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IISc Bangalore

Scientists design a twin-pit toilet system that protects ground water from getting contaminated by pit-toilet sewage

Prof. Sudhakar Rao's research team: Mogili Nitish V, Lydia Arkenadan & Ananth Nag.R (from L to R)

While open defecation has well known health risks, toilets with sewage pits come with their own drawbacks. One of them is the contamination of ground water due to sewage leachate -- the water that seeps into the soil from the pit and has extremely toxic levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon. These toxins are known to contaminate ground water making it unfit for drinking. Now scientists have designed a twin-pit toilet system that reduces the levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon in the sewage water before it is being absorbed by the ground. This treated water, the researchers say, have low levels of toxins, making it safe and saving water bodies from contamination due to sewage.

How can we make the public transport system fully sustainable?

In a city like Bangalore, public transport system has a huge responsibility of transporting millions everyday and is a necessity to decongest the cities roads and help the city take a step towards sustainable living and greener environment. BMTC, the city's public transport cooperation has introduced many fleets of buses catering to different areas and targeting different types of customers. A new study now evaluates the sustainability of BMTC's fleet of Volvo buses and suggests ways that could help the cooperation maximise its profit and run its services efficiently.

An electronic nose to ‘sniff out’ notorious gases

India is no stranger to air pollution, with the capital, New Delhi, being identified as one of the most polluted cities in the world, several times. The harmful effects of this deteriorating air quality can be seen in the increasing number of patients with respiratory disorders. Now, a team of scientists have designed a novel gas sensor using MEMS technology that is compact, highly sensitive, consumes very little power and accurately detects gaseous pollutants like CO, CO2, NO2 & SO2.

How do TB bacteria develop resistance to common antibiotics? A new study at IISc attempts to answer this

A new study at IISc looks to uncover the secret behind the development of drug resistance in TB causing bacteria by testing the efficacy of various commonly available antibiotics. The researchers have found that a combination of commonly available antibiotics along with Augmentin, fights the development of resistance among TB bacteria. This study might throw light on developing new class of drugs that can help contain the spread of deadly tuberculosis, claim the researchers.

Scientists design Nano-carrier based treatment against Salmonella infections

Foodborne diseases, caused by Salmonella, are responsible for 1 in 10 illnesses globally. Treating Salmonella infections using traditional antibiotics is turning to be a challenge because of the development of drug resistant strains. Now, a new study at IISc has developed nanotechnology based nanocarries using silica that can deliver very small dosage of antibiotics to the affected cells, thus hitting the right target. Using laboratory experiments, the researchers found that these nanocarries performed much better than conventional antibiotics in all stages of the infection. The design of these nanocarries are generic, and can be used for delivering different antibiotics, they claim.

“Trapping” RBCs to throw light on Malaria

Malaria, a deadly mosquito borne disease, kills about half a million people around the world, every year. Developing countries face a challenge in accurately diagnosing malaria in early stages due to the need of sophisticated diagnostic devices and skill. A new study at IISc has developed a technique to test for malaria with very small quantities of blood samples using laser light. By holding a single RBC using a pair of 'optical tweezers', this technique can detect malarial parasites in the RBCs even at an early stage, say the researchers. The researchers claim this technique can help save many lives if commercialised on a larger scale. 

Could human interference be affecting a lizard’s signalling and escape behaviour?

Our lifestyles influence our behaviour in a big way -- or so we think. But did you know our activities have a major influence on other creatures living around us? In an interesting study, scientists have uncovered how urbanization has influenced the courtship behaviour among south Indian rock agamas and their escape strategies. The study found that these agamas use change of colour of their body as communication signal during courtship and aggression and human activities and urbanization have a great influence in the everyday lives of these lizards.

The Second Nose: Scientists decipher the unique egg-laying strategy of parasitic wasps

Figs and wasps have a give and take relationship where figs need wasps to pollinate while wasps lay their eggs inside the fig fruits. However, not all fig-wasp relationships are this cordial. There are a set of parasitic wasps that cause more harm to the fig plant than good! A new study has uncovered some of the fascinating abilities of such wasps, especially their ability to sense smell. Ovipositors, specialized organs developed to lay eggs in wasps, have been found to act as a ‘nose’ in sniffing out the best position to lay their eggs, say the researchers. These organs can also detect many chemicals, potentially inspiring new kind of sensors, they claim.

Yoga - The science of holistic living

Yoga is considered to be India’s gift of goodness and health to the world. With millions of people around the world having benefitted by regular practice, yoga indeed has changed several lives for the good. On this International Day of Yoga, here is all you need to know about the history, the scientific basis for Yoga and some of the benefits realised by those who practice Yoga regularly. 

Counting the crowd – Scientists design a new technique to aid crowd control

Technology has provided the best solutions for many of our problems. One such day-to-day problem faced by civic authorities is estimating the number of people in a crowd or a gathering so that they can manage the crowd better without any incidents. A new study by researchers has proposed a novel  crowd counting technique using the concepts of neural networks. This algorithm, the researchers claim, can count crowds that swell in a short period or those that have varying number of people spread out.