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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 2

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Editorial……. Sushil Kumar Shinde recently said in

Guwahati that the Government of India had
completed preliminary feasibility reports of
62 hydroelectric schemes in this area with
aggregate installed capacity of 30.42 MW.
In April 2008, NE Quest enters its This power capacity is the 38% of country’s
second year of journey. In this eve, I would total potential. Again as reported in the
like to congratulate all the respected and newspaper and stated by the Union Minister
beloved members. Hope we will continue of State for New and Renewable Energy,
this voyage with creating few new authors India has 615 small hydro power projects
and more and more scientific contributions. upto 25 MW aggregating 2108 MW as on
It is an honour and immense pleasure for 29-02-2008. Out of these 127 project are
me to write the editorial of this issue of the located in the NE states generating around
newsletter, Northeast India Research 250 MW of electricity. We should welcome
Forum. I would like to thank all the forum such major projections. Because the
members for giving me this challenging and generation and utilization of electricity will
great opportunity. play an advantageous role in the economy
Here I want to mention two important of the NE states.
issues of the NE region. Foremost, the From this issue we are staring a new
situation in the NE India states, particularly column: Molecule and Material of the issue.
in Assam becoming unstable day by day. Dr. Utpal Bora has suggested this column
Don’t you think that we are going to diminish and starting with Dr. Joshodeep Boruwa’s
gradually? Everyday we see people are article on an under clinical trial drug,
killed in the NE states. I am mentioning Sagopilone. Members are encouraged to
about the recent violence and the impact in submit articles on drug molecules or specific
the NE states, as compared to rest of India. polymer, dye, inorganic crystals, materials
It’s a shame that, even world famous rhino which have great impact on human life.
is not safe from the poacher in Assam. Meanwhile, I would like to take this
Therefore Assam may be the easiest opportunity to thank Dr. Arindam Adhikari for
example in the world as an unsafe place. creating NE India Research Forum and also
Because, we can not think to do a work for the help toward finishing the redacting of
selflessly. Something unusual happen, we this issue. I gratefully acknowledge the
have the easiest solution: BANDH and block editorial board for their constructive
out. Let it be a terrorist group or a political suggestions. I thank all the authors for their
party or some regional unions. Who is contributions on time, despite being having
actively looking for the improvement of our very busy work schedule. A special thanks
states? Finally the out come is: Poverty, to Mr. Anirban Adhikari for his effort in
Illiteracy, Superstition, etc. We, the forum making the significant cover page in a very
members can take some initiative to solve short time period. Finally I wish success and
some of the problems. At least we can try. I longer life of this forum.
think science can help up to some extent.
But this is not the complete answer. We Happy Rongali Bihu........
have to educate ourselves and the new
generation as to the cause of these horrible
events. I know I am exceeding my limit of
editorial, but some how we should.
Because, this is our country, this is our
One other point I want to mention, (Sasanka Deka)
about the proposed hydroelectricity projects
in NE India states. Union Power Minister

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 3

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

The Forum 5
North-East Indians Made Us Proud 6
a) Science News 7
b) Forum Members in News 9
Instrument of the Issue
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) 10
Dr. Arindam Adhikari
Some Award Winning SEM Images 13
Molecule and Material of the Issue
Sagopilone: A Modified Epothilone Analogue as Promising Anti Cancer Agent 14
Dr. Joshodeep Boruwa
Article Section
I. Invited Article
Zeta Potential Characteristics of an Iron Rich Kaolinite Clay 15
Mr. Pinaki Sengupta
II. Green Clean: A Hope 25
Ms. Nabanita Bhattacharyya
III. Positron Emission Tomography 27
Dr. Diganta Sarma
IV. Thermo Responsive Magnetic Nanoparticles and their Applications 29
Dr. Smriti R. Deka
V. RNA interference(RNAi) 32
Mr. Khirud Gogoi
VI. Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for Improvement of Human Lives 36
Mr. Pankaj Bharali
Ph. D. Thesis Abstract
Abstract 1: Adsorption of Organic Anions on the Metal Oxide Surfaces 40
Dr. Manash R. Das
Abstract 2: De Novo Designed Molecules Based on Non-covalent
Interactions: Design, Synthesis and Structural Studies 47
Dr. Pranjal K. Baruah
Information About Forum Members 51
Higher Study Abroad 52
Through the Lenses of Forum Members 57

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 4

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

maximum number of votes and hence it is

The Forum accepted as the name of the Newsletter.
North East India Research Forum was How often should we publish our newsletter '' N.
created on 13th November 2004. E. Quest'' ?
1. Every 3 months = 61%
1. How we are growing? 2. Every 6 months = 38%
Today the forum comprised of a force of 3. Once a year = 0%
more than 191 researchers.
4. NE-Quest Issues
2. Discussions held in the forum 1. Vol. 1 Issue 1 April, 2007
• Necessity of directory of all the members Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari
of the forum. 2. Vol. 1 Issue 2 July 2007
• Possibility of organising conference in the Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath
N E India. 3. Vol. 1 Issue 3 November 2007
• Taking initiation on setting up of South Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur
East Asian Scientific Institute. 4. Vol. 1 Issue 4 January 2008
• On selection of Best paper award. Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia
5. Vol. 2 Issue 1 April 2008
3. Poll conducted and results Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka
North East India is lacking behind the rest of the
country due to- 5. Future activities
1. Geographical constrain =0% Proper planning and consequent
2. Bad leadership = 40% implementation always play an important
3. Lack of work culture = 36% role in every aspect. Some of the
4. Corruption = 18% topics/activities/suggestions which were
5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4% being discussed, time to time in the forum
Which area of science is going to dominate by will get top priorities in our future activities.
creating a great impact on society in next Those are mentioned here,
decade? Preparing complete online database of
1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology = 22% N.E. researchers with details.
2. Biotechnology = 11% Organising conference in the N.E.
3. Nanobiotechnology = 38% region-proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora.
4. Chemical Engineering = 0% Research collaboration among forum
5. Medicine = 11% members.
6. Others = 16% Motivate student to opt for science
7. None = 0% education.
Kindly let us know your view regarding the Help master’s students in doing projects
following topic. What activities of this group you in different organisationproposed by Mr.
like most ? Khirud Gogoi.
1. Research articles= 33% Supporting schools in rural areas by
2. Information about vacancy/positions different ways.
3. Way to have a contact with all To run the forum smoothly, to make it more
members =29% organised and to speed up activities,
4. Scientific discussions = 14% formation of a committee/team is essential.
5. Others = 2% The combined discussion of the moderators
Selection of name for Newsletter and senior members make the forum feel
There were total 36 proposals submitted by the importance of Advisors, coordinator,
members of the forum for the Newsletter. volunteer, webmasters etc. Of course it
The name proposed by Mr. Abhishek needs more discussion and will be approved
Choudhury, N. E. QUEST received the by poll.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 5

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

North-East Indians Made Us Proud

Dr. Prasanta K. Kalita Prof. Ranjan Deka

Dr. P. K. Kalita is Associate Professor of Prof. Ranjan Deka is a faculty member of

Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Center for Genome Information (CGI),
the Department of Agricultural and Department of Environment Health, College
Biological Engineering, University of of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, USA.
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is He is one example, who moved towards the
expertise in water quality and environmental destiny of carrier step by step. He is one of
protection; watershed water-quality the expert in the field of Human Genetics.
management and non-point source pollution
control; soil erosion, chemical and microbial Prof. R. Deka did his B. Sc. in biology and
transport processes modelling and some M. Sc. in Anthropology in the Dibrugarh
more. University, in 1970 and 1972, respectively.
From the same university he obtained his
He hails from Chapar, Dhuburi District of doctorate degree in 1976. The topic of his
Assam. Dr. Kalita received his B. S. degree Ph. D. thesis is Human Genetics.
in Agricultural Engineering from the Punjab
Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India. For After Ph. D., Prof. Deka became Assistant
the M. S. degree he went to Thailand and Anthropologist, Anthropological Survey of
studied for M. S. in the Asian Institute of India. Then he shifted to Dibrugarh
Technology, Bangkok. He did his Ph. D. in University as lecturer. In 1985 he received
Agricultural Engineering in the Iowa State Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and went
University, Ames, Iowa. for postdoctoral research to the Department
of Human Genetics, Medizinische
During the professional carrier, Dr. Kalita Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
served in many places, like, Post-Doctoral During his research carrier he served as
Research Associate in Iowa State University; Assistant Professor and Associate Professor
Post-Doctoral Research Associate in USDA- in the Department of Human Genetics,
ARS, Washington State University; University of Pittsburgh, PA.
Assistant Professor in Kansas State
University; Assistant Professor in We wish him a happy and long life…..
Agricultural Engineering Department,
University of Illinois, etc. As a scholar and
as a teacher, Dr. Kalita received more than
25 National and International Awards in

We wish him a happy and long life…..

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 6

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Science News

North-East India: National & International News:

The State Government of Assam has India aims for ‘quantum jump’ in science:
prepared a concept paper for establishing a In the month of January, 2008, our Prime
science and technology university in the Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has
State. The Science and Technology announced unprecedented funding for
Department of Assam is holding discussions science education and research, saying it is a
with Education Department with this aim in top priority for the government. He has
view. The Assam Government is planning to announced a range of schemes to attract
set up a science city in Guwahati. It has also students and replenish government agencies'
proposed a biotechnology park in the city shrinking pool of scientific personnel.
during the current year. (March 28, 2008,
The Assam Tribune). It is planned to fund 30 new Central
Universities, five new Indian Institutes of
Science Education and Research, eight new
The Northeast is likely to have another Indian Institutes of Technology, and 20 new
National Institute of Technology, with the Indian Institutes of Information Technology.
Central Government considering In the next five years, Dr. Singh added, India
establishment of an institute in Manipur. will also be launching 1,600 polytechnics,
Addressing the ongoing Social Editor’s 10,000 vocational schools and 50,000 skill-
Conference, HRD Ministry officials said a development centres. One million
Central team after visiting the State has schoolchildren will receive science
submitted its report last November. The innovation scholarships of 5,000 rupees
report is under process currently, said the (US$130) each over the next five years, and
official. (January 29, 2008, The Assam 10,000 scholarships of 100,000 rupees per
Tribune). year will go to those enrolling on science
degree courses.
Yengkhom Daevson from Imphal, Manipur, Discipline-specific education programmes
has invented a unique weaving machine that will be launched in strategic sectors such as
makes garments without any stitches. This nuclear and space sciences “to capture talent
news came into focus in a press conference at the school leaving stage itself”. (Courtesy:
on 19th December 2007 in National Institute NatureNews)
of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi,
Ministry of Textile, Government of India. A Editorial comment: We hope the
Special event organised for Y. Daevson an announcement by our honourable prime
alumni of NIFT, who has invented “BEMM” minister will encourage, not only the present
a seamless woven garment making machine science students, but also will motivate the
that makes woven seamless garments.It is a new generation to do something in science.
unique combination of fashion and Everybody should welcome this effort and
innovation with technological development. help the government to fulfil the motive, and
With this new machine, one can combine the of course, forgetting oppositional political
textile and the garment industry. There is views. Hope India will diminish the brain-
advantage; it does not involve any stitching. drain by the 'quantum jump' in science.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 7

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Smallest Black hole: Astrophysicist claimed, Nation invests USD 208 million in N.E.
they've found the smallest black hole so far, education infrastructure: The central
which is less than four times the mass of our sun government has launched an ambitious Rs.
and about the size of a large city. Nikolai 8.17-billion ($208 million) scheme to
Shaposhnikov of NASA's Goddard Space Flight develop educational infrastructure in India's
Center says “This black hole is really pushing
eight north-eastern states, according to an
the limits. For many years astronomers have
wanted to know the smallest possible size of a official report. “Of the Rs. 8.166 billion, Rs.
black hole, and this little guy is a big step toward 6.558 billion have been released so far for
answering that question”. The scientists found various educational projects in Arunachal
the black hole in a system in the southern Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya,
constellation Ara, in our own Milky Way galaxy. Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura,”
This black hole probably be stronger than bigger said an official report of the central human
black holes found at the centres of galaxies. It resource development (HRD) ministry. The
was formed by a star that ran out of fuel and shut development plans in the northeast are
down, collapsing due to its own gravity. The centrally financed on the basis of 90 percent
new black hole has a mass 3.8 times that of our
grant and 10 percent loan, the report said.
sun and would be about 24 kilometres across,
“In addition to that allocation, Rs. 520
they estimate. (Courtesy: ABC Science)
million was released to five universities
located in the states of Meghalaya,
Scientists find host of antibiotic-eating Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur,
germs: Several strains of bacteria in the soil Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura for setting
can make a meal of the world's most potent up of engineering and management
antibiotics, researchers said, in a startling faculties.”
finding that illustrates the extent to which The central government converted the
these germ-fighting drugs are losing the war Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura universities
against superbugs. A study of soil microbes into central universities in August 2007 and
taken from 11 sites uncovered bacteria that established a new central university in
could withstand antibiotics 50 times stronger Sikkim. According to the report, Tripura
than the standard for bacterial resistance. Engineering College in Agartala has also
George Church, a geneticist at Harvard been upgraded into a National Institute of
Medical School in Boston, whose research Technology (NIT) and the HRD ministry
appears in the journal Science, said “It will soon convert Manipur Institute of
certainly was very surprising to us. Many Technology into a NIT.
bacteria in many different soil isolates can The HRD ministry, with the help of the
not only tolerate antibiotics, they can Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
actually live on them as their sole source of and the north-eastern states has launched
nutrition.” The bacteria were not known to satellite-based educational facilities in the
attack humans, but some were close region aimed at increasing the knowledge
relatives, such as members of the base of students.
Burkholderia cepacia complex, a group of On Aug 14, 2007, the satellite-based facility
bacteria that infect people with cystic was started in Tripura with the help of the
fibrosis, and Serratia marcescens, which can Edusat, a dedicated satellite of the ISRO to
cause blood infections in people with beam educational and training programmes
compromised immune systems. (Courtesy: in the country. (Courtesy: National Network
NewsDaily). of Education, India)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 8

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Forum Members in News

Dr. Manash R. Das, an alumnus of RRL Catalysts and Adsorbents, Bhubaneswar,
Jorhat, qualified for the Scientist B 18th – 20th February, 2008".)
position at the North East Institute of
Science and Technology (formerly RRL) Mr. Ankur Bordoloi received the Keerti
Jorhat. He will join the Material Science Sangoram Memorial Endowment award
Division and will involved in the (2008) of NCL, Pune. Keerti Sangoram
research of Surface chemistry on Metal memorial endowment award is given to
oxide surfaces, Propensity of simple the best research scholars. This award
organic acid/anions at solution-vapour carries a cash prize and a certificate of
interface, etc. Currently he is a merit for four students in the area of
postdoctoral fellow at Villeneuve physical & materials sciences, biological
d'Ascq, Lille, France. sciences, chemical sciences and
engineering sciences.
Dr. Pranjal Baruah qualified for the
prestigious Marie Curie fellowship. He Mr. Khirud Gogoi received the Keerti
will join Cambridge University, UK as a Sangoram Memorial Endowment award
postdoc in October, 2008 for the same (2008) and Dr Rajappa award (2008) of
fellowship. Presently he is pursuing his NCL, Pune. Dr. Rajappa award is given
Post Doctoral research in UNC Chapel to the best organic chemistry paper. This
Hill, USA. award for research student carries a cash
prize and a citation.
Mr. Lakshi Saikia of National
Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune Dr. Pranjal Kalita recently finished his
received the best poster award at the Ph. D. from NCL, Pune. The title of his
National Science day symposium held at thesis is “Carbon-carbon bond formation
NCL, Pune on 28th February, 2008. Mr. reactions using solid porous catalysts”.
Lakshi Saikia also qualified for the He is going to join (14th April, 2008) as a
position of Scientist B at NEIST, Jorhat. postdoc fellow in the Nano Ionics
He will join the Material Science Materials Group, National Institute for
Division. Moreover, one of his paper Material Science (NIMS), 1-1, Namiki,
published in Journal of Catalysis Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044 Japan.
between October-December 2007,
become the Top 25 Hottest Articles. The Our Heartiest Congratulations to the
Aforesaid Members: Editor
particular paper is “Activation and
reactivity of epoxides on solid acid
catalysts Journal of Catalysis”, 252 (2)
2007, 148-160 Saikia, L.; Satyarthi, J.K.;
Srinivas, D.; Ratnasamy, P.

Mr. Pankaj Bharali and Mr Pranjal

Saikia, Ph.D. students in IICT,
Hyderabad bagged the best poster award
jointly in the recent "National Workshop
on Catalysis: Futuristic Materials as Sweet Khejur: Smriti R. Deka

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Instrument of the issue

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) developed by Charles Oatley and first
commercialized by Cambridge Instruments.)
Dr. Arindam Adhikari In the SEM when incident beam interacts with specimen all these signals
shown in figure 1 are present, but not all of
Scanning electron microscope or SEM them are detected and used for information.
is a microscope that uses electrons instead of The signals most commonly used are the
light to form an image, i.e. it’s a type of Secondary Electrons, the Backscattered
electron microscope that creates various Electrons and X-rays. In a SEM, these
images by focussing high energy beam of signals come not only from the primary
electrons onto the surface of a sample and beam impinging upon the sample, but from
detecting signals from the interaction of the other interactions within the sample near the
incident electrons with the sample’s surface. surface. The SEM is capable of producing
Since their development in the early 1950's, high-resolution images of a sample surface
scanning electron microscopes have in its primary use mode, secondary electron
developed new areas of study in the medical imaging. The SEM has many advantages
and physical science communities. (The over traditional microscopes. The SEM has
SEM was pioneered by Manfred von a large depth of field, which allows more of
Ardenne in 1937. The instrument was further a specimen to be in focus at one time. The

Figure 1: Incident beam specimen interaction in SEM.

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SEM also has much higher resolution, so typically has an energy ranging from a few
closely spaced specimens can be magnified hundred eV to 100 keV, is focused by one or
at much higher levels. Due to the manner in two condenser lenses into a beam with a
which this image is created, SEM images very fine focal spot sized 0.4 nm to 5 nm.
have great depth of field yielding a The beam passes through pairs of scanning
characteristic three-dimensional appearance coils or pairs of deflector plates in the
useful for understanding the surface electron optical column, typically in the
structure of a sample. As characteristic x- objective lens, which deflect the beam
rays are emitted when the electron beam horizontally and vertically so that it scans in
causes the ejection of inner shell electrons a raster fashion over a rectangular area of the
from the sample and thus can also be used to sample surface. When the primary electron
tell the elemental composition of the sample beam interacts with the sample, the electrons
(EDS or EDX, energy-dispersive X-ray lose energy by repeated scattering and
spectroscopy). Because the SEM uses absorption within a teardrop-shaped volume
electromagnets rather than lenses, the of the specimen known as the interaction
researcher has much more control in the volume, which extends from less than 100
degree of magnification. All of these nm to around 5 µm into the surface. The size
advantages, as well as the actual strikingly of the interaction volume depends on the
clear images, make the scanning electron electrons' landing energy, the atomic number
microscope one of the most useful of the specimen and the specimen's density.
instruments in research today. The energy exchange between the electron
beam and the sample results in the emission
of electrons and electromagnetic radiation,
which can be detected to produce an image.
The image consists of thousands of spots of
varying intensity on the face of a cathode ray
tube that correspond to the topography of the

Figure 2: Image of SEM

In a typical SEM, electrons are

thermionically emitted from a electron
source [generally tungsten or lanthanum
hexaboride (LaB6) cathode] and are
accelerated towards an anode. Electrons can
also be emitted via field emission (Field
emission FE is the emission of electrons Figure 3: SEM image of polyaniline coated
from the surface of a condensed phase into silica particle.
another phase due to the presence of high
electric fields). The electron beam, which

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 11

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the surface of the specimen. The practical

resolution however depends on the
properties of the specimen and the specimen
preparation technique and on many
instrumental parameters such as beam
intensity, accelerating voltage, scanning
speed, distance from the last lens to the
specimen (usually referred to as the working
distance) and the angle of the specimen
surface with respect to the detector. Under
optimum conditions a resolution of even 1
nm can be attained.

Figure 4: SEM image of Velcro fibre (Image


When a SEM is used, the column must

always be at a vacuum. There are many
reasons for this. If the sample is in a gas
filled environment, an electron beam cannot
be generated or maintained because of a high
instability in the beam. Gases could react
with the electron source, causing it to burn
out, or cause electrons in the beam to ionize,
which produces random discharges and leads
to instability in the beam. The transmission
of the beam through the electron optic
column would also be hindered by the
presence of other molecules. Those other
molecules, which could come from the
sample or the microscope itself, could form
compounds and condense on the sample.
This would lower the contrast and obscure
detail in the image. A vacuum environment
is also necessary in part of the sample
preparation. One such example is the sputter
coater. If the chamber isn't at vacuum before
Figure 5. Schematic representation of SEM
the sample is coated, gas molecules would
get in the way of the argon and gold. This
could lead to uneven coating, or no coating Specimen Preparation
at all. There are two basic types of SEM's.
In the SEM, the magnification is The regular SEM, requires a conductive
entirely determined by the electronic sample. An environmental SEM (ESEM)
circuitry that scans the beam over the can be used to examine a non-conductive
specimen. Magnification can be as high as sample without coating it with a conductive
300,000x. In principle the resolution of a material. Three requirements for preparing
SEM is determined by the beam diameter on samples for a regular SEM

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 12

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- Remove all water, solvents, or other

materials that could vaporize while in the
- Firmly mount all the samples.
- Non-metallic samples, such as bugs, plants,
fingernails, and ceramics, should be coated
so they are electrically conductive.
Metallic samples can be placed directly
into the SEM.
High resolution scanning electron micrograph of
gold nanopyramids supported by silicon pedestals

This article is compiled by Dr. Arindam

Adhikari, Institute of Surface Chemistry YKI
and IPack Vinn Excellence Centre, Royal
Institute of Technology KTH, Stockholm,

Zinc dendritic structures formed by electro-

Some Award Winning
SEM Images deposition on Cu substrates using a mixed solution
MRS Meetings “Science as Art” Image
of ZnO powders and NaOH at room temperature.

Dirty Dice Self-assembled 200 micron size nickel

dice, imaged using scanning electron microscopy in
the lower secondary electron (LEI) mode. The dice
were colorized using Adobe Photoshop.
An Early Morning Stroll into Woods
(Collected by Editor)
SEM Image of Tin Oxide Nanowires.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 13

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Molecule and Material of the Issue crisscrosses the inside of the cell, the part of
the cytoskeleton that both stabilizes the cell
and makes it flexible.
Sagopilone: A Modified Epothilone
The taxanes, already in successful
Analogue as Promising Anti Cancer
use for many years now, prove that the
cytoskeleton provides a suitable target for
Dr. Joshodeep Boruwa cancer medication. Originally harvested from the bark of Pacific yew trees, they are
now synthesized from substances found in
Cancer cells sometimes defend the needles of the European yew. Like the
themselves against medication by epothilones, the taxanes inhibit the
transporting active ingredients back out of breakdown of the cytoskeleton. But why all
the cell through built-in pumps. Even the effort to develop the epothilones as an
taxanes, some of the most effective cancer alternative to the taxanes when they both
drugs, are occasionally expelled in this target the same site? As potent as the taxanes
manner and therefore remain virtually are, they have drawbacks: tumor cells are
ineffective. Researchers at Bayer Health often able to expel the taxanes via pumps
Care are now performing clinical tests on a before they can attack the cancer cells. Due
new substance that is not recognized by the to this tendency to develop resistance, other
pumps. Intensive structural modifications agents are very welcome. In addition, unlike
were performed on epothilones to overcome the epothilones, the taxanes are not water-
the limitations associated with this novel soluble and must therefore be administered
class of anticancer substances. During this in an oily solution that can induce allergies.
optimization process, more than 350 However the synthesis process to this
biologically active epothilones were molecule was very complex, But starting
synthesized, from which sagopilone was with three purchasable initial materials and
selected for clinical development because of more than 100 additional ingredients, the
its outstanding preclinical properties. research group required a total of 39
Sagopilone exhibits a high level of in individual steps to produce three initial sub-
vitro and in vivo activity against a broad units which they then used to construct the
range of different human tumour models, finished molecule.
including those that are particularly sensitive Report from Bayer Health:
to taxanes but also those that are resistant to Clinical experts must now prove that
taxanes or other commonly used sagopilone is really as promising as previous
chemotherapeutic agents and therefore no studies indicate. If the results of the
longer respond to these compounds. following clinical studies are good, cancer
It is well known that anticancer researcher Ulrich Klar predicts that
agents inhibit cell division and researchers sagopilone, either alone or together with
have long focused on cell division, as the other medications, will play an important
majority of tumors become dangerous only role in getting a vice-like grip on cancer of
as a result of their unchecked growth. The various origins and in all of its stages.
first drug products introduced were the
cytostatics, which typically damage cells by
About The Author:
interfering with metabolic activity during
cell division. Epothilones target a very Dr. J. Boruwa is currently a postdoctoral
different area. They attach themselves like a research fellow at Fechbereich Chemie,
vice to the network of protein threads that Universitst Konstanz, Germany.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 14

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Invited Article

Zeta Potential Characteristics of an contains silica in the form quartz. The nature
Iron Rich Kaolinite Clay and proportions of these impurities depend
on the mode of origin of the deposit and
differs from place to place. For most modern
industrial and other uses, kaolin must be
extensively refined and processed to enhance
certain important characteristics. Removal of
iron- and titanium-bearing materials from
clay and other minerals, in addition to
impurities like silica, is of great interest even
The kaolin used in this investigation
was collected from Deopani deposit (latitude
Mr. Pinaki Sengupta 26o 14/ 27// to 26o 14/ 39// N; longitude 93o
45/ 54// to 93o 46/ 05// E) of Karbi Anglong
district of Assam (India). The clay, which is
rich in iron contaminants, is yet to be
economically utilized because of lack of
The knowledge of Zeta potential is
detailed characterization and beneficiation
very much essential in respect of mineral
process. Before we proceed further in
processing and utilization. North Eastern
discussing the zeta potential characteristics
region is endowed with various minerals like
of the iron rich Deopani kaolin, it is essential
clay, limestone, graphite, coal etc.
to recapitulate the structure of clay minerals.
Beneficiation and utility studies are pre-
requisites for meaningful utilization of these
Structure of the clay minerals
mineral resources.
Kaolin is one of the most versatile
Clay minerals belong to the
materials used in various industries. The
‘phyllosilicates’ (meaning layered silicates),
term Kaolin is used for near-white clay
having two dimensional arrays of silicon-
deposits, which are dominantly composed of
oxygen tetrahedra and two dimensional
kaolinite mineral. The oldest known use of
arrays of aluminium-oxygen-hydroxyl
the kaolin clay is as a ceramic raw material.
octahedra as the principal building elements.
Presently, the clay also finds application as a
The analogous symmetry and the almost
coating and filler pigment for paper, as a
identical dimensions in the tetrahedral and
filler for paint, rubber, insecticide,
the octahedral sheets allow the sharing of
formulation of medicine, cosmetics, etc.
oxygen atoms between these sheets. This
About 80 % of the total kaolin produced
sharing of atoms may occur between one
worldwide is used in paper industry and the
silica and one alumina sheet, as is the case in
rest 20 % in ceramics, plastics, rubber,
the 1:1 layer minerals. In the 2:1 layer
paints, insecticides, etc. Apart from these
minerals, one alumina or magnesia sheet
kaolinite minerals also find application in
shares oxygen atoms with two silica sheets,
organic reactions as catalysts. Almost all the
one on each side. The combination of an
economic deposits of kaolin are
octahedral sheet and one or two tetrahedral
contaminated by various ferrouginous and
sheet is called a layer. Several such layers
titanium-bearing minerals. Mined kaolin also

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are then stacked together face-to-face, with The charge on the first part of the double
interlayer cations, to build up the unit cells layer, i.e., the negative charge on the surface
of clay. Kaolinite is the commonest example of the clay particle remains always fixed.
of 1:1 clay minerals, whereas, smectite or The charge on the other side of the double
montmorillonite represents 1:2 clay layer, i.e., the solution side containing the
minerals. A diagrammatic sketch of the counter ions (cations in the case of clay
structures of both the kaolinite and smectite suspension) can be divided into two parts – a
layer is shown in Figure 1. fixed part of the counter ions at a distance
A schematic representation of the from the clay surface and another diffuse (or
atom arrangements in a ‘unit cell’ of the clay mobile) portion of counter ions with
minerals of the ‘kaolinite’ group having 1:1 concentration gradually falling off or rising
layer structure is shown in Figure 2. The to that prevailing in the bulk of the aqueous
‘unit cell’ of the clay minerals of the phase. This concept of composite layers is
‘smectite’ or ‘montmorillonite’ and the known as Stern’s double layer concept.
‘illite’ groups are derived from the Because of the charge distribution in the
prototypes of the structures of the 2:1 layer electrical double layer, a sharp drop of
(Figure 3) by introducing more or less potential exists from the negatively charged
random atom substitutions in the octahedral clay surface to the positively charged fixed
and/or tetrahedral sheet in the crystal part of the double layer on the aqueous
structure. phase side. It is then followed by a gradual
change in potential across the diffuse part up
Zeta potential of clay to the bulk of the solution. The total
potential drop from the solid clay surface to
If two phases of different chemical the bulk of the solution is called the double
composition are in contact, an electric layer potential (ψ). The difference in
potential difference develops between them. potential between the fixed part of the
This potential difference is accompanied by counter ions and the diffuse portion of the
a charge separation, one side of the interface double layer is termed as zeta potential (ζ).
being positively charged and the other being When clay particles are suspended in
negatively charged. When clay particles are water, the system may be considered as a
suspended in water, the exchangeable spherical condenser, with two concentric
cations of the clay would be solvated and charged plates (Figure 5). If ‘e’ is the
ionized. The OH- ions from the water would amount of the effective electrical charge on
also get adsorbed at the broken bonds of the the particle, ‘d’ is the effective distance
clay lattice. These would make the clay between the fixed positive and negative
surface negatively charged. The negatively layers, and ‘D’ is the dielectric constant of
charged surface would attract some cations the surrounding liquid (water), then the zeta
in its vicinity (Figure 4). At equilibrium, potential (ζ) of the system is given by –
therefore, an electrical double layer would
exist at the particle-liquid interface. One part
of the double layer consists of a negatively 4πed
charged layer on the surface of the clay ζ= ......................(1)
particle and the second part of the double D
layer in the aqueous phase comprises ions
with overall positive charge predominance.

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Figure 1: Diagrammatic sketch of the structure of kaolinite (A) and smectite (B)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 17

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Figure 2: Atom arrangement in the unit cell of a 1:1 layer mineral (schematic)

Figure 3: Atom arrangement in the unit cell of a 2:1 layer mineral (schematic)

The zeta potential is very important in stability, flocculation and deflocculation,

determining the properties of colloidal clay effect of cations etc. The stability of clay
suspensions, particularly the suspension suspension can be explained by DLVO
theory (developed by B. Derajaguin & L.

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Landau and independently by E. Verwey and

J. T. G. Overbeek). According to it there is a
balance between the repulsive interactions
between the charges of the electrical double
layer on neighbouring particles (Vrepulsion)
and the attractive interactions arising from
Van der Waals interactions between the
molecules in the particles (Vattraction). When
Vrepulsion > Vattraction,, the clay suspension
becomes a stable dispersion or a
deflocculated system. Whereas when
Vrepulsion < Vattraction,, because of aggregation
of particles the clay suspension becomes a
flocculated system. The repulsive
interactions between the particles are
directly related to the zeta potential (ζ) of the
system. By addition of cations or bulky
anions, the zeta potential (ζ) and thereby
the Vrepulsion of the system can be controlled,
resulting in flocculation or deflocculation of
the clay suspension. The concept of zeta
potential is applied in selective separation of Figure 4: A schematic representation of the
minerals. This concept is also utilized in structure of electrical double layer (Stern’s
processing of fine particles of various double layer)
origins like coal, graphite, clay, limestone,
chalcopyrite, hematite etc. by the technique The zeta potential (ζ) of clay depends
of ‘froth floatation’. The knowledge of zeta upon various factors like structural defects,
potential is also very much important in isomorphous substitution, cation exchange
respect of application of these materials, capacity, presence of adsorbed impurities,
e.g., clay minerals in drilling muds, coatings of other materials etc. Removal of
ceramics, paper, plastics, polymers, impurities from the clay would, therefore,
insecticide/pesticides, cosmetics etc. alter its zeta potential.
The zeta potential (ζ) of solid The zeta potential (ζ) can be
suspension is highly depended upon the determined by measuring the mobility of the
potential determining ions H+ or OH-. On fine particles in an applied electric field. The
changing the pH of the suspension the mobility of the fine particle can be converted
surface may become positive or negative due to zeta potential using Smoluchowski
to interaction with H+ or OH- ions. At a equation –
certain pH majority of surface sites of a μ E = 4πε 0ε r ζ (1 + κα ) / 6πη
material may become neutral and the zeta
potential of the material become zero. This
pH is known as a point of zero charge or where, μE is the particle mobility, εo and εr
isoelectric point (iep). Each material is are the relative dielectric constant and
characterized by its own iep. relative permittivity of vacuum respectively,
η is the fluid phase viscosity, a is the particle
radius and κ is the Debye-Huckel parameter.

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zeta potential with respect to pH, a requisite

amount of clay was suspended in distilled
water with vigorous stirring and the pH of
suspension was adjusted to ~ 6.0. The
suspension was then centrifuged (11500
rpm, 15 min, Centrifuge model R24, make
Remi, India) and the clear supernatant
decanted off. The process of addition of
distilled water, stirring, centrifugation and
decantation of the clear supernatant were
continued till all the soluble matter content
was washed off as indicated by the pH and
Figure 5. Distribution of charges and the conductivity of the supernatant (supernatant
electrical double layer on a colloidal particle pH and conductivity at this point was very
of clay suspended in water near to that of the used distilled water).
Before zeta potential measurement the clay
Zeta potential analyses suspension was ultrasonicated for about 3
min at 35 kHz with a sonicator (Julabo USR
The zeta potentials of the various 3, Germany). The zeta potential of the clay
clay fractions of Deopani kaolin were particles in the suspension was measured at
evaluated with the help of Zetasizer 3000 HS room temperature conditions (30 ± 2 oC).
attached with autotitrator MPT 1 (Malvern
Instruments, UK). The zeta potential was Zeta potential of some fractions of Deopani
measured by the technique of clay
electrophoresis. The technique of
electrophoresis involves measurement of the The ζ potentials of some oxalic acid
movement of particles when they are placed leached fractions along with as such – 53 μm
in an electric field. This method gives the fraction clay, its – 4 μm fraction,
value of mobility of particles which is nonmagnetic and magnetic portions as
related to the zeta potential. determined by the method of single point
For some samples, zeta potential was zeta potential determination are shown in
determined by single point zeta potential Table 1. The Fe2O3 and TiO2 contents of the
determination, which gives the zeta potential samples and the pH of the suspensions (6.0 ±
value of a material at a particular condition 0.3) used for ζ potential measurement are
of pH, ionic concentration etc. In case of also indicated.
few samples, the variation of zeta potential The magnetic portion, separated from
with respect to pH was evaluated by using the as such – 53 μm fraction clay by Wet
the auto titrator attached with the zeta High Intensity Magnetic Separator
potential analyzer. (WHIMS) treatment, contains high amount
For the single point zeta potential of iron and titanium bearing minerals. XRD
determination, the samples after investigation showed that the crude clay
fractionation or separation by various contains siderite as the major iron bearing
physico-chemical methods were utilized. All mineral with goethite/hematite and pyrite as
the samples used for single point zeta the other iron bearing mineral and ilmenite
potential determination washed and are as the titaniferrous mineral. The XRD
prepared under similar conditions and are pattern also indicated that the magnetic
comparable. For evaluation of variation of portion contains siderite and ilmenite as the

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major iron and titanium bearing minerals. Figures 6 shows the variation of zeta
The SEM-EDXA investigation showed that potential with pH in oxalic acid leached
apart from being present as discrete (Fe2O3: Oxalic acid mol ratio = 1.0:1.0) fine
particles, the iron and titanium bearing (- 4 μm) and medium (- 10 μm + 4 μm)
minerals are also present as coatings of the fractions of the clay. The samples used for
clay particles. It is very much possible that this experiment were prepared under similar
these naturally occurring iron and titanium conditions and were washed completely free
bearing minerals have structural defects and of all soluble matters. The trend line of the
structural & adsorbed anionic impurities. zeta potential was drawn by using a
Due to this, the isoelectric points (iep) of polynomial equation of 3rd degree chosen
these minerals are possibly shifted to low pH automatically by the software used
values. The ζ potential value of the magnetic (Microsoft Excel 2002 version
portion, containing high amount of iron and 10.2614.2625). The correlation factors (R2)
titanium, is found to be highly negative (- shown on the graph indicate that the trend of
36.7 mV) at the pH of measurement. The ζ potential is well fitted with the
lower iron and titanium content of the experimental points.
nonmagnetic portion than the as such – 53 Clay particles when suspended in
μm fraction clay indicate that the water develop two types of charges, negative
nonmagnetic portion obtained after removal charges on its surfaces and positive charges
of the magnetic portion is partially free from on its edges. Various factors like isomorphic
the iron and titanium bearing minerals. The ζ substitution in clay crystal lattice, hydration
potential value of the nonmagnetic portion, and dissociation of the exchangeable cations,
therefore, decreases from that of the – 53 μm splitting of clay crystals / particles,
fraction clay due to removal of the iron and heterogeneous splitting of the – Si – O – Al
titanium bearing minerals having high – O - bonds etc. are responsible for this.
negative ζ potential value. However, the effective charges on clay
Although the iron content of the fine particles are always negative because the
fraction separated from the untreated – 53 amount of negative charges developed due
μm fraction clay decreases, the titanium to isomorphic substitution in octahedral sites
content increases, possibly due to the of clay crystal lattice is always higher than
accumulation of titanium bearing minerals in the amount of positive charges developed
the finer fraction. The ζ potential value of due to other reasons. Consequently, the clay
the untreated fine fraction is found to be particles always show negative ζ potential
higher than that of the – 53 μm fraction clay. value. For a particular system of clay
On leaching with oxalic acid, the iron suspension, the D of the suspension medium
and titanium content of the fine fraction (in this case water) is constant and the ζ
decreases with increase in acid potential value depends on e and d (cf.
concentration. The removal of the iron and equation 1).
titanium bearing minerals, therefore, results At acidic pH range (pH < 7.0), the
in the decrease of the ζ potential value of the clay particles will adsorb H+ ions at the
fine fraction with increasing oxalic acid negatively charged sites resulting in decrease
concentration. in the e. The exchangeable cations will also
The iron content of the three oxalic be replaced by the H+ ions. The size of the
acid leached fractions increases in the order: H+ ions and its hydration sphere is small.
fine < medium < coarse. Consequently, the ζ The e/r ratio (e = charge on the hydrated
potential value of these fractions increases in ionic sphere and r = radius of the hydrated
the order: fine < medium < coarse. ion) of the H+ ions is high. As a result the

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attraction between the negatively and adsorptions of OH- ions are taking place and
positively charged layers of the electrical all adsorption sites are saturated.
double layer of the clay particle in
suspension increases. The thickness of the
electrical double layer (d) of H+ exchanged 10
clay particle, therefore, reduces resulting in pH

decreased ζ potential at acidic pH range. 0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
At alkaline pH range (pH > 7.0), the -10
clay particle adsorbs OH- ions at the

Zeta potential (mV)

Oxalic acid leached fine fraction
positively charged sites (edges). The -20 Oxalic acid leached medium fraction

effective surface charge density (e) of the -30

clay particles consequently increases. The
OH- ions are also adsorbed on the surfaces -40

of the clay particles and as there size is very -50 R2 = 0.9938

big (e/r ratio low), the thickness of the

electrical double layer (d) of the clay -60
R2 = 0.9819

particles increases in presence of OH- ions.

The ζ potential value of the clay particles,
therefore, increases at alkaline pH range. Figure 6: Influence of pH on the zeta
Figure 6 show that the clay particles potential (ζ) of oxalic acid leached fine (- 4
have negative ζ potential value throughout μm) and medium (- 10 μm + 4 μm)
the entire pH range of measurement (2 to fractions.
10). The iso electric point (iep), i.e., the
point of zero charge was never attained and
it may be below pH 2.0. At all pH level, the Conclusion
ζ potential value of the oxalic acid leached
finer fraction (- 4 μm) having lower Fe2O3 The ξ potential of the iron and titanium
content (0.95 %) is lower than that of the bearing magnetic materials present as
oxalic acid leached medium fraction (- 10 contaminants in Deopani clay is highly
μm + 4 μm) having higher Fe2O3 content negative. Removal of these materials from
(1.30 %). The trend of variation of the ζ the clay either by oxalic acid leaching or by
potential with pH in both the fraction is WHIMS treatment decreases the ξ potential
similar. In the acidic range (pH < 7.0), with of the clay. The kaolinite fraction, as
decrease in pH (increasing H+ ion expected, showed negative ξ potential. The
concentration), the ζ potential value removal of the iron and titanium bearing
decreases due to progressive decrease in e minerals with increasing oxalic acid
(effective surface charge density) and d concentration results in the decrease of the ξ
(thickness of electrical double layer). In the potential value of the fine fraction. The iron
alkaline range (pH > 7.0), with the increase content of the three oxalic acid leached
in pH (increasing OH- ion concentration), fractions increases in the order: fine <
the ζ potential value increases due to medium <coarse. Consequently, the ξ
progressive increase in e (effective surface potential value of these fractions increases in
charge density) and d (thickness of electrical the order: fine < medium < coarse. The ξ
double layer). The ζ potential value, in both
the cases, attains a constant value at a pH of
about 9.08, indicating that no further

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Table 1. Zeta potential values (ξ ) of the oxalic acid leached fraction of Deopani clay

Sl. Clay sample Fe2O3: Oxalic Fe2O3 TiO2 Suspension pH ζ (mV)

no. acid (M) content content
(%) (%)

1 As such – 53 μm clay 0.0:0.0 2.86 0.90 5.8 - 27.8

2 Nonmagnetic portion of as 0.0:0.0 1.10 0.70 5.7 - 21.7

such clay

3 Magnetic portion of as such 0.0:0.0 20.94 8.13 6.3 - 36.7


4 Fine fraction of the as such 0.0:0.0 2.17 1.01 6.2 - 29.9

untreated clay

5 Fine fraction of the oxalic 1.0:0.2 1.17 0.66 6.2 - 25.7

acid treated clay

6 - do - 1.0:1.0 0.95 0.51 5.9 - 22.7

7 Medium fraction of the 1.0:1.0 1.30 - 6.3 - 25.9

oxalic acid treated clay

8 Coarse fraction of the oxalic 1.0:1.0 2.09 - 6.2 - 29.9

acid treated clay

Coarse: – 53 μm + 10 μm, Medium: – 10 μm + 4 μm, Fine: – 4 μm.; Shearing rate: high ~ 14000 rpm;
Shearing time: 12 hours; Leaching temperature: room temperature (28 ± 4 oC).

potential value of the medium and fine 2. Veglio, F., Pagliarini, A. and Toro, L.,
fractions increases with increase in pH of the 1993. Factorial experiments for the
suspension due to adsorption of OH- ions development of a kaolin bleaching
and attains a constant value (– 58.5 and - process. Int. J. of Miner. Process., 39, pp
53.9 mV respectively) at a pH of about 9.08, 87-99.
indicating that no further adsorptions of OH- 3. Bhatt, J. V., 1998. Opportunities for
ions takes place and all adsorption sites are value added china clay projects in
saturated beyond this pH. The iso electric Gujarat. Report of Industrial Extension
point (iep) of the clay fractions possibly lies Bureau, Govt. of Gujarat, Ahmedabad,
below pH 2.0 and could not be determined. India. pp 27-32.
References and further readings 4. Theng, B. K. G., 1974. Chemistry of clay
organic reactions. John Wiley & Sons,
1. Searle, A. B. and Grimshaw, R. W., New York. pp 1-3, 198-206, 261-291.
1960. The Chemistry and Physics of 5. Tsimus, S. G., Komiotou, M. A.,
Clays and Other Ceramic Materials. 3rd Moutsatson, A. K. and Parrisakis, G. K.,
ed., Ernest Benn Limited, London, pp 1995. Reducing the iron content of
100-104, 126-143, 273, 280, 292-293, kaolin from Milos, Greece, by a
436. hydrometullurgical process. Trans. Inst.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 23

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Min. Metall. (Sect. C: min. Process. aqueous hydroxo complex systems.

Extr. Metal.), 104, May-August 1995, pp Chem. Rev., 65, pp 177-198.
C110-C114. 16. Kosmulski, M., 2004. pH-dependent
6. Styriakova, I., Styriak, I., Nandakumar, surface charging and points of zero
M. P. and Mattiasson, B., 2003. Bacterial charge II. Update. J. of Colloid and
destruction of mica during bioleaching of Interface Science. 275, pp 214-224.
kaolin and quartz sands by Bacillus 17. Hunter, R. J., 1986. 2nd printing. Zeta
cereus. World J. of Microbiology & Potential in Colloid: Principles and
Biotechnology, 19, pp 583-590. Applications. Academic Press, London,
7. Styriakova, I., Styriak, I., Malachovsky, ch. 3, p 69.
P. and Lovas, M., 2006. Biological,
chemical and electromagnetic treatment
Short biography of the author:
of three types of feldspar raw materials,
Mr. Pinaki Sengupta is presently Scientist
Miner. Eng., 19, pp 348-354.
F and is the Head of the Materials
8. Worrall, W. E., 1982. Ceramic raw
Science Division, North-East Institute of
materials, 2nd rev. ed., Institute of
Ceramics Textbook Series, Pergamon Science and Technology, Jorhat 785 006,
Press Ltd., Oxford, pp 5, 14-17, 26-33, Assam. He has 26 years R & D experience
62. in the areas of oil field chemicals and
9. Grim, R. E., 1968. Clay mineralogy, 2nd materials, ores and minerals, building
ed., International Series in the Earth and materials, environmental issues related to
Planetary Sciences, McGraw-Hill Book oil fields; Completed several projects for
Company, New York, pp18-30, 51-52, OIL Duliajan, ONGCL, CMPDIL Ranchi,
57-79. Min. of Mines, Min. of Environment &
10. Van Olphen, H., 1977. An introduction Forests etc. Mr. Sengupta is members of
to clay colloid chemistry, John Wiley & various societies like Indian Institute of
Sons, New York, pp 57-70. Mineral Engineers, Society of Petroleum
11. Rakshit, P. C., 1973. Physical Chemistry. Engineers (USA), Indian Science
3rd ed., Science book Agency, Calcutta, Congress, Assam Science Society, Bureau
pp 622-624. of Indian Standard: Specification
12. Castellan, G. W., 1994. Physical Committee for Burnt Clay Products, CED
Chemistry. 3rd ed. (14th reprint), Narosa 30. In 1990-1991 he visited and
publishing House, New Delhi, pp 432- conducted research in Institute of Deep
438 Drilling Technology, Technical Unversity
13. Atkins, P. and Paula, J. de, 2006. Atkin’s Clausthal, Germany.
Physical Chemistry. 1st Indian ed., ---------------------000---------------------
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp
682-685. Albert Einstein
14. Kosmulski, M., 2001. Chemical
Properties of Material Surfaces. Marcel “An empty stomach is not a
Dekker, New York. good political adviser.”
15. Parks, G. A., 1965. The isoelectric poins
of solid oxides, solid hydroxides, and ---------------------000---------------------

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 24

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Article section

Green Clean: A Hope Phytoremediation is a wide concept

that involves several ways to clean up
contamination by plants, such as-
► Phytovolatilization, where plants take
up water and organic contaminants
through the roots, transport them to the
leaves and release the contaminants as a
reduced form of detoxified vapor into the
► Microorganism stimulation, where
Ms. Nabanita Bhattacharyya organic substances and enzymes exerted
by the plant roots stimulate the growth of
some fungi and bacteria in their root
Biology in modified form of
zone and those microbes in turn
Biotechnology is one of the most important
metabolize the organic contaminants.
scientific and technological revolutions of
► Phytostabilization, where plants prevent
the last century and has greatly benefited
contaminants to migrate laterally by
various aspects of human life. The potentials
reducing run off, surface erosion, and
are enormous and many breakthroughs have
ground water flow rates.
already been achieved in the area of
► Phytoaccumulation or
healthcare, food, agriculture products,
Phytoextraction, where plant roots take
environmental pollution etc. The
up metals from contaminated sites and
developments in this important area provide
accumulate them in aerial parts like
immediate benefits to mankind and offer
leaves and stems.
environmental friendly technologies for
► Phytodegradation, where plants absorb
sustainable development. And now, it is time
organic contaminants and break down
for ‘biological cleaning’ popularly known as
(metabolize) them into non-toxic
‘green clean’ and scientifically termed as
molecules by biochemical processes
‘phytoremediation’- defined by a novel
within the plant body.
strategy for the removal of toxic inorganic or
Currently phytoremediation
organic contaminants from the environment
technology is being used to clear off various
by plants. Like all other biological solutions
polluting elements such as heavy metals,
of ever increasing global problems, the
insecticides, petro-products, explosives,
concept of phytoremediation or green clean
chlorinated solvents and industrial by-
is also cost effective and user friendly
products. The major advantage of
alternative to traditional remediation
phytoremediation technology is the low cost
methods. In fact, this is an old process that
and ease of implementation and maintenance
occurs naturally in ecosystems as both
compared to other treatment methods. For
inorganic and organic constituents of soil
example, the cost of cleaning up one acre of
and water cycle through plants. However,
sandy loam soil at a depth of 50 cm with
men could realize it in the middle of the 20th
plants estimated at $60,000-$100,000
century when some Italian researchers first
compared to $400,000 for the conventional
reported nickel hyper accumulation in the
excavation and disposal method. Besides, it
Italian serpentine plant Alyssum bertolonii.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 25

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

is an aesthetically pleasing mechanism to the plants. Recently, Richard Meagher at the

public, which can be implemented in situ as University of Georgia (Athens) by inserting
well as ex situ conditions. an altered mercury ion reductase gene (mer
Major disadvantage of this A) into Arabidopsis thaliana, produced
mechanism is the slower rate of clean up mercury resistant transgenic mer A plants
than conventional methods, which poses a which are soon to be tested in soil. Results to
great challenge in the market place. This date suggest that the cost of
challenge should be faced jointly by phytoremediation of mercury contaminated
scientists, environmental engineers and soils will be one-tenth to one-hundredth the
regulators to prove the technology’s efficacy cost of other traditional engineering
at pilot sites. methods, including land filling, thermal
Another major concern with treatments and chemical extraction (Rai et
phytoremediation is the possible effects on al, 1999). During the 1980s, the US
the food chain as vegetation used to absorb Government initiated a large program for the
the toxic elements accumulate toxins and are development of environmental clean up
eaten by the moles or voles, which in turn technologies (The Comprehensive
are eaten by the predators. Hence, there may Environmental Response, Compensation and
be a continuous chain of victims of Liability Act or Superfund), which has
intoxication that may lead to a threat like accelerated the growth of a new productive
biological magnification. More field work research field worldwide. As a result,
and analysis is necessary to understand such researchers have come to learn that the
dangerous effects of phytoremediation and development of phytoremediation
this may prove as a major research area in technologies requires a thorough
near future. understanding of the underlying processes at
Despite certain short comings, many the genetic, molecular, biochemical,
forms of phytoremediations have emerged physiological and agronomic levels (Kramer,
from the laboratories and are currently in 2005).
practice and public acceptance is very By employing the phytoremediation
encouraging. For instance, this strategy has technologies as part of living culture,
already been successfully implemented by ecological systems, we can bring our
the US Air Force to clean trichloroethylene understanding and appreciation of green
from ground water using poplar trees and by clean into sharper focus for increased
the US Army to clean 2,4,6-trinitrotolune societal benefits.
(TNT) and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-
triazine (RDX) from contaminated wetlands References:
using variety of plants. In India, aquatic 1. Rai UN and Pal A (1999). Toxic metal
vascular plants like Hydrilla verticillata, and phytoremediation; Archives of
Spirodela polyrrhiza, Bacopa monnierii, Enviro News (Newsletters of
Phragmites karka and Scirpus lacustris have International Society of Environmental
been used to treat chromium contaminated Botanists, India): Vol. 5, No. 4.
effluent and sludge from leather tanning 2. Kramer U (2005). Phytoremediation:
industries. novel approaches to cleaning up polluted
Two routs are currently being soils. Current Opinion in Biotechnology,
explored to improve the efficiency of 16: 133-141.
contaminant accumulating plants: genetic
engineering and the selective breeding of
naturally occurring hyper-accumulator

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 26

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

About the Author: involved in biochemical processes and

Ms N. Bhattacharyya has received her biofunctions in vital systems. The need to
B.Sc. from Nalbari College and M.Sc. in develop new PET tracers has grown with the
increase in use of this technique in
Botany (Advanced Plant Physiology and
biochemistry, medicine, and drug
Biochemistry) from Gauhati University, development.
Assam in 2000. After her M.Sc., she had
joined in the Department of Principle
Biotechnology, Gauhati University to
pursue her Ph.D under the guidance of The principle of PET imaging using
Prof. S. Sarma. Later, she has joined as a C as a representative radionuclide is
Lecturer in the Department of Botany, illustrated in Fig. 1. 11C undergoes β+ decay
Nowgong College, Assam. Her current with a half-life of 20.3 min as a result of
conversion of a proton into a neutron and an
research interests include Plant
emitted positron (e+), yielding 11B as the
Physiology, Biochemistry and stable nuclide. The positron ejected by this
Environmental Biotechnology. process has a range of a few millimeters in
tissue and is annihilated by collision with an
---------------------000--------------------- electron, producing two high energy γ-ray
photons of 511 keV each. These photons
Positron Emission Tomography
travel in opposite directions, penetrating the
body, and can be detected by a pair of
opposing scintillation detectors. If two
opposite detectors are hit simultaneously, it
is assumed that the photons come from the
same decay event. The data are fed to a
computer that reconstructs the spatial
distribution of the decay events produced.
The fate of a 11C-incorporated compound
can be imaged quantitatively with high
sensitivity and high spatial resolution. The
Dr. Diganta Sarma other commonly used positron-emitting radionuclides for PET studies are 13N, 15O,
and 18F, which have half-lives of 9.96, 2.07,
Introduction and 109.7 min, respectively. Because of the
really high specific radioactivity of positron-
Positron emission tomography (PET) emitter labeled compounds, PET enables in
is a particularly powerful non-invasive vivo imaging at extremely small mass of the
method for molecular imaging in living compound (sub-femtomol) and at extremely
systems, including the brain, the heart, and low concentrations (sub-picomolar), far
other active tissues and organs. A positron below the critical concentration of
emitting radionuclide is incorporated into a pharmacological effects.
PET tracer as an efficient molecular probe to
monitor the dynamic behavior of the Problems in synthesizing PET tracers
corresponding non-radioactive compound, as
well as to localize its target molecules The short life (several minutes to
hours) of positron emitting radionuclides

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makes PET imaging safer than X-ray organic framework; work-up and
examination in terms of radiation exposure. chromatographic purification of the tracer;
This is in marked contrast to commonly used and, administration of the tracer to humans.
long lived radionuclides, including 3H Thus, the time allowed for tracer synthesis
(tritium) and 14C, with half-lives of 12.3 and should be only about 5–10 min, necessitating
5730 years, respectively, which cannot be a rapid chemical reaction. Another difficulty
used in humans. However, the short-life of encountered in PET-tracer synthesis is the
positron emitting radionuclides places a availability of tiny amounts of precursor,
temporal restriction on the preparation of requiring the use of an extremely dilute
PET tracers. In general, the total time solution (of the order of pM–µM) of the
allowed for PET-tracer synthesis, including reaction mixture, much lower than those
purification should be within two-to-three used in normal organic reactions mM–M. In
half-lives of the corresponding radionuclide addition, the efficient purification of a small
(e.g., the synthesis of a 11C-labeled tracer amount of synthesized tracer from large
should be accomplished within 40–60 min). amounts of remaining precursors must also
This should include: derivatization of the be considered. These severe demands on
radionuclide produced by the synchrotron as PET-tracer synthesis have limited 11CH3
an appropriate precursor, such as 11CH3I, incorporation to N- and O-methylations.
CO, or 11CO2; incorporation of 11C into an

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Common Uses Thermo Responsive Magnetic

Nanoparticles and their Applications
PET scans are performed to (1)
detect cancer (2) determine the how much a
cancer has spread in the body (3) assess the
effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as
cancer therapy (3) determine if a cancer has
returned after treatment (4) determine blood
flow to the heart muscle (5) determine the
effects of a heart attack, or myocardial
infarction, on areas of the heart (6) identify
areas of the heart muscle that would benefit
from a procedure such as angioplasty or Dr. Smriti R. Deka
coronary artery bypass surgery (in
combination with a myocardial perfusion
scan) (7) evaluate brain abnormalities, such
as tumors, memory disorders and seizures Introduction
and other central nervous system disorders
and (8) to map normal human brain and Magnetic materials are key component
heart function. in modern technology, with applications
Future Perspectives ranging from data storage to magnetic
resonance contrast agents. The unique size
PET imaging has seen truly exciting dependent properties of magnetic
advances in recent years. Not only can nanoparticles lead to a growing interest in
technological advances create new and better nanostructural magnetic materials,
ways to extract information about our composites and dispersions. Colloidal
bodies, but they also offer the promise of magnetic dispersions, known as magnetic
making some existing imaging tools more fluids or ferrofluids, usually contain
convenient and economical. magnetic particles in the range from 10-20
nm. They behave as liquids whose physical
properties and flow behaviours can be
About the author: controlled by external magnetic field. The
Diganta Sarma was born and brought up in particles in ferrofluids are coated with layers
Naharani of Golaghat District, Assam. of surfactants to enable stabilization against
After completing his M.Sc. degree (2000) gravitation force and to avoid strong
from the Department of Chemistry, interaction and agglomeration of the
Gauhati University, he moved to National particles. The magnetic heatability of the
Chemical Laboratory, Pune to pursue his particles is an additional feature; the ability
of ferrofluid to convert magnetic energy into
Ph.D. degree. Currently, he is working as a
post doctoral research fellow (JSPS) in
Magnetic fluids are of high interest for
the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, basic research as well as for various
Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Kyoto, applications. Novel properties of ferrofluid
Japan. suitable for biological applications, such as
solubility in physiological fluids and
---------------------000--------------------- biocompatibility are important.

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In current research, much respect is Synthesis of Magnetic Colloids with

paid to the combination of such particles thermoresponsive polymers
with stimuli responsive polymers to benefit
from their materials properties or the There are different methods for
presence of functional group along the synthesis of magnetic core-shell polymer
polymer chain to receive organic-inorganic nanoparticles coated with stimuli responsive
nanocomposits. Stimuli-responsive materials polymers. But a straightforward strategy for
show a sharp change in properties upon a the synthesis of polymer-coated inorganic
small or minor change in environmental nanoparticles is the grafting from approach
condition, e.g. temperature, light, salt or so called surface initiated polymerization.
concentration, electric and magnetic field or Surface-initiated polymerization is a
pH. Thus, combining the stimuli-responsive relatively new pathway for the preparation
“smart” behaviour with the properties of of functional coatings, which can be
magnetic nanoparticles is an effective achieved by different method, such as
approach to fabricate a drug carrier. ¾ Living ring opening polymerization
Thermoresponsive magnetic colloids are ¾ Living anionic polymerization
characterized by a coupled ¾ Living cationic polymerization
magnetoresponsive and thermoresponsive ¾ Ring opening metathesis
behaviour by the combination of magnetic polymerization (ROMP)
nanoparticles with a suitable polymer ¾ Nitroxide-mediated radical
system. polymerization (NMRP)
¾ Reversible addition-fragmentation
What are Thermo-responsive polymers? chain transfer (RAFT)
Temperature-responsive polymers and ¾ Atom transfer radical polymerization
hydrogels exhibit a volume phase transition (ATRP)
at a certain temperature; this causes a sudden
change in the solvation state. Polymers, But the most popular strategy is the
which become insoluble upon heating, have ATRP due to tolerance to a wide range of
a so-called lower critical solution monomers, flexible experimental conditions,
temperature (LCST). Systems, which etc. The technique is based on the growth of
become soluble upon heating, have an upper polymer molecules at the surface of a
critical solution temperature (UCST). substrate in situ from surface-bound
Poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) is one of the initiators and results in a irreversibly
most important thermo-responsive polymer. attached, covalently bound polymeric shell.
It has a lower critical solution temperature Consequently, covalently anchored end-
(LCST) of 32 0C in water. It collapses and tethered polymeric chains with a high
shrinks above LCST and swells and expands grafting density on the particle surface are
below the LCST. Due to its well-defined and formed. The approach offers the opportunity
reversible low critical solubility temperature to form single-cored core-shell
PNIPAM has long been investigated as a nanoparticles. A high potential for
versatile tool in biology. Water-based applications of magnetic fluids based on iron
thermoresponsive microgels show a high oxides is promised in the biomedical field.
application potential for controlled drug The general scheme for synthesis of
delivery. PNIPAM copolymers have been magnetic polymer brush particle is shown in
mainly studied for the oral delivery of scheme-1. First step consists of synthesis of
calcitonin and insulin. magnetic nano particles by co-precipitation,

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Thus the combination of magnetic

nanoparticles with thermoresponsive
polymer systems leads to the formation of
Scheme-1 hybrid particle dispersions or composites
with a variety of interesting properties and
in the second step the surface of the particle perspectives, including instant
can be modified by different functional dispensability, thermoreversible formation
group such as carboxyl group and finally of magnetic fluids, and novel
magnetic core polymer brushes synthesized magnetoresponsive properties. Special
by polymerization with a thermoresponsive interest is gained by the magnetic heatability
monomer. of magnetic particles that allows the
By the combination of activation of thermal effects by the
superparamagnetic nanoparticles with application of a high-frequency
thermoresponsive polymers, the hybrid electromagnetic field. The concept of
materials show the typical response of the magnetic targeting is to inject magnetic
particles to magnetic fields and the nanoparticles to which drug molecules are
temperature responsive properties (Fig: 1) of attached, to guide these particles to a chosen
the polymer are maintained and can be used site under the localized magnetic field
to manipulate the material properties by gradients, hold them there until the therapy
conventional heating. On the other hand, is complete, and then to remove them. The
temperature responsive properties of the magnetic drug carriers have the potential to
polymer are maintained and can be used to carry a large dose of drug to achieve high
manipulate the material properties by local concentration, and avoid toxicity and
conventional heating. other adverse side effects arising from high
drug doses in other parts of the organism.
Another interesting application of
magnetic nanoparticles is in hyperthermia
treatment which is considered as a
supplementary treatment to chemotherapy,
radiotherapy, and surgery in cancer therapy.
The idea of using magnetic induction
hyperthermia is based on the fact that when
magnetic nanoparticles are exposed to a
varying magnetic field, heat is generated by
the magnetic hysteresis loss. Thus, when a
magnetic fluid is exposed to an alternating
magnetic field the particles become powerful
Figure 1. Schematic behaviour of polymer heat sources, destroying tumor cells since
brush particles in thermoreversible magnetic these cells are more sensitive to
fluids a) temperature dependent behaviour, temperatures. The amount of heat generated
b) the particles precipitates below critical by magnetic nanoparticles depends strongly
temperature and particle dispersion is on the structural properties of the particles
formed above critical temperature under the (e.g., size, shape) and should be as high as
influence of an external magnet. possible to reduce the dose to a minimum
level. Such magnetic nanoparticles can also

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be very useful to assist an effective transcription of specific genes. Small

separation of catalysts, nuclear waste, interfering RNA strands (siRNA) are key to
biochemical products etc. the RNAi process, and have complementary
nucleotide sequences to the targeted RNA
Summary strand. Specific RNAi pathway proteins are
Stimuli-responsive polymers offer guided by the siRNA to the targeted
great advantages in drug delivery. Instead of messenger RNA (mRNA), where they
acting passively as pure drug carriers, they "cleave" the target, breaking it down into
will interact and respond to the smaller portions that can no longer be
environmental settings. This allows us to translated into protein. A type of RNA
aim further for tailor-made drug delivery transcribed from the genome itself,
with superior pharmacokinenetics while microRNA (miRNA), works in the same
having all safely questioned addressed. way.
The RNAi pathway is initiated by the
About the Author: enzyme dicer, which cleaves long, dsRNA
Dr. Smriti Rekha (Baruah) Deka hails molecules into short fragments of 20-25 base
from Jorhat, Assam. She received her B.
pairs. One of the two strands of each
fragment, known as the guide strand, is then
Sc. degree from J. B. College, Jorhat and
incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing
M. Sc. degree from the department of complex (RISC) and pairs with
Chemistry, Gauhati University, Guwahati. complementary sequences. The well-studied
She carried out her Ph. D. research in the outcome of this recognition event is post-
same department and obtained her transcriptional gene silencing. This occurs
doctorate degree in 2007. Currently she when the guide strand specifically pairs with
is a postdoc fellow at the National a mRNA molecule and induces the
Nanotechnology Laboratory of CNR- degradation by argonaute, the catalytic
INFM-ISUFI, University of Lecce, Italy.
component of the RISC complex. Another
outcome is epigenetic changes to a gene-
histone modification and DNA methylation-
affecting the degree the gene is transcribed.
The selective and robust effect of
RNA interference(RNAi)
RNAi on gene expression makes it a
valuable research tool, both in cell culture
and in living organisms because synthetic
dsRNA introduced into cells can induce
suppression of specific genes of interest.
RNAi may also be used for large-scale
screens that systematically shut down each
gene in the cell, which can help identify the
components necessary for a particular
cellular process or an event such as cell
Mr. Khirud Gogoi division. Exploitation of the pathway is also a promising tool in biotechnology and
medicine. In 2006, Andrew Fire and Craig
RNA interference (RNAi) is a C. Mello shared the Nobel Prize in
mechanism that inhibits gene expression at Physiology or Medicine for their work on
the stage of translation or by hindering the

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RNA interference in the nematode worm C. carrying only short, non-coding regions of
elegans, which they published in 1998. viral RNA sequences would show similar
levels of protection. Researchers believed
History and discovery that viral RNA produced by transgenes
could also inhibit viral replication. The
The discovery of RNAi was preceded reverse experiment, in which short
first by observations of transcriptional sequences of plant genes were introduced
inhibition by antisense RNA expressed in into viruses, showed that the targeted gene
transgenic plants, and more directly by was suppressed in an infected plant. This
reports of unexpected outcomes in phenomenon was labeled "virus-induced
experiments performed by plant scientists in gene silencing" (VIGS), and the set of such
the U.S. and the Netherlands in the early phenomena were collectively called post
1990s. In an attempt to alter flower colors in transcriptional gene silencing.
petunias, researchers introduced additional After these initial observations in
copies of a gene encoding chalcone plants, many laboratories around the world
synthase, a key enzyme for flower searched for the occurrence of this
pigmentation into petunia plants of normally phenomenon in other organisms. Craig C.
pink or violet flower color. The Mello and Andrew Fire's 1998 Nature paper
overexpressed gene was expected to result in reported a potent gene silencing effect after
darker flowers, but instead produced less injecting double stranded RNA into C.
pigmented, fully or partially white flowers, elegans. In investigating the regulation of
indicating that the activity of chalcone muscle protein production, they observed
synthase had been substantially decreased; in that neither mRNA nor antisense RNA
fact, both the endogenous genes and the injections had an effect on protein
transgenes were downregulated in the white production, but double-stranded RNA
flowers (Fig.1). successfully silenced the targeted gene (Fig.
2). As a result of this work, they coined the
term RNAi. Fire and Mello's discovery was

Figure 1. Petunia plants in which genes for

pigmentation are silenced by RNAi. The left
plant is wild-type; the right plants contain
transgenes that induce suppression of both
transgene and endogenous gene expression,
giving rise to the unpigmented white areas of the
flower. Figure 2. Phenotypic effect after injection of
Not long after, plant virologists single-stranded or double-stranded UNC-22
working on improving plant resistance to RNA into the gonad of C. ELEGANS. The
UNC-22 gene encodes a myofilament protein.
viral diseases observed a similar unexpected
Decrease in UNC-22 activity is known to
phenomenon. While it was known that plants produce severe twitching movements. Injected
expressing virus-specific proteins showed double-stranded RNA, but not single-stranded
enhanced tolerance or resistance to viral RNA, induced the twitching phenotype in the
infection, it was not expected that plants progeny.

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particularly notable because it represented the effects of this decrease can show the
the first identification of the causative agent physiological role of the gene product. Since
for the phenomenon. Fire and Mello were
awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or
Medicine in 2006 for their work.

Cellular mechanism

RNAi is an RNA-dependent gene

silencing process that is controlled by the
RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) and
is initiated by short double-stranded RNA
molecules in a cell's cytoplasm, where they
interact with the catalytic RISC component
argonaute. When the dsRNA is exogenous
(coming from infection by a virus with an
RNA genome or laboratory manipulations),
the RNA is imported directly into the
cytoplasm and cleaved to short fragments by
the enzyme dicer. The initiating dsRNA can
also be endogenous (originating in the cell),
as in pre-microRNAs expressed from RNA-
coding genes in the genome. The primary
transcripts from such genes are first
processed to form the characteristic stem-
loop structure of pre-miRNA in the nucleus,
then exported to the cytoplasm to be cleaved
Figure 3. The RNA interference process and the
by dicer (Fig. 3). Thus the two pathways for
biochemical machinery involved. Double-
exogenous and endogenous dsRNA stranded RNA is cut into short pieces (siRNA)
converge at the RISC complex, which by the endonuclease Dicer. The antisense strand
mediates gene silencing effects. is loaded into the RISC complex and links the
complex to the mRNA strand by base-pairing.
Technological applications of RNAi The RISC complex cuts the mRNA strand, and
Gene knockdown the mRNA is subsequently degraded.

The RNA interference pathway is RNAi may not totally abolish expression of
often exploited in experimental biology to the gene, this technique is sometimes
study the function of genes in cell culture referred as a "knockdown", to distinguish it
and in vivo in model organisms. Double- from "knockout" procedures in which
stranded RNA is synthesized with a expression of a gene is entirely eliminated.
sequence complementary to a gene of Most functional genomics applications of
interest and introduced into a cell or RNAi in animals have used C. elegans (Fig.
organism, where it is recognized as 2) and Drosophila (Fig. 4), as these are the
exogenous genetic material and activates the common model organisms in which RNAi is
RNAi pathway. Using this mechanism, most effective. C. elegans is particularly
researchers can cause a drastic decrease in useful for RNAi research for two reasons:
the expression of a targeted gene. Studying firstly, the effects of the gene silencing are

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generally heritable, and secondly because development of a safe delivery method,

delivery of the dsRNA is extremely simple. which to date has involved mainly viral
vector systems similar to those suggested for
gene therapy.

RNA interference has been used for
applications in biotechnology, particularly in
the engineering of food plants that produce
lower levels of natural plant toxins. Such
techniques take advantage of the stable and
heritable RNAi phenotype in plant stocks.
For example, cotton seeds are rich in dietary
Figure 4. A normal adult Drosophila fly, a protein but naturally contain the toxic
common model organism used in RNAi terpenoid product gossypol, making them
unsuitable for human consumption. RNAi
Medicine has been used to produce cotton stocks
It may be possible to exploit RNA whose seeds contain reduced levels of delta-
interference in therapy. Although it is cadinene synthase, a key enzyme in gossypol
difficult to introduce long dsRNA strands production, without affecting the enzyme's
into mammalian cells due to the interferon production in other parts of the plant, where
response, the use of short interfering RNA gossypol is important in preventing damage
mimics has been more successful. Among from plant pests. Similar efforts have been
the first applications to reach clinical trials directed toward the reduction of the
were in the treatment of macular cyanogenic natural product linamarin in
degeneration and respiratory syncytial virus, cassava plants.
RNAi has also been shown to be effective in
the reversal of induced liver failure in mouse Conclusions:
models. The discovery that cells have a
Other proposed clinical uses center special mechanism for suppressing the
on antiviral therapies, including the expression of homologous genes by
inhibition of viral gene expression in recognizing and processing double-stranded
cancerous cells, knockdown of host RNA was totally unexpected and has
receptors and coreceptors for HIV, the dramatically expanded the knowledge of
silencing of hepatitis A and hepatitis B gene control. Remarkably, the RNAi
genes, silencing of influenza gene machinery can handle double-stranded RNA
expression, and inhibition of measles viral entering the cell as well as double-stranded
replication. Otential treatments for RNA generated within the cell. The
neurodegenerative diseases have also been development of an organism and proper
proposed, with particular attention being function of its cells and tissues are
paid to the polyglutamine diseases such as dependent on an intact RNAi machinery.
Huntington's disease. RNA interference is Infection by RNA viruses can be blocked by
also often seen as a promising way to treat RNAi, especially in plants and lower
cancer by silencing genes differentially animals, and foreign elements in the genome
upregulated in tumor cells or genes involved (viruses and transposons) can be kept silent.
in cell division. A key area of research in the Finally, the discovery of RNAi has not only
use of RNAi for clinical applications is the provided a powerful new experimental tool

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to study the function of genes but also raises current photolithography; that is, the science
expectations about future applications of of objects with smallest dimensions ranging
RNAi in medicine. from a few nanometers to less than 100
nanometers. In chemistry, this range of sizes
References has historically been associated with
1.Fire A., Xu S., Montgomery M., Kostas S., colloids, micelles, polymer molecules,
Driver S. and Mello C. (1998) Nature ,391 phase-separated regions in block
(6669): 806-11. copolymers, and similar structures typically,
2. Daneholt, B. Advanced Information: RNA very large molecules, or aggregates of many
interference. The Nobel Prize in Physiology molecules. More recently, structures such as
or Medicine 2006. buckytubes, silicon nanorods, and compound
3. Elbashir S .M., Harborth, J., Lendeckel, semiconductor quantum dots have emerged
W., Yalcin, A., Weber, K. and Tuschl, T . as particularly interesting classes of
(2001) Nature, 411, 494-498. nanostructures. In physics and electrical
engineering, nanoscience is most often
About The author associated with quantum behavior, and the
Khirud Gogoi has recently completed Ph. behavior of electrons and photons in
D. from National Chemical Laboratory, nanoscale structures. Biology and
biochemistry also have a deep interest in
Pune, India in the area of Nucleic Acids
nanostructures as components of the cell;
Chemistry. His areas of research include many of the most interesting structures in
design and synthesis of novel biology from DNA and viruses to
oligonucleotides for therapeutics purpose, subcellular organelles and gap junctions can
ribozymes and cellular delivery of siRNA. be considered as nanostructures. The
combination of the promise of new
---------------------000--------------------- phenomena new science with an extension
of an extremely important technology is the
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for force that drives nanoscience. Nanoscience
Improvement of Human Lives has now been with us for a decade.
Technologies growing from it are still few,
and the rate at which they have emerged has
seemed slower than that in areas such as
biotechnology. There will certainly be in
fact, there already is an evolutionary
nanotechnology, based on products that
already exist, and that have micro- and
nanometer-scale features. Commercial
nanotechnology exists, and is in the robust
health of early childhood. The more
Mr. Pankaj Bharali interesting question is whether there will be revolutionary nanotechnologies, based on
fundamentally new science, with products
Nanoscience is the emerging science that we cannot presently imagine. The
of objects that are intermediate in size nanotechnology that is already with us is that
between the largest molecules and the of microelectronics where engineers have
smallest structures that can be fabricated by already shown how to extend existing
methods for making microelectronic devices

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to new systems with sub-70-nm wires and Nanotechnology will also help with water
components, materials science where many resources, allowing low energy purification
of the properties of polymers, metals, and and desalination, and reducing water waste
ceramics are determined by 1–100 nm in manufacturing and farming. Nanoscale-
structures, and chemistry where nanometer- related improvements in energy technology
scale drugs are routinely used to control will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels,
proteins and signaling complexes, and where make photovoltaic energy production
macromolecules have dimensions of many competitive with other sources, allow
nanometers. These technologies are entrance into a potential hydrogen economy,
evolutionary nano. The nanotechnology and improve renewable energy systems like
whose form and importance is yet undefined biomass. In order to preserve the
is revolutionary nano; that is, technologies environment, we would use nanotechnology
emerging from new nanostructured materials to remediate waste and pollution, produce
(e.g., buckytubes), or from the electronic systems and materials that use resources
properties of quantum dots, or from most efficiently, recycle pollution into raw
fundamentally new types of architectures materials, and ensure safety and
based on nanodevices for use in computation sustainability of new materials.
and information storage and transmission. Developments in cognitive sciences and
Nanosystems that use or mimic biology are humanities resulting from scientific and
also intensely interesting. There is no technological developments will increase
question that revolutionary nanoscience their contribution to the quality of life.
exists in the laboratories now, and that new Potential risks and unexpected consequences
forms of nanotechnology will be important; need to be monitored and included in any
it is just not clear at the moment how much assessment of overall changes of quality of
of this exciting, revolutionary science will life.
migrate into new technology, and how
rapidly this migration will occur. The history Medicine and nanotechnology
of technology suggests, however, that where
there is smoke, there will eventually be fire; Understanding the cell, that is,
that is, where there is enough new science, understanding life is one of the great
important new technologies will eventually unanswered questions in science. The cell is
emerge. the quantum of biology the smallest and
In the next paragraphs some aspects of most fundamental unit the one from which
nanoscience and nanotechnology for the the rest is built. The cell is a system of
improvement of human lives are described. molecules and remarkable nanoscale
machines functional molecular aggregates of
Life, environment, energy and great complexity. Understanding these
nanotechnology molecular nanostructures in their full,
Research should indentify the qualities mechanistic, molecular complexity is vital to
a reductionist understanding of the cell.
of work, life and the environment to which
citizens give highest priority and identify Doing so will require new methods of
examining these systems: in isolation, in the
branches of nanotechnology most relevant to
cell, and in the organism. The methods that
them. Nanotechnology will help ensure that
emerge from this research will help us to
we can produce enough food by improving
move closer to understanding human life and
inventory storage and the ability to grow at
health, and thus toward nanomedicine.
high yield and a diversity of crops locally.
Nanostructures may also be useful in

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delivering drugs, as imaging agents, and in between nano-engineers or scientists and

clinical analysis. their publics. There must be genuine respect
for interdisciplinary discussion of ethical and
Ethical issues and nanotechnology social dimensions of nanoscale science,
engineering, and technology. Research
The news model of public involvement, should be carried out to achieve better
in which technical experts and the media understanding of complex systems and
impart information to a passive audience, uncertainty, and better understanding of how
fails to bring about an informed public. We research directions themselves are decided.
need information systems that facilitate two- Risks and uncertainties are expected to
way conversation. Innovative technologies increase with the transforming capabilities
bring about unintended consequences. provided by nanotechnology, and must be
Instead of trying to predict the future, it will evaluated by considering global factors in
be more fruitful to try to shape the future by governance.
building institutions that can learn while
preserving core values. A range of projects
could develop infrastructures for balanced Some of problematic social trends and
and inclusive public participation in decision ways nanotechnology could contribute to the
making, with many different, innovative solutions for these problems are presented in
models used to assure two-way interchange Table 1.

Table 1: Some of problematic social trends and ways nanotechnology could contribute to

Social problems Nanotechnology contribution to solution

Healthcare and working capacity of aging Convergence of nanotechnology with
population biotechnology, information technology and
neurotechnology would address chronic illnesses,
losing sensorial capacity, and maintaining work

Collapse of birth rate in most advanced nations, Convergence of nanotechnology with biotechnology
below level required for population stability to overcome infertility

Poverty and inequality, most urgently in under Economic progress, fueled by technological
developed nations developments requiring systematic control of
nanoscale processes and materials

Threatened exhaustion of natural resources Nano-enabled technologies for improved efficiency

in use of non-renewable resources, including energy
production, water filtration, and invention of many
high-quality nano-fabricated substitute materials

Environmental degradation, including global Reduced pollution from more efficient use of
warming materials; specific new pollution remediation
nanotechnologies; improved environmental

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monitoring by means of nano-enabled sensor nets

Security issues within industrial nations Numerous specific nanotechnology-based solutions,

such as: sensors to detect bioterrorism substances;
inexpensive smart labels to deter theft of valuable
goods; armor and vehicle components from
nanostructured materials

Medical: diminishing returns from research; Fresh approaches to disease diagnosis and treatment
rising cost of health care from nanotechnology; prevention of disease from
better nutrition and from quick detection and
treatment of conditions
predisposing to disease

About the author:

Pankaj Bharali was born in Duliajan,
Dibrugarh, Assam. He obtained his B.Sc.
from Government Science College, Jorhat
(Dibrugarh University) in 1999 and M.Sc.
in Chemistry from Gauhati University in
2002. After his masters he spent nearly
two years in Material Science Division,
NEIST (formerly RRL) Jorhat as junior
research fellow under externally funded
project. Latter on moved to IICT,
Hyderabad to continue his doctoral
research at I & PC Division, IICT under
the guidance of Dr. B. M. Reddy, Deputy
Director. Recently, he visited Ruhr
(Collection from web: Editor)
University of Bochum, Germany for three
months (October to December, 2007)
under a bilateral DST-DAAD collaborative Richard P. Feynman
program. He has co-authored seven
papers published in highly reputed “What I am going to tell
international journals and presented you about is what we teach
eleven papers in seminar/conferences. His our physics students in the
research interest includes synthesis and third or fourth year of
characterization of nanostructured metal graduate school... It is my task to convince
oxides for different catalytic you not to turn away because you don't
applications. understand it. You see my physics students
don't understand it... That is because I don't
understand it. Nobody does.”

Ph.D. Thesis Abstract

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 39

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

beneficiation of iron ore (Mahiuddin et al.,

Abstract 1: Adsorption of Organic 1989; 1992). Due to structural complexity of
Anions on the Metal Oxide Surfaces humate (Figure 1), the interaction and
adsorption behaviour of humate on the
hematite and other metal oxides surfaces is
ill defined. Therefore, small aromatic
organic anions with well defined structure
e.g. benzoate, salicylate, p-hydroxy benzoate
and phthalate (Figure 2) with different
polydispersity and polyfunctionality, which
are considered to be constituting models of
functional groups occurring in humic acid,
are chosen for studying adsorption and
Dr. Manash R. Das surface complexation on the surfaces of hematite, alumina and silica. Therefore,
depending on the structure, functionality and
The results of the studies recorded in conformational factors, the adsorption
the thesis provide the knowledge of kinetics profile and surface complexation of these
of adsorption, adsorption behaviour of small model anions on the oxide surfaces are
aromatic organic anions at metal different (Ali and Dzombak, 1996a,b;
oxide−water interface at different pH and Evanko and Dzombak, 1998). Their
surface complexation. The title of the thesis adsorption properties could be similar to
is “Adsorption of organic anions on the humate (Ali and Dzombak, 1996a,b; Evanko
metal oxide surfaces” and thesis has seven and Dzombak, 1998). Both humate and
chapters. small aromatic organic anions show the
similar ligand exchange reaction involving
Chapter I: Introduction carboxylic and phenolic OH groups and the
hydroxyl group on metal oxide surfaces.
In this chapter the importance of the
adsorption studies of small aromatic organic
anions on the metal oxide surfaces has been
highlighted. Adsorption of surface-active
agent at the solid-liquid interface is of
immense importance in the field of mineral
processing (Mahiuddin et al., 1989;
Subramanian and Natarajan, 1991;
Weissenborn et al., 1994), environment
(Biber and Stumm, 1994) and geochemical
processes (Mesuere and Fish, 1992a,b;
Tombácz, et al., 2000). In the mineral Figure 1 Most probable structure of humic acid
processing industries surface-active agents (Stevenson, 1994)
are used to recover selectively the desired
mineral from mineral mixtures adopting the Adsorption of surface-active agent at
dispersion-cum-settling or flocculation and the metal oxide-water interface depends on
flotation techniques. Sodium humate is a time, pH and the ionic strength of the
supramolecular species and an effective medium. Kummert and Stumm (1980)
surface-active agent (Beckett, 1990) for the reported 6 h to attain the state of equilibrium

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 40

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for the adsorption of benzoate and salicylate anions on the metal oxide surfaces (Biber
on γ-Al2O3. Whereas, Parfitt (1977) found and Stumm, 1994; Nordin et al., 1997, Klug
that the state of equilibrium for adsorption of and Forsling, 1999; Phambu, 2002;
benzoate on goethite (α-FeOOH) surfaces Rosenqvist et al., 2003). In the case of
was attained after one week. In the case of adsorbate containing carboxylic group the
oleate-natural hematite system in aqueous difference between the νas(COO−) and
medium, the state of equilibrium found to be νs(COO−) bands, their relative shifting and
36 min (Ofor and Anusiem, 1999). In most boarding of the asymmetric carboxylic band
of the reported studies, adsorption isotherms have been considered for the plausible
are carried out at arbitrary chosen surface complexation structure on metal
equilibration time (Yost et al., 1990; oxide and oxy(hydroxide) surfaces. Based
Tejedor-Tejedor et al., 1992; Filius et al., on the shifting of νas(COO−) and νs(COO−)
1997; Szekeres et al., 1998; Hur and bands of benzoate after adsorption on
Schlautman, 2003; Tombácz et al., 2004). bayerite (α-Al(OH)3), Phambu (2002)
Therefore, adsorption kinetics is an concluded that the benzoate forms bidentate
important parameter for subsequent bridging complex on bayerite surface. Biber
adsorption isotherms of adsorption of and Stumm (1994) reported the different
surface-active agent at the metal oxide-water types of surface complexation of salicylate
interface. on the metal oxide and oxy(hydroxide)
surfaces depending on the shifting of the
νas(COO−) and νs(COO−) bands. Phthalate
COOH COOH also form different types of surface
OH complexes either outer sphere (Nilsson et al.,
1996; Rosenqvist et al, 2003) or both outer-
and inner-sphere (Nordin et al., 1997;
Persson et al., 1998; Klug and Forsling,
Benzoic acid Salicylic acid 1999) complexes with aluminium oxide,
aluminium (oxy)hydroxide and goethite
depending on the pH and ionic strength of
COOH the medium. Surface complexation of small
aromatic organic anions with different
COOH polydispersity and polyfunctionality at
OH different pH and ionic strength are markedly
different (Nordin et al., 1997; Persson et al.,
P-hydroxy benzoic acid Phthalic acid 1998; Rosenqvist et al., 2003). Therefore,
surface complexation of the model anions
Figure 2 Structure of small well-defined onto different adsorbents using FTIR
aromatic acids, which are the constituting spectroscopy would be worth to this field of
models of functional groups occurring in research.
humic acid
Chapter II: Experimental
Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)
spectroscopy studies provide the information
In this chapter, the experimental
regarding nature of surface complexation of
techniques for the measurement of zeta
small aromatic organic anion on metal oxide
potential, kinetics of adsorption at three
surfaces. Literatures have focused on the
different temperatures, adsorption isotherms
complexation of small aromatic organic

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 41

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and FTIR spectra have been described. The salicylate on α-alumina was studied over a
adsorbents and adsorbates used in the entire wide range of concentrations of salicylate in
study with purity are also included here. aqueous medium over the pH range 4−9.
The adsorption isotherms were found to be
Chapter III: Kinetics and Adsorption Langmuir in nature. The maximum
Behaviour of Salicylate on α-Alumina in adsorption density was found to be 6.348
Aqueous Medium μmol m−2 at pH 4, which decreases with pH
up to 7 and then it become almost constant.
Zeta potential of α-alumina and its At IEP (pH 7.2) the adsorption density is
influence on the adsorption behaviour of found to be ~0.5 μmol m−2 as against the
salicylate on α-alumina surfaces, kinetics of expected value of zero. This is expected due
adsorption, adsorption isotherms at different to the fact that at IEP of α-alumina, the
pH values and the influence of the ionic neutral surface site are available and
strength on the adsorption have been salicylate is interacting with the >AlOH
discussed in this chapter. Thermodynamic (surf). The adsorption density of salicylate
parameters are estimated from the rate on α-alumina surface decreases with the
constant for adsorption. Finally, surface increase the ionic strength of the medium.
complexation of salicylate on α-alumina For example, at pH 4 adsorption density
surface at pH 5 and 7 in aqueous medium is decreases by ~39% as the ionic strength
also proposed. increases from 0.5 to 10 mmol dm−3. The
The zeta potential of α-alumina at activation energy for adsorption is estimated
different ionic strengths was measured as a using Arhenius equation. The positive ΔH
function of pH of the medium at 25 oC. The (19.10 kJ mol−1) suggests that the adsorption
isoelectric point (IEP) of α-alumina was process is endothermic in nature.
found to be in between pH 7.15 to 7.3. The FTIR spectra of salicylate after
Kinetics of adsorption of salicylate on α- adsorption on α-alumina surfaces at pH 5
alumina surface was studied at pH 5 and at and 7 were recorded for obtaining the
25, 30 and 40 oC. The state of equilibrium bonding properties of salicylate. The
was obtained after 2.5 h within the frequency due to phenolic group is shifted
temperature range of the study. Different by 13 cm−1 (1253 to 1266 cm−1) after
kinetics models e.g. a first order kinetics adsorption, which is due to the
equation proposed by Bajpai (1994), pseudo intramolecular hydrogen bonding between
first order Lagergren equation (Lagergren, the phenolic hydrogen and carboxylic
1898), pseudo second order kinetics oxygen. Therefore, phenolic group is not
equation (Tien and Huang, 1991; Ho and deprotonated. The shifting of characteristic
McKay, 1999; Ho et al., 2001), intra-particle peak frequency of −COO− and appearance of
diffusion (Ho and McKay, 1998) and liquid
a new band at ~1700 cm−1 due to >C=O
film diffusion models (Boyd et al., 1947)
indicate that the salicylate is coordinate
were applied to evaluate the rate constant.
monodentally with respect to the carboxyl
The temperature was found to influence the
adsorption density of salicylate on α- Chapter IV: Kinetics and Adsorption
alumina at equilibration. The adsorption Behaviour of Benzoate and Phthalate at
density of salicylate on α-alumina surface at the α-Alumina−Water Interface:
300 min is around 1.6 and 3.0 times more at Influence of Functionality
30 and 40 oC, respectively than that at 20 oC.
The variation of adsorption density of

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This chapter presents the comparative on α-alumina surface decreases with the
study of adsorption kinetics at a fixed pH, increase in ionic strength from 0.05 to 10
adsorption isotherms at different pH values, mmol dm−3 depending on the pH of the
influence of ionic strength on the adsorption medium. The positive ΔH values suggest
behaviour and the nature of surface that the adsorption process for the both the
complexation of benzoate and phthalate onto systems are endothermic in nature. The more
α-alumina surfaces. The influence of negative Gibbs free energy of phthalate−α-
functionality on the adsorption of benzoate alumina than that of benzoate−α-alumina
and phthalate on α-alumina surfaces has implies that the adsorption of phthalate on
been discussed in this chapter. α-alumina is highly favorable than benzoate
The IEP of α-alumina was found to be on the same adsorbent. The solubility of α-
6.7, which is 2.5 unit lower than the reported alumina in presence of benzoate and
value. The reason for the lower IEP of α- phthalate was found to be depended on the
alumina is the presence of less number of pH of the medium and the concentration of
surface hydroxyl groups. Kinetics of sodium chloride. The surface complexation
adsorption study showed that the state of of benzoate and phthalate on α-alumina
adsorption equilibrium of benzoate at α- surfaces was investigated using the FTIR
alumina-water interface is attained at 30 h spectroscopy. Benzoate forms outer-sphere
within the temperature range of the study complexes with α-alumina surfaces at pH 5
(25−40 oC). In the case of phthalate-α- and 6 depending on the shifting of the
alumina system, adsorption density of asymmetric and symmetric −COO− bands.
phthalate on α-alumina surfaces increases Whereas phthalate forms both outer- and
upto ~25 h at 30 and 40 oC after that it inner-sphere surface complexes with α-
decreases with the increase in adsorption alumina surfaces.
time. But at 25 oC state of equilibrium is
attained at 10 h and beyond 37 h adsorption Chapter V: Kinetics and Adsorption of
density decreases. The rate constant for Benzoate and Salicylate at the Natural
adsorption of benzoate− and phthalate−α- Hematite−Water Interface
alumina systems was estimated using
kinetics models like a first order kinetics The zeta potential of natural hematite,
equation proposed by Bajpai (1994), pseudo kinetics of adsorption, adsorption isotherms
first order Lagergren equation and pseudo at different pH values and at a fixed ionic
second order kinetics equation. The variation strength, I = 5×10−4 mol dm−3 and the
of adsorption density of benzoate and thermodynamic parameters have been
phthalate on α-alumina surfaces was carried discussed in this chapter.
out over a wide range of concentrations of The zeta potential of natural hematite as
an adsorbate at a fixed ionic strength, I = 5 × a function of pH at different ionic strengths
10−4 mol dm−3 and pH 5−10. The adsorption was measured at 25 oC. The IEP of natural
isotherms for both the systems were found to hematite was found to be 5.80. Kinetics of
be Langmuir in nature. The maximum adsorption of benzoate and salicylate onto
adsorption density of phthalate is 1.1−5.1 natural hematite surfaces have been carried
times more than that of benzoate on the out at pH 5 and at a fixed ionic strength, I =
same adsorbent under similar condition. This 5×10−4 mol dm−3. The state of equilibrium
difference is attributed to the presence of an was attained at 144 and 70 h for benzoate
adjacent −COOH group in phthalate. The and salicylate, respectively. The rate
adsorption density of benzoate and phthalate constant for benzoate−natural hematite and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 43

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salicylate−natural hematite systems phthalate−hematite system is ~5.7−14.7

increases with the increase in temperature. times greater than p-hydroxy
The adsorption isotherms for both the benzoate−hematite system at a fixed
systems were Langmuir type up to pH 8. The temperature. The variation of adsorption
Γmax (adsorption density at saturation) for density of p-hydroxy benzoate and phthalate
benzoate is ~2.7−13.7 times more than that onto hematite surfaces as a function of
of salicylate depending on the pH of the concentration of adsorbate was studied over
suspension. The reason is that, unlike pH range 5−9 and at a constant ionic
benzoate salicylate covers more surface site strength, I = 5×10−4 mol dm−3. The
of hematite surfaces. The activation energy adsorption isotherms for both the systems
(estimated using rate constant of Bajpai were Langmuir in nature. The Γmax decreases
kinetics model) for the adsorption of with the increase in pH of the medium. The
salicylate onto the natural hematite is higher Γmax of p-hydroxy benzoate is 1.6 times
than that of benzoate on the same adsorbent more than that of phthalate on the same
resulting in lower Γmax of salicylate−natural adsorbent at pH 5 and 30 oC in spite of an
hematite systems. The negative ΔH implies additional adjacent carboxylic group in
that the adsorption of benzoate and salicylate phthalate. This is due to the fact that the
on natural hematite surfaces are exothermic surface site covered by phthalate is more
process. than that of p-hydroxy benzoate on hematite
surface. The activation energy for the
Chapter VI: Influence of Functionality on adsorption of p-hydroxy benzoate at the
the Adsorption of P-Hydroxy Benzoate hematite−water interface is ~1.8 times more
and Phthalate at the Hematite−Water than that of phthalate on the same adsorbent.
Interface The ΔH for p-hydroxy benzoate−hematite
and phthalate−hematite systems are found to
The kinetics of adsorption, adsorption be –40.71 and –21.96 kJmol−1, which imply
isotherms, influence of ionic strength on the that in both systems the adsorption process is
adsorption and surface complexation of p- exothermic in nature.
hydroxy benzoate and phthalate on hematite The surface complexation of p-hydroxy
surfaces have been discussed in this chapter. benzoate and phthalate on hematite surface
Influence of functionality of the adsorbate were investigated using FTIR spectroscopy.
on the adsorption has also been compared in The phenolic νC-O appears at ~1271 cm−1
this chapter. after adsorption of p-hydroxy benzoate on
Kinetics of adsorption of p-hydroxy hematite surfaces, which shifted by 10 cm−1
benzoate and phthalate on hematite-water to higher frequency region. The phenolic OH
interface were investigated at constant ionic group is not deprotonated and therefore, it is
strength, I = 5×10−4 mol dm−3, pH 5 and at not participating in the surface
three different temperatures. The state of complexation. The shifting of the
equilibrium for the adsorption of p-hydroxy characteristic peak frequency of −COO−
benzoate on hematite surface was attained at suggests that the p-hydroxy benzoate forms
70 h whereas for phthalate-hematite system a bindentate mononuclear surface complex
it was 30 h. Different kinetics models were with hematite surfaces at pH 5 and 7. On the
applied for evaluating the rate constant. The other hand, depending on shifting of
pseudo second order kinetics model fits the νas(−COO−) and νs(−COO−) bands, phthalate
kinetics data comparatively better and results on adsorption forms outer-sphere surface
show that the rate constant of

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 44

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complex with hematite surfaces at pH 5, 6 Beckett, R., Surface and Colloid Chemistry
and 9. in Natural Waters and Water Treatment,
Plenum Press, New York, 1990.
Chapter VII: Kinetics, Adsorption Biber, M.V.; and Stumm, W., Environ. Sci.
Isotherms and Thermodynamic Technol., 1994, 28, 763.
Parameters for Adsorption of Salicylate at Boyd, G.E.; Adamson, A.W.; and Myers
the Silica−Water Interface L.S., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1947, 69, 2836
This chapter includes kinetics of Evanko, C.R.; and Dzombak, D.A., Environ.
adsorption, adsorption isotherms at different Sci. Technol.,1998, 32, 2846.
pH, effect of ionic strength on the adsorption Evanko, C.R.; and Dzombak, D.A., J.
and the thermodynamic parameters for Colloid Interface Sci., 1999, 214, 189.
adsorption of salicylate at the silica-water Filius, J.D.; Hiemstra, T.; and Van
interface. Riemsdijk, W.H., J. Colloid Interface Sci.,
Kinetics of adsorption of salicylate onto 1997, 195, 368.
silica surfaces were carried out at pH 5 and Ho, Y.S.; and Mckay, G., Trans. IChemE. B,
at a fixed ionic strength, I = 5×10−4 mol 1999, 77, 165.
Ho, Y.S.; and Mckay, G., Trans. IChemE. B,
dm−3. The state of equilibrium was attained
1998, 76, 183.
at 320 h and found to be independent on the
Ho, Y.S.; Ng, J.C.Y.; and Mckay, G., Separ.
temperature. Bajpai kinetics model (1994)
Sci. Technol., 2001, 36, 241.
comparatively yields better rate constant,
Hur, J.; and Schlautman, M.A., J. Colloid
which increases with the increase in
Interface Sci., 2003, 264, 313.
temperature. The variation of adsorption
Klug, O.; and Forsling, W., Langmuir, 1999,
density of salicylate on the silica surfaces
15, 6961.
with wide range of concentrations of
Kummert, R.; and Stumm, W.J., J. Colloid
salicylate was studied in aqueous medium
Interface Sci., 1980, 75, 373.
over pH range 5−9 and at a fixed ionic
Lagergren, S., Ksver. Vetenskapsakap.
strength, I = 5×10−4 mol dm−3 NaCl. The Handingar, Band, 1898, 24, 1.
Langmuir adsorption isotherm equation was Mahiuddin, S.; Bondyopadhyay, S.; and
used to fit the experimental data. The Γmax Baruah, J.N., Int. J. Miner. Process, 1989,
value decreases (0.1456 to 0.0318 μmol m−2) 26, 285.
with the increase in pH of the medium upto Mahiuddin, S.; Suryanarayan, I.; Dutta,
pH 8 and at pH 9 it becomes zero. The N.N.; and Borthakur, P.C.; Colloids Surf.,
activation energy for this system is found to 1992, 64, 177.
be 18.30 kJmol−1. The negative ΔH (−18.04 Mesuere, K; and Fish, W., Environ. Sci
kJmol−1) implies that the adsorption of Technol., 1992a, 26, 2357.
salicylate on silica surfaces is exothermic in Mesuere, K; and Fish, W., Environ. Sci
nature. Technol., 1992b, 26, 2365
Nilsson, N.; Persson. P.; Lövgren, L.; and
References SjÖberg, S., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,
1996, 60, 4385.
Ali, M.A.; and Dzombak, D.A., Environ. Nordin, J.; Persson. P.; Laiti, E.; and
Sci. Technol., 1996a, 30, 1061. SjÖberg, S., Langmuir, 1997, 13, 4085
Ali, M.A.; and Dzombak, D.A., Geochim. Ofor, O.; and Anusiem, A.C.I., J. Colloid
Cosmochim. Acta, 1996b, 60, 291. Interface Sci., 1999, 220, 219.
Bajpai, A.K., J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 1994, 51, Parfitt, R.L.; Farmer, V.C.; and Russel, J.D.,
651. J. Soil. Sci., 1977, 28, 29.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 45

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Persson. P.; Nordin, J.; Rosenqvist, J.; of Science and Technology

Lövgren, L.; Öhman, L.-O.; and SjÖberg, (NEIST)Assam [Formerly: Regional
S., J. Colloid Interface Sci., 1998, 206, Research Laboratory, Jorhat] for his
252 Ph.D. He received his Ph.D. in the year
Phambu, N., Appl. Spectrosc., 2002, 56, 756.
2007. Title of his thesis is "Adsorption of
Rosenqvist, J.; Axe, K.; SjÖberg, S.; and
Persson. P, Colloids Surf. A: Organic Anions on the Metal Oxide
Physicochem. Eng. Aspects, 2003, 220, Surfaces". Presently he is doing his
91. postdoctoral research in Institut de
Stevenson, F.J., Humus Chemistry: Genesis, Recherche Interdisciplinaire (IRI, USR
Composition, Reactions, John Wiley and CNRS-3078), Institut d’Electronique, de
Sons, 2nd ed, USA, 1994 Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie
Subramanian, S.; and Natarajan, K. A., (IEMN, UMR CNRS-8520), France.
Mineral Engineering, 1991, 4, 587. ---------------------000---------------------
Szekeres, M.; Tombácz, E.; Ferencz. K.; and
Dékány, I., Colloids Surf. A:
Charles Darwin
Physicochem. Eng. Aspects, 1998, 141.
Tejedor-Tejedor, M.I.; Yost, E.C.; and
Anderson, M.A., Langmuir, 1992, 8, 525. “To suppose that
Tien, C.T.; and Huang, C.P., Trace Metals in the eye with all its
the Environmental, Vol 1, Heavy Metal in inimitable
the Environment, Elsevier, Amsterdam, contrivances for
1991. adjusting the focus
Tombácz, E.; Dobos, A.; Szekeres, M.; to different distances, for admitting different
Narres, H.D.; Klumpp, E., and Dékány, I., amounts of light, and for the correction of
Colloid Polym. Sci., 2000, 278, 337. spherical and chromatic aberration, could
Tombácz, E.; Libor, Z.; Illés, E.; Majzik. A.; have been formed by natural selection,
and Klumpp, E., Org. Geochem, 2004, 35, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest
257. degree.”
Weissenborn, P. K.; Warren, L. J.; and ---------------------000---------------------
Dunn, J. G., Int. J. Miner. Process, 1994,
42, 191.
Yost, E.C.; Tejedor-Tejedor, M.I.; and
Anderson, M.A., Environ. Sci. Technol., Paul A. M. Dirac
1990, 24, 822.
“If there is a God, he's a
About the author: great mathematician.”
Dr. Manash Ranjan Das hails from Khetri,
Kamrup District, Assam. He did his B.Sc
from Jagiroad College in the year 1998. ---------------------000---------------------
He did his Masters in Science in Abstract 2:2 De Novo Designed
chemistry (Special paper: Physical Molecules Based on Non-covalent
Chemistry) from Gauhati University in the Interactions: Design, Synthesis and
year 2000. Then he joined Material Structural Studies
Science Division of North East Institute

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 46

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Dr. Pranjal K. Baruah

Chapter I describes the design, synthesis

and structural investigation of hydrogen
bond-mediated highly stable molecular
duplexes, and further related studies.
Chapter 2 describes the design, synthesis
The self-assembling systems described and structural investigations of novel
herein have been shown to form strong foldamers (conformationally ordered
molecular duplexes, as evident from ESI- synthetic oligomers) derived from α-
Mass, X-ray analysis, and extensive NMR amino acid and aromatic amino acid
studies. It is noteworthy that these self- conjugates.
assembling systems, exhibiting “degenerate It also describes the design, synthesis and
porototropy can be readily accessed in three structural studies of novel hybrid foldamers
steps. This chapter also describes the based on Aib-Amb motif.

attempts made towards synthesis of more

stable hydrogen bonded molecular duplexes.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 47

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Chapter 3 describes the design, synthesis synthesized and structurally characterized. It

and structural studies of a new class of is shown that oligomers consisting of only
aromatic oligoamide foldamers based on three building blocks of the same class,
binaphthol (BINOL) monomers. Series of which differ in chirality due to restricted
oligomers with differing chirality of the rotation, provide a great number of highly
individual BINOL building blocks and ordered structures with remarkable shape
mixed sequences of alternate BINOL and diversity and structural architecture.
pyridyl building blocks have been

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 48

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

List of publications:
3. Enforcing Periodic Secondary Structures
1. Self-assembly with degenerate prototropy: in Hybrid Peptides: A Novel Hybrid
Baruah, P. K.; Gonnade, R.; Phalgune, U. Foldamer Containing Periodic γ-Turn
D.; Sanjayan, G. J. J. Org. Chem. 2005, 70, Motifs: Baruah, P. K.; Sreedevi, N. K.;
6461-6467. Gonnade, R.; Ravindranathan, S.;
Damodaran, K.; Hofmann, H.-J.; Sanjayan,
2. The solid-state behaviour of 4,6-dioxo- G. J. J. Org. Chem. 2007, 72, 636-639.
Spencer, E. C.; Howard, J. A. K.; Baruah, 4. BINOL-Based Foldamers - Access to
P. K.; Sanjayan, G. J. CrystEngComm 2006, Oligomers with Diverse Structural
8, 468–472. Architectures; Baruah, P. K.; Gonnade, R.;

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 49

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Rajamohanan, P. R.; Hofmann, H.-J.; Chandrasekhara

Sanjayan, G. J. J. Org. Chem. 2007, 72, Venkata Raman
5077-5084. “When the Nobel award
was announced I saw it as
5. 6,6-Dibenzyltetrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-
a personal triumph, an
5,7(4H,6H)-dione; Baruah, P. K.; Gonnade,
achievement for me and
R.; Sanjayan, G. J. Acta Cryst. E 2007, E63,
o3550. my collaborators -- a
recognition for a very
6. Aib-rich Sheet-Forming Abiotic remarkable discovery, for reaching the goal I
Foldamers: Baruah, P. K.; Sreedevi, N. K.; had pursued for 7 years. But when I sat in
Majumdar, B.; Pasricha, R.; Poddar, P.; that crowded hall and I saw the sea of
Ravindranathan, S.; Sanjayan, G. J. Chem. western faces surrounding me, and I, the
Commun., 2008, 712–714. only Indian, in my turban and closed coat, it
dawned on me that I was really representing
About the author: my people and my country. I felt truly
Pranjal Baruah has received his Ph. D. humble when I received the Prize from King
from National Chemical Laboratory in Gustav; it was a moment of great emotion
August, 2007. He secured 1st class 2nd but I could restrain myself. Then I turned
round and saw the British Union Jack under
position both in his B. Sc. and M. Sc.
which I had been sitting and it was then that
degrees from Dibrugarh University.
I realized that my poor country, India, did
Presently he is pursuing his Post Doctoral
not even have a flag of her own - and it was
research in UNC Chapel Hill, USA.
this that triggered off my complete
---------------------000--------------------- ---------------------000---------------------

The Central Dogma of molecular biology states that "DNA makes RNA makes protein".
(Collected from web: Editor)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 50

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Information about members:

Ms Nabanita 2007 and her Ph. D thesis entitles “Studies

Bhattacharyya has on the Reactivity of some α,β-Unsaturated
received her B.Sc. Esters Towards Organotin Hydrides”.
from Nalbari College
and M.Sc. in Botany
(Advanced Plant Ms. Rupjyoti
Physiology and Gogoi hails from
Biochemistry) from Jagiroad, Assam.
Gauhati University, She did her B. Sc.
Assam in 2000. After her M.Sc., she had from Jagiroad
joined the Department of Biotechnology, College in 2000
Gauhati University to pursue her Ph.D securing 1st class
under the guidance of Prof. S. Sarma. 1st position with
Later, she has joined as a Lecturer in the distinction and
Department of Botany, Nowgong College, completed her M. Sc. in 2003 from the
Assam. Her current research interests department of Physics, Gauhati
include Plant Physiology, Biochemistry University, Guwahati, opting High Energy
and Environmental Biotechnology. At this Physics and Condensed Matter Physics as
point we would like to thank Ms. Nabanita special papers. In June 2003, she joined
Bhattacharyya for her regular the Ph. D. course in High Energy Physics
contributions in the NE Quest. at Gauhati University on a topic, entitled
“A study of self-similarity in structure
function of the nucleon and approximate
Dr. Maumita Paul solutions of QCD evolution equations at
presently residing in small x” under the guidance of Prof. Dilip
Kolkata, originally Kumar Choudhury. Currently she is
from Karimganj, working as CSIR-SRF on the same
Assam. She did her project.
B. Sc. in Chemistry
from Handique -------------------------®--------------------------
Girls College,
Guwahati. After
Gautam Buddha
completion of her
M.Sc. in Organic
“Thousands of candles
Chemistry from Gauhati University
(2000), Guwahati, Assam, in 2002 she can be lit from a single
joined Department of Chemistry, Gauhati candle, and the life of the
University as a Project Assistant in a UGC candle will not be
Major Research Project under the shortened. Happiness
supervision of Dr. D. C. Deka. In the year never decreases by being
2003, she qualified for JRF-CSIR and shared.”
continued her research work in the
Department of Chemistry, GU. She -------------------------®--------------------------
received her Ph. D degree in December,

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 51

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Higher Study Abroad

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are expected to have the ability to independently
plan and implement research that will result in new academic findings. Interdisciplinary research
projects are especially encouraged to promote and develop a more open-minded perspective,
better communication skills, and strong leadership skills.
Students can apply to either International Graduate Program -I(IGP-I) or International
Graduate Program -II(IGP-II). Note that scholarships available are different in the programs. To
apply for a Monbukagakusho Scholarship (Japanese Government Scholarship) with a ‘university
recommendation’, an applicant needs to enroll in the International Graduate Program-I(IGP-I).
See Scholarship page.

Program Enrolment Application Period

International Graduate Program-I (IGP-I) September
Mid December
September March-April
International Graduate Program-II (IGP-II)
April November


The Graduate School of Science and Technology has a program that offers scholarships to those
who have successfully passed the entrance examination.

A. University Recommendation Scholarship (From the list of students who have successfully
passed the entrance exam, the University will select outstanding students and recommend
them to a scholarship program. These students will be the recipients of the scholarship they
have been recommended to.)
1. Japanese Government (MONBUKAGAKUSHO:MEXT) Scholarship through University
Recommendation: Master's Program (IGP), Ph.D. Program (IGP-I)
2. ADB Scholarship: Master's Program (IGP)(Only those with work experience may
3. Fujiwara Scholarship: Availability varies each year.
4. Yoshida Scholarship: Availability varies each year.

B. Other Scholarships
1. Scholarships you need to apply to before enrolling in graduate school. Japanese
Government (MONBUKAGAKUSHO : MEXT) scholarship(Embassy Nominated

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 52

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Students) : Available for Japanese and English-based master’s and Ph.D. program
2. Scholarships you need to apply to after enrolling in graduate school.
Exemption from tuition, and other scholarships from private and regional public
organizations, etc.
For more information please read details at the Keio University International Center or JASSO
(Japan Student Services Organization).

Some other Scholarships

• Japanese Government (MONBUKAGAKUSHO:MEXT) scholarship through University
Recommendation: Recipients of this award will receive financial aid from the
Monbukagakusho Scholarship (Japanese Government Scholarship Program). Those wishing
to apply for this scholarship need to have a “university recommendation”. The scholarship
covers the costs of one roundtrip air-ticket, the admission fee, tuition, plus a monthly stipend
for a maximum of five years. The stipend is 170,000 yen for the first year and 160,000 yen
from the second year on. This is based on the normal time it takes to complete postgraduate
studies (two years as a master's student and three years as a Ph.D. student). Please note that
the applicant for the scholarship must be no more than 35 years of age as of April 1 of the
year of enrollment.
• ADB Scholarship Program: The International Graduate Program in the School of Science and
Technology selects a few students each year who are pursuing a master's degree and
recommends them to the Asian Development Bank to become recipients of their scholarship.
Only recipients who plan to return to their home country after completion of their master's
degree are eligible. The scholarship covers round trip airfare, the admission fee and tuition,
and gives a monthly stipend equivalent to that of the Japanese Government Scholarship for a
maximum of 2 years. Please note that the applicant for the scholarship must be no more than
35 years of age as of April 1 of the year of enrolment.

Contact Information
Admissions Office (AO)
Graduate School of Science and Technology
Keio University
3-14-1 Hiyoshi, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama
Kanagawa 223-8522
Fax: +81-45-566-1464

What are the eligibility requirements for the Ph.D. program?

Eligibility for Admission:
1. Expecting a conferral of a master’s degree, a professional master’s degree or a degree that
is equivalent to the aforementioned degrees from an institution outside Japan before the
2. Has a master’s degree, a professional master’s degree or a degree that is equivalent to the
aforementioned degrees.

Some upcoming research positions are listed in the following pages……………

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 53

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(1) Job Title: Postdoctoral position in the Department of Chemistry at Nagoya Univ., Japan in
Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Profs. Noyori and Saito; SAI01/08
Job Number: 4003115 (Ref.#. SAI01/08)
Date Posted: 03/31/2008
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Details:
A position as postdoctoral fellow in the area of synthetic organic chemistry is open in the group of Profs.
Ryoji Noyori and Susumu Saito in the Department of Chemistry at Nagoya University. For one year
starting any time, with possibility of extension for another year. Two or three vacant slots would be open
from October 1st, 2008. Please feel free to get in touch.

Research Area: Our emphasis is on the exploration of new synthetic methods, strategies, and concepts to
solve challenging synthetic problems to realize ideal chemical synthesis and molecular catalysis, thereby
putting forward the revolution of environmentally benign chemical technology for 21th century.

Representative interests:
(i) Activation of alcohols and utilizing them as electrophiles using molecular catalysis (ii) Degradation of
biomass such as cellose, amylose, or lignin, etc. to make them as important carbon resources for 21th
century (iii) Activation of CO2 and using it as a important C1 resource for the 21th century’s chemical
synthesis (iv) Chemical Synthesis of sugar and deoxy-sugar derivatives of pharmaceutical importance (v)
Chemical synthesis without waste: changeover of molecular catalysis from strongly acidic or basic to
neutral (vi) Hydrogenation using novel molecular catalysts (vii) Molecular manipulation of hydrogen
bonds and dative bonds for generating molecular catalysis (viii) Molecular catalysis based on hydrogen
atom transfer (ix) Chemical process involving H2O: embedding water into, or liberating water from, a
carbon chain Please check out the web site at:

Salary: Approximately 4,000,000JPY per year.

Application Materials: following documents should be presented.
(1) Curriculum vitae with photograph
(2) Publication list (books, original papers, reviews described separately)
(3) Abstract of research results: 1 page
(4) The reasons why you are interested in this position
(5) Please arrange for two recommendation letters sent upon request directly to Dr. Berthold Fischer at

Preference will be given to candidates with strong background directly related to relevant research fields.
Candidates who did not previously publish several papers in international, peer-reviewed journals and
cannot make a statement why exactly they want to join this research group and should be considered for
this position will not receive a reply.

Contact: Dr. Berthold Fischer

Nagoya University
Furo-cho Chikusa-ku
Nagoya, Aichi 464-8602
Institution Web Site:

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 54

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(2) Job Title: PhD positions available at the Department of Chemistry, Nagoya University,
Job Number: 4003035
Date Posted: 03/13/2008
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Several PhD positions are available immediately at the Department of Chemistry, Nagoya University,
Japan within the framework of a newly established Global-COE (Global Center of Excellence) devoted to
the “Elucidation and Design of Materials and Molecular Functions”.
17 Research groups are involved in this new Global-COE from a wide range of topics like (1) “Highly
Efficient Chemical Synthesis” through selective molecular catalysis; (2) “Use of Polymer Science for
Development of Molecules with Novel Properties and Functions” including higher-order structure control
for polymers and supramolecules; (3) “Development of Molecules with New Functions Through
Nanochemistry” for nanocarbons, thin films, and supramolecular materials; and (4) “Chemical Aspects of
Life Science” for understanding the complexity of biological phenomena from a chemical viewpoint.

More detailed information can be found in the web page

This Global-COE will develop young global research leaders responsible for the future of materials
science through comprehensive and world-class education and research for creating new trends in
development of molecular functions in materials science. The Department of Chemistry at Nagoya
University is proud to be the home of Nobel Laureate Prof. Ryoji Noyori.

For more information please contact directly:

Contact: Dr. Berthold Fischer
Nagoya University
Furo-cho Chikusa-ku
Nagoya, Aichi 464-8602
Online Application: Apply for this position from Employer's website

(3) Job Title: Ph.D. Studentship in Theoretical Physics, Erlangen, Germany

At Institute of Optics, Information & Photonics, Erlangen, Germany, Max Planck Junior Research
Group “Nonlinear Photonic Nanostructures”
Field(s): theoretical physics
Application deadline: Sep 01 (Mon), 2008
Contact: Fabio Biancalana

Job description: Candidates are sought for 1 fully funded PhD studentship to work on the theoretical
design of a working all-optical diode, based on Photonic Crystals with a quasiperiodic arrangement of the
layers. The final aim of this PhD project is to develop new analytical and numerical techniques to study
Photonic Crystals based on conceptually new designs. This will require the study of the linear and non-
linear optical properties of Photonic Crystals. Knowledge of Classical Electromagnetism is essential.
Please visit webpage at

This post is available from 1 September 2008, but the position will remain open until a suitable candidate
is found. A letter of application containing at least 1 reference letter and a full CV containing a detailed
description of the candidate's knowledge and expertise, should be emailed directly to Dr. Fabio

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 55

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(4) Job Title: Postdoc Position in Self-Assembly of Block Polypeptides

At Department of Physics and Frimat Center for Nanomaterials,
Field(s): polymer physics
Application deadline: Jun 01 (Sun), 2008
Contact: Prof. Dr. Raffaele Mezzenga
Address: Department of Physics and Frimat Center for Nanomaterials University of Fribourg
Chemin du Musée 3 CH - 1700 Fribourg Switzerland

Job description: A postdoctoral position is available in the field of self-assembly of block copolypeptides.
Outstanding candidates with a strong background in polymer physics/polymer chemistry are encouraged
to apply. The candidate should have polymer synthesis skills and be familiar with Small Angle x-ray
Scattering (SAXS). Additional knowledge in Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Atomic Force
Microscopy (AFM) and the other physico-chemical techniques is an advantage. Working language is
English. Competitive salaries are offered. This project is line collaboration with EPFL. Starting date: end
2008-January 2009. Interested candidate can send CV, motivation letter and at least two references to:
Prof. Dr. Raffaele Mezzenga Department of Physics and Frimat Center for Nanomaterials University of
Fribourg Chemin du Musée 3 CH - 1700 Fribourg Switzerland

(5) Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Mass Spectrometry

Job Number: 4003036 (Ref.#. 3003)
Date Posted: 03/13/2008
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

An opportunity is available for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. John Koomen at
Moffitt Cancer Center. This is a post-graduate position in which the individual is responsible for assisting
with research activities as well as conducting independent research projects when appropriate under
limited supervision. The focus of the proposed research is to develop biomarkers to measure response to
therapy and prognosis in cancer patients. The work will start with sequence and post-translational
modification analysis of selected targets to examine molecular changes upon drug treatment. These
experiments will be conducted using LC-MS/MS, typically with a Dionex nanoLC and an Orbitrap mass
spectrometer. After determining peptides and post-translational modifications of biological and clinical
interest, quantitative assays will be generated using multiple reaction monitoring on triple quadrupole

The candidate must have experience in mass spectrometry, particularly LC-MS/MS and/or LC- RM, and a
completed PhD in MS or a related field. Excellent communication skills and previous experience with the
equipment described above will also be required. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are
required to work in a multidisciplinary team of research nurses and data managers.

The Moffitt Cancer Center is a modern facility on the University of South Florida Campus that conducts
research on various aspects of Cancer Biology with emphasis on translational research. It is the third
largest Cancer Center in the US based on patient volume. The research environment includes state of the
art modern core facilities and pathogen-free modern animal facilities, access to clinical material, etc.
Please visit to apply online to REQ ID 3003, and send CV, cover letter and three
references to Dr. John Koomen at
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
12902 Magnolia Drive
Tampa, FL 33612
Web Site: Online Application: Apply for this position from Employer's website.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 56

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Through the Lenses of Forum Members



Dibru Saikhowa: Arindam Adhikari

Aiming High: Mahen Konwar

Up above the Sky: Sasanka Deka

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 57

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Details about the Northeast India Research Forum

Date of creation of the forum: 13th November 2004

Area: Science and Technology
Total number of members till date: 191
Cover page designed by: Mr. Anirban Adhikari
Logo designed by: Dr. Manab Sharma

3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D.

Moderators: Dept of Chemistry, Technion-Israel Institute
1. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D. of Technology, Israel.
Institute of Surface Chemistry, Royal Email:
Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Email: 4. Rashmi Rekha Devi, Ph.D
Scientist, Defence Material & Stores
2. Jadab Sharma, Ph.D. Research & Dev. Establishment, DRDO,
Email: Kanpur. Email:

3. Utpal Borah, Ph.D. 5. Joshodeep Boruwa, Ph.D.

Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Japan Fachbereich Chemie, L-940, Universitat
Email: Konstanz, D-78457, Konstanz, Germany
4. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.
Chemical Science Dept, Tezpur University, 6. Pankaj Bharali,
Tezpur, Assam Indian Institute of Chemical Technology,
Email: Hyderabad, India.
Editorial Team of NE Quest
1. Dhanapati Deka, Ph.D. 7. Pranjal Saikia
Reader, School of Energy, Environment and I&PC Division, IICT, Hyderabad, India
natural reseources, Tezpur University, Email:
Email: 8. Ashim Thakur, Ph.D.

2. Tankeswar Nath, Ph.D. 9. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.

Scientist, R&D, Biotechnology,
Jubilant Organosys Ltd. Gajraula, UP, India 10. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 1, April 2008, 58