a landfill in the East Kolkata wetland area has emerged as a treasure trove of useful microbes that could be tapped for
various biotechnological purposes.
Researchers from the Dr B C Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the department of biochemistry at the University of Calcutta, and the New Delhi-based Centre for Genomic Application stumbled upon a plethora of such bacteria in the Dhapa landfill area. They analysed the rich find to conclude that several of these bacteria could help increase soil fertility or act as eco-friendly pesticides. They also found enzymes that promise rich biotechnological returns.
"We have identified bacterial strains, which could fix nitrogen and produce extracellular enzymes like protease, cellulose, and xylanase and dissolve inorganic phosphates," says lead researcher Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay.
With its microbial biodiversity, the Dhapa landfill could be tapped by industrial houses as a microbe resource utility. The findings of the study have been published in the May 20 online issue of Microbial Ecology.
Forty seven per cent of the isolates were found to be Bacilli (18 strains). "The isolation of Rhodococcus species was of importance since these organisms are known to be capable of degrading complex organic compounds," Chattopadhyay points out.
Such bacteria are not common in every landfill. Some of the Bacillus strains produce insecticidal extracellular toxins and can be used as biopesticides. "We also have an isolate that was not identified either by biochemical or molecular technique and could be a novel species of bacteria. We have named it dcu-c1," he says.
The team plans to study non-cultivable bacteria using special genomic technique. This could show the structure-function relationship of the soil area. They are also interested in producing industrially viable high quality products from isolated organisms of Dhapa using recombinant dna technology.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.