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Welcome to the IUP Journal of Life Sciences

The vast diversity of the biological world is the result of evolution. Globally, much attention has been drawn to protect this biodiversity, with emphasis on the marine ecosystem. Earth is often referred to as the water planet and is probably the only planet to have oceans that are home to marine life and have been evolving for over several billion years. In the past century, significant negative effect on the natural balance of the marine ecosystem was a cause for serious concern. The marine environment has been often referred to as the birth place of life on earth. Over several billions of years, it has developed through an intricate and complex balance of natural phenomena. The marine system serves as the ecosystem for different plant and animal species. It is essential to all living beings, both in the water and on land, to be in harmony with the marine system. The marine environments are also currently being exploited for many other resources. There is an urgent need to protect the environment and identify new threats so that the damage is lessened.

Given this backdrop, in the paper, “Possible Invasion of Terrestrial Bacteria into Marine Algal Consortium”, the authors, Shibayan Ganguly, Soumi Sinha Roy, Dipavali Acharya, Malavi Sengupta, Debarati Shome, Monalisa Baidya and Arup Kumar Mitra, have shown that the terrestrial transfer of bacteria to marine environments can open new threats to marine environments. Marine algae were collected from a fisherman’s net in the Arabian sea at the Kovalam Beach, Trivandrum, Kerala. Further observations showed that the algae caused blackening of the layer of sand which got precipitated beneath the vessel due to liberation of hydrogen sulphide by bacteria present along with the algae. The algae were having an antagonistic relationship with bacteria, as the latter reduced the algal viability and shelf life. This negative impact of the bacteria is harmful to the natural marine environment. The paper clearly shows that the sewage carried by different rivers or canals flowing into the sea is detrimental to the marine biodiversity in the estuarine areas of the subcontinent and is a potential threat to the marine environment. Early preventive measures are to be adopted to preserve biodiversity.

The second paper, “Efficient Recovery of Hyaluronic Acid from Highly Viscous Culture Broth”, by Jagadeeswara Reddy Kanala, Kalpana Panati and Venkata R Narala, provides an efficient method for the separation and recovery of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) from highly viscous culture broth. Purification was carried out by optimizing different parameters like temperature, pH and treatment with activated charcoal. HA is a naturally occurring biopolymer. It has a wide range of applications in the treatment of osteoarthritis, cosmetic surgery, ophthalmic surgery and wound healing. The authors have produced clinical grade HA. An indigenous method for purification of HA in large-scale from microbial origin will be quite economic and will have widespread application in the field of medicine, cancer and tissue engineering studies.

The third paper, “A Comparative Study of Moringa oleifera in Native Wet and Dry Habitats of Muthagoundanoor, Salem District, Tamil Nadu” by P Jagadheesan, V Mugilan, V Kannan and V Stalin, deals with studies related to plant stress in drought condition. Moringa oleifera or the horseradish tree is a pan-tropical species and there are extensive reports describing its nutritional and medicinal properties. It is an important tree that can continue to grow under severe drought and produce good yields. Moringa sp. continues to resist drought and the authors have studied the morphological, anatomical and physiological changes in Moringa in response to water stress. The paper is of significance in understanding plant physiological mechanisms.

The fourth paper, “Characterization of Milk Production Systems in Bure District, Ethiopia”, by Adebabay Kebede, Firew Tegegne, Zeleke Mekuriaw and Azage Tegegne, discusses the study was conducted in Bure district of the Amhara National Regional State with the objective of characterizing the milk production system. Bure is one of the districts of West Gojjam Administrative Zone in Amhara National Regional State. This district has surplus agricultural products and has high potential for milk development. The study explores the existing milk production and marketing systems. The paper gives information about the milk development strategy in the area and highlights the need to characterize the existing milk production and marketing systems. The study fills the information gap in milk production and marketing systems to prioritize the constraints and opportunities with regard to milk production in Bure district. The paper draws attention to areas of milk nutrition, health, product marketing in order to capitalize on the market-oriented milk industry in the area. The last paper, “Bioprospecting Concept of Sugarcane Towards Antihepatitis Drug Development:

A Nanobiotechnological Approach”, by J Karthikeyan and G Gowsigan, is a research note on nanobiotechnology which has found greater application of nanoparticles for their biological effects. The note is a hypothesis for the identification and development of pharmaceutically active natural compound by conjugation with suitable nanoparticles. Nanomedicine is one of the medical applications of nanotechnology. It is well-known that sugarcane juice is widely used as a crude drug to cure jaundice caused by Hepatitis-B-Virus (HBV). The authors have noted the identification of sugarcane bioactive principle(s) having target-specific therapeutic potentiality/efficacy to curtail HBV development and to further apply the nanobiotechnology approach for drug encapsulation and tissue targeting for enhancement of pharmacokinetic activity. Nanobiotechnology takes most of its fundamentals from nanotechnology. Nanobiotechnology is often used to describe the overlapping multidisciplinary activities associated with biosensors. The paper gives a new approach to develop new medicines by converting currently available drugs into nanoparticle forms.

-- S B Mukherjee
Consulting Editor

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Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India

Bank Management
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a bank’s alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
International Scenario

If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.

Indian Scenario

The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.


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