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India represents a unique ecosystem of unknown extremophiles in Lonar sodic lake of Maharashtra, India
Dr. ARUN NINAWE
By: Dr. A. S. Ninawe

India represents a unique ecosystem of unknown extremophiles in Lonar sodic lake of Maharashtra, India


In India the Lonar Crater Lake, popularly called as the Lonar soda lake is situated in the Buldhana district of the Maharashtra state said to be the formation of largest craters in the world due to high velocity meteoritic impact on basaltic rock. It is said that it is more than 50,000 years old. Studies reported on microbial diversity of alkaline/saline environments gives clue that earliest microbial life on earth might have been haloalkaliphiles. In the ecosystem it is said that alkaline conditions are caused by an unusual combination of climatic, geological and topological conditions. One of such phenomenon is formation of Soda Lake that represents the most stable high-pH environments on Earth and commonly has pH values above 11.5. The microbial diversity assessment of Lonar and isolation of amylase, protease, chitinase and antibiotic producers are reported by several workers. Geologists, Ecologists, Archaeologists, Naturalists and Astronomers have published studies of various aspects of this Crater Lake ecosystem. The lake has attracted considerable attention for exploitation of the source for bio-molecules with biotechnological potential and studies on functional diversity of microbial life at high pH shown potential producers of industrially important enzymes, pigments, antibiotics etc.

During the last two decades there has been increased focus of UN and National Governments to establish policy frameworks for sustainable management of genetic resources. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) being an important instrument has facilitated the process of sovereign rights and nations and communities on their natural biological wealth. With the enactment of CBD act 2002 and biodiversity Rules 2004, resulting in the establishment of National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). NBA is responsible for promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivators, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and microorganisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity. It ushered into a new era of managing available rich biological diversity of flora, fauna and microbes and also allows conservation of biological resources, access to the germplasm and its sustainable exploitation. Extremophiles have a big role to play in delivering clean, sustainable and safe technologies in the future. The potential impact of marine microbial resources needs to be examined through dedicated genomic based programmes with biotechnology research. The research is being carried out in this ecosystem to explore the possible for novel product and process development of commercial importance.

Dr. ARUN NINAWE

About Author   

Dr. Arun Ninawe is currently working as Scientist G (Advisor) at Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, New Delhi. previously he provided his services as Vice-chancellor (On deputation) at Maharashtra Animal & Fishery Sci. University, Seminary Hills, Nagpur (2007-2010) and during the tenure, filled up more than 600 academic and non-academic posts to fulfil the minimum requirement of VCI and ICAR. He authored and co-authored 52 research papers in national and international journals and published 10 books, 15 book chapters, 7 editorial assistance/reports, 97 popular articles and 30 abstracts and proccedings.