Developing Science

The Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries is an organization based in New Delhi, that is devoted to promoting a number of areas that are of direct relevance and benefit to developing countries. These include, among others, Agricultural Biotechnology, Bio-safety and Bio-ethical Issues, Environment, Biodiversity and Ecology, Food Processing, Protection of Intellectual Property Rights and Traditional Knowledge, Technology Transfer, and so on. A fuller description of their aims can be found on their website.

They bring out a number of publications that can be of great use, and that could do with wider dissemination, and two recent examples are highlighted here.

Traditional and Alternative Medicine: Research and Policy Perspectives, edited by T De Silva, T Bahorun, M Sahu and Le Mai Huonghas just been published by Daya Publications, New Delhi, in association with the NAM S&T Centre. This book, based on the International Workshop on ‘Herbal Medicinal Plants and Traditional Herb Remedies’ held in September 2007 in Hanoi, is likely to contribute to an understanding of the status of research, policies and regulatory status of medicinal plants and their products in developing countries, and the information presented herein would hopefully serve as a valuable material for the scientists and professionals engaged in this subject area.

"Herbs and traditional medicines are being extensively used for healthcare in almost all the countries. Ancient religious texts are replete with references on the use of natural products with medicinal properties. Because of local beliefs and cost considerations, herbal medicines remain a popular mode of treatment in the developing countries. Even in the industrialised society, rising cost of prescription drugs and ensuing side effects of the treatment, make it highly attractive to use the traditional medicine particularly for minor ailments. Modern system of medicine is based on sound experimental data, toxicity studies and human clinical studies, however pharmacopoeia on herbal products is usually not available. Precisely, herbal industry lacks good manufacturing practices as standards of the medicinal plant products are not well regulated and the quality of finished herbal products is often not up to the mark. For this reason, many medicinal plants are either getting scarce or are on the verge of extinction resulting into genetic erosion due to a huge public demand and extraction of massive amount of modern drugs from these plants. If this trend continues, the human race will lose some of the most important sources of future drugs, which will be lost by the mankind forever. The focus of this book prominently encompasses the importance of traditional medicine in our modern health systems and discusses the potential applications of phyto-chemicals to assist bio-molecular mechanisms, and hence offer realistic and therapeutic possibilities. It includes review papers on production strategies, projection trends, regulatory status and IPR issues, and reports on the characterization and isolation of useful medicinal plant phyto-chemicals, clinical and bioactivity studies comprising antifungal, anticancer, antioxidant, enzyme inhibitory, hepato-protective and acetylcholinesterase assays. Finally, a series of comprehensive country reports provide an evaluation of the use of traditional heath care systems and related research output in many developing countries."

The book has something like 60 chapters that range from reviews, Herbal Medicines: From Research to the Production Line, Medicinal Plants/Traditional Medicine and IPR Protection
and so on, to Genetic Diversity of Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Nees of Brunei Darussalam Determined by RAPD and PCR-RFLP Analyses to Isolation and Characterization of Triterpenes and a Phenolic Glycoside from Celastrus hindsii Benth to Traditional Veterinary Herbal Practices of Kalahandi District, Orissa, India to The Brief History and Development of Traditional Medical Science in Mongolia.

In hardcover, xviii+594 pages, this title is priced at Rs. 1995 in India and US$ 100 overseas. ISBN: 9788170356141

A similar conference on Coastal Ecosystem: Hazards Management and Rehabilitation at Purwokerto, Indonesia in August 2006 resulted in the book of the same name, consisting of 26 selected research and review papers on different aspects of coastal ecosystems.

"Coastal zones contain many of the Earth's most complex and diverse ecological systems, productive in both the biological and economic senses. Coastal region includes inshore waters, inter-tidal areas and extensive tracts of contiguous land.

Coastal zones are not only economically valuable for fisheries, commerce, navigation and recreation, but also include some of the most ecologically important environments. Regrettably, these economic, social, and environmental benefits are at a risk as the coastal zones are affected by both gradual and recurrent processes such as accretion and erosion and by extreme natural events such as floods, hurricanes, typhoons, Tsunamis, earthquakes and severe storms. This is further aggravated due to increased economic activity within the coastal zones resulting in costly damages to property, society, economy and environment. This combination of natural and human forces and the uncertainties involved in their origins and impacts presents major challenges to coastal managers.

The publication has been presented in four parts, namely, General Topics on Physical Oceanography; Impact Studies Related to Tsunami, Tropical Cyclones and Toxic Contamination; General Coastal Management Issues, Including Use of GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies; and Country Reports and Case Studies on Coastal Ecosystem. The material presented in this volume will serve as a valuable reference material for the professionals working in the area of Coastal Ecosystems and Coastal Hazards Management and will help the developing countries in working out scientific solutions for management of hazards affecting the Coastal Ecosystems."

Also in hardcover, xxii + 364 pages Rs 2400 in India and $100 outside, ISBN 9788170355571