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  • Author or Editor: A. Mukherjee x
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During an ethnobotanical study undertaken in Ayodhya hills of Purulia district in West Bengal State of India the authors recorded through an intimate contact with the Paharia tribe the indigenous knowledge about non-timber use of 49 species associated with the ambient tropical dry deciduous forest. Paharia is one of the scheduled tribes representing about 0.05% of the total tribal population of the district with their 45 families settled in such villages of Ayodhya hills as Kalabera, Khakri and Ghatbera. The species thus recorded belong to 35 families of which 29 are dicotyledonous, four monocotyledonous and one pteridophyte. A precise account has been prepared of their habits, ethnic names, present status in the study site and use, an analysis of which shows 17 different use categories. The knowledge of the tribe traditionally concerns medicinal use of 37 species, which is noteworthy. It is interesting to find four species linked with their religious and cultural activities. A sustainable use of these plants for economic benevolence of the Paharia community is envisaged to ensure forest protection.

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Samples of a pyritic lead-zinc ore and some benefication products were examined by instrumental activation analysis using Ge(Li) gamma-spectrometry. The following elements were determined using thermal neutron activation: Sc, Cr, Co, Zn, As, Se, Ag, Sb, Ir, Au and Th. The technique is especially favourable for the determination of cobalt, arsenic, antimony and gold, but selenium, silver and thorium can also be determined in most fractions. Activation with epithermal neutrons will improve conditions for the determination of As, Sb, Se, Ag, Au and Th.

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In conformity with the taxonomic study on Caprifoliaceae Juss. in India the present authors could record as many as nine species of Viburnum L. (V. colebrookianum Wallich ex DC., V. cordifolium Wallich ex DC., V. coriaceum Blume, V. cotinifolium D. Don, V. cylindricum Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don, V. erubescens Wallich ex DC., V. foetidum Wall., V. mullaha Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don, V. nervosum D. Don) from the subtropical to temperate elevations of the Eastern Himalayas adhering to India. Artificial key to the identification of the concerned species has been provided along with precise phytography and information about flowering and fruiting periods, distribution and specimens examined.

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This pharmacognostic study deals with the leaf-anatomy of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L., an Indian plant, used in indigenous medicine throughout India from time immemorial. Features like anomocytic stomata, cuticular striations on subsidiary cells, occasional oval or flask shaped epidermal cells, peltate quadripartite glandular trichomes, non-glandular trichomes with smooth or rough surface (spiculate or waxy flaked) and some round bluish bodies appear to be characteristic for the leaves of this species. Fluorescence characteristics of the leaf dust under different chemical treatments using UV and ordinary light have also been recorded for pharmacognostic standardisation.

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Portulaca oleracea L. (Portulacaceae), although an alien, has turned to be a very useful plant in Indian folk medicine. The present work deals with the evaluation of the antifungal activity of this plant. Fungitoxicity of aqueous and organic solvent (e.g. hexane, ethanol and chloroform) extracts were tested against Aspergillus niger, Rhizopus artocarpi and Fusarium sp. by Agar Cup Assay and Filter Disc methods. Hexane and aqueous extracts show antifungal activity against Fusarium sp., while ethanol and chloroform extracts of the same herb inhibit the growth of Rhizopus artocarpi. These findings can have practical application.

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Extraction studies of uranium(VI) by the binary mixture of PC88A and benzimidazole show an antagonistic behavior in the concentration range 10−5–10−6M of PC88A and 0.005M of benzimidazole. Antagonism is observed due to the deprotonation of PC88A by benzimidazole forming an adduct resulting in the virtual removal of PC88A from the system.

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The kinetics of thermal decomposition of ammonium yttrium fluoride intermediates, (NH4)3Y2F9 and NH4Y2F7 were studied by a non-isothermal thermogravimetric (TG) technique at different heating rates. Kinetic parameters were determined from the TG curves by using two model-free methods, i.e. Flynn–Wall–Ozawa (FWO) and Kissinger–Akahira–Sunose (KAS). The activation energy (E) for the decomposition of (NH4)3Y2F9 was dependent on the fraction converted, α; its value was 152 kJ/mol (for α = 0.1–0.3) and 232 kJ/mol (for α = 0.4–0.8) from both models; and the pre-exponential factor (ln(A)) was 43 (for α = 0.1–0.3) and 59 (for α = 0.4–0.8). For the decomposition of NH4Y2F7, the activation energy (E) was independent of the fraction converted, α, and its value was 123 kJ/mol; the pre-exponential factor (ln(A)) was 31. The decomposition of (NH4)3Y2F9 proceeds by one-dimensional diffusion (for α = 0.1–0.3), followed by two-dimensional diffusion (for α = 0.4–0.8). The decomposition of NH4Y2F7 occurs by random nucleation and growth.

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Several human tumors such as neuroendocrine tumors, medullary thyroid carcinoma, etc., express somatostatin receptors which specifically bind somatostatin and its analogues such as lanreotide, octreotide, etc. In order to prepare a therapeutic agent for targeting such tumors, attempts were made to prepare 90Y-DOTA-Lanreotide. Lanreotide could be successfully conjugated with the macrocyclic chelating agent DOTA (1,4,7,10-tetraaza cyclododecane tetracetic acid) which forms stable complexes with 90Y. 90Y-DOTA-Lanreotide could be prepared in >98% radiochemical purity and remained stable for 72 hours at room temperature. The tracer showed specific binding to A431 cells. Biodistribution studies in C57BL6 mice bearing melanoma showed ∼1.3% uptake pergram of tumor at 24-hour p.i.

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The DAVIES and GRAY method for the determination of uranium has been scaled down to facilitate the analysis of the radioactive solutions encountered in the fuel reprocessing plants. The sensitivity of the end point detection is improved by carrying out suitable modification in the procedure. Two procedures are described: (1) 70-ml procedure for the determination of 5–25 mg uranium, and (2) 30-ml procedure for 1–5 mg of uranium. The coefficient of variation is about 0.2% for 2–25 mg of uranium.

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Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a reliable biochemical marker used in screening for prostate carcinoma. Immunoradiometric assays (IRMA) are generally used for the estimation of total/free PSA in serum samples. Radiolabeled antibody, an important reagent of IRMA was prepared and characterized using an in-house anti-PSA monoclonal antibody (Mab), Mab-2S. Mab-2S was radiolabeled with 125I and characterized for immunoreactivity and radiochemical purity. The usability of the radioiodinated Mab as tracer in IRMA was ascertained using authentic reagents for IRMA of PSA.

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