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Microbes may unravel nano secrets

Microbes growing in the arsenic-rich soil of Bihar may now be adopted as a tool to probe the secrets of nano technology, reports VK Tripathi.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2007 19:21 IST

Microbes growing in the arsenic-rich soil of Bihar may now be adopted as a tool to probe the secrets of nano technology.

Researchers at Magadh and Patna Universities have jointly begun work on a mega research project to investigate the possibility of synthesis of nano particles by microbes growing in the arsenic prone soil of the Gangetic belt of Bihar.

The researchers hoped that several strains of the test bacteria could show varying abilities of synthesis of gold, silver and zinc nano particles that could add a new dimension to the industrial and medical sectors of the country.

Investigator of the work, Dr AK Ghosh of Department of Environment and Water Management (EWM), AN College, Patna, said many strains of bacteria exist in the soil around Gangetic localities of Bhagalpur, Mokama, Bhojpur and Vaishali localities adjacent to the river Ganga could help synthesise the nano particles of different types which have revolutionised various industries specialising in electronics, bio-degradable fibres and drugs. A nano-technology scientist of IIT, Kharagpur, has also agreed to lend help to Bihar researchers in characterisation of the nano particles.

The first of its kind, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project in Bihar, has been funded by the University Grants Commission besides Ghosh, Dr Seema Sharma, Department of Physics, AN College and Dr Nahid Shamshi, Department of Botany, Patna University, are associated with the work. The project expenditure will be Rs 9.60 lakh.

As envisaged, researchers would adopt 100 strains of bacteria isolated from the arsenic-concentrated soil of Gangetic stretch of different villages of Bhagalpur, Mokama, Bhojpur and Vaishali which would be cultured in the laboratory of AN College, said Ghosh.

Though the EWM laboratory at AN College is being equipped with modern gadgets of nano science, Dr Pramanik, a scientist of the same branch at IIT, Kharagpur, has agreed to provide further lab facilities for characterisation of nano particles.