Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Science & Technology- Biotechnology Mains Syllabus : GS-III- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

Why in News?

  • Scientists in Kerala have completed the whole genome sequencing of a Rare Bacterium capable of producing antifungal and insecticidal compounds.
  • This has opened up the potential to develop a new line of products for Biocontrol applications in Agriculture.

Obtained from soil:

  • Researchers isolated some strains of actinomycetes (a kind of hairy bacteria) from the forest soils of the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary, one of the 12 mega diversity centres in the world.
  • One of the isolates was identified as Streptosporangium nondiastaticum reported to have antimicrobial properties.

Helping Biocontrol:

  • Bioinformatics analysis showed that the genome contained a plant chitinase, an enzyme capable of degrading fungi and insect exoskeleton.
  • The scientists have cloned the gene and engineered the recombinant protein.
  • The strain can produce metabolytes that are toxic to plant pathogens, making it a candidate for biocontrol applications.
  • Across the world, fungal phytopathogens cause significant agricultural crop loss, both in farmlands and post-harvest storage conditions.
  • The use of micro-organisms to control phytopathogens and pests offers an important alternative to chemical fungicides and pesticides which result in environmental pollution and development of resistance in fungal pathogens.
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