The Class 11th and 12th Biology students of our school went on a field trip to Junagadh Agricultural University and Atmiya University to get an insight into the research work done at these leading organisations in western India. We started our excursion leaving our school on 26th July 2018 and reached Rajkot the next morning. After getting fresh at Yogidham, we went to the Food Testing Laboratory (FTL) at J.A.U., Junagadh. The FTL is a joint venture of J.A.U., Ministry of Food Processing Industries (New Delhi), ICAR (New Delhi) and Gujarat Agro-Industries Corporation. This laboratory pioneered the provision of professional interface to public and private sectors.

At the FTL, we visited different laboratories like the Separation Cell, Elemental Cell, Biotech Cell, Microbial Cell, General Food Quality Assessment Cell, etc. and ee were guided by the lab technicians and research scholars. FTL basically checks the quality of food items for the Food Corporation of India. FTL even checks the level of contamination in food items and regulates the permissible limit of contamination in food items. Spices like turmeric is adulterated by adding sulphur powder and milk is adulterated by adding shampoo, detergent and water. The Gaseous Phase Chromatography technique is an efficient way to determine the ingredients of food items, spices and pesticides and helps to standardise the limit of each item as per the global standards. We had some amazing insight into the different kinds of food tests using sophisticated instruments and devices (Electron Microscope, Thermocycler, Liquid Phase Chromatography, etc).

After having darshan of Thakorji and then lunch at the Junagadh mandir, we visited the Plant Pathology department of J.A.U. There, we were guided by the HoD, who provided detailed information about different mushrooms, plant diseases and the fertilizers that the university produces. Next, we visited the Plant Tissue Culture Lab to know about the processes and technology used for tissue culture.

The trip to J.A.U. was a wonderful source and opportunity to gain knowledge and to get analytical overview on the different research works and tests performed. In the evening, we visited the Gondal Swaminarayan Mandir to have darshan of Thakorji. After having darshan, we left for Yogidham, Rajkot.

On the 28th of July, we visited the Virani Science College where we were fortunate to examine and observe how biosafety level 2 laminar flow works and maintain aseptic conditions in a highly sophisticated lab. We also got to perform the DNA Isolation Test using Gel Electrophoresis under the guidance of Leena Ma’am. Firstly, she gave us a brief explanation about the process and told us its significance and then we were asked to perform the experiment on our own. Throughout the experiment our crystal-clear vials showed no significant change, however when we added ethidium bromide, a cancerous dye, brought our DNA samples back to life under the UV lights. This jaw dropping experience amplified our practical knowledge and our appreciation of the concepts involved.

We also visited the other highly sophisticated labs of the College. One of them was the Animal Tissue Culture Lab where we got to examine the breast cancer cell culture in aseptic conditions.

There is no atom of hyperbole in claiming that this was an invaluable excursion for us and that such knowledge could not be gained inside the 4 walls of a classroom. This excursion will be reminisced by the participating students since the knowledge gained and the experience obtained were truly remarkable.

Written by: Manas Patel, Keval Rohit and Krishi Bhojani (Class 11 Science)