EXTENSION ACTIVITY ORGANIZED ON 28-02-2022 BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY
As a part of an extension activity, a team of students and Biochemistry teachers, St.Philomena’s College(Autonomous), Mysuru visited Government high school K. R. Mill Main road, Mysuru to give awareness on Menstrual cycle and Hygiene , Adulteration in food items (through different adulterant tests) and Blood Grouping test.
The team comprising students and staff reached the school on 28th February at 1:45pm. Principal of the Government school, teachers and the students warmly welcomed students and Biochemistry teachers of St.Philomena’s College(Autonomous).
Objective of the activity:
- To create awareness to the students.
- To improve the knowledge and skills of the students.
- To have the education beyond the limits of schools.
- To improve the interest in science.
We started with the topic Menstrual Cycle
This topic was chosen by the request of the principal of government college.
Very firstly, the girls were introduced about the term of menstrual cycle, and then its mechanism. Further the information about the phases of the cycle were explained, Each phase [menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation phase and the luteal phase] with their duration of action, number of days of action and its way of occurrence. All these were exhibited on the chart that was presented.
It is very essential to know or have an idea about menarche, 1st occurrence of menstruation. The terminology of menarche was introduced along with the average [12 years] age for its occurrence. The symptoms of onset of menstrual cycle were discussed, which were like; acne, cramps, headache, mood swings, bloated and gassy, feeling tired, etc. Besides, the girls, ladies, and women are suffering from number of problems with respect to their cycles. So, all those things such as improper functioning of thyroid, caners, etc. were also included.
Next was about the usage of sanitary napkins, its side effects, problems and its disposal were informed. Especially, about the duration of its usage, infections and disease that is caused was concentrated. Also, there was a talk about the pollution of soil due to the usage of sanitary pads was made aware. After this awareness, the replacement for the sanitary napkins was said, that is about the menstrual cups, washable cloth pads, etc.
In the end, it was concluded with the process of termination or menopause, end of periods that shows a number of symptoms for its end. Natural pause for menstrual cycle would be less effective than any other operations like endometrial ablation that would stop periods forever. This was informed as a serious note. Healthy foods need to be consumed in order to have healthy cycles and the session was ended, hoping that the activity was beneficial.
Further we started with Blood group typing,
We interacted with the students about the importance of blood and preeminently knowing the blood group type in case of emergencies. Blood carries oxygen all over the body and brings carbon dioxide to the lungs so it can be exhaled. Different blood types cannot be mixed together.
Additionally, we explained the process of identifying the blood group types, there are 4 main blood groups defined by the ABO system:
Blood group A – has A antigens on the red blood cells with anti-B antibodies in the plasma.
Blood group B – has B antigens with anti-A antibodies in the plasma.
Blood group O – has no antigens, but both anti-A and anti-B antibodies in the plasma.
Blood group AB – has both A and B antigens, but no antibodies.
Red blood cells have antigen, a protein known as the Rh antigen. If this protein is present the blood group is Rh positive and if it is absent then the blood group is Rh negative.
We demonstrated the Blood group typing experiment by taking a clean and dry slide and marking 3 circles and labelled as anti-serum A, anti-serum B and anti-serum D. Some students volunteered to get their blood group type checked. We sanitized the finger with cotton dipped in alcohol and using a sterilized lancet, the finger was pricked and a drop of blood was taken in each circle. Anti-serum was added to each circle and the sample in each circle was mixed with different toothpicks. Results was observed and the blood group type was identified. The same was repeated for several students in order to identify their blood group type.
Next, we started with Food Adulteration Topic.
We interacted with students by explaining the importance of food and quality of food. As we know Food is the basic necessity of life. The food we eat is absorbed by our body and is used to run metabolic processes and sustain life. Food is essential for growth, and various life processes. An array of food in our daily diet includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses, grains, etc. All of these are either consumed raw or made into delicacies and savoured. Then we mentioned about, what is Food Adulteration? What Adulteration is used in day to day lives as there are some conditions that are required to conclude whether a food is adulterated or not.
We performed 2 adulterated experiments live and explained various other common food adulteration using videos and presentations.
The first adulterant demonstrated was about turmeric adulteration starting with the introduction like Indian cuisine is defined by the variety of spices incorporated in the recipes. The usage of distinctive spices is the secret ingredient that makes Indian cooking authentically Indian. Its unique flavour and scent have the power to dramatically change your dish. The quality of the spices we buy is becoming increasingly important these days. Adulteration is quite frequent, particularly in spices.
Most of us go to our local grocery stores to get our monthly supply of spices and condiments. Spices sold in bulk are more likely to be tainted. We may never know how simple it is to combine inferior materials with powdered condiments. Turmeric is one such significant spice that is adored not just for the wonderful colour and texture it provides to any cuisine but also for its therapeutic benefits.Turmeric powder is nowadays heavily adulterated, depriving it of all of its health benefits.
Water Test: Take a glass flask of warm water and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it, let it sit for around 10-15 minutes.
Chemical test: it was conducted by taking non adulterated and adulterated turmeric powder with addition of water and 3 drops of conc.H2SO4 were added and the colour formation was shown and reactions were explained and students noted it and responded to us telling the difference seen in the test tubes .
This interaction was appreciated from us and encouraged us to perform next food adulteration experiment.
The second adulterant demonstrated was about chili adulteration. Chili powder is a widely used spice in many Indian cuisine, there are probably a few delicious cuisines which can be made without chili powder. Chili powder also has certain health benefits like in digestion, maintaining blood pressure levels, in weight loss etc. Hence it is important that we get unadulterated chili powder from market.
Chemical test: In two separate test tubes adulterated and unadulterated chili powder was taken and 4 ml of ethyl ether was added. In two more separate test tube 4 ml of dilute HCl and distilled water was added in equal ratio. The chili powder solution supernatant were transferred to the test tubes and mixed. It was found out that the adulterated chili powder had formed pink colour in the test tube, while the unadulterated chili powder containing test tube had no colour formed . The process was explained to the students and their response from the students were noted.
The following adulterants were explained to the students:
Adulteration of Milk: Various methods can be used to distinguish between adulterated and unadulterated milk. We had explained that, when a drop of milk is placed on a polished slanting surface the pure milk stays or flows slowly leaving a trail behind. While the adulterated milk will flow immediately without leaving a mark.
Adulteration of Pepper seeds: This was a relatively simple test. Some of the pepper seeds when poured on the glass of water and left undisturbed. The pepper seeds would have precipitated in the unadulterated sample and in adulterated sample it was such that along with precipitation of pepper seeds, some of the adulterants would be floating on the top.
Adulteration of honey: Honey is usually adulterated with sugar. In a glass we water when adulterated honey is added dispersion can be observed. In unadulterated honey the honey settles at the bottom and no dispersion can be observed.
We informed the students about the need and importance of healthy diet; we gave the idea on food plan and hygiene.
Outcome of the activity:
Through the activity involving food adulteration students were made aware of the possible adulterants used in the day to day ingredients and foods that we use and the ways which it can be identified. They were enlightened with the knowledge of the ill effected of eating the foods prepared from adulterated ingredients on the health in long run. Even the students made aware of the procedures to identify some simple adulterants at home. Through the blood group identification activity the students were happy to know about their blood groups and were shown the demonstration of the process of identification of the same. The girl students learnt about the maintenance of menstrual hygiene, the process and the hormones behind it, through the lecture followed by open discussion session. Overall, it was a delightful sight to see the spark of curiosity in the eyes of every students regarding the science behind day to day things arounds and the scope of the subject