New microbe may help remove pollutants and clean up Yamuna

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Agra
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2015 00:03 IST

Scientists have discovered a new microbe that can remove dye and other pollutants from a river.

The microbe, which according to experts was successful in removing 96% of contaminants from river water samples in which it was tested, can be immensely useful in cleaning up Delhi’s lifeline Yamuna.

“We collected 22 water samples from the 250-km stretch of the Yamuna, beginning from Okhla Industrial Area in Delhi to Dauji Ghat in Agra. Along with the water samples, we picked up around 22 soil samples for the extraction of bacteria also,” said Dr Avnish Kumar from the department of biotechnology, school of life science, Doctor Bhim Rao Ambedkar University.

He said, “Dye residues in water can be hazardous for both human and animal health. Such pollutants can be turned into non-harmful molecules by using biological approaches, which are considered cheaper and ecologically safer.”

Sharing the scientific procedure, Kumar claimed that these microbes were proven to clean water by 96%. “After collecting the soil samples, we isolated 15 bacterial cultures and used them on various dyes using layer chromatography,” he said.

The cultured bacteria were put on the dye plates and left for 24 hours. Later, it was observed that dye residues started to disappear and the colour of the water changed, from green to pale yellow. The water samples were tested on the spectrophotometer to check the intensity of the reduced dye, added Kumar.

“We think the presence of the bacteria in the water changed the chemical composition of the dye and made it less effective. The bacteria were found in the soil of Agra, which is amazing as nature knows how to treat itself. The soil can be a solution to control water pollution,” Kumar said.

“The name of the bacteria found by our team was submitted for further identification and, so far, there is no record of such bacteria in the scientific world. So, we named it as NSDSUAM-Bacteria, which are the first letters of the names of the researchers involved in the study,” added Kumar.

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