Tea price rise in India

Mumbai, May 21 (ANI): The cup of tea that cheers, is threatening to loose its charm in India, as tea prices rise due to a dry spell.

As companies increase prices by 30 to 40 rupees per kilogram, retail price also go up accordingly.

The president of federation of tea traders association of Maharashtra said the hot summer was taking its toll on plucking of tea leaves in the major tea-producing states.

“As there is no rain, there is no production of green leaf. The crop of tea is very poor and on account of that production of tea is very low at the old tea garden in south India and north India. Thereby the stock of tea offering at the old tea auction centre conducted in south and north India is at 50 per cent.

Thereby prices have gone up at the tea auction centre,” said Harendra Shah, president of federation of tea traders association.

As price of tea leaves rise, the tea vendors are forced to compromise on quality.

“Now there is a difference in quality while making tea. We have to manage the expenses for our own food, livelihood and to pay the labourers by selling tea. Day by day the quality would be deteriorating. Although it is not affecting consumers presently but if day by day quality keeps on deteriorating, then it would definitely affect the commoners and consumers,” Rajesh Gupta, tea stall owner.

“Earlier I used to drink 4-5 cups of tea daily but now I have cut it down to 2-3 cups as the tea leaves have become costlier and the tea vendors have increased the prices. Now I have to drink less tea,” said Rizwan Khan, a consumer.

India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Kenya together produce 75 percent of the total global output. (ANI)

Scientists swap key metal necessary for turning sunlight into chemical energy

Washington, May 12 (ANI): A large collaboration between various universities in the US has come up with a surprising twist to photosynthesis by swapping a key metal necessary for turning sunlight into chemical energy.

In the heart of every green leaf are pigments called chlorophyll, which not only give most plants their color, but also along with the yellow and orange carotenoid pigments, are key molecules that harvest light across the spectrum.

In all plant chlorophylls, only one particular metal, magnesium, is held tightly within the molecule’s center.

During photosynthesis, plants have two photosystems that work in tandem: photosystem I and photosystem II.

To peer at the inner workings of photosynthesis, the team used a hardy, well-studied, photosynthetic bacterium called Rhodobacter sphaeroides.

An organism similar to this purple bacterium was likely one of the earliest photosynthetic bacteria to evolve.

The center stage of photosynthesis is the reaction center, where light energy is funneled into specialized chlorophyll binding proteins.

“One of our research strategies is to introduce mutations into the bacteria and study how these affect the energy conversion efficiency of the reaction center,” said Su Lin, senior researcher at ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biodesign Institute, and lead author of the study.

“Carefully-designed aberrations provide extensive information about the normal mechanism of energy conversion in reaction centers, just like studying a disease clarifies the parameters of health for the involved biochemical pathways and tissues. From this, we can learn a lot about the most basic mechanisms of photosynthesis,” she added.

The reactions that convert light to chemical energy happen in a millionth of a millionth of a second, which makes experimental observation extremely challenging.

A premier ultrafast laser spectroscopic detection system that Lin has built, with the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation, acts like a high-speed motion picture camera.

It splits the light spectrum into infinitesimally discrete slivers, allowing the group to capture vast numbers of ultrafast frames from the components of these exceedingly rapid reactions.

These frames are then mathematically assembled, allowing the group to make a figurative ‘movie’ of the energy transfer events of photosynthesis.

“The electron transfer driving force can be determined by either the properties of the metal cofactors themselves or through their interaction with the protein,” said Lin.
In the case of the zinc reaction center, the driving force is regulated through the coordination of the metal,” she added.

The results may enable researchers to explore a deeper understanding of the structure, function, and evolution of photosynthesis reaction centers in photosystems I and II. (ANI)

Wipro unveils affordable laptops

Bangalore, Feb 22 (ANI): Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle East IT Business of Wipro Ltd, unveiled the ‘e.go’, a premium range of laptops at an unbelievable price starting below rupees 20,000.

The entire range was launched last evening with models sashaying down the ramp showing colourful and trendy notebooks.

Anand Sankaran, chief executive officer of Wipro Infotech, said the company s hopeful that its new range of affordable laptops would make good business especially in times of global financial crisis.

“We wanted to break the rupees 20,000 price barrier. So, this laptop is launched at sub- (rupees) 20,000 and it basically is for the consumers. It’s for home use. So, we wanted to ensure that we get it at a price point which is affordable to the consumers in times like this,” he said.

Starting from a price of rupees 19, 999 onwards, the new range of notebooks comes in a range of vibrant colours including chrome red, ocean blue, racerellow, autumn red and coral blue.

“This notebook comes with a 12 inch and 14 inch screen, 2 giga RAM, 2 megapixel camera and Windows into this system. So it’s a no-compromise product. It breaks the rupees 20,000 barrier from price point level. What we are bringing into the market is a fully functional, stylish, premium range of product for discerning users,” said Ashok Tripathy, general manager and head of computing business, Wipro.

Wipro said that the new laptop represents the bold Indian look and that’s the reason why they chose the name e.go.

One of the striking features of the e.go notebooks is that they are completely environment friendly and also hold green leaf label.

The e.go range comes in three models – 7F3800, EM471X series and BM2700 series. It also comes with 12 inch and 14 inch screens.

With battery backup capacity for three hours, the laptops are fully loaded. (ANI)