Tamil Nadu

Pondicherry varsity, NIOT sign pact for research on marine organisms

Pondicherry University Vice Chancellor Gurmeet Singh and B. Chithra, Registrar, at the signing of MoU with National Institute of Ocean Technology.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Pondicherry University has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) for research on marine organisms.

Pondicherry University, with expertise in areas such as marine bioprospecting, marine microbiology, metagenomics, and marine biology, seeks to augment research through the collaborative venture with NIOT which is equipped with deep sampling facilities that help exploration of deep sea microbes and other organisms.

“The MoU primarily intends to exploit marine living resources using state-of-the-art deep-sea exploration facilities of the NIOT and expertise of Pondicherry University in the field of microbiology, biotechnology and marine biology,” said a press note.

Among those who participated in the video-conferencing to firm up the MoU were Gurmeet Singh, Vice-Chancellor; M.A. Atmanand, NIOT Director; B. Chithra, Registrar; S. Balakrishnan, head of the Directorate of Studies, Educational Innovations and Rural Reconstruction and Rajeev Jain, Director, Culture and Cultural Relations.

Devi Prasad, Dean School of Life Sciences, G. Dharani, Division Head-NIOT, Uma Chandrasekaran, Dean-International and Joseph Selvin, Head, Department of Microbiology,touched on various aspects of the MoU.

According to the press note, the exploration of marine living resources in India has been limited to coastal and shallow water regions. The deep sampling facilities available with the NIOT would augment the research ventures of Pondicherry University on the exploration of deep sea microbes and other organisms. Through this MoU, the Department of Microbiology, Department of Ocean Studies and Marine Biology, Port Blair campus and Department of Biotechnology, under the School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University, would benefit.

As an extreme environment possessing remarkably diverse microbial consortia, the deep sea world is one of the most important microbial-driven ecosystems, gaining global attention. It is broadly characterised by the presence of high hydrostatic pressures, generally low temperatures except in regions of hydrothermal activity (up to 380 °C) and absence of light.

Moreover, the adaptations of deep-sea microorganisms to the different extreme physico-chemical and biological conditions encountered in the wide range of marine ecosystem have led to the evolution of much diverse microbial population.

Though the deep sea is the earliest biosphere on planet earth, it is meagrely studied primarily due to lack of access to sea floor for sampling purposes. The microbial community dispersed along the sub-sea floor contributes to 70% of the total prokaryotic biomass. In addition to playing a significant role in regulating the biogeochemical cycle, the deep-sea microbes are potential sources of bioprospecting as well.

The NIOT’s Marine Biotechnology division is working on the harnessing of biotechnological potential of marine bioresources. The group headquartered at Chennai also has a field centre at Port Blair, Andaman.

The group works on marine micro and macro algal biotechnology, deep-sea microbial biotechnology and offshore finfish farming. The group has 600 bar pressured rated high pressure deep sea sampler and 350 bar pressure rated high pressure microbial cultivation system, the press note said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 10:36:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pondicherry-varsity-niot-sign-pact-for-research-on-marine-organisms/article32576302.ece

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