Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Carnivorous plants use CO2 to lure prey

Carnivorous plants have been known to employ a variety of techniques like nectar, smell, colour and ultraviolet florescence to lure and capture prey. But now, scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Gardens and Research Institute here have come up with evidence that some carnivorous plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) to attract insects and ants to their prey traps.

A study conducted by the division of Phytochemistry and Pharmacology at the institute has found that the Indian pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana) uses the gas, both to attract prey and to aid the digestive process. The research team led by Sabulal Baby demonstrated that the unopened pitchers of the plant are carbon dioxide-enriched, with a gas concentration of 2,500 to 5,000 ppm (parts per million), approximately 10 times that in the earth’s atmosphere.

The open Nepenthes pitchers were found to emit CO2 constantly to attract insects. The study also detected high levels of CO2 dissolved in acidic pitcher fluids, ensuring optimum activities of the digestive enzymes. The findings have been reported in Scientific Reports, a journal published by Nature.

Carnivorous plants of the genus Nepenthes supplement their nutrient deficiency by capturing insects through their leaf-evolved pitchers which act as biological traps. “CO2 is a sensory cue and most insects have well- developed receptors which help them respond to subtle variations of CO2 in the form of plumes arising from point sources,” explains Dr. Sabulal.

The study found that the high CO2 inside the pitchers was produced by the respiration of tissues within the cavity.

“The sequential events of lid opening, CO2 release, and prey capture were found to trigger the release of antifungal compounds into the pitcher fluid, preventing infections from incoming prey,” says Dr. Sabulal. “The high CO2 environment in the pitchers and the dissolved CO2 in the pitcher fluids might also act as a tranquilliser for the trapped prey.”

The authors feel that Nepenthes pitchers have the potential to be used as natural models mimicking an anticipated elevated CO2 scenario on earth. In 2013, Dr. Sabulal and his colleagues had published a paper on ultraviolet fluorescence emissions by Nepenthes and other carnivorous plants to lure insects to their traps.



Image result for mazaalai satellite

  • Mazaalai is the name of Mongolia's first ever satellite sent to space.
  • It is named after mongolia's endangered gobi bear mazaalai.
  • it was sent in to space by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
  • This satellite is a part of Joint Global Multi National Birds Satellite project,supported by UNESCO and Japan.
  • This project is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite projectfor non-space faring nations, aimed at supporting developing countries to build and launch their first satellite.

GSLV Mk III rocket

1. The GSLV Mk III D1 rocket is scheduled for lift off at 5.28pm today+ from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

2. The GSLV Mk III D1 is a three-stage vehicle with indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine+ designed to carry heavier communication satellites into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

3. Apart from the cryogenic engine, designated C25, carrying about 28 tonnes of propellants, it has two solid strap-on motors (S200) and a core liquid booster (L110).

4. The mission is significant as the GSLV Mk III+ , that weighs equivalent to the weight of five fully-loaded Boeing Jumbo Jets or as much as 200 fully grown elephants, is the heaviest rocket to be launched from our own soil. Till now, Isrohad to depend on foreign launchers for communication satellites weighing more than 2,300 kg.

5. The GSLV Mk III D1 is capable of lifting payloads of up to 4,000 kg into the GTO and 10,000 kg into the Low Earth Orbit.

6. The mission would also augment India's communication resources+ as a single GSAT-19 satellite will be equivalent to having a constellation of six to seven of the older variety of communication satellites in space.

7. This is India's rocket of the future as it will undoubtedly be human rated to carry Indian astronauts likely to be named 'gaganauts or vyomanauts'. Former Isro chairman K Kasturirangan, the man who conceived the GSLV Mk III, confirms it will be the country's vehicle to ferry Indians into space.

8. The most innovative development on GSAT-19 is that for the first time there will be no transponders on the satellite. Instead for the first time, Isro is using a whole new way beaming data down using multiple frequency beams and hence it is dubbed "a high through put satellite".

9. GSAT-19 is going to be powered for the first time with indigenously-made Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have been made so that India's self-reliance quotient can increase. In addition, similar batteries can then be used to power electric vehicles like cars and buses.

10. Isro says GSAT-19 also features certain advanced spacecraft technologies including "miniaturised heat pipe, fibre optic gyro, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer". These are all important developments being tested so that they become mainstay systems on future missions.


North India to get DNA bank for wildlife

              At the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), located in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district, scientists are analysing the DNA of an array of wild animals, from tigers to deer. It is a busy time for the team, as they are gearing up to establish a DNA bank for wildlife.

        Slated to start operations by the end of this year, the DNA bank for wild animals is the first of its kind in North India.IVRI is only the second institution in the country to house such a bank for wildlife DNA records. The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) in Hyderabad has the only other DNA bank in India.


Osmania University to host 105th Indian Science Congress

    The 105th session of Indian Science Congress will be hosted by Osmania University (O.U) here during January 3-7, 2018.

This will be sixth time that the university will be hosing the conferrer. The congress will be meeting in Hyderabad for the seventh time.

Set up in 1914, ISCA, supported by the Government of India, is the oldest science scientific organisation in the country.

104th Indian Science Congress was hosted by Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.