CUTTACK: The antidote for fluoride poisoning may well lie in the Peepal and Drumstick trees. The Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) at Phulnakhara here is all set to conduct a research to find this out.
The basis for the research project was formed after preliminary investigation by the Institute’s experts in the fluorosis affected zones of Angul district revealed that these plants can thwart the debilitating effect of the disease.
The study on incidence of fluorosis was undertaken among the human and livestock population of 50 villages around the smeltering plant of Nalco factory in the district.
A project proposal for an in-depth study of the plant’s characteristics, which will help formulate an antidote, was submitted to the ICAR. It has been recently accepted.
The ambitious Rs 1.2 crore project titled ‘‘Impact of Fluorosis on Livestock of Orissa and its Management’’ is scheduled to commence from January next year and would be completed within three years, ADRI sources said. Objectives of the project, to be conducted in three phases, is to explore possibility of development of the antidote and applying it in field cases.
Sources expressed confidence that detailed exploration of the plants would lead to better knowledge in dealing with the disease. ‘‘These plants were found to grow well while other vegetation showed stunted growth and did not flourish. Thus they must be having some active principles present within them which enable them to fight the scourge. The principles have to be identified and put to use’’, an expert said.
As part of the research, the chemical constituents of different parts of the plants would be tested. The residue would be examined for toxic constituents through animal experiments. ‘‘In case, it is found to be non-toxic, then there is possibility of having anti-fluoride activity of fluorine inhibitor’’, sources added.
Besides, the project also aims to conduct a detailed survey of fluorosis incidence in Angul, Dhenkanal, Talcher, Damanjodi, Bahanrapalli, Kaniha, Hirakud, Paradip, Gopalpur, Bargarh, Chiplima, Paikamal, Titlagarh, JKpur, Kashipur, Choudwar and Theruvalli along with the endemic zones in Khurda.
The study would also take into account the socio-economic impact of the problem and would devise measures for minimising the economic loss.