All posts by Vinod Thakur

Having lots of Curiosity in Mind and some Creativity in Heart. Aiming Stability like DNA and Versatility like RNA. Devoted to 3 things: Love, Smile, and Serve. I recently completed my M.Sc Biotech through a DBT sponsored program.

What is Carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is one of the most serious air pollutants. It is highly poisonous to humans because of its ability to block the delivery of oxygen to organs and tissues. Carbon monoxide poisoning mostly occurs in winters, when we use coal, wood, and other carbon-based fuel to produce heat in our homes. So in this article, we will learn what is carbon monoxide and why it is poisonous?

What is Carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas. Automobile exhausts and cigarettes are the major sources of CO production. Other sources such as incomplete burning of coal, petrol, firewood, etc. also produce carbon monoxide.

carbon monoxideAutomobiles are a major source of CO.

What is Carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when we breathe an excessive amount of carbon monoxide into our lungs. In the lungs, it mixes with our blood. When too much carbon monoxide gets mixed up with blood, it starts replacing the oxygen present in our red blood cells. This can cause serious damage to our brain, heart and can even cause death.

Why Carbon monoxide is poisonous?

Human blood contains hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein that gives a characteristic red color to our blood cells. Iron in hemoglobin binds to oxygen and then carries it around in our bloodstream.

But, when the concentration of carbon monoxide builds up in our blood, it binds to hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin. It does so by binding to iron atoms in hemoglobin. Carboxyhemoglobin is about 300 times more stable than the oxygen-hemoglobin complex. That means once carbon monoxide attaches, it is difficult to release.

In our blood, when the concentration of carboxyhemoglobin reaches about 3-4 percent, the oxygen-transporting capacity of blood is greatly reduced. This oxygen deficiency in our blood can cause headaches, dizziness, nervousness, and vomiting.

Moreover, large exposure to carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, cardiovascular disorder, or death. In pregnant women, CO poisoning can induce premature birth.

So, now you know What is Carbon monoxide? And, Why carbon monoxide is poisonous?  So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂


References:

11 Kinds of Synthetic Fibers that we use in our Daily life.

Synthetic fibers are polymers made from small units joined together through chemical synthesis. The chemical synthesis of synthetic fibers involves polymerization. Polymerization is the process of combining monomer units to make a long chain or polymer. Here, I have put together a list of 11 synthetic fibers that we use in our daily life.

Rayon

Rayon is a synthetic fiber but is made from a natural source. It is obtained from purified cellulose through the chemical treatment of wood pulp. It was first developed in 1894 by English chemist Charles Frederick Cross.

Rayon fabric is soft, smooth, shiny, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent. These properties are similar to that of silk, but rayon is cheaper than silk. Hence, rayon is sometimes called poor man’s silk.

rayon-sewing-threadsA tangle of rayon sewing threads.

Nylon

In 1935, DuPont (US Conglomerate) made Nylon without using any natural raw material. So, it was the first fully synthetic fiber. It was first used in bristles of toothbrushes and women’s stockings.

Nylon fiber is strong, elastic, light, lustrous, and easy to wash. Thus, it was widely used as a replacement for cotton and silk during Second World War. It is also used to make tents, ropes, and parachutes.

Coils-of-nylon-ropes-and-kevlar-fiber.Coils of Nylon ropes and Kevlar fiber.

Kevlar

It is a heat-resistant synthetic fiber. Kevlar was first developed by DuPont in 1965. Due to its high tensile strength, it was first used as a replacement for steel in racing tires.

Kevlar fibers are very tightly spun thus it is impossible to penetrate them. For instance, when a bullet or other projectile hits the kevlar, the fibers actually grab the projectile while absorbing and dissipating its energy.

Polyester

Polyesters are polymers that are made up of the repeating units of a chemical called an ester. Fabric made from polyester does not get wrinkled or shrank easily. Moreover, these fibers are hydrophobic in nature which makes them easy to wash and dry.

polyester-fabric-for-men-suitPolyester fabric for men’s suits.

Polyester is the most commonly used synthetic fiber. It is widely used in apparel and home furnishing items.

Acrylic Fiber

Acrylic fibers are made up of thousands of acrylonitrile monomer units. These fibers are soft, strong, warm with a wool-like touch. Moreover, they are easy to wash, thus find use in the apparel industry.

Acrylic fibers are used to make winter clothing such as sweaters, socks, fleece wear, etc. Some common trade names for acrylic fibers include Acrilan, Creslan, Orlon, and Zefran.

acrylic-fibre-threadsYarns and reels of acrylic fiber threads.

Carbon fibers

Carbon fibers are made up of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon. These fibers also have superior electrical properties, high strength, they do not expand under heat.

These properties make carbon fibers an excellent candidate for use in aerospace, F1 racing, wind turbines, and military designs. Sometimes, carbon fibers are also called graphite fibers.

carbon-fiber-in-workshopCarbon fiber in a workshop.

Microfiber

Microfiber is finer than one strand of silk and is about a fifth of the diameter of human hair. These fibers are mostly made from polyesters or polyamides. Fabric made from microfiber is highly absorbent.

Microfibers are mostly used to make mops, cleaning towels, industrial filters. It is also a popular choice for the manufacture of athletic wear such as cycling jerseys.

microfiber-cleaning-towelsCleaning towels made of microfiber.

Lycra

Lycra fiber is the trademarked brand name of a class of synthetic fibers. It is also known as spandex in the US and elastane in the rest of the world. Joseph Shivers, a chemist at DuPont labs, invented lycra in 1958.

It has exceptional elasticity and strength. Lycra is used to make skin-tight garments such as athletic wear, leggings, shorts, yoga pants, undergarments, etc.

PVDC or Polyvinylidene Chloride

PVDC or Polyvinylidene Chloride is a transparent and flexible thermoplastic. It is produced by the polymerization of vinylidene chloride. PVDC is also highly resistant to many chemicals including grease and oil.

It also forms a barrier against water and oxygen, making it perfect for protecting food and other perishable items. The most popular brand of PVDC is Saran wrap.

pvdc-food-wrapRaw food wrapped with PVDC food wrap.

Thinsulate

Thinsulate was invented by the 3M corporation. It was first sold in 1979. According to 3M Corp, it is twice as warm as any natural material and much finer than the normal fiber.

Thinsulate is used in your winter clothing to help you keep warm. Nowadays, carmakers are also using Thinsulate to make fabric roofs for convertible sports cars.

Also Read: 11 Methods of Food Preservation used by Food Industry

Nomex

Nomex is heat and flame-resistant fiber that doesn’t melt, drip, or support combustion. Thus, provide superior heat, flame, and arc flash protection. Dupont developed this fiber in the 1960s. Nomex protects first responders, utility, and electrical workers.

nomex-fire-retardant-suitNomex Fire Retardant Suit.

So, now you know about various kinds of synthetic fibers and their properties. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: 11 Methods of Food Preservation used by Food Industry


References:

What is Vermiculture? How can you prepare Vermicompost?

Earthworms are often called friends of farmers as they help in recycling agricultural waste and improving the quality of the soil. They live in soil by making burrows which makes soil porous and helps in the respiration of plant rootsThe terms vermiculture, vermicompost, and vermicomposting all are related to earthworms. Let us now define them one by one.

What is Vermiculture?

Vermiculture is the artificial rearing or cultivation of earthworms. It is a scientific process to produce earthworms in large numbers. Earthworm farms all over the world produce thousands of earthworms per day. They are useful in several ways, some of them are listed below.

  • Soil improvement: They make soil porous and allows better aeration, quick absorption of water, and easy penetration of plant roots.
  • Vermicomposting: Earthworms are the best worms for vermicomposting.
  • Fishbait: They form excellent bait for catching fish with fishing rods.
  • Scientific Study: Scientists study and dissect them in labs as they are easily available.
  • Scavengers: The earthworms act as natural scavengers they eat organic debris present in the soil.

What is Vermicomposting?

vermicultureVermicomposting is the process of turning organic waste into worm castings (worm excreta). In this process, earthworms are fed with organic waste in a composting pit so that they can digest it and then excrete it as worm castings.

Worm castings are rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium and thus act as an excellent biofertilizer. This biofertilizer is commonly known as vermicompost and is nutritionally more beneficial than other composts.

How can you prepare vermicompost?

You can prepare vermicompost easily at home or in agriculture fields. All you need is the species of earthworm, a composting bin or pit, and organic matter which can be fed to the earthworms.

1. Species of Earthworm:

Eisenia fetida is the best earthworm species for vermicomposting. It feeds on rotting vegetation, compost, and manure.

2. Composting pit or bin:

compost-binYou can carry out vermicomposting in various kinds of pits and bins.

  • Tanks of brick and mortar with proper aeration.
  • Plastic crates with holes drilled at the bottom and sides.
  • Wooden crates.
  • Clay pots with holes on sides.
  • Simple homemade bin made of wood.

3. Organic matter:

  • Agri waste – crop, husk, straw, stems, leaf matter, etc.
  • Animal waste – cow dung, biogas slurry.
  • Kitchen waste – scrapes of vegetables, fruits, eggshells, etc.

The process of vermicomposting:

1. Predigestion of Organic matter:

You should mix organic matter with cattle dung or manure to initiate bacterial decomposition. During the initial days, organic matter produces a lot of heat because of active bacterial decomposition. So, you should add the organic matter to composting bed only after it has cooled down.

2. Preparation of Vermibed or Bedding:

VermicompostingYou should place a layer of bedding at the bottom of the container or pit. Worms thrive in moist conditions, so cardboard, paper, coconut husk, or sugarcane husk are the best. This is because these items can hold a lot of moisture.

You can either soak bedding material before placing it in the bin or you can spray it with water after placing it in the bin. After that, we can add the predigested organic matter. Now fill at least half of the container or pit.

3. Introduction of worms:

earthwormsYou can place earthworms by digging a shallow depression in the middle of bedding or can simply spread them over the bedding. You can add them depending upon the size of the vermibed. However, you should know that earthworms reproduce rapidly. So, if you give them enough food and space they can double their population in 60 to 90 days.

After introducing earthworms, you should add a top layer of husk or dried matter to protect them from direct sunlight.

4. Harvesting of Vermicompost:

You can harvest compost when the organic matter becomes somewhat loose, crumbly, and dark brown. It should smell like earth at the time of harvesting. If there is a bad smell then it means bacterial decomposition is still undergoing. So, you should not harvest it.

The complete harvesting process can take about three to four weeks or it can take up to months depending upon the material used. After harvesting, you can clean the composting bin, and then you can repeat the above process for the next harvest.

Also Read: What are Antitranspirants? How do they Reduce Water Loss in Plants?

So, now you know about vermiculture, vermicompost, and vermicomposting. Also, you can now easily prepare vermicompost at home. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: What is Soil? How is it formed?

11 eye-opening Facts About Climate Change.

Climate Change is a serious global issue. It includes both the global warming driven by human-induced emissions and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Climate change is expected to cause more frequent and intense droughts, storms, heatwaves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warmer oceans.

We are already seeing some of these effects on our planet earth. Here, I have put together some eye-opening statistics about climate change that everyone needs to know.

concentration-of-carbon-dioxide 1. 419 parts per million (ppm)

Before Industrial Revolution, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) were around 280 ppm. In May 2019, these levels stand at 419 ppm, highest in the human history. Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, accounting for about two-thirds of greenhouse gases. 

2. 2019 was the 2nd hottest year

According to WMO, 2019 was the second hottest year on record. The global average temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions also reached a record high.

3. 2010-2019 = warmest decade

According to WMO, the average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods are the highest on record. 2010-2019 also concluded as a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice, and record sea levels.

4. Methane – most powerful greenhouse gas

Methane is responsible for more than 25% of global warming we are experiencing today. It is a powerful pollutant with a global warming potential of over 80 times greater than COif measured over a period of 20 years. According to IPCC, deep reductions in methane will be necessary to help limit global warming.

rising-sea-levels5. Rising Sea levels

With the rise in global temperature, the ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic are also melting. This has led scientists to predict that by 2050, sea levels may rise between one to 2.3 feet above present levels. As a result of this most of the low-lying coastal areas of the world may be flooded with seawater.

6. 11% of emissions

30% of the emissions from industry and fossil fuels are absorbed by forests. Yet every year our planet loses 10 million hectares of forest lands. Deforestation and forest degradation account for 11% of carbon emissions. Cutting forests adds carbon dioxide to the air and also reduces the ability to absorb the existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

7. 30% of the world population

30% of the world’s population is exposed to deadly heatwaves for more than 20 days a year. A warming world will increase the need for access to cooling. More cooling means more emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling equipment. These HFCs will then increase global warming.

mangroves8. 800,000 hectares are lost every year.

Only 0.7% of the world’s forests are coastal mangroves, yet they store up to 10 times as much carbon per hectares as tropical forests. If we continue to lose mangroves at this rate, we may completely lose them by the next century.

9. Difference between 1.5°C to 2°C

The world will see serious climate impacts at a 1.5°C increase in global temperature. But after that, it will get much worse. At 1.5°C,

  • 70% of coral reefs will die.
  • one ice-less summer in the Arctic per century.
  • 6 million affected by sea-level rise.

And, if it rises up to 2°C

  • 90% of coral reefs will die.
  • one ice-less summer in the Arctic per decade.
  • 16 million affected by sea-level rise.
  • 1 meter added to sea-level rise.

10. 7.6% every year.

To prevent warming beyond 1.5°C, we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year from 2019 to 2030. However, if countries had acted 10 years ago we would have to reduce emissions only by 3.3% each year. Thus, every year we fail to act, the cost to reduce emissions goes up.

11. It all lies in nature

Tropical forests have been one of Earth’s best defenses against rising carbon dioxide levels. Forests absorb twice as much carbon dioxide as they emit in a year. Despite this, forests receive only 3% of all climate funding.

Also Read: How Diseases are Emerging and Re-Emerging?

So, now we know various causes, impacts, and facts related to climate change. Also, we know that now is the time to take action by educating yourself and urging your community to get involved in mitigating climate change 🙂. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂


References:

Tiger Cubs are born Blind.

Tiger cubs are born blind. Yup, that’s true. They remain dependent on their mother for the first two months. The tiger cub’s eyes open around six to twelve days from their birth. However, they attain full vision after a couple of weeks.

At this stage, they are completely vulnerable to every other predator. That is part of nature’s balancing act, which allows a fair chance to others against the apex predator. The tigress is solely responsible for the protection and care of the cubs that’s why she leaves them only for short periods.tiger-cubs

Tigeress usually give birth to around seven cubs, but the average size of its litter is three. The tigress spends a lot of time at the late stages of pregnancy searching for a safe birthing place. Tigress is overly cautious when caring for young cubs. For instance, she will immediately move cubs to a new place if the surrounding area gets disturbed or threatened.

The tiger cubs start following their mother for casual walks or on drinking trips only after two months of age. Tigress will spend nearly 70% of their time nursing and caring for their cubs. The cubs spend most of their time playing with their siblings and they become independent after seventeen to twenty-four months of age.

Also Read: Mesozoic Era – the Age of Reptiles.

So now we know that Tiger cubs are born blind and how tigress takes care of them. Also, we know how nature plays its balancing act to allow a fair chance to others against the APEX predator. 🙂. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: 11 Algae that are Used as Human Food.

A Human Hair equals 90,000 DNA strands.

You could fit 90,000 strands of DNA side by side in a single adult human hair. Yup, that’s very much true. DNA strand is a very thin molecule averaging only about two nanometers in width. That is roughly two billionths of a meter.

When you compare the width of DNA with your hair then it is very thin. As given above, DNA double helix is about 2 nanometers wide while the width of average adult human hair is around 180 micrometers. This means that an average human hair roughly equals 90,000 strands of DNA kept side by side. 

width-of-DNA-strand

DNA strand is also a very long molecule. For instance, if we lay out every DNA strand (in a cell) end to end, it would measure around 2 meters. So, it is nearly impossible to pack it inside the nucleus of a cell. But, the incredible thinness of the DNA strand allows it to be very tightly packed.

Also Read: 11 Amazing Facts about DNA You didn’t Know.

So now we know that 90,000 strands of DNA can be packed inside a single human hair. Also, we now know that a DNA strand is not only thin but also very long (i.e. about 2 meters long). 🙂. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: How a 2 meters long DNA is fitted into a 2 micrometers Nucleus?


References:

  • DNA Strands | What are DNA Strands? | AncestryDNA® Learning Hub. (2021). Retrieved 10 August 2021,

Stars Are Merely Luminous Balls of Gases.

Stars are mostly huge balls of hot gases such as hydrogen and helium. These gases stick together using their own gravity. These huge balls of gases produce light and heat from the energy released by the thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen and helium.

Some stars shine more brightly than others. Their brightness depends on factors such as how much light stars put out and their distance from earth. The nearer the star the brighter it is. The nearest star to the Earth is the Sun, thus the brightest.

stars-balls-of-gases

Stars are building blocks of our universe and their life cycle spans billions of years. These luminous balls of gases helped ancient explorers navigate the seas and now help modern-day scientists navigate the universe.

Also Read: Evolution of Brain – Where did our brains come from?

So now, we can say that stars are nothing but merely luminous balls of hot gases. Also, we now know that these stars not only make our night sky beautiful but also helps us in various ways. 🙂. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂


References:

How does a scientist’s brain work?

Curiosity is a characteristic feature of a scientist’s brain. It makes scientists think in specific ways and observe patterns and natural processes. The brain of a scientist has a natural urge to learn how things work in this world. This urge to know every aspect makes their brain the most creative mind.
how-does-scientist-brain-work
The scientist’s brain can harness the power of curiosity to investigate every aspect of this observable world. For example, a scientist can deduce many things after seeing a half-filled glass. He can say that one-half of the total volume of glass is occupied by water, and the other half by air. In addition to this, a scientist can deduce the composition of water and air present in the glass and so on.

Thus, we can say there is no limit to a scientist’s brain. Also, this article was not meant to be serious but what can I do, this is how a scientist’s brain works 😉. So that is all for now and meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: Evolution of Brain – Where did our brains come from?

Evolution of Brain – Where did our brains come from?

Brain in all organisms can be simply defined as a mass of nerve tissue that integrates sensory information and directs motor responses and in higher organisms, it is also the center of learning. The evolution of the brain occurred over a time scale of 3.5 billion years. It transformed from simple nerve conduction through ion channels in single-celled bacteria into a complex human brain made up of billions of cells.  Continue reading Evolution of Brain – Where did our brains come from?

Blueberries aren’t actually Blue.

Blueberries are not actually blue, but deep purple, which is the color of anthocyanin, a pigment that is especially rich in blueberries. Anthocyanins are very useful in combating inflammation. A good rule to follow is, the darker the berry, the more anthocyanins are present. Continue reading Blueberries aren’t actually Blue.