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BHU RESEARCHERS DISCOVER NEW GENUS OF CYANOBACTERIA FROM THE NORTH-EASTERN STATE OF TRIPURA

By   /  August 25, 2022  /  Comments Off on BHU RESEARCHERS DISCOVER NEW GENUS OF CYANOBACTERIA FROM THE NORTH-EASTERN STATE OF TRIPURA

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VARANASI : It is beyond doubt that global climate change is severely impacting biodiversity across the globe. Experts feel that unless dedicated efforts are made to identify and conserve biodiversity, humanity could face a situation where numerous forms of life may be tragically lost forever, unknown and undiscovered. Cyanobacteria are important components of almost all ecosystems where life can be imagined. In simpler terms, cyanobacteria are the organisms responsible for oxygenation of planet Earth. Globally in-depth studies are underway to find out more about cyanobacteria and their diverse forms.

Achieving a milestone in the field of taxonomy (The science of identification of living forms), BHU scientists have achieved a major breakthrough by identifying and describing a new genus of cyanobacteria from the North Eastern state of Tripura. The finding during a study by researchers from the Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, was made by using the modern polyphasic approach. Polyphasic approach is important in identifying cyanobacteria or microbes with more accuracy and enhanced information as compared to other approaches. The study was initiated in the year 2020 by Ms. Sagarika Pal, a native of Tripura, and a Ph.D scholar under the supervision of Dr. Prashant Singh, Assistant Professor in the Centre of Advanced Study in Department of Botany, BHU.

This new genus has been named Johanseniella, in honor of well-known phycologist Prof. Jeffrey R. Johansen from the John Carroll University, United States, while the species name tripurensis comes after the state of Tripura from where the sample was collected.

The Northeast region of India is well known as a global biodiversity hotspot and is recognized as a treasure of interesting flora and fauna. Though many studies have been conducted on identifying different forms of life in the Northeastern region, there hasn’t been much work on cyanobacterial studies using modern approaches. Interestingly, Johanseniella tripurensis is the first report of a new cyanobacterial genus being discovered from this region, which also happens to be one of the handful of findings of such genera in India. The research team feels that there could be a vast number of undiscovered cyanobacteria in the North East and hence, this study will serve as a template to motivate researchers to further join hands and help to discover, identify, and conserve cyanobacteria from different parts of this global biodiversity hotspot.

The past few years have seen Dr. Singh’s research group describing numerous new species of cyanobacteria from different parts of the world. The group aims to encourage more researchers to work towards the conservation of biodiversity, which is widely being threatened by the effects of global climate change. The research team also comprised Mr. Aniket Saraf (RJ College, Mumbai), Mr. Naresh Kumar (PhD student, BHU) and Mr. Arush Singh, Mr. Utkarsh Talukdar and Mr. Niraj Kohar (M.Sc. Botany students, BHU).

The work was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-SERB Core Research Grant and the Seed Grant under the BHU Institution of Eminence Scheme. The finding of the study has been published in the globally renowned scientific journal FEMS Microbiology Letters.

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