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  • Author or Editor: M. R. Khan x
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The present paper evaluates the results of field experiments conducted during two consecutive growth seasons (2008–2009) to assess the environmental impact of cement dust pollution on foliar physiology (pigments), growth performance and yield of three commonly cultivated vegetable crops, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), radish (Raphanus sativus) and knol-khol (Brassica oleracea var. gongyloides) in Kashmir Himalayan valley, India. Two experimental sites (S1, S2) were selected in the vicinity of the cement factory at Khrew, Pulwama (Kashmir) at a distance of 0.5 km (S1) and 2 km (S2) and compared with a dust free control site (S3) located at about 6 km from the factory in a crosswind direction. The data revealed that cement dust had an adverse effect on morphological and biochemical characteristics of the crops. Differential level of crop sensitivity to cement dust was markedly evident. Knol-khol (Brassica oleracea var. gongyloides) reflected a higher degree of tolerance to particulate emissions as compared to tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) and radish (Raphanus sativus). Photosynthetic pigment analysis showed adverse impact on chlorophyll-a, while chlorophyll-b marginally decreased in the leaves of tomato plants at S1; the effect being non-significant for the other test crops. Carotenoids also exhibited a remarkable reduction due to cement dust impact. The yield of tomato recorded severe losses (12.28–23.95%) as compared to radish (7.46–21.4%), while the effect was non-significant in knol-khol. Other growth and yield related attributes also followed a similar trend; tomato and radish showing remarkable effects in response to cement dust and knol-khol showed the least effect. The soil characteristics indicated significant reduction in available P. Except available N, other variables (pH, conductivity, available K, exchangeable Ca and Mg) recorded higher values in the polluted soils as compared to control. The need for installation of appropriate devices in cement manufacturing factories to combat the emission of dust in ambient environment together with environmental monitoring of agro-ecosystems is stressed.

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Authors: M. Khan, R. Sharma and J. Srivastava

Abstract  

A complete characterization is given for the unit group U(FS 4) of the group algebra FS 4 of the symmetric group S 4 of degree 4 over a finite field F.

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Abstract  

A simple X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometric method for the determination of Cd, Hf, Hg, and Gd in uranium solution has been developed, where sample solutions were introduced to the XRF spectrometer directly in simple polyethylene bottles. The matrix effects have been rectified using standards of similar composition. Statistical evaluation has established it as a fast and reliable method applicable to trace analysis.

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Abstract  

The complexation of uranyl ion with acetate ions was investigated in 20% ethanolic solution by using cyclic voltammetry. The uranium formed 1:1 and 1:2 complexes with acetate ions. The values of log β1 and log β2 for uranyl acetate complexes were 2.05 ± 0.08 and 5.25 ± 0.06 respectively. The diffusion coefficient and heterogeneous rate constants for the reduction of uranyl ion at hanging mercury drop electrode in 20% ethanolic solution of acetate ions were 0.43 × 10−5 cm2 s−1 and 2.26 × 10−3 cm s−1, respectively. Thermodynamic parameters were also evaluated by finding the effect of temperature on the heterogeneous rate constants. The values of ΔH *, ΔS * and

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were 2.52 kJ mol−1, −43.8 J mol−1 K−1 and 15.57 kJ mol−1. The positive values of ΔH * and
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indicated that electrochemical reduction of uranyl ions in ethanolic solution of acetate ions is an endothermic and non-spontaneous process.

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The objective of this project was to develop understanding about the possibility of improving salt tolerance in pearl millet using selection and breeding methods. A collection of 143 pearl millet accessions was obtained from nineteen countries in different regions of the world, mostly from dry hot environments, e.g. Yemen, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Niger. Considerable genetic variability was found in these accessions for salt tolerance. Based upon a preliminary examination of the responses to NaCl solution in a selection of accessions, it was decided that 160 mM NaCl would be the reference parameter for assessing tolerance. The six most salt-tolerant accessions were 10876 and 10878 from Sudan, 18406 and 18570 from Namibia, and ICMV-93753 and ICMV-94474 from India, all of which had relative root lengths of above 70%. Accessions 213011 and 21351 were very sensitive, their relative root length being below 30%. Unfortunately, the areas from which the tolerant accessions from Sudan, Namibia and India originated are not known, but it is possible that they may have inhabited dry, saline lands.

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The investigation was concerned with the effects of water stress on the yield and yield components of wheat grown under rainfed conditions in Rawalakot, Pakistan. A pot experiment was conducted with four wheat genotypes, Inqlab-91, Chakwal-97, Rawal-87 and Kohsar-95, tested against five irrigation levels with drought imposed at different growth stages including control, terminal drought, post-anthesis drought, three irrigations and pre-anthesis drought. The parameters studied were flag leaf area, ear stalk length, number of grains per spike and grain yield per pot. Flag leaf area and ear stalk length exhibited a significant reduction of 14 and 36%, respectively, when wheat was subjected to water stress. The proportional reduction in yield was 40% with three irrigations and 98% in the case of pre-anthesis drought depending upon the extent and degree of stress. Results showed that wheat could withstand and tolerate drought only up to anthesis, after which water stress resulted in the complete failure of the crop. It could be deduced that the critical stage for moisture in wheat started 60 days after germination, and became more severe at 90 days, i.e. at the anthesis stage. Among the genotypes, Inqlab-91 was found to be more tolerant of drought and could thus be a good option for further testing and recommendation for rainfed areas.

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Effects of ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) were studied on lentil plants inoculated with Alternaria alternata, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lentis, Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. phaseoli, Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and Meloidogyne incognita. Plant growth, chlorophyll, carotenoid contents, nitrate reductase (NR) activity and nodulation of lentil both in the presence and absence of Rhizobium sp. were examined in a pot test. Inoculation of plants with A. alternata / F. oxysporum f. sp. lentis / X. axonopodis pv. phaseoli / P. syringae pv. syringae or M. incognita caused a significant reduction in plant growth, number of pods per plant, chlorophyll, carotenoids and NR activity over uninoculated control. Inoculation of plants with Rhizobium sp. with or without pathogen increased plant growth and number of pods per plant, chlorophyll, carotenoids and NR activity. When plants were grown without Rhizobium, a foliar spray of plants with 10 ml solution of 0.1 mg ml–1of ZnO NPs per plant caused a significant increase in plant growth and number of pods, chlorophyll, carotenoid contents and NR activity in both inoculated and uninoculated plants. Spray of ZnO NPs to plants inoculated with Rhizobium sp. caused non significant increase in plant growth, number of pods per plant, chlorophyll, carotenoid contents and NR activity when plants were either uninoculated or inoculated with pathogens. Numbers of nodules per root system were high in plants treated with Rhizobium sp. but foliar spray of ZnO NPs had adverse effect on nodulation. Inoculation of plants with test pathogens also reduced nodulation. Spray of ZnO NPs to plants reduced galling, nematode multiplication, wilt, blight and leaf spot disease severity indices.

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The allelic variation for Glu-1, Glu-3 loci and presence of IBL-1RS translocation was determined in 126 spring wheat accessions. The most common alleles at Glu-1 loci were Glu-A1b (59.52%), Glu-B1c (41.26%), and Glu-D1d (57.14%) and at Glu-3 loci were Glu-A3c (56.45%), Glu-B3j (29.36%), and Glu-D3b (76.98%). Modern Pakistani wheat varieties carried superior alleles at Glu-1 and Glu-3 loci for bread-making quality and had no negative influence of secalin protein-synthesized by 1BL-1RS translocation. For LMW-GS, the most common combination was Glu-A3c, Glu-B3j and Glu-D3b. The loci Glu-B1 and Glu-B3 had the highest allelic diversity of Glu-1 and Glu-3 loci, respectively.

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The study was designed to explore the antioxidative effect of pomegranate seed oil (PSO) at different concentrations (5 and 7%) against oxidation of plant-based oils (canola oil and sunflower oil) during storage (60 days) as compared to artificial antioxidant butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA, 200 ppm). Rancimat and Schaal oven analysis were employed for the assessment of potential consequences of PSO against oxidation in plant based oils. The variation in total phenolic contents (TPC), antioxidant activity, peroxide value (POV), and tocopherol contents during storage were evaluated by Schaal oven test at 62 °C. The substantially (P≤0.05) higher induction period (IP) values were observed for PSO blended oil samples as compared to blank oil samples. The addition of PSO in plant-based oils improved the oxidative stability by enhancing the antioxidant potential and TPC, decreasing POV, and slowing down the degradation of tocopherol contents during storage. The findings of the present study suggest that PSO might be used as an alternative potential antioxidant to synthetic antioxidants.

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Maize, a moderately salt sensitive crop, first experiences osmotic stress that cause reduction in plant growth under salt stress. Fluctuation in cell wall elongation is one of the reasons of this reduction. Along with others, two important proteins expansins and xyloglucan endotransglucosylase are involved in regulation of cell wall elasticity, but the role of epigenetic mechanisms in regulating the cell wall related genes is still elusive. The present study was conducted with the aim of understanding the role of DNA methylation in regulating ZmEXPB2 and ZmXET1 genes. One salt sensitive and one salt tolerant maize cultivar was grown under hydroponic conditions at different levels of salt stress: T1 = 1 mM (control), T2 = 100 mM and T3 = 200 mM in three replicates. DNA and RNA were extracted from roots. After bisulfite treatment, Methyl Sensitive PCR was used for the DNA methylation analysis. It was revealed that fragment in promoter of ZmEXPB2 gene showed high level of DNA methylation under T1 in both varieties. Comparison of different stress treatments revealed decrease in DNA methylation with the increase in salt stress, significantly lower methylation appearing in T3. Similarly, the fragment in promoter of ZmXET1 gene also showed high levels of DNA methylation in T1. When different treatments were analysed, this gene significantly hypomethylated at T2 which continued to decrease in T3 in sensitive variety but remain stable in tolerant variety. Although, further in-depth analysis is required, our results demonstrate region-specific and genotype-specific methylation shift in the promoter of the ZmEXPB2 and ZmXET1 genes when subjected to the salt stress confirming the epigenetic regulation of these genes under stress conditions.

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