Indian scientists find three new bacteria in stratosphere

March 17th, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by ANI  


Bangalore, Mar 17 (ANI): Indian scientists have discovered three new species of bacteria, which are not found on earth and highly resistant to ultra violet radiation.

These new micro-organisms were found in the upper stratosphere.

The species have been named as Janibacter Hoylei, Bacillus Isronensis and Bacillus Aryabhata respectively.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a balloon experiment was conducted using 26.7 million cubic feet balloon carrying a 459 kilograms scientific payload soaked in 38 kilograms of liquid neon.

The payload consisted of a cryosampler containing 16 evacuated and sterilised stainless steel probes.

Throughout the flight, the probes remained immersed in the liquid neon to create a cryopump effect. These cylinders after collecting air samples from different heights ranging from 20 to 41 kilometres were parachuted down and safely retrieved.

In all, 12 bacterial and six fungal colonies were detected, nine of which, based on 16S RNA gene sequence, showed greater than 98 percent similarity with reported known species on earth.

All the three newly identified species had significantly higher Ultra Violet resistance compared to their nearest phylogenetic neighbours.

This multi-institutional effort had Jayant Narlikar from the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune as Principal Investigator and veteran Scientists U. R. Rao from ISRO and P. M. Bhargava from Anveshna supported as mentors of the experiment.

S. Shivaji from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and Yogesh Shouche from National Centre For Cell Science (NCCS) were the biology experts and Ravi Manchanda from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) was in charge of the balloon facility.

C.B.S. Dutt was the Project Director from ISRO who was in charge of preparing and operating the complex payload.

The balloon was flown from the national balloon facility in Hyderabad.

It was operated by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

The samples were analysed by the scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, as well as the National Centre for Cell Sciences, Pune, for independent examination.

This was the second such experiment conducted by ISRO, the first one being in 2001. Even though the first experiment had yielded positive results, it was decided to repeat the experiment by exercising extra care to ensure that it was totally free from any terrestrial contamination. (ANI)

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