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Venkatesh B.,National Institute of Hydrology | Nandagiri L.,National Institute of Technology Karnataka | Purandara B.K.,National Institute of Hydrology | Reddy V.B.,The Energy Research Institute
Journal of Earth System Science

The objective of this study is to apply and test a simple parametric water balance model for prediction of soil moisture regime in the presence of vegetation. The intention was to evaluate the differences in model parameterization and performance when applied to small watersheds under three different types of land covers (Acacia, degraded forest and natural forest). The watersheds selected for this purpose are located in the sub-humid climate within the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India. Model calibration and validation were performed using a dataset comprising depth-averaged soil moisture content measurements made at weekly time steps from October 2004 to December 2008. In addition to this, a sensitivity analysis was carried out with respect to the water-holding capacity of the soils with the aim of explaining the suitability and adaptation of exotic vegetation types under the prevailing climatic conditions. Results indicated reasonably good performance of the model in simulating the pattern and magnitude of weekly average soil moisture content in 150 cm deep soil layer under all three land covers. This study demonstrates that a simple, robust and parametrically parsimonious model is capable of simulating the temporal dynamics of soil moisture content under distinctly different land covers. Also, results of sensitivity analysis revealed that exotic plant species such as Acacia have adapted themselves effectively to the local climate. © Indian Academy of Sciences. Source

Krishnamurthi S.,Chandigarh Institute of Microbial Technology | Krishnamurthi S.,National Institute of Oceanography of India | Bhattacharya A.,Chandigarh Institute of Microbial Technology | Bhattacharya A.,The Energy Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

A Gram-positive, non-endospore-forming bacterium, designated strain SK 18T, was isolated from surface soil of a landfill site by dilution plating on trypticase soy broth agar. Preliminary characterization of strain SK 18T via biochemical tests, analysis of fatty acid methyl esters and partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing placed it within the genus Microbacterium. Analysis of the cell wall indicated that the peptidoglycan was of cross-linkage type B, containing the amino acids lysine and ornithine and with muramic acid in the N-glycolyl form. The polar lipids were phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidylglycerol, an unidentified phospholipid and an unidentified glycolipid. The major fatty acids of the cell membrane were anteiso-C17: 0, anteiso-C15: 0 and iso-C16: 0. These data further strengthened placement of the strain within the genus Microbacterium. Strain SK 18T shared highest 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity (97.2 %) with Microbacterium ulmi DSM 16931T. Levels of similarity with the type strains of all other recognized Microbacterium species were less than 97.0 %. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments with strain SK 18T and its closest relative, M. ulmi DSM 16931T, revealed a low reassociation value of 39.0% (σ=53.8 %). Moreover, strain SK 18T showed a number of differences in phenotypic characteristics (colony colour, catalase activity, hydrolysis of polymers, acid production from sugars and oxidation of various substrates), and its DNA G+C content was also higher than that of M. ulmi DSM 16931T. These data indicated that strain SK 18T represents a novel species of the genus Microbacterium, for which the name Microbacterium immunditiarum sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is SK 18T (=MTCC 7185T=JCM 14034T). An emended description of the genus Microbacterium is also provided. © 2012 IUMS. Source

Rehman I.H.,The Energy Research Institute | Rehman I.H.,TERI University | Kar A.,The Energy Research Institute | Arora A.,The Energy Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Sustainability Science

Close to three billion people globally and over 800 million in India are dependent on direct combustion of unprocessed solid biomass fuels in inefficient traditional mud stoves. Current cooking practices, besides causing serious health problems, are also being linked to emissions of climate change and pollution agents such as black carbon and ozone precursors. In India several initiatives have been taken up to tackle the problem but the present trajectory of limited technical and social change in cooking energy use is nonetheless persistent in rural areas. In order to develop and scale up alternative cooking technology options, we have analyzed, using the principles of strategic niche management, two projects implemented by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in nine villages in India. The assessment, while highlighting reasons for stability of the current cooking regime, also points to triggers that can destabilize the regime. The focus is also on assessing the influence of protection in the form of subsidies on the process of transition. User preferences relating to social and technical aspects have been analyzed, pointing to forced draft cookstoves as the preferred option notwithstanding cost reductions to address affordability concerns. The assessment indicates that while it is critically important to understand and address the preferences of users and to improve the technology, scaling up will depend on stove cost reduction through further research. Creativity in effective financing schemes and support structures put in place by fostering public-private partnerships are also needed. © 2012 Springer. Source

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