An Industrial visit (Educational tour) was organised to Kerala. National Research centres, Plush Coconut vegetation, backwaters of Kerala were the main attractions. The students of the third year B.Tech, second year M.Tech and M.Sc students participated in the visit.
The students visited Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute [JNTBGRI] at Palode, Trivandrum. This centre is also a ‘National Gene Bank for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants’. Dr K. K. Sabu and his colleagues interacted with the students and explained the different plant tissue culture methods and cryopreservation techniques to conserve the germ-plasm of wild varieties and rare species. An example of how tribal people chewing a wild plant species and spitting on the beehive would ward off the bees for collecting the honey was cited.
The students proceeded to RGCB [Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology at Trivandrum. Dr Sathish coordinated the groups to different departments of RGCB. Dr Moinak Banerjee at the Molecular Genetics Lab highlighted the correlation and association of gene sequences with that of behaviour. A single base pair change in one of the sequence differentiated the Peace lover to that of peace hater. He cited the example of two rulers having different ideologies and differing in a single base. He further cited the role of Epigenetics and chromatin remodelling for the changed behaviour of the person and how certain disorders can be overcome by this mechanism. The proof of how epigenetics can be used to treat an abnormal condition was given using a day to day example of Short-temperedness in individuals.
A glimpse of Central Instrumentation lab was arranged for the students.
The students proceeded to Kovalam beach for an evening stroll and sunset followed by shopping at the local spice shop.
The group went to a 2 hours boat ride in the Alleppey backwaters. A glimpse of Houseboats, mid-water café and seafood (fish karimeen) was a sight of attraction and delicacy.
The group visited CIFT [Central Institute of Fisheries technology] at Cochin.
Dr Byju showed a video presentation of the various activities and departments and their roles in the fish science and their studies. The institute helps the local farmers and fisherman to maximise the economic returns through innovative technologies in fish catching, processing and packaging. After the 30 mins video presentation, the group visited the department museum and their commercial products which were on display. Later the group visited the fish processing technology department in which the fish processing strategies to maximise the shelf life were shown. Followed by the group visited the By-products department in which the fish by-products like glucosamine, proteases, and other value-added products were shown. Later visit the Packaging department in which the R&D relating to the innovations in packaging strategies and efficacy testing of different package materials were highlighted. A brief visit to the Pilot plant of the institute showed the scale-up of the lab to industry transition.
The student visited the popular MILMA dairy [Ernakulam plant]. Here the group was shown how milk was homogenised, pasteurized and packaged. Automated handling of milk from sampling to packaging was shown at this plant.
'Education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.' - Albert Einstein