The department has two broad areas of research: ‘Industrial, Food and Environmental Microbiology’and ‘Molecular Biology of Microbial Pathogens’.
In the broad area of Industrial, food and environmental microbiology, the specific research interests of the department are in the areas of production of industrially important microbial enzymes, biofuels, bioactive compounds and carbohydrates, meta-genomics, structure function analysis and molecular modification of enzymes, lignocellulose biodegradation, ethanol production from lignocellulose, molecular biology of lignin degradation, carbon sequestration using heterotrophs, bioremediation,gene expression and bioprocess engineering. Collaboration with industries for research is an important thrust in the Department.
In the broad area of Molecular biology of microbial pathogens, the specific areas of research interest include molecular epidemiology of emerging water-borne pathogens like Yersinia enterocolitica and E.coli, and mechanism of antibiotic resistance with special focus on ß-lactamase;understanding host pathogen interactions; microbial genomics and proteomics. The research interests also includeinvestigations into DNA replication and chromatin modifications in the protozoan parasite Leishmaniadonovani(the causative agent of kala-azar); investigating toxin-antitoxin loci in mycobacterial species; understanding molecular pathogenesis of viral infections associated with cancer using Epstein barr virus and Hepatitis C virusas models to investigate viral causes of cancers.
The bench scale process for xylanase, laccase, pectinase and protease production in submerged and solid state fermentations have been developed for application in bleaching of soda pulp and hand made paper pulp, respectively. The processes are being developed for bioconversion of wheat straw into improved animal feed and ethanol production from plant materials. Recently laccase has successfully catalyzed the synthesis of oxaflavin. Carbonic anhydrase ofBacillus pumilus and Sporosarcina pasteurii has been shown to be useful in carbon sequestration. An increase in lysine production by Corynebacterium glutamicumwas recorded at 1 – 2% carbon dioxide. Acidophilic Bacillus acidicola produces Ca++ independent a-amylase, which is optimally active at 60 °C and pH 4 – 5. A novel keratinolytic composition has been developed which can act both on a and ß keratins esp. nail. Its potential to be used as an ungual enhancer is being worked out.
Detailed study has been carried out on glycolipid biosurfactant from newly isolated Yarrowia sp. An extractable yield of 11.5 g/l has been achieved by optimizing various nutritional and physical parameters. A new concept grant for microbial cellulose production for therapeutic uses has been sanctioned by CSIR. Active research is being carried out on production of biodiesel. Final results towards leather processing has resulted in a technology development that is awaiting transfer through CSIR.
The use of multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) showed that the aquatic and clinical strains of Yersinia enterocolitica isolated from India constituted two distinct clusters. Furthermore, analysis of multilocus variable number tandem repeats (VNTR) by minimum spanning tree revealed that aquatic Yersinia enterocolitica strains represent the primordial species from which the clinical strains seems to have been evolved. Using suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) between the clinical and non-clinical strains of Y. enterocolitica more than 120 clones have been identified which are being analyzed to identify novel virulence-related genes in the clinical strains to understand the mechanism of their pathogenicity.
Towards studying DNA replication in Leishmania major, orthologs of eukaryotic proteins such as ORC1 have been cloned and purified and their functional significance is being assessed. The importance of the toxin-anti-toxin loci in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is being investigated. Thirty-two toxin-antitoxin loci ofMycobacterium tuberculosis have been cloned in newly designed E. coli and mycobacterial expression vectors. The functional significance of these genes is being assessed.
Autoclave( Horizontal )
Refrigerated water bath
Milli Q System
Orbital Incubator Shaker
Electronic Analytical- Micro balance
Gel Doc. System
Refrigerated Centrifuge Sorval/Sigms
Shaking Water Bath
Table top centrifuge
Fermentor 5 Lit.
The department has been awarded Special Saaiatant Programme (SAP) of UGC w.e.f. March 2012 for five years