starts a new phase.

TREATMENT

The traditional treatment is with

  • Sodium stibogluconate 
  • Meglumine antimoniate

Resilience is increasingly prevalent in India, with resistance rates as high as 60% in some regions of Bihar. Amphotericin B in its many liposomal formulations is now the treatment of choice for visceral leishmaniasis acquired in India. The first oral therapy for this illness was miltefosine. Miltefosine had a cure rate of 95% in Phase III clinical studies.

The medicine is typically well tolerated compared to other medications. Gastrointestinal disruption on the first or second day of therapy (a 28-day course of treatment) is the most common adverse effect, but it has no influence on effectiveness. Miltefosine is a medication of choice since it is accessible as an oral formulation, which eliminates the cost and inconvenience of hospitalisation and allows for outpatient delivery of the drug.

The drawbacks include that after a decade of usage, there is evidence of decreased effectiveness. It is teratogenic and should not be used by women who are planning to have children. Sodium stibogluconate (Pentostam) and meglumine antimoniate have been used to treat kala-azar (Glucantime). Only injections can be used to deliver these medications. They are poisonous, have several adverse effects, and are administered over a 30-day period.

BLASTOMYCOSIS

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

INTRODUCTION

The fungus Blastomyces causes blastomycosis and the fungus can be found in nature, especially in damp soil and decomposing organic materials like wood and leaves. It is found mostly in the midwestern, south-central, and southern regions of the United States, notably in locations near the Ohio and Mississippi River basins, the Great Lakes, and the Saint Lawrence River. The fungus can also be found in Canada, and there have been a few instances of blastomycosis documented in Africa and India.

People can get blastomycosis by inhaling tiny fungus spores in the air, which frequently occurs after engaging in activities that disrupt the soil. Although the majority of individuals who inhale the spores do not become ill, some will have symptoms such as fever and cough. The infection can be serious in certain people, such as those with weaker immune systems, especially if it spreads from the lungs to other organs.

SYMPTOMS

Blastomycosis is characterised by a high fever.

About half of those infected with the fungus Blastomyces will have symptoms. Blastomycosis symptoms are frequently comparable to those of other lung infections, and include the following:

•             Fever

•             Cough

•             Night sweats

•             Muscle aches or joint pain

•             Weight loss

•             Chest pain

•             Fatigue (extreme tiredness)

Blastomycosis symptoms generally develop 3 weeks to 3 months after a person inhales the fungus spores.

Severe blastomycosis

Blastomycosis can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, including the skin, bones and joints, and the central nervous system, in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems (the brain and spinal cord).

WHO IS AT RISK

Anyone who has been in an area where Blastomyces is present in the environment can acquire blastomycosis. People who engage in outdoor activities in these locations that expose them to forested areas (such as forestry labour, hunting, and camping) may be more susceptible. People with compromised immune systems are more prone than those who are otherwise healthy to acquire severe blastomycosis.

PREVENTION

There is no vaccination to prevent blastomycosis, and it may not be feasible to avoid being exposed to the fungus that causes the disease in regions where it is prevalent. People with weaker immune systems should avoid activities in these areas that require disturbing the soil.

LIFE CYCLE

Blastomyces is a mould that generates fungal spores that thrives in the environment. The spores are too tiny to see with naked eyes. People and animals who inhale the spores are at danger of contracting blastomycosis. The body temperature permits the spores to convert into yeast when they enter the lungs. The yeast can remain in the lungs or spread to other areas of the body via the circulation, including the skin, bones and joints, organs, and the central nervous system.

DIAGONOSIS

Blastomycosis is diagnosed using your medical and travel history, symptoms, physical examinations, and laboratory testing. A doctor will most likely test for blastomycosis by sending a sample of blood or urine to a laboratory.

Imaging studies, such as chest X-Rays or CT scans of your lungs may be performed by your healthcare practitioner. They may also take a sample of fluid from your lungs or perform a tissue biopsy, which involves taking a tiny sample of damaged tissue from your body and examining it under a microscope. Laboratories may also examine it may grow in bodily fluids or tissues (this is called a culture).

TREATMENT

The majority of patients with blastomycosis will require antifungal therapy. Itraconazole is an antifungal drug that is commonly used to treat blastomycosis in mild to moderate cases. For severe blastomycosis in the lungs or infections that have spread to other areas of the body, amphotericin B is generally used. Treatment might last anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the severity of the illness and the person’s immunological condition.

SPOILAGE OF VEGETABLES

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

INTRODUCTION

Vegetables are an important element of the diet since they include a variety of essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, roughage, and so on. Microbial deterioration causes around 20% of vegetables produced for human use to be wasted.

Spoilage is defined as any alteration in food that renders it unfit for human consumption.

REASONS FOR SPOILAGE

Vegetables, because of their high nutritional content, can promote the growth of moulds, yeasts, and bacteria, and thus can be ruined by any or all of these microorganisms. The presence of more water in vegetables encourages the growth of spoilage bacteria, and the low carbohydrate and fat content implies that much of this water is in useful form. Furthermore, vegetables’ tissues have a higher pH than fruits, making them more sensitive to bacterial invitation.

Vegetables’ relatively have strong oxidation-reduction potential and lack of significant poising capacity which indicates that aerobic and facultative anaerobic types are more essential than anaerobes.

In terms of frozen vegetable products, the total numbers of bacteria on frozen vegetables tend to be lower than on non- frozen products. This occurs primarily due to:

  • Blanching of products prior to freezing them.
  • Selection of higher quality products for freezing.
  • Some bacteria dying in the frozen state.

HOW DO MICROBES INVADE VEGETABLES?

Vegetables being a part of fresh produce contain high moisture which makes them highly perishable and hence more prone to spoilage.

Microbes gain entry into vegetables from various sources. These include:

  1. Soil
  2. Water
  3. Diseased plant
  4. Harvesting and processing equipments
  5. Handlers
  6. Packaging and packing material
  7. Contact with spoiled vegetables
  8. Freshly picked vegetables contain a natural surface flora, which includes pectinolytic bacteria in low quantities. The plant’s intact healthy tissue may also include a small number of live bacteria. The interplay between physiological changes in the tissues after harvest and changes in microbial activity will determine the start and pace of deterioration. The act of harvesting causes physiological stress, mostly due to water loss and wilting, and damaged surfaces may release nutrients for microbial development. This stress may also allow the endophytic flora to flourish, which would otherwise be dormant.
  9. The softening of tissue caused by bacteria’ pectinolytic activity is the most common type of deterioration. Pectin, a key component of the intermediate lamella between the cells, is involved in the microorganisms’ breakdown process.

BACTERIAL AGENTS

  1. Pectinolytic species of the Gram-negative genera-
  2. Pectinobacterium
  3. Pseudomonas
  4. Xanthomonas

These microbes are considered important in the spoilage of potatoes, under some circumstances.

  • Non- sporing Gram-positive organism Corynebacterium sepedonicum causes a ring rot of potatoes.

The bacteria most commonly associated with the soft rotting of carrots are Pectobaterium spp. Such as:

  • P.carotovorum subsp. carotovorum
  • P.carotovorum subsp. odoriferum

FUNGAL AGENTS

Spoilage conditions in vegetables are usually initiated pre-harvest and sometimes post-harvest.

Botrytis cinerea causes grey mould rot in a variety of vegetables such as:

  • Asparagus
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Celery

In this disease, the casual fungus grows on decayed areas in the form of prominent grey mould. Rhizopus soft rot, caused by the fungi Rhizopus stolonifer is responsible for turning vegetables soft and mushy. Among those affected are beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Blue mould rot is a post-harvest disease of apples and pears, caused by Penicillum enpansum.

CONSEQUENCES OF SPOILAGE

Vegetables are not usually a cause of public health concern but transmission of enteric pathogens such as:

  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • VTEC

Direct contamination from farmworkers and animal excrement, the use of manure or sewage sludge as fertiliser, or the use of polluted irrigation water are all possibilities.

  1. Celery, watercress, lettuce, cabbage and beansprouts have all been associated with Salmonella infections, including typhoid and paratyphoid fevers. Moreover, an outbreak of Shigellosis gas has been traced to commercial shredded lettuce.
  2. Not all pathogens are necessarily transmitted to vegetables by direct or indirect fecal contamination. Organisms such as Clostridium botulinum have a natural reservoir in the soil and any products contaminated with soil can be assumed to be contaminated with soil can be assumed to be contaminated with spores possibly in very low numbers.
  3. Psychrotrophic species Listeria monocytogenes caused an outbreak of listeriosis in USA (1979) and can easily grow on shredded cabbage and salad vegetables at temperatures as low as 50C and modified- atmospheres have no effect on this organism.

FACTORS AFFECTING MICROBIAL GROWTH IN FOOD PRODUCTS

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

Introduction

Factors Affecting Microbial Growth in Food:

(a). Intrinsic Factor

These are factors that exist as part of the food product itself. For example, fish have certain characteristics that may promote the growth of microorganism. The common intrinsic factors that affect the growth and multiplication of microorganisms in foods are: pH, water activity, oxidation reduction potential, nutrient content, antimicrobial contents, biological structure.

(b). Extrinsic Factor

This are factors in the environment external to the food, which affect both the microorganisms and the food itself during processing and storage. Extrinsic factors include temperature, humidity and gases.

Extrinsic Factor

Temperature

• The growth of microorganisms is affected by the environmental temperatures.

• Various microorganisms are able to grow at certain temperatures and not others.

• Bacteria can therefore be divided into the following groups depending upon their optimum temperature of growth includes: Psychrophilic, Mesophilic, Thermophilic bacteria.

1. Psychrophilic Bacteria

These are microorganisms that grow at low temperatures (0-20°C), 15°C optimum. Example; Bacillus Pschrophilus etc. psychrophiles are the major course of refrigerated food spoilage.

2. Mesophilic Bacteria

They grow best at room temperature. They have optima around 20- 45°C and often have a temperature minimum of 15 to 20°C and a maximum of about 45°C. Most human pathogens fall under this group because of the normal 37°C body temperature.

3. Thermophilic Bacteria

They grow at high temperatures (Between 55°C and 85°C), optima between 55°C and 66°C. Hyperthermophiles are those organisms that usually have optima between 85°C and about 113°C. Temperature is of paramount importance in food safety because if the growth temperature ranges for dangerous microorganisms are known, it helps in employing appropriate production temperature and time for foods that require heating. It also aids in selecting the proper temperature for food storage to make them less able to grow and reproduce.

Gases

Some microorganisms require oxygen in order to grow and multiply. Such organisms are called aerobic microorganisms. An example is Escherichia coli; On the other hand, there are some microorganisms that grow without oxygen, called anaerobic microorganisms. For example Clostridium botulinum, this bacterium causes botulism in very low oxygen environments as is in canned foods. Obligate aerobe: are those that completely depends on atmospheric oxygen for growth e.g. protists and fungi.

Organisms can be classified based on oxygen requirements as follows;

Facultative anaerobe: are those that do not require oxygen for growth but grows better in its presence e.g. Escherichia, Enterococcus.

Aerotolerant anaerobe: grow equally well in the presence of oxygen e.g. Streptococcus pyogenes.

Obligate anaerobe: does not tolerate oxygen and dies in its presence e.g. Clostridium, Bacteroides

Obligate aerobe: grow only in the presence of oxygen.

Microaerophile: requires oxygen level between 2 10% for growth and is damage by atmospheric oxygen levels (20%) e.g. Campylobacter, Spirillum volutans.

Humidity

An important factor for the growth of microorganisms at the food surfaces is the humidity of the storage environment. Dry conditions are devoid of water for microbial activities referred to as water activity and thus better for food storage than moist conditions. Foods stored in a dry atmosphere, therefore, have a longer shelf life than foods stored in a humid environment. For example, dry grains stored in an environment with high humidity will take up water and undergo mould spoilage.

HERPES SIMPLEX- CAUSES, DIAGNOSIS, SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT

BY- DAKSHITA NAITHANI

INTRODUCTION AND CAUSATIVE AGENT

Herpes is a generic word for a group of viral diseases that cause painful, fluid-filled sores or blisters in and around the mouth or genital area. Also known as herpes simplex, it is of two types:

Genital herpes is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD) characterised by genital blisters and ulcers. Herpes simplex virus type 2 infection is the most common cause of genital herpes (HSV-2). According to the CDC, one out of every six persons aged 14 – 49 faces this condition.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is more commonly associated with oral herpes, can also cause genital herpes.

Oral herpes causes tiny cold sores and fever blisters in the mouth, lips, and gums. HSV-1 is the most common cause of oral herpes, however HSV-2 may also be to blame in rare situations.

SYMPTOMS

It’s crucial to remember that an infection might exist even if there are no apparent symptoms. They might potentially spread the infection to others. Blistering sores (in the mouth or on the genitals), discomfort while urinating and itching are some of the symptoms linked with this virus.

Symptoms that are comparable to the flu may also occur. Fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headaches, exhaustion, and a loss of appetite are some of the symptoms. Herpes keratitis is a disease caused by HSV spreading to the eyes. Symptoms include eye discomfort, drainage, and a gritty sensation in the eyes.

DIAGNOSIS

Doctors can diagnose a herpes infection by examining at the skin and/or swabbing the sores for evidence if signs of HSV type 1 or 2 are present. A blood test can assist establish whether or not you have an infection if you don’t have any visible symptoms.

Viral culture: This test entails obtaining a tissue sample or scraping the lesions for analysis.

PCR test: Even if there are no symptoms, a PCR test can determine if someone has genital herpes. In a sample collected from fluids from the urinary system, the PCR test looks for fragments of the virus’s DNA. This is an extremely accurate and widely used test.

Cell culture: During the checkup, the doctor might collect a sample of cells from a sore and examine them under a microscope for HSV.

If the lesions have started to heal or have been infected recently, a cell culture or PCR test may produce a false-negative result.

Blood test: To diagnose a previous herpes infection, this test examines a sample of blood for the presence of antibodies.

Antibodies against a herpes virus are detected in type-specific herpes blood tests, which also determine if the antibodies are against HSV-1 or HSV-2. Type-specific testing is unable to pinpoint the exact location of the infection in the body. Antibodies to any kind of herpes are detected in general herpes blood tests, but they do not indicate for which type the antibodies are present for.

After being infected, it generally takes two weeks for symptoms to develop. If you do not have any lesions that can be tested, it’s a good idea to wait at least a month or two after a possible exposure before obtaining a test. This is due to the fact that the body takes time to produce antibodies that may be detected in the blood, without these antibodies a false-negative test may occur.

TREATMENT

Prescription antiviral medicines may: Aid in the healing of sores following a first outbreak In repeated outbreaks, reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. Recurrence frequency is also reduced. It also reduces the risk of spreading the herpes virus to others.

Antiviral medications used for genital herpes include:

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

GREY ROT- BOTRYTIS CINEREA

BY- DAKSHITA NAITHANI

ABSTRACT

Botrytis cinerea is responsible for significant losses in more than two hundred crop species throughout the world. This fungus is very harmful to grapes. In most cases, it causes bunch rot, also known as grey rot. It also provides favourable circumstances for the growth of other organisms which support spoilage. 

It is most damaging on dicotyledonous hosts’ mature tissues, but it generally obtains access to such tissues much earlier in the plant development and remains latent for a long period of time before destroying tissues when the environment is favourable and the physiology of the host changes.

As a result, significant harm occurs after harvesting seemingly healthy crops and transporting them to distant markets, where the losses become apparent. On the other hand, it causes large losses in several field and greenhouse-grown crops prior to harvest, and in some hosts, even at the seedling stage.

 INTRODUCTION

Botrytis blight, is a disease which infects a variety of herbaceous annual and perennial plants. Blights can be caused by a number of different fungal species. Infections thrive in cold, wet spring and summer weather, with temperatures hovering around 15°C. It’s especially dangerous when the wet, dreary weather lasts for several days. It is capable of infecting a wide range of ornamental plants. Two more harmful blights have specific host preferences: B. paeoniae infects peonies, and B. tulipae infects tulips, producing tulip fire. Over thirty species of the genus have been discovered so far. Most of them have only been found to infect a few hosts, with others exclusively infecting certain hosts.

NOBLE ROT

Blights aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In viticulture, for example, when ripe grapes get diseased, the skin becomes more porous, allowing more water to escape from the crop. Noble rot enhances the sugar level of the wine and results in a more flavourful wine. To manufacture some of the greatest wine, the grapes are literally hand-picked one by one to ensure that only those grapes afflicted with the parasitic mould are chosen. Horticulturists may find it beneficial in various circumstances. Moulds are unquestionably beneficial in nature. It is also responsible for the effective tidying up of all the leaves that fall from the trees in October. As a result, the cycle of life can begin again. While noble rot may be quite beneficial in terms of concentrating sugars in the winemaker’s grapes, it all depends on the grape type.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

 Grey mould’s most prevalent symptoms are grey-brown lesions, as the name implies. Lesions are found on various parts of the plant. Small spherical specks, known as ‘pocks,’ appear initially on flowers. These may develop into bigger ones. Symptoms on various sections of potted plants are sometimes only evident during and after storage in cold. Grey mould is a component of the foot rot complex in lettuce, which causes rotting of the foot and plant mortality.  These lesions can surround the stem, causing the plant to wilt and die. Grey mould wreaks havoc on produce. Carry-over infection from infected parent plants kills cuttings in potted plants. It can attack at any point throughout the growth of a plant. Early Botrytis Detection-While various plants will exhibit somewhat different symptoms, water-soaked patches on the leaves are one of the first indicators present. These might be off-white or white in appearance. These patches will eventually become brown. They’ll ultimately wilt the leaf because they’ll cover the majority of it.

LATER BOTRYTIS PROGRESSION

When leaves begin to brown, it’s easy to confuse the rot with other fungal infections. However, when the humidity level rises, spore patches that are greyish and rough in nature will develop. Botrytis cinerea is at its most hazardous at this point, as it can now easily distribute spores. Even a small wind, a spray of water or even trimming damaged leaves can spread spores to neighbouring plants. These spores are easily dispersed, and they may appear as a dust on severely diseased plant material. Sclerotia, or black resting formations, are formed by some species and can be seen on dead plant tissues in late summer. 

Fruit will decay while hanging long , and your blooms will turn grey. The plant will eventually wilt and perish, succumbing to the mould. Even after harvesting, the plants are susceptible to it. If the crop is stored in a place with suitable conditions, the spores can germinate and turn it into a watery mush, thus destroying it.

CONTROL METHODS

DURING CULTIVATION

It’s critical to remove any infected plant components as soon as possible. The contaminated pieces should be transferred in a plastic bag as soon as possible. If the entire plant needs to be removed, follow these steps: To begin, place a bag over the plant, next pull the entire plant, including the roots, out of the ground.

Remove both of them from the place after that. Wash your hands and change your clothes before returning to the same area the infected plant or portions of the plant should never be allowed to come into proximity with other plants, since even the tiniest contact will release clouds of grey spores into the air. The spores will then settle on healthy plants, infecting them. To keep the humidity surrounding the leaves and flowers at a lower level, good ventilation is required. When rain is predicted, it is best to cover outside crops with a plastic shelter such as a poly-tunnel.

 BIOLOGICAL CONTROL

Several microbes have been shown to be effective in preventing grey rot in a range of crops.  Because of its capacity to inhibit the development of spores, Clonostachys rosea is utilised to combat and prevent its assaults. It is not the only species that fights; various species of nematode have also been employed to effectively reduce grey mould.

 A few trains of Trichoderma harzianum have an antagonistic effect on the development of several  crops, and the genus Bacillus have been identified as being capable of producing compounds that inhibit its progress, which can be used to prevent damping off in infected flowers and fruits.

FUNGICIDES BASED ON NATURAL EXTRACTS

Plant extract treatments are sold particularly to prevent infection and development. Extracts of citrus seed, thyme, mint, garlic, and pepper, to mention a few, have shown satisfactory effects. The components may vary, but many of them work by blocking mycelium growth.

BIOTECHNOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS

In the lab, scientists have succeeded in creating transgenic plants that are unaffected by the introduction of a resistance gene. A kind of inhibitory protein is encoded by this resistance gene. Plants are more resistant to fungal assault when they are inhibited.

WHAT TO DO WHEN PREVENTION FAILS

One of the most challenging aspects is that it has a proclivity for adapting to various fungicidal treatments. It has the ability to build resistance to frequently utilised techniques. One will also need to change their treatment techniques from time to time to make it more difficult for the fungus to acquire that immunity. A smart approach to accomplish this is to alternate your treatments between organic and microbiological techniques. Foliar sprays can protect your plants and stop development before it starts. Adding soil microbial treatments adds additional safeguards to the soil, which are beneficial.

 ORGANIC TREATMENTS

If the plant is sprayed with Neem oil on a regular basis, it can help to prevent fungal development. It can also help to keep pests at bay. Liquid copper fungicides have been shown to help reduce spore infection in plants. To safeguard your plants, use this fungicide every seven to ten days from the start of blooming till harvest.

Potassium bicarbonate works well as well. Green Cure Fungicide is one type that is widely used in organic farming. Usually combined with water, this powdered solution may be sprayed on a daily basis to minimise fungal development. 

BACTERIAL TREATMENTS

Alternately employ a Bacillus subtilis-based solution to stop fungal disease growing resistant to other organic fungicides. This helps in preventing various types of fungal growth.

Foliar spraying – Infuse the soil with beneficial microbes to keep the soil and plants well-defended. It helps avoid infections, but they will also make it easier for the plant’s roots to absorb nutrients.

IS IT DANGEROUS TO HUMANS-

While the majority of people are unaffected, it can induce an allergic response. This is a kind of hypersensitive pneumonitis also known as “winegrower’s lung.” It is seldom fatal, but is quite painful and needs medical attention. They can cause lung inflammation if inhaled in large amounts.

While it can be caused by a number of factors such as different moulds it is best to avoid this by removing any mould before it spreads all over.

CONCLUSION

Botrytis cinerea is a grey fungal mould that costs billions in crop losses each year across the world. It’s also the most frequent microbe responsible for fruit and vegetable post-harvest deterioration, especially towards the conclusion of the blooming phase, and mostly in outdoor crops exposed to rain and humidity. In most cases, it’s a horrible situation. It wreaks havoc on many kinds of fruit crops, including strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and various others. It can, however, be extremely beneficial to a limited number of people. Late season grapes have shown that this mould causes their grapes’ sugars to concentrate. This gives the finished wine a considerably more strong flavour, as well as honeysuckle-like flavour notes. The availability of the sequence has sparked the generation of high functional analysis to unravel the processes behind this species’ wide range.

COMMON INGREDIENTS USED IN VACCINES

 BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are a critical component of our anti-infectious disease strategy. In addition to pathogen-specific immunogens, vaccines often contain variety of  preservatives,additives or adjuvants. The preservatives  helps in preventing microbial growth,The Adjuvents such as aluminium salts help in enhancing antigen-specific immune responses and additives such as gelatin helps in stabilizing live viruses. It may also contain byproducts of substances used during its production.

The amount in which these ingredients are used is considered safe and each of them serves a specific intent but,some ingredients are considered harmful if present in high amount. Also ,these ingredients helps in certifying its effectiveness.

INTRODUCTION

Many of the components of vaccine are present in the human body. Many vaccine, for example, contain salts derived from sodium and potassium , which are vital for health. Although most people think it is an artificial chemical and found in minute amounts in the blood naturally.

These components are existing in trace levels, and no indication has been observed that these concentrations can lead to any damage. The limited percentage of individuals who seem to be hypersensitive to these components, even if it is existent only in low concentrations, is an exception . If you observe some vaccine components closely on the internet, you may notice that they are potentially hazardous, however maximum of them are often present in vaccines in quantities that are perfectly safe for human bodies. Even salt , which is required for regular biological function, is toxic in excess quantities.

INGREDIENTS IN VACCINE

As ,Each component of vaccine aids a specific purpose so the vaccine ingredients are used during production, help in providing resistance against a particular disease as well as keeping it safe and long lasting .

Antigens

Antigens are the constituents derived through structure of infection-causing organisms, which are regarded as ‘foreign’ by the body’s defenses and stimulates a defensive immune response to the vaccine.

 In vaccines they are considered as active ingredients because they cause the body’s immune system to respond and develop defensive antibodies specific to that antigen. Antigens are either destroyed, weakened or artificially manufactured versions of the disease-causing organism or parts of the organism.

Individuals with weakened immune systems should not get live vaccinations because they may acquire the disease that the vaccine is designed to prevent.

Thimerosal

Thimerosal is a mercury-containing chemical compound. It is often used in the preservation of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs. It also protects against life-threatening contamination driven on by dangerous bacteria.It is used as a preservative in multi-dose vials of flu vaccinations, and it is also utilised in the production process of two related children vaccines.

When separate doses are taken from the multi-dose vial, the preservative thimerosal prevents contamination. Thimerosal is added to vials which contains multiple doses  to prevent pathogens like bacteria and fungus from multiplying. When a syringe needle is inserted into a vial while preparing a vaccine for delivery, microbes and fungus can be introduced.

 Contamination of a vaccine by microorganism may result in severe inflammatory response, acute illness, or death. these preservatives  are added to some vaccines during the production process to inhibit microbial development.The kind of mercury present in certain types of fish is methylmercury. it  can be harmful to humans at high amounts of exposure.it also includes ethylmercury, which is eliminated from the human body faster than methylmercury and so has a lesser risk of damage.

Aluminum salts

Even though we intake aluminum-containing foods and beverages on a daily basis, only a small quantity of aluminium enters the bloodstream during digestion; the remainder is excreted in the form of faeces. The kidneys processes and eliminates the majority of the aluminium in our bloodstream through urine.

In general, the use of aluminium adjuvants in vaccinations results in the requirement for less antigen or, in the case of certain vaccines, fewer doses.The use of aluminium salts in vaccines has a long and successful track of safety. Local responses and, less often, the formation of subcutaneous nodules at the injection site have been linked to aluminum-containing vaccine in some studies. This is especially true if the injection is administered too near  the skin’s surface.

An evaluation of all known trials of tetanus, pertussis and diptheria vaccine containing aluminium salts found no evidence that aluminium salts in vaccines cause major or long-term adverse effects.

Sugars and Gelatin

Gelatin is derived from pigs and works as a stabiliser to protect living viruses from the effects of temperature. There have been a few reports of adverse response to vaccine containing gelatine in about one case out of every 20 lakh doses of vaccine.

Stabilisers inhibit chemical reactions in the vaccine as well as component separation or adhesion to the immunisation vial during transit and storage. Sugars like sucrose, amino acids like glycine, and amino acid salts, as well as partly hydrolyzed proteins, are all examples of stabilisers.

Egg protein

Frequently, vaccine producers utilise chicken eggs to develop an inactivated or live-attenuated vaccine, resulting in tiny quantities of egg protein in the vaccine.These vaccinations are refined after manufacturing to eliminate the culture components.

Even yet, certain remants of the culture may be left behind. People with severe allergies may be at danger as a result of this. In addition to most flu vaccines, egg protein can be found in the yellow fever vaccine. Even after taking the appropriate precautions, the danger of acquiring the flu or yellow fever nearly always overcomes the risk of obtaining the appropriate vaccinations in persons with severe allergies.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring substance already present in the human body as a part of normal metabolism(Approx. 42.52 grams ) and is used by scientists for killing live microbes in inactivated vaccines . Its concentration in large amounts of can be extremely toxic. Formaldehyde breaks down into its basic elements quickly both in the environment or once consumed by the human body thus preventing its accumulation.Also, its amount present in vaccines is a small portion of per day value found in humans.It is used to detoxify or deactivate the live microbe or toxin used in some vaccines and most of It is removed during the process of purification. It is required for the synthesis of DNA.

CONCLUSION

Vaccine safety and efficacy are under research. Safety testing is done as soon as a new vaccine is under consideration, continues until it is approved, and is then monitored permanently after approval. Some vaccine contain preservatives to protect them against  contamination by bacteria or fungi. The need for preservatives in vaccines emerged from a number of events in the early twentieth century in which patients acquired serious and most often lethal bacterial infections after receiving shots from multidose vials. In  vaccines, each component has a distinct function. These components has undergone thorough research and proven to be safe for people. Safety testing occurs as soon as a new vaccines are under consideration, continues until it is approved, and is then monitored permanently after approval.