All microorganisms on earth are adapted to growth in different environmental niches. Organisms inhabiting nutrient-poor niches use different types of metabolisms, and as a result produce many important hydrolytic enzymes and secondary metabolites with significant biological activities. Interestingly, scientists are exploiting microbial metabolisms and modifying them to suit the production of desired compounds. Cultured soil microbes provide many important drugs including antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs and anticancer agents. Soil microbes are highly useful in discovering new biologically active agents. Certain bacteria, like actinomycetes, produce antibiotics and account for 60 – 70% of the total antibiotics produced till date.
Isolation and molecular identification of actinomycetes and other virulent strains from higher altitude regions of Nepal are under progress in the department. Characterization of compounds like antibiotics, toxins from these species and identification of pharmaceutically important compounds for drug development are areas of research in the future.
To explore novel soil Streptomyces in Nepal in pursuit of potential antibiotics using Biochemical and Molecular Methods.
Streptomyces are masters of secondary metabolism. Besides antibiotics, diverse natural products produced by Streptomyces possess a variety of pharmacological activities including antitumor, antifungal, antiparasitic and immunosuppressant activities, and are used in clinical and veterinary medicine. About 3,000 known antibiotics have been produced from actinomycetes, 90% of which are produced from Streptomyces. The worldwide emergence of multidrug resistant pathogens has become a major therapeutic problem. Moreover, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of new and re-emerging infectious diseases. Thus, in light of the evidence of rapid global spread of resistant pathogens and new infectious diseases, the need of finding new therapeutic agents against these diseases is of paramount importance. The distribution of Streptomyces, well known for their secondary metabolite production, is believed to be influenced by soil geochemistry and local microbial community composition. Nepal has large variation in soil type and its contents due to large geographical variation. As a consequence, the abundance and distribution of Streptomyces is also variable which results in diverse morphology, physiology, and biochemical activities. However, awareness about these facts and studies on enumeration, isolation and screening of actinomycetes for potential bio-activity have so far remained limited in Nepal. This study aims to investigate Streptomyces complexes in various soil biotopes of Nepal and to explore the drugs/antibiotics production potentials of these indigenous Streptomyces.
Investigation of pathogenic bacteria and their biofilm composition in the oral cavity of Nepalese population from different geographic locations and analysis of its impacts on distribution, genetic variation, and pathogenic potential.
Poor oral cavity hygiene is the major cause of the many dental related health issues. In order to develop efficient oral cavity cleaning products, there should be enough scientific information about the oral microbial diversity in biofilm and its chemical composition. Such scientific data is not available here for Nepalese population. Due to various geographic variations and multiple ethnic populations with multiple cultures and living customs, different oral microbial composition must be obtained. In the present research project, we will investigate oral microbial diversity in Nepalese population from various altitudinal locations, ethnic groups, and various age groups. In addition, genetic variation of microbial species with respect to geographical location and their biochemical and physiological variation will be investigated. We will also investigate chemical secretion of microbial flora in the oral biofilm by using LC-MS and GC-MS analysis. Similarly, microbial enzyme production will also be explored. The co-relation between the oral disease and microbial diversity along with chemical composition of bio-film and extracellular enzymes secreted by microbial species will be investigated. The overall scientific data will pave the way to describe the distribution, pathogenic potential, physiology and genetic variation of pathogenic oral microorganisms in Nepalese communities. Such information would pave the way to design and produce proper and effective oral cleaning products commercially.
Investigation of beta-galactosidase and galacto-oligosaccharides production from cheese whey by lactic acid bacteria isolated from different dairy products of Nepal.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are a mixture of prebiotic ingredients with various positive effects on human health. Commercial GOS are produced from lactose as a substrate using β-galactosidase (β-GAL) enzyme of microbial origin whose productivity and yield are generally very low. An important parameter in GOS production is the origin of the β-GAL enzyme. Presently, GOS are produced mainly from yeast, fungal and bacterial β-GAL but they have lower yield and productivity. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are used as starter for the production of dairy products and generally regarded as safe (GRAS). However, only a handful of information is available on β-GAL from LAB and the production of GOS. In addition, cheese whey (CW), a major byproduct of dairy processing, can be used as substrate for GOS production, which otherwise is discarded into the natural aquatic system causing severe environmental problems. Thus, it is necessary to investigate for novel enzymes with higher GOS yield to make the process more sustainable and industrially viable. The main objective of this project is to develop a novel and an efficient LAB based platform for GOS production. For this, we will extract the enzymes from LAB isolated from different dairy products of varying altitude of Nepal, characterize in β-GAL activity and optimize GOS production from CW. This project is of great significance as LAB and their β-GAL could be employed for the production of value-added products (GOS) without extensive purification steps.
Antibiogram and molecular characterization for carbapenem resistant bacteria isolated from fresh produce collected from local markets in Kathmandu, Nepal.
International Foundation for Science (IFS), Sweden
The project aims to understand the prevalence of carbapenem resistant microbes, especially those that the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed as “critical”, in fresh fruits and vegetables sold in Kathmandu valley. Furthermore, the project also targets on molecular characterization of the genes responsible for causing the resistance.