Industrial Biotechnology

1. Isolation And Identification Of Antibacterial Compounds Producing Bacterial Strains From Soil

Antibiotic resistance causes impairment to human health and increases the mortality rate. Antibiotic resistance is expanding globally, making the current commercially available antibiotics out-dated to control bacterial infections. Resistance to antibiotic is spreading rapidly as compared to the introduction of new antibiotics. Treating antibiotic resistant bacterial strains is becoming difficult because pathogens have different physiological and biochemical characteristics hence, a single compound is not sufficient for treating all antibiotic resistance. Drug resistance emphasizes on isolation of novel antibiotic producing strains. Numerous unexploited microorganisms are found in soil that needed to be exploited. Soil represents a rich source for soil borne microorganism and also there is need to capitalize microbe’s ability to produce new compound.Antibiotic resistance causes impairment to human health and increases the mortality rate. Antibiotic resistance is expanding globally, making the current commercially available antibiotics out-dated to control bacterial infections. Resistance to antibiotic is spreading rapidly as compared to the introduction of new antibiotics. Treating antibiotic resistant bacterial strains is becoming difficult because pathogens have different physiological and biochemical characteristics hence, a single compound is not sufficient for treating all antibiotic resistance. Drug resistance emphasizes on isolation of novel antibiotic producing strains. Numerous unexploited microorganisms are found in soil that needed to be exploited. Soil represents a rich source for soil borne microorganism and also there is need to capitalize microbe’s ability to produce new compound.


Project Funding
 Funding Body Funds
1 HEC no logo 480000 Rs


Project Members
  • Dr. Muhammad  Ali
  • Dr. Mohammad Maroof  Shah
  • 2. Improvement Of Potato Plant Photosynthesis By Engineering Novel Cyanobacterial Carbon Dioxide Concentrating Mechanism

    Plants show diversity in the form of C4 and Ctype of photosynthesis to assimilate free carbon dioxide to synthesize macromolecules for sustained life. RUBISCO (Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase) is a key enzyme that fixes CO2 in the chloroplasts of photosynthetic organisms by its carboxylase activity. In addition to carboxylation RUBISCO can also fix O2. In C3 plants CO2and O2 compete with each other at the active site of RUBISCO. As a result, one molecule of O2 is fixed by RUBISCO for every three molecules of CO2. When O2is substituted instead of CO2 at the active site of RUBISCO, one molecule of phosphoglycerate and one molecule of phosphoglycolate, a toxic product is formed. Plants can metabolize the phosphoglycolate through the process of photorespiration. Therefore, the glycolate metabolism is associated with photorespiration. Photorespiration results in the loss of at least 25% of assimilated carbon during photosynthesis. In this way plants (C3) loose energy, that results in low productivity. This situation becomes even worse when plant suffers from drought or high temperature stresses. Because in these situations plant closes its stomata to prevent water loss but this results in reduction in CO2diffusion into plant cells for photosynthesis. At this stage photosynthesis is surpassed by photorespiration. Plants having C4 type of photosynthesis have specific modifications to concentrate CO2 near RUBISCO to suppress or eliminate photorespiration, hence, those plants have better water use efficiency.  Cyanobacteria also have novel CO2 concentrating mechanisms which may be engineered in C3 type of crop plants to minimize losses due to photorespiration. To overcome these losses,study has been designed to engineer cyanobacterial glycolate catabolism pathway with in chloroplast to bypass the traditional plant glycolate catabolism pathway, which will liberate 2 molecules of CO2 in chloroplast. This will ensure maximum photosynthesis and reduced photorespiration that subsequently will ensure improve productivity. In this study the said pathway will be engineered in potato plants (C3-plant) to improve biomass accumulation.


    Project Funding
     Funding Body Funds
    1 HEC no logo 6500000 Rs


    Project Members
  • Dr. Raza  Ahmad
  • 3. Improvement Of Carotenoid Contents And Herbicide Tolerance In Transgenic Potato For Commercial Cultivation

    Carotenoids possess high nutritive values and also serve as anti-aging agents. Human body cannot synthesize these important compounds; hence, dietary intake becomes essential. Different food sources such as carrots are available for good supply of carotenoids in the food. Nonetheless, carrots are available in Pakistan only in winter season at affordable prices for majority of the population. In summer only imported carrots are available at very high prices. Other vegetables such as potatos are available in entire country at affordable prices round the year. Due to low prices, wide acceptability and synchronization with lots of recipes, it is an integral part of the menu of poor as well rich man. Although, it has micronutrients such as Vitamin C, yet devoid of or have carotenoids in traces. Carotenoids present in plants also protect plants from various environmental stresses, too. 

     

    Various attempts have been made to improve carotenoid contents of plants such as rice for nutritional purposes through genetic engineering. Potato plants were also improved by transformation of multiple genes of non-plant origin for improvements of cartotenoid contents. Recently, single gene cloned form sweet potato was transformed in potato depicted higher carotenoid contents. Single event of transformation studies is always desirable because it reduces the chances of any pleiotropic effects arising from positional effects of multiple transgene cassettes. 

     

    A selection marker gene is used for genetic transformation for selection of putative transforments, which losses it’s utility once transformation is confirmed over multiple generations. However, there are few selection marker genes available which can impart herbicide tolerance in the transformed plants, enabling scientists to improve multiple characteristics of plants for commercial uses. 

    In the current study, it is proposed to develop transgenic potato (Red skin late blight tolerant cultivar Sarpo Mira ) using Ipomoea batatas IbOr  genes (Genbank accession No. HQ828087) under the control of tuber-specific promoter for carotenoid enhancement in tuber along with bar gene encoding phosphinithricin acetyl transferase under CaMV35S promoter for screening of transgenic lines during experimentation yet for non-selective herbicide tolerance in field cultivation.


    Project Funding
     Funding Body Funds
    1 NSLP-PSF no logo 310000 Rs


    Project Members
  • Dr. Raza  Ahmad
  • 4. Isolation And Characterization Of Novel Bacterial Strain And Its Use In Seed Priming For Protection Of Tomato Against Nematode Damage

    Rapid increase in world population demands for food security and sustainable agriculture. Among various pests, nematodes cause severe damage to world agriculture. It has been estimated that 10-12% crops have been damaged by nematode worldwide. In many cases, the symptoms of nematode infection are similar to those caused by salt stress and nutrient deficiency. This wrong interpretation results in ignoring nematode management especially in developing countries. Eco-friendly control of crop damaging nematode is necessary for sustainable agriculture. Various crops including tomato, okra, potato, beans have been reported to be damaged by nematodes. Current project will focus on isolation bacterial strains and its application to control crop damage. Isolated bacterial strains would be examined for their potential to control Caenorhabditis elegans (a model nematode) and Meloidogynae incognita (a species of most aggressive genus of phytonematodes). After initial screening, tomato seeds would be coated with the bacterial strains and grown in pots. Treated and untreated plants would be exposed to rot knot nematode and plant health would be analyzed with different growth parameters. Once, suitable bacterial strains would be isolated attempts would be made to identify genes involved in the killing of worms. This would be done creating a library of mutants and screening those mutants against worms for attenuated virulence. Successful completion of this project would result in the preparation of bacterial formulation for sustainable agriculture.

    Project Members
  • Dr. Muhammad  Ali
  • Dr. Mohammad Maroof  Shah
  • 5. Co-Digestion Of Animal And Agro-Industrial Waste For Improved Biogas And Biofertilizer Production In Pakistan

    Anaerobic digestion (AD) of orgnic wastes offers advantage of simultanoeuos treatment and energy production in the form of biogas from organic waste. The slurry produced at the end of AD can be used as biofertilizer for crop production. Pakistan is an agricultural country where organic waste (animal and agricultural) is abundanlty produced. Recently the biogas development initiatives have gained renewed interest in Pakistan due to shortfall of energy generation from conventional energy sources particularly in the rural areas. Primarily the substrate used for biogas production in Pakistan is cattle manure. Nevertheless, huge amount of locally produced agro-industrial waste can also be co-digested with cattle manure for increased quality and quantity of biogas but is not yet being utilized. However, there is an extreme shortage of empirical research about the biogas potential of indigenous agro-industrial wastes. Therefore, the primary objective of current research is to determine the empirical potetntial of agro-industrial co-substrates for AD of animal manure both at laboratory and pilot scale. Availability of such data will help in establishing the biomethane potential of locally available organic substrates, improve the perfomance of currently operational biogas plants, and develop guidelines for future biogas development initiatives in Pakistan.


    Project Funding
     Funding Body Funds
    1 International Foundation for Science no logo 12000 $


    Project Members
  • Dr. Iftikhar Zeb
  • 6. Polymer Enhanced Biogas Production Through Codigestion Of Poultry Waste

    Co-digestion of poultry waste increases the product value in terms of utilization


    Project Funding
     Funding Body Funds
    1 HEC no logo 484000 Rs


    Project Members
  • Dr. Iftikhar Zeb