From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Natrialba Swarupiae, Sambhar Lake
Mains level : Not Much
- Scientists at the National Centre for Microbial Resource — National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR-NCCS) in Pune have reported a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism), which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.
- The new archaeon has been named Natrialba swarupiae, after Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, for her initiative in supporting microbial diversity studies in the country.
- Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
- These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
- They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.
- Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting.
- As archaea are relatively poorly studied, very little is known about how archaea behave in the human body.
- The organism has potential gene clusters that helps maintain the metabolism of the archaea to survive in extreme harsh conditions.
Search and discovery
- Sambhar Lake has been poorly studied for microbial ecology studies.
- With a salt production of 0.2 million tonnes per annum, it is also a hypersaline ecosystem which provides an opportunity for microbial ecologists to understand organisms that thrive in such concentrations.