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  • Author or Editor: S. Tripathi x
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Abstract  

In the environs of uranium mining, milling and processing facilities and in the uranium mineralized terrain, a little higher ambient radon concentration and gamma radiation level may be expected in comparison with natural background. The present study gives a brief account of atmospheric radon concentration, gamma absorbed dose rate and radiation dose received by the members of public in the vicinity of Narwapahar uranium mine. The ambient radon concentration in the air in the study area was found to vary from 5 to 107 Bq m−3 with geometric mean of 24 Bq m−3 and geometric standard deviation of 1.74 Bq m−3. The measured gamma absorbed dose rate in air at 1 m above the ground ranged from 87 to 220 nGy h−1 with an overall arithmetic mean of 128 ± 18.5 nGy h−1. The mean annual effective dose received by the members of public from inhalation of radon and its progeny and external gamma exposure was estimated to be 0.32 mSv year−1, which is comparable to other reported values elsewhere.

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Research on sugarcane biotechnology began in the 1960s with in vitro culture. Serious efforts to improve sugarcane crops by molecular approaches have commenced only in the past two decades. There is an increasing pressure worldwide to enhance the productivity of sugarcane in order to sustain profitable sugar industries, while there are several diseases attacking sugarcane and reducing the quality of the crop. Biotechnological approaches for sugarcane improvement have been applied in the areas of: (1) cell and tissue culture for rapid propagation genetic transformation and molecular breeding, (2) engineering novel genes into commercial cultivars, (3) molecular diagnostics of sugarcane pathogens, (4) developing genetic maps using molecular marker technology, (5) understanding the molecular basis of sucrose accumulation in the stem, (6) molecular testing of plants for clonal fidelity, (7) variety identification and (8) molecular characterization of various traits. Most of the current research in sugarcane biotechnology is recently focused primarily on transgenic and marker assisted breeding. Advancements have made it possible to sequence the complete genome of increasingly complex organisms and to clone and transfer individual genes to engineer new traits.

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Iron and zinc deficiency affects more than half of the world population due to low inherent micronutrient content of cereals and other staple foods. The micronutrient deficiency is further aggravated by poor availability of these minerals in calcareous soils and their uptake by crop plants. Series of available wheat-Aegilops addition lines were evaluated for identification of alien chromosomes carrying genes for high grain iron and zinc concentrations and release of mugineic acid(s) facilitating micronutrient uptake under their deficient conditions. Addition lines of chromosome 2Sv, 2Uv and 7Uv of Ae. peregrina, 2Sl and 7Sl of Ae. longissima and 2U of Ae. umbellulata were found to carry genes for high grain iron whereas the group 7 chromosomes had genes for higher grain zinc. Higher release of mugineic acid (MA) under iron deficient condition was observed in addition lines of chromosome 2Sv, 2Uv, 4Uv and 7Sv of Ae. peregrina, 2Sl and 6Sl of Ae. longissima and 2U and 5U of Ae. umbellulata. Higher grain and root iron concentration and MA(s) release under iron sufficient condition in the group 2 chromosome addition lines suggests that their high grain iron may be attributed to the higher uptake of the micronutrients through MA(s). These addition lines with two- to threefold high grain iron and zinc concentration could be used for precise introgression of genes into elite wheat cultivars for enhanced uptake of these micronutrients by wheat plants in problematic soils and their biofortification in grains.

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Abstract  

This study presents the high purity germanium (HPGe) gamma spectrometric measurement of natural radioactivity mainly due to 226Ra, 232Th and 40K in soil samples collected in Ferozepur and Faridkot district of Punjab, India. 226Ra activity varied from 28.6 to 51.1 Bq kg−1 with the mean of 39.7 Bq kg−1. The range and mean activity of 232Th were 42.9–73.2 and 58.2 Bq kg−1, respectively. 40K activity was in the range of 470.9–754.9 Bq kg−1 with the mean of 595.2 Bq kg−1. The air kerma rate (AKR) at 1 m height from the ground was also measured using gamma survey meter in all the sampling locations, which was ranging from 92.1 to 122.8 nGy h−1 with the mean of 110.6 nGy h−1. The radiological parameters such as Raeq and activity index of the soil samples were also evaluated, which are the tools to assess the external radiation hazard due to building materials. The mean and range of the Raeq values were 168.7 and 132.9–210.4 Bq kg−1, respectively, whereas the activity index varied from 0.5 to 0.8 with the mean value of 0.62. These indices show that the indoor external dose due to natural radioactivity in the soil used for the construction will not exceed the dose criteria. The AKR was also evaluated from soil activity concentration and altitude correction of cosmic radiation contribution. The statistical tests such as Pearson correlation, spearman rank correlation, box and whisker plot, the Wilcoxon/Mann–Whitney test and chi-square test, were used to compare the measured AKR with evaluated AKR, which indicates good correlation.

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