Microbial diversity studies of various aerobic and anaerobic ecosystems and their biotechnological applications
Prokaryotes are the dominant form of life on earth and they found to survive under any conditions of the biosphere. We are using an integrated approach to understand the nature of free-living prokaryotes by studying microbial diversity and their ecology. This information provides an insight into the systematics of these prokaryotes and their biotechnological applications. Microorganisms existing in complex environments often require capability to produce antimicrobial compounds as a competitive advantage to producing strains for their establishment in these ecosystems. Although many bacterial strains produce antimicrobial peptides as defensins, only few of them have been characterized in detail. Therefore, our laboratory mainly focused on isolation and characterization of novel antimicrobial peptides including different types of bacteriocins from microbial diversity of aerobic and anaerobic ecosystems. To this effect, we have characterized few antimicrobial peptides produced by strains of Brevibacillus laterosporus. Further antimicrobial peptides produced by other bacterial strains including Bacillus, Paenibacillus, Lactobacillus and Clostridium species are being investigated. The AMPs were purified by HPLC and characterized by MALDI MS/MS analysis. The analyses of the antimicrobial peptides suggested that these strains also produce antimicrobial lipopeptides. My lab is also actively involved in determination of total microbial diversity using both culturable and culture independent approaches. As a part of culturable diversity characterization, we have determined the taxonomic status of few novel prokaryotic strains as novel genera and species.
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