Current R&D/S&T Activities
Bioremediation of industrial wastes.
Summary of research
We are working on development of microbial process for bioremediation of the industrial wastewaters mainly pulp and paper mill and tannery. Lignin is the primarily contaminant of pulp and paper industry wastewater. Since, it is a complex polymer, its biodegradation is difficult. Moreover, the degradation products of lignin are toxic and hazardous to environment. So, there is an unmet need to develop a biological technology for efficient removal of lignin and its breakdown products from the pulp and paper mill effluents. Therefore, two bacterial strains namely Paenibacillus sp. and Serratia liquefaciens were isolated with laccase and lignin peroxidase (LiP) enzymes producing ability, respectively. Bioremediation of pulp and paper mill effluent with pure culture of Paenibacillus sp. and Serratia liquefaciens showed efficient decolourisation of effluents. After bioremediation of effluents, significant reduction in phytotoxicity and genotoxicity effects was observed. Development of an efficient microbial consortium using ligninolytic bacteria is being explored. We are also working development of an ecofriendly pulp biobleaching combination for application in paper industry. Thermostable and alkaline xylanases have been purified from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Providencia sp. by ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography. Enzyme immobilization is also being done as it is an exciting alternative to improve the stability of enzymatic processes and economic viability in terms of reusability. The process optimization for the development of suitable biobleaching combination using xylanase and laccase is under way. In another activity, bioremediation of tannery wastewater is also being explored and initial finding is encouraging. We are also using molecular biology technique like RAPD, comet assay, chromosomal aberrations for genotoxicity assessment of industrial wastewaters before and after bacterial treatment. We have also expertise for isolation and characterization of microorganisms from water, soil, food and air samples.