Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology | Achievement of Indians in science & technology
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: About the gel
Mains level: Preventing fatalities due to harmful pesticides
- Using easily available, inexpensive natural polymers, researchers in Bengaluru have developed a gel for the skin to protect agricultural workers from harmful pesticide sprays.
Protective Gel for Farmers
- The base of the gel is chitosan, a natural substance extracted from the waste shells of crabs and shrimps, to which a nucleophile and few aqua reagents are added to get the consistency and desired pH.
- Organophosphate pesticides bring about the inhibition of important enzymes (AChE) of the body, which can, in turn, affect the functioning of nervous system, heart, immunity, and even the reproductive system.
- The gel looks and feels like a cold cream and we can add suitable fragrance too.
- Since pesticides can inhibit enzymes in blood, different experiments were carried out using rat blood to see if the gel could prevent this.
- The gel does not just act as a simple physical barrier; it chemically deactivates pesticides.
- The gel was found to cleave a wide range of commercially available pesticides before they enter the bloodstream, thus reducing the pesticide-induced enzyme inhibition.