Analyses and Harnessing of Marine Biodiversity for Bioremediation of Aquaculture and Other Industrial Effluents (Project No. PSC0206)
The main objective of this proposal is “Pollutant-targeted bioremediation solutions through selection and examination of appropriate marinebiota, their consortia or metabolites for treating effluents/wastes from aquaculture, leather, petroleum, textiles and paper-mill industries.”
The following is what the project proposal envisages to accomplish:
Biodiversity and habitat analyses for biotechnologically useful marine biota possessing in particular bioremediation properties;
Screening for Bioactivity potency for pollutant degradation/detoxification, and biochemical characterizations of the most promising, select moieties;
Purification, characterization and screening of select bioactive molecules/principles useful pollution bioremediation;
Optimization of culture-conditions for microflora and standardization of protocols for preparing extracts;
Sequential fractionation, Biochemical/structural characterization of novel principles -for instance- of an enzyme with the highest heavy metal-detoxifying potency, a set 2-3 best performing marine proteases, phosphatases, kinases and laccases;
Cyto-toxicity evaluation of economically viable marine biotic bioremediating principles and compound/s
It is projected by various Scientific, Environmental Protection Agencies, and UN Bodies that by 2020, if unchecked as quickly as is feasible, the global environmental quality would detrimentally degrade. Thus, most naturally regenerating ecosystems would be retarded beyond redemption. While it is hard to bring the excessively indulgent modern human life-style to revert to simplicity or even to moderation, it is possible to have in place, rather sooner, certain efficient, economically viable and user-friendly effluent treatment technologies. Our proposal is one such endeavor in this direction.
Problems associated with water-pollution are far too many and solutions are often simple, yet elusive. In order to be relevant in evolving solutions, we need to design and conduct both basic studies and controlled lab experiments rather ingeniously. Our main scientific goal during this Plan period is to harness the natural remediating potential of marine/estuarine flora and fauna, through biotechnological approaches for water treatment processes in order to achieve higher level of efficiency and cost effectiveness. Designing, manufacture and use of more environmentally efficient tools and processes for waste water treatment, application of biotechnological principles for bioremediation and waste water-recycling are essential. During this Plan, potent and promising bacterial isolates will be gleaned from our marine regimes and used to remove dissolved and particulate organic wastes. Additionally, the pathways of bacterial/microbial nitrification and denitrification and carbon cycle processes will be evaluated and maneuvered as to attain efficient waste management. Through the uses of our understanding of environmental microbiology, marine biology, ecology and molecular biology, the project will provide valuable new insights into biological processes offering new means for the pollution control and abatement.
Together with the pollution detection and prevention, complete elimination of a wide range of pollutants from water is an absolute requirement for sustainable development. As many bioremediation and water treatment procedures in use are operated often with lack reliability and predictability, their performance need to be perfected based on sound scientific principles and on techno-economic feasibility. Since water is a finite resource, which, fortunately, can be reverted back to acceptable safe-use levels, the R& D efforts proposed herein are envisaged to contribute to the future development of bioremediation technology appropriate for restoring in particular the coastal ecosystem health.
Marine and Brackish water Aquaculture, the fastest growing food production sector, uses large amount of water for its activity. Albeit different forms of aquaculture imply different interactions with water (from cages in open sea to inland recirculation systems), the common effect is the release of large loads of nutrient and other pollutants, in both particulate and dissolved form to the receiving waters, thereby causing hyper-nutrification invariably leading to eutrophication consequently distorting the natural functioning in the ecosystem.
In recent times, aquaculture is a main means of healthy, nutritious high quality food products to consumers in many areas in the world. It is therefore inevitable that consumers’ expectation about environmental quality and sustainable production are to be addressed and the farming protocols followed are reflected in policies and national legislations. Although aqua-farms use large quantities of water in a non-consumptive manner, unfortunately release large volumes of effluents to the surrounding environment which is unacceptable. Thus, the environmental impacts of aquaculture are “high-input and high-output” type. Fed aquaculture, such as shrimp farming, releases nutrients in both particulate and dissolved forms, to the surrounding waters and to the underlying sediments. Shrimp farm effluents contain particulate and soluble wastes. The soluble wastes consisting of organic or inorganic compounds may be taken up by organisms, undergo chemical interactions in the water column or in association with surfaces, or simply persist in the water column if they are non-reactive.
Similarly, several industries generate complex wastewater with various types of wastes including coloring agents. These include paper and pulp industry, molasses-based sugar mills and alcohol distilleries, synthetic dye manufacturing and textile industry and leather-based industries. These wastes/effluents unfortunately lead to the perils of harmful effects on environmental quality. For instance, > 8000 chemical products associated with the dyeing process are listed in the color index, while over 1, 00,000 commercially available dyes exist with over 7×105 metric tons of dyestuff produced annually. About 15% to 20% of the dyes used for textile dying are released into processing waters. Besides being unaesthetic, these effluents are mutagenic, carcinogenic and toxic, mainly due to the fact that many dyes are made from known carcinogens, such as benzidine, naphthalene and other aromatic compounds. The textile industry generates huge amounts of colored waste-waters, which contribute enormously to water deterioration. Unfortunately, conventional treatment techniques are not always effective on textile effluents that are one of the most difficult-to-treat wastewaters on account of their considerable amount of suspended solids, high chemical demand and the massive presence of weakly biodegradable and often toxic substances. Therefore, efficient, eco-friendly and cost-effective remedies for wastewater treatment are needed. We aim to come with such treatment methods.
Therefore, management of solid wastes and dissolved effluents is the major challenge faced in the aquaculture and other industries. This is because of the potential for negative impacts on the environment caused by discharging waste- water, enriched in nitrogen and phosphorus and a host of highly toxic materials, into streams, rivers, lakes and the coastal seas. The contamination of ground water as a consequence of intensive farming and industrial activities, is also becoming increasingly problematic in many regions nowadays. As the continued expansive growth, for instance, of the aquaculture industry needs to use very large amounts of clean water, methods for saving clean water, and needs for reducing the environmental impact of aquaculture effluents are becoming far more mandatory.
In view of the totally inadequate infrastructure for marine biotechnology, we should aim at creating globally contemporary laboratory and pilot-scale facilities for marine biotechnology research in the country. This facility to house all gadgetry, and tools essential for marine metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, proteomics; facilities for handling, storage and preservation of industrially relevant cultures as well as R&D related infrastructure of advanced analytical facility encompassing the sophisticated instrumentation for elucidating the molecular moieties.
Scientific Knowledge Creation
By approaching the problem of environmental pollution by stringent critiquing, and, by sleuthing through the microaspects of bioremediation potential, we believe that we will be in a position of strength to collect new data sets, synthesize newer information leading to an advancement in our understanding as to narrow down, fillup, and even harness beneficially the knowledge portfolio that will be a consequence of our hard work. We will strive to publish this aquired knowledge in the form ~100-120 high quality research publications, some monographs of repute and, above these, and as our human resource development endeavor, prepare 20-25 specialist young researchers for carrying out India’s need-based, globally competitive marine bioremediation technology applications.
Our researches are aimed to help achieve national self sufficiency and/or as import substitutions. In the core of this proposal is the application of biotechnological principles for bioremediation and waste water-recycling. We aim designing, pilot-scale testing, technology demonstration and use of more environmentally efficient tools and processes for waste water treatment. Potent and promising bacterial isolates will be used to remove dissolved and particulate organic wastes. Additionally, the pathways of bacterial/microbial nitrification and denitrification and carbon cycle processes will be evaluated and maneuvered as to attain efficient waste management. Through the ingenious application of our understanding of environmental microbiology, marine biology, ecology and molecular biology, the project will provide valuable new insights into biological processes offering new means for the pollution control and abatement. With the generation of adequate knowledgebase from the research turn-out by us, we are certain to benefit from IPR realization and appropriate prospecting efforts of molecules/enzymes such as best performing marine proteases, phosphatases, kinases and laccases in bioremediating a variety of hazardous organic and toxic inorganic wastes. Pace, cost-effectiveness, easy-to-adapt-and-use technology packages for attaining adequate quality standards/safety limits of the treated effluents from aqua-farms, paper and pul, textile and leather industries will be the our focus.
As highlighted above, several industries and their processes generate complex wastewater with various types of wastes including coloring agents. These wastes/effluents unfortunately lead to the perils of harmful effects on environmental quality. Besides being unaesthetic, these effluents are mutagenic, carcinogenic and toxic, mainly due to the fact that many dyes are made from known carcinogens, such as benzidine, naphthalene and other aromatic compounds. In a nutshell, conventional treatment techniques are not always effective on many effluents that are one of the most difficult-to-treat wastewaters on account of their considerable amount of suspended solids, high chemical demand and the massive presence of weakly biodegradable and often toxic substances. Therefore, efficient, eco-friendly and cost-effective remedies for wastewater treatment are needed. From our existing expertse and from the efforts we will put in during the XII Plan, we aim to come with such treatment processes as intervention and subversions of metabolic pathways of the most potent marine biota and its bioproducts as to develop technologies that will abate environmental pollution.