Science and Technology Current Affairs

Cabinet approves MoU between India-Brazil for cooperation in Zebu Cattle Genomics and ARTs

The Union Cabinet has apprised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil in October 2016 for cooperation in fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs).

The MoU aims to strengthen existing friendly relations between both countries and promote development of Genomics and ARTs in Cattle through joint activities to be implemented through mutually agreed procedures.

Key Facts

The MoU will promote and facilitate scientific cooperation and setting up of genomic selection programme in Zebu Cattle through (i) application of genomic in Zebu Cattle and their crosses and buffaloes (ii) application of ARTs in cattle and buffaloes (iii) capacity building in genomic and ART (iv) Related R&D in Genomics and ART in accordance with respective laws and regulations of two countries. It is covered under Rule 7 (d) (i) of 2nd Schedule of Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.

An implementation committee will be constituted with an equal number of representatives from both countries for purpose of regularly determining activities and developing work plans and subsequently their evaluation. It will be done through joint projects in fields of Productivity Improvement of buffaloes and cattle, for purpose of broadening existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development and institutional strengthening.

Zebu Cattle

Zebu Cattle (also known as indicine cattle or humped cattle), is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in Indian subcontinent. They are characterised by fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears. They are well adapted to withstanding high temperatures, and are farmed throughout tropical countries. They are used as dairy cattle, draught oxen and beef cattle.


IIT Researchers develop biosensor to detect kidney disorders

Researchers from Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Bombay and Indore, have jointly developed a biosensor that makes it possible to detect kidney disorders in less than eight minutes.

The biosensor can accurately measure both the pH and urea concentration with a single drop of urine. It will help make a point-of-care test to determine whether the kidneys are functioning normally.

Drawbacks of conventional tests

For conventional kidney function test, doctors estimate pH and urea contents in urine as most kidney disorders result in reduced pH and higher concentration of urea. In current available methods to detect urea, patients need to undergo two tests for accuracy. In addition, these methods have accuracy problem due to contaminations components in urine such as calcium, chloride, ascorbic acid, sodium and potassium.

Biosensor Tests

The newly developed biosensor can detect both pH and urea contents in urine. It is made by encapsulating an enzyme urease and molecule FITC-dextran in alginate microspheres. The combination glows in fluorescence colour in response to chemical reaction with urea and changes in pH when urine is added. The fluorescence reduces when the pH is acidic and increases when it is alkaline. The change in intensity of fluorescence helps to calculate the values of pH and urea.


The biosensor made using alginate is safe and non-toxic to handle. It can work in the ideal pH range of 4-8. It is able detect even low concentrations of urea up to 50 millimolar. It has showed accuracy of more than 97%. Moreover, it is stable for up to a month in a refrigerator and gives results unaffected by other components in urine samples. It can help to make rapid and accurate point-of-care diagnostic test for kidney disorders.