Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 20

Search results for: K. K. Pant

20 Storage Study of Bael (Aegle marmelos Correa.) Fruit and Pulp of Cv. Pant Sujata

Authors: B. R. Jana, Madhumita Singh

Abstract:

Storage study of bael fruit and pulp were conducted at ICAR-RCER, Research Centre Ranchi to find out suitable storage life to extent the availability of the fruit and produce the value added product in form of fruit. The cultivar under storage is Pant Sujata. CFB box packing resulted in minimum 21 % PLW during 2010-11 during its 28-35 days storage under ambient temperature. CFB box and Gunny bag retains maximum total sugar (17.3-17.4 °B) after 28 days storage. Bael pulp of cultivar Pant Sujata can be stored up to 2 months at 4 °C with good quality condition. Treatments were highly significant in the characters such as T.S.S., acidity, reducing sugar and total sugar. Storage conditions and treatments interaction were insignificant in all characters except acidity. The maximum T.S.S. of 21.87 °B has been found in sample treated with 800 ppm benzoic acid when kept for two months at 4 °C temperature. This treatment also resulted in retaining the maximum reducing sugar (8.09 %) and total sugar content (9.52 %) at same storage condition than other treatments. From the present experiments, it is concluded that CFB box packing and pulp storage with 800 ppm benzoic acid at 4 °C are important to extent the availability of bael for two months.

Keywords: Storage, Fruits, Pulp, bael, benzoic acid

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19 Efficacy of Bio-Control Agents against Colletotrichum falcatum Causing Red Rot Disease of Sugarcane

Authors: Geeta Sharma, Suma Chandra

Abstract:

Sugarcane is one of the major commercial crop playing roles in agriculture and industrial economy of India. Globally sugarcane is affected by approximately 240 diseases caused by various plant pathogenic organisms. Among them, red rot disease caused by the fungus Colletotrichum falcatum, is one of the most important diseases. In the present investigation, one fungal bioagent of Trichoderma harzianum, Pant Bioagent 1 and one bacterial bioagent Pseudomonas fluorescence, Pant Bioagent 2 (PBAT 1 and PBAT 2, respectively) were tested by dual culture method against the pathogen under laboratory conditions. The effectiveness of biocontrol agents was observed against four isolates of C. falcatum. In the case of PBAT1 maximum percent inhibition of pathogen was recorded in isolated Cf 0238 (61.05%), followed by Cf 09 (60.62%) whereas, minimum percent inhibition was recorded in Cf 3220 (48.55%) and in case of PBAT2 maximum mycelial growth inhibition percent was recorded in Cf 767 (50.50%) followed by Cf 088230(48.83%), whereas minimum percent inhibition was recorded in Cf 08 (40.16%) followed by Cf 0238 (41.83%). The present study showed that these biocontrol agents have the potential of controlling the pathogen and can further be used for the management of red rot disease in field.

Keywords: sugarcane, biocontrol agents, Colletotrichum falcatum, isolates

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18 Variability Parameters for Growth and Yield Characters in Fenugreek, Trigonella spp. Genotypes

Authors: Anita Singh, Richa Naula, Manoj Raghav

Abstract:

India is a leading producer and consumer of fenugreek for its culinary uses and medicinal application. In India, most of the people are of vegetarian class. In such a situation, a leafy vegetable, such as fenugreek is of chief concern due to its high nutritional property, medicinal values and industrial uses. One of the most important factors restricting their large scale production and development of superior varieties is that very scanty knowledge about their genetic diversity, inter and intraspecific variability and genetic relationship among the species. Improvement of the crop depends upon the magnitude of genetic variability for economic characters. Therefore, the present research work was carried out to analyse the variability parameters for growth and yield character in twenty-eight fenugreek genotypes along with two standard checks Pant Ragini and Pusa Early Bunching. The experiment was laid out in Randomized Block Design with three replication during rabi season 2015-2016 at Pantnagar Centre for Plant Genetic Resources, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. The analysis of variance revealed highly significant differences among all the genotypes for all traits. High genotypic and phenotypic coefficient variation were observed for characters, namely the number of primary branches per plant, number of leaves at 30, 45 and 60 DAS, green leaf yield per plant, green leaf yield q/ha . The genetic advance recorded highest in green leaf yield q/ha (33.93) followed by green leaf yield per plant (21.20g). Highest percent of heritability were shown by 1000 seed weight (99.12%) followed by the number of primary branches per plant (97.18%). Green leaf yield q/ha showed high heritability and high genetic advance. These superior genotypes can be further used in crop improvement programs of fenugreek.

Keywords: Heritability, genetic advance, genotypic coefficient variation, phenotypic coefficient variation

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17 MEMS based Vibration Energy Harvesting: An overview

Authors: Gaurav Prabhudesai, Shaurya Kaushal, Pulkit Dubey, B. D. Pant

Abstract:

The current race of miniaturization of circuits, systems, modules and networks has resulted in portable and mobile wireless systems having tremendous capabilities with small volume and weight. The power drivers or the power pack, electrically driving these modules have also reduced in proportion. Normally, the power packs in these mobile or fixed systems are batteries, rechargeable or non-rechargeable, which need regular replacement or recharging. Another approach to power these modules is to utilize the ambient energy available for electrical driving to make the system self-sustained. The current paper presents an overview of the different MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) based techniques used for the harvesting of vibration energy to electrically drive a WSN (wireless sensor network) or a mobile module. This kind of system would have enormous applications, the most significant one, may be in cell phones.

Keywords: Energy harvesting, MEMS, piezoelectrics, WSN

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16 Eco-Friendly Preservative Treated Bamboo Culm: Compressive Strength Analysis

Authors: Santosh Satya, Perminder JitKaur, K. K. Pant, S. N. Naik

Abstract:

Bamboo is extensively used in construction industry. Low durability of bamboo due to fungus infestation and termites attack under storage puts certain constrains for it usage as modern structural material. Looking at many chemical formulations for bamboo treatment leading to severe harmful environment effects, research on eco-friendly preservatives for bamboo treatment has been initiated world-over. In the present studies, eco-friendly preservative for bamboo treatment has been developed. To validate its application for structural purposes, investigation of effect of treatment on compressive strength has been investigated. Neem oil(25%) integrated with copper naphthenate (0.3%) on dilution with kerosene oil impregnated into bamboo culm at 2 bar pressure, has shown weight loss of only 3.15% in soil block analysis method. The results of compressive strength analysis using The results from compressive strength analysis using HEICO Automatic Compression Testing Machine, reveal that preservative treatment has not altered the structural properties of bamboo culms. Compressive strength of control (11.72 N/mm2) and above treated samples (11.71 N/mm2) was found to be comparable.

Keywords: compressive strength, bamboo, D. strictus, neem oil, presure treatment

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15 Modeling and Design of Rectenna for Low Power Medical Implants

Authors: Madhav Pant, Khem N. Poudel

Abstract:

Wireless power transfer is continuously becoming more powerful and compact in medical implantable devices and the wide range of applications. A rectenna is designed for wireless power transfer technique that can be applied to medical implant devices. The experiment is performed using ANSYS HFSS, a full wave electromagnetic simulation. The dipole antenna combinations operating at 2.4 GHz are used for wireless power transfer and the maximum DC voltage reception by the implant considering International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) regulation. The power receiving dipole antenna is placed inside the cylindrical geometry having the similar properties of the human body at the frequency of 2.4 GHz. Our design can provide the power at the depth of 5 mm skin and 5mm of bone for the implant. The voltage doubler/quadrupler rectifier in ANSYS Simplorer is used to calculate the exact DC current utilized by implant inside the human body. The qualitative design and analysis of this wireless power transfer method could also be used for other biomedical implants systems such as cardiac pacemaker, insulin pump, and retinal implants.

Keywords: wireless power transfer, Medical Implants, rectifier, dipole antenna

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14 Progressive Loading Effect of Co Over SiO2/Al2O3 Catalyst for Cox Free Hydrogen and Carbon Nanotubes Production via Catalytic Decomposition of Methane

Authors: Sushil Kumar Saraswat, K. K. Pant

Abstract:

Co metal supported on SiO2 and Al2O3 catalysts with a metal loading varied from 30 of 70 wt.% were evaluated for decomposition of methane to CO/CO2 free hydrogen and carbon nano materials. The catalytic runs were carried out from 550-800 oC under atmospheric pressure using fixed bed vertical flow reactor. The fresh and spent catalysts were characterized by BET surface area analyzer, TPR, XRD, SEM, TEM, and TG analysis. The data showed that 50% Co/Al2O3 catalyst exhibited remarkable higher activity and stability up to 10 h time-on-stream at 750 oC with respect to H2 production compared to rest of the catalysts. However, the catalytic activity and durability was greatly declined at a higher temperature. The main reason for the catalytic inhibition of Co containing SiO2 catalysts is the higher reduction temperature of Co2SiO4. TEM images illustrate that the carbon materials with various morphologies, carbon nanofibers (CNFs), helical-shaped CNFs, and branched CNFs depending on the catalyst composition and reaction temperature, were obtained. The TG data showed that a higher yield of MWCNTs was achieved over 50% Co/Al2O3 catalyst compared to other catalysts.

Keywords: Carbon Nanotubes, Hydrogen production, cobalt, methane decomposition

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13 Influence of Resin Finishes on Properties of Khadi Fabric

Authors: Shivi Rastogi, Suman Pant

Abstract:

Khadi is an Indian fabric and also known by another name “Khaddar”. During pre-independence era, the movement of khadi manufacturing gained momentum. Over the years, khadi fabrics that were generally considered as the “second skin” of the Swadesh revolutionists changed its uniqueness. It underwent a metamorphosis from that of a patriot’s fabric, and a farmer’s apparel, to become a “fashion fabric”. Drape of garment is governed by draping quality of fabric used. Drape is an essential parameter to decide both appearance and handle of fabric. It is also a secondary determinant of fabric mechanical properties as influenced by the low stress properties, like bending length, formability, tensile and shear properties and compressibility of the fabric. In finishing, fabric is treated to add something to coat the fabric or fiber and thereby temporarily or permanently fix. Film forming agents such as thermoplastic and thermosetting resins and other surface deposits alter hand. In this study, resins were used to modify fabric hand. Three types of resins have been applied on the khadi fabric at three concentration. The effect of these finishes on drapeability, crease recovery, stiffness, tearing strength and smoothness of khadi fabrics were assessed. Silicone gave good results in imparting properties specially drape, smoothness and softness and hand of cotton and khadi fabric. KES result also showed that silicone treated samples enhanced THV rating amongst all treated samples when compared to the control fabric.

Keywords: crease recovery, drapeability, KES, silicone, THV

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12 Aerodynamic Study of an Open Window Moving Bus with Passengers

Authors: Bhanu Gupta, Pawan Kumar Pant, S. R. Kale, S. V. Veeravalli

Abstract:

In many countries, buses are the principal means of transport, of which a majority are naturally ventilated with open windows. The design of this ventilation has little scientific basis and to address this problem a study has been undertaken involving both experiments and numerical simulations. The flow pattern inside and around of an open window bus with passengers has been investigated in detail. A full scale three-dimensional numerical simulation has been used for a) a bus with closed windows and b) with open windows. In either simulation, the bus had 58 seated passengers. The bus dimensions used were 2500 mm wide × 2500 mm high (exterior) × 10500 mm long and its speed was set at 40 km/h. In both cases, the flow separates at the top front edge forming a vortex and reattaches close to the mid-length. This attached flow separates once more as it leaves the bus. However, the strength and shape of the vortices at the top front and wake region is different for both cases. The streamline pattern around the bus is also different for the two cases. For the bus with open windows, the dominant airflow inside the bus is from the rear to the front of the bus and air velocity at the face level of the passengers was found to be 1/10th of the free stream velocity. These findings are in good agreement with flow visualization experiments performed in a water channel at 10 m/s, and with smoke/tuft visualizations in a wind tunnel with a free-stream velocity of approximately 40 km/h on a 1:25 scaled Perspex model.

Keywords: Wind Tunnel, vortex, Air Flow, moving bus, open windows

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11 Glioblastoma: Prognostic Value of Clinical, Histopathological and Immunohistochemical (p53, EGFR, VEGF, MDM2, Ki67) Parameters

Authors: Sujata Chaturvedi, Ishita Pant, Deepak Kumar Jha, Vinod Kumar Singh Gautam, Chandra Bhushan Tripathi

Abstract:

Objective: To describe clinical, histopathological and immunohistochemical profile of glioblastoma in patients and to correlate these findings with patient survival. Material and methods: 30 cases of histopathologically diagnosed glioblastomas were included in this study. These cases were analysed in detail for certain clinical and histopathological parameters. Immunohistochemical staining for p53, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), mouse double minute 2 homolog (MDM2) and Ki67 was done and scores were calculated. Results of these findings were correlated with patient survival. Results: A retrospective analysis of the histopathology records and clinical case files was done in 30 cases of glioblastoma (WHO grade IV). The mean age of presentation was 50.6 years with a male predilection. The most common involved site was the frontal lobe. Amongst the clinical parameters, age of the patient and extent of surgical resection showed a significant correlation with the patient survival. Histopathological parameters showed no significant correlation with the patient survival, while amongst the immunohistochemical parameters expression of MDM2 showed a significant correlation with the patient survival. Conclusion: In this study incorporating clinical, histopathological and basic panel of immunohistochemistry, age of the patient, extent of the surgical resection and expression of MDM2 showed significant correlation with the patient survival.

Keywords: P53, VEGF, Ki67, glioblastoma, EGFR, MDM2

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10 Assessment of Major Feed Resources and Its Utilization in Manaslu Conservation Area Nepal

Authors: Bhojan Dhakal, Naba Raj Devkota, Sabita Subedi, Shankar Raj Pant

Abstract:

An assessment was made about the available feed resources, its utilization pattern, specifically, roughage and concentrate, produced from the Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) of Nepal to formulate the appropriate strategies in satisfying the annual dietary requirements of the livestock covering its present production and management scenarios. A comparative study was done by employing a purposively conducted survey to deduct the distribution of forage sources in the area. Findings revealed that natural vegetation, seasonally available crop residues, and dried grasses were major feed resources, whereas their contribution to the total supply varied significantly (p < 0.01). The amount of feed obtained from various sources was calculated by standard conversion and using primary household data. Findings revealed that farmers practice significantly higher (p < 0.01) number of grazing days and hours per day for large ruminants such as Yak and Chauries as compared to small ruminants such as goats and sheep. The findings also indicated seasonal variations of feed supply, whereas January to March is the period of short supply (p < 0.01). It was relatively in good supply from June to September though average roughage and crude protein supplement for the animals was far below than optimum requirements. These scenarios suggest the need for immediate attention to improve the range productivity in the MCA as the deteriorating situations of the rangelands may raise questions on the sustainability of livestock herders.

Keywords: Rangeland, Carrying Capacity, Feed Resources, ruminant, altitude, dietary requirement

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9 Determination of Nutritional Value and Steroidal Saponin of Fenugreek Genotypes

Authors: Anita Singh, Richa Naula, Manoj Raghav

Abstract:

Nutrient rich and high-yielding varieties of fenugreek can be developed by using genotypes which are naturally high in nutrients. Gene banks harbour scanty germplasm collection of Trigonella spp. and a very little background information about its genetic diversity. The extent of genetic diversity in a specific breeding population depends upon the genotype included in it. The present investigation aims at the estimation of macronutrient (phosphorus by spectrophotometer and potassium by flame photometer), micronutrients, namely, iron, zinc, manganese, and copper from seeds of fenugreek genotypes using atomic absorption spectrophotometer, protein by Rapid N Cube Analyser and Steroidal Saponins. Twenty-eight genotypes of fenugreek along with two standard checks, namely, Pant Ragini and Pusa Early Bunching were collected from different parts of India, and nutrient contents of each genotype were determined at G. B. P. U. A. & T. Laboratory, Pantnagar. Highest potassium content was observed in PFG-35 (1207 mg/100g). PFG-37 and PFG-20 were richest in phosphorus, iron and manganese content among all the genotypes. The lowest zinc content was found in PFG-26 (1.19 mg/100g), while the maximum zinc content was found in PFG- 28 (4.43 mg/100g). The highest content of copper was found in PFG-26 (1.97 mg/100g). PFG-39 has the highest protein content (29.60 %). Significant differences were observed in the steroidal saponin among the genotypes. Saponin content ranged from 0.38 g/100g to 1.31 g/100g. Steroidal Saponins content was found the maximum in PFG-36 (1.31 g/100g) followed by PFG-17 (1.28 g/100g). Therefore, the genotypes which are rich in nutrient and oil content can be used for plant biofortification, dietary supplements, and herbal products.

Keywords: Protein, Seeds, Macronutrients, micronutrient, genotypes

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8 Photophysics and Rotational Relaxation Dynamics of 6-Methoxyquinoline Fluorophore in Cationic Alkyltrimethylammonium Bromide Micelles

Authors: Tej Varma Y, Debi D. Pant

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Photophysics and rotational dynamics of the fluorescent probe, 6-methoxyquinoline (6MQ) with cationic surfactant, alkyltrimethylammonium bromide (nTAB) micelle solutions have been investigated (n = 12, 14 and 16). Absorption and emission peaks of the dye have been observed to shift at concentrations around critical micellar concentration (cmc) of nTAB compared to that of bulk solutions suggesting probe is in a lower polar environment. The probe senses changes in polarity (ET (30)) brought about by variation of surfactant chain length concentration and is invariably solubilized in the aqueous interface or palisade layer. The order of change in polarity observed was DTAB > CTAB > TTAB. The binding constant study shows that the probe binds strongest with TTAB (is of the order TTAB > CTAB > DTAB) due to deeper penetration into the micelle. The anisotropy decay for the probe in all the nTAB micelles studied have been rationalized based on a two-step model consisting of fast-restricted rotation of the probe and slow lateral diffusion of the probe in the micelle that is coupled to the overall rotation of the micelle. Fluorescence lifetime measurements of probe in the cationic micelles demonstrate the close proximity of the 6MQ to the Br - counterions. The fluorescence lifetimes of TTAB and DTAB are much shorter than in CTAB. These results indicate that 6MQ resides to a substantial degree in the head group region of the micelles. All the changes observed in the steady state fluorescence, microenvironment, fluorescence lifetimes, fluorescence anisotropy, and other calculations are in agreement with each other suggesting binding of the cationic surfactant with the neutral dye molecule.

Keywords: Photophysics, Micelles, chain length, ntaB

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7 Pattern of Biopsy Proven Renal Disease and Association between the Clinical Findings with Renal Pathology in Eastern Nepal

Authors: Sanjib K. Sharma, Manish Subedi, Bijay Bartaula, Ashok R. Pant, Purbesh Adhikari

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Background: The pattern of glomerular disease varies worldwide. In absence of kidney disease/Kidney biopsy registry in Nepal, the exact etiology of different forms of glomerular disease is primarily unknown in our country. Method: We retrospectively analyzed 175 cases of renal biopsies performed from dated September 2014 to August 2016 at B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal. Results: The commonest indication for renal biopsy was nephrotic syndrome (34.9%), followed by Systemic lupus erythematosus with suspected renal involvement (22.3%). Majority of patients were in the 30-60 year bracket (57.2%), with the mean age of the patients being 35.37 years. The average number of glomeruli per core was 13, with inadequate sampling in 5.1%. IgA nephropathy (17%) was found to be the most common primary glomerular disease, followed by membranous nephropathy (14.6%) and FSGS (14.6%). The commonest secondary glomerular disease was lupus nephritis. Complications associated with renal biopsy were pain at biopsy site in 18% of cases, hematuria in 6% and perinephric hematoma in 4% cases. Conclusion: The commonest primary and secondary glomerular disease was IgA nephropathy and lupus nephritis respectively. The high prevalence of Systemic lupus erythematosus with lupus nephritis among Nepalese in comparison with other developing countries warrants further evaluation. As an initial attempt towards documentation of glomerular diseases in the national context, this study should serve as a stepping stone towards the eventual establishment of a full-fledged national registry of glomerular diseases in Nepal.

Keywords: Nepal, glomerular, renal biopsy, systemic lupus erythematoses

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6 One-Pot Synthesis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Hexose Sugar over Chromium Impregnated Zeolite Based Catalyst, Cr/H-ZSM-5

Authors: SAPNA JAIN, Samuel K. Degife, Kamal K. Pant

Abstract:

The world´s population and industrialization of countries continued to grow in an alarming rate irrespective of the security for food, energy supply, and pure water availability. As a result, the global energy consumption is observed to increase significantly. Fossil energy resources that mainly comprised of crude oil, coal, and natural gas have been used by mankind as the main energy source for almost two centuries. However, sufficient evidences are revealing that the consumption of fossil resource as transportation fuel emits environmental pollutants such as CO2, NOx, and SOx. These resources are dwindling rapidly besides enormous amount of problems associated such as fluctuation of oil price and instability of oil-rich regions. Biomass is a promising renewable energy candidate to replace fossil-based transportation fuel and chemical production. The present study aims at valorization of hexose sugars (glucose and fructose) using zeolite based catalysts in imidazolium based ionic liquid (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, [BMIM] Cl) reaction media. The catalytic effect chromium impregnated H-ZSM-5 (Cr/H-ZSM-5) was studied for dehydration of hexose sugars. The wet impregnation method was used to prepare Cr/H-ZSM-5 catalyst. The characterization of the prepared catalyst was performed using techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), Temperature-programmed desorption of ammonia (NH3-TPD) and BET-surface area analysis. The dehydration product, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), was analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Cr/H-ZSM-5 was effective in dehydrating fructose with 87% conversion and 55% yield 5-HMF at 180 oC for 30 min of reaction time compared with H-ZSM-5 catalyst which yielded only 31% of 5-HMF at identical reaction condition.

Keywords: Chromium, Zeolite, ionic liquid, hexose

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5 Seed Yield and Quality of Late Planted Rabi Wheat Crop as Influenced by Basal and Foliar Application of Urea

Authors: Omvati Verma, Shyamashrre Roy

Abstract:

A field experiment was conducted with three basal nitrogen levels (90, 120 and 150 kg N/ha) and five foliar application of urea (absolute control, water spray, 3% urea spray at anthesis, 7 and 14 days after anthesis) at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, U.S. Nagar (Uttarakhand) during rabi season in a factorial randomized block design with three replications. Results revealed that nitrogen application of 150 kg/ha produced the highest seed yield, straw and biological yield and it was significantly superior to 90 kg N/ha and was at par with 120 kg N/ha. The number of tillers increased significantly with increase in nitrogen doses up to 150 kg N/ha. Spike length, number of grains per spike, grain weight per spike and thousand seed weight showed significantly higher values with 120 kg N/ha than 90 kg N/ha and were at par with that of 150 kg N/ha. Also, plant height showed similar trend. Leaf area index and chlorophyll content showed significant increase with an increase in nitrogen levels at different stages. In the case of foliar spray treatments, urea spray at anthesis showed highest value for yield and yield attributes. In case of spike length and thousand seed weight, it was similar with the urea spray at 7 and 14 days after anthesis, but for rest of the yield attributes, it was significantly higher than rest of the treatments. Among seed quality parameters protein and sedimentation value showed significant increase due to increase in nitrogen rates whereas, starch and hectolitre weight had a decreasing trend. Wet gluten content was not influenced by nitrogen levels. Foliar urea spray at anthesis resulted in highest value of protein and hectolitre weight whereas, urea spray at 7 days after anthesis showed highest value of sedimentation value and wet gluten content.

Keywords: seed quality, Yield, foliar application, nitrogenous fertilizer

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4 Effect of Nanoparticles on Wheat Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Authors: Rajeew Kumar, Pankaj Singh Rawat, Pradeep Ram, Priyanka Pandey

Abstract:

Wheat is an important cereal crop for food security. Boosting the wheat production and productivity is the major challenge across the nation. Good quality of seed is required for maintaining optimum plant stand which ultimately increases grain yield. Ensuring a good germination is one of the key steps to ensure proper plant stand and moisture assurance during seed germination may help to speed up the germination. The tiny size of nanoparticles may help in entry of water into seed without disturbing their internal structure. Considering above, a laboratory experiment was conducted during 2012-13 at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India. The completely randomized design was used for statistical analysis. The experiment was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the appropriate concentration of nanoparticles for seed treatment was screened. In second phase seed soaking hours of nanoparticles for better seed germination were standardized. Wheat variety UP2526 was taken as test crop. Four nanoparticles (TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan) were taken for study. The crop germination studies were done in petri dishes and standard package and practices were used to raise the seedlings. The germination studies were done by following standard procedure. In first phase of the experiment, seeds were treated with 50 and 300 ppm of nanoparticles and control was also maintained for comparison. In the second phase of experiment, seeds were soaked for 4 hours, 6 hours and 8 hours with 50 ppm nanoparticles of TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan along with control treatment to identify the soaking time for better seed germination. Experiment revealed that the application of nanoparticles help to enhance seed germination. The study revealed that seed treatment with  nanoparticles at 50 ppm concentration increases root length, shoot length, seedling length, shoot dry weight, seedling dry weight, seedling vigour index I and seedling vigour index II as compared to seed soaking at 300 ppm concentration. This experiment showed that seed soaking up to 4 hr was better as compared to 6 and 8 hrs. Seed soaking with nanoparticles specially TiO2, ZnO, and chitosan proved to enhance germination and seedling growth indices of wheat crop.

Keywords: Nanoparticles, Wheat, seed germination, seed soaking

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3 Study on the Voltage Induced Wrinkling of Elastomer with Different Electrode Areas

Authors: Fan Yang, Zhende Hou, Guoli Zhang

Abstract:

Dielectric elastomer is a promising class of Electroactive polymers which can deform in response to an applied electric field. Comparing general smart material, the Dielectric elastomer is more compliance and can achieve higher energy density, which can be for diverse applications such as actuators, artificial muscles, soft robotics, and energy harvesters. The coupling of the Electroactive polymers and the electric field is that the elastomer is sandwiched between two compliant electrodes and when the electrodes are subjected to a voltage, the positive and negative charges on the two electrodes compress the polymer, so that the polymer reduces in thickness and expands in area. However, the pre-stretched dielectric elastomer film not only can achieve large electric-field induced deformation but also is prone to wrinkling, under the interaction of its own strain energy and the applied electric field energy. For a uniaxially pre-stretched dielectric elastomer film, the electrode area is an important parameter to the electric-field induced deformation and may also be a key factor affecting the film wrinkling. To determine and quantify the effect experimentally, VHB 9473 tapes were employed and compliant electrodes with different areas were pant on each of them. The tape was first tensed to a uniaxial stretch of 8. Then a DC voltage was applied to the electrodes and increased gradually until wrinkling occurred in the film. Then, the critical wrinkling voltages of the film with different electrode areas were obtained, and the wrinkle wavelengths were obtained simultaneously for analyzing the wrinkling characteristics. Experimental results indicate when the electrode area is smaller the wrinkling voltage is higher, and with the increases of electrode area, the wrinkling voltage decreases rapidly until a specific area. Beyond that, the wrinkling voltage becomes larger gradually with the increases of the area. While the wrinkle wavelength decreases gradually with the increase of voltage monotonically. That is, the relation between the critical wrinkling voltage and the electrode areas is U-shaped. Analysis believes that the film wrinkling is a kind of local effect, the interaction and the energy transfer between electrode region and non-electrode region have great influence on wrinkling. In the experiment, very thin copper wires are used as the electrode leads that just contact with the electrodes, which can avoid the stiffness of the leads affecting the wrinkling.

Keywords: Wrinkling, Elastomers, uniaxial stretch, electrode area

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2 Non-Timber Forest Products and Livelihood Linkages: A Case of Lamabagar, Nepal

Authors: Sandhya Rijal, Saroj Adhikari, Ramesh R. Pant

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Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) have attracted substantial interest in the recent years with the increasing recognition that these can provide essential community needs for improved and diversified rural livelihood and support the objectives of biodiversity conservation. Nevertheless, various challenges are witnessed in their sustainable harvest and management. Assuming that sustainable management with community stewardship can offer one of the solutions to existing challenges, the study assesses the linkages between NTFPs and rural livelihood in Lamabagar village of Dolakha, Nepal. The major objective was to document the status of NTFPs and their contributions in households of Lamabagar. For status documentation, vegetation sampling was done using systematic random sampling technique. 30 plots of 10 m × 10 m were laid down in six parallel transect lines at horizontal distance of 160 m in two different community forests. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted in 76 households (excluding non-response rate) using stratified random sampling technique for contribution analysis. Likewise, key informant interview and focus group discussions were also conducted for data triangulations. 36 different NTFPs were recorded from the vegetation sample in two community forests of which 50% were used for medicinal purposes. The other uses include fodder, religious value, and edible fruits and vegetables. Species like Juniperus indica, Daphne bholua Aconitum spicatum, and Lyonia ovalifolia were frequently used for trade as a source of income, which was sold in local market. The protected species like Taxus wallichiana and Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora were also recorded in the area for which the trade is prohibited. The protection of these species urgently needs community stewardship. More than half of the surveyed households (55%) were depending on NTFPs for their daily uses, other than economic purpose whereas 45% of them sold those products in the market directly or in the form of local handmade products as a source of livelihood. NTFPs were the major source of primary health curing agents especially for the poor and unemployed people in the study area. Hence, the NTFPs contributed to livelihood under three different categories: subsistence, supplement income and emergency support, depending upon the economic status of the households. Although the status of forest improved after handover to the user group, the availability of valuable medicinal herbs like Rhododendron anthopogon, Swertia nervosa, Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, and Aconitum spicatum were declining. Inadequacy of technology, lack of easy transport access, and absence of good market facility were the major limitations for external trade of NTFPs in the study site. It was observed that people were interested towards conservation only if they could get some returns: economic in terms of rural settlements. Thus, the study concludes that NTFPs could contribute rural livelihood and support conservation objectives only if local communities are provided with the easy access of technology, market and capital.

Keywords: Medicinal, contribution, subsistence, sustainable harvest

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1 Advances and Challenges in Assessing Students’ Learning Competencies in 21st Century Higher Education

Authors: O. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, J. Fischer, C. Lautenbach, H. A. Pant

Abstract:

In 21st century higher education (HE), the diversity among students has increased in recent years due to the internationalization and higher mobility. Offering and providing equal and fair opportunities based on students’ individual skills and abilities instead of their social or cultural background is one of the major aims of HE. In this context, valid, objective and transparent assessments of students’ preconditions and academic competencies in HE are required. However, as analyses of the current states of research and practice show, a substantial research gap on assessment practices in HE still exists, calling for the development of effective solutions. These demands lead to significant conceptual and methodological challenges. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the research program 'Modeling and Measuring Competencies in Higher Education – Validation and Methodological Challenges' (KoKoHs) focusses on addressing these challenges in HE assessment practice by modeling and validating objective test instruments. Including 16 cross-university collaborative projects, the German-wide research program contributes to bridging the research gap in current assessment research and practice by concentrating on practical and policy-related challenges of assessment in HE. In this paper, we present a differentiated overview of existing assessments of HE at the national and international level. Based on the state of research, we describe the theoretical and conceptual framework of the KoKoHs Program as well as results of the validation studies, including their key outcomes. More precisely, this includes an insight into more than 40 developed assessments covering a broad range of transparent and objective methods for validly measuring domain-specific and generic knowledge and skills for five major study areas (Economics, Social Science, Teacher Education, Medicine and Psychology). Computer-, video- and simulation-based instruments have been applied and validated to measure over 20,000 students at the beginning, middle and end of their (bachelor and master) studies at more than 300 HE institutions throughout Germany or during their practical training phase, traineeship or occupation. Focussing on the validity of the assessments, all test instruments have been analyzed comprehensively, using a broad range of methods and observing the validity criteria of the Standards for Psychological and Educational Testing developed by the American Educational Research Association, the American Economic Association and the National Council on Measurement. The results of the developed assessments presented in this paper, provide valuable outcomes to predict students’ skills and abilities at the beginning and the end of their studies as well as their learning development and performance. This allows for a differentiated view of the diversity among students. Based on the given research results practical implications and recommendations are formulated. In particular, appropriate and effective learning opportunities for students can be created to support the learning development of students, promote their individual potential and reduce knowledge and skill gaps. Overall, the presented research on competency assessment is highly relevant to national and international HE practice.

Keywords: academic competencies, innovative assessments, KoKoHs

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