BIOPROSPECTION - PLANTS & MICROBES
High altitude areas in the western Himalayan zone experiences high solar radiation, low mean temperature, rapid temperature changes and low partial pressure of air. Hence, these areas are identified as niche areas for novel enzymes and genes which could be used for developing transgenic plants for better survival under stress conditions.
Years of work in the Institute has led in identification of an unique autoclavable enzyme, Superoxide dismutase from a high altitude plant, Potentilla atrosanguinea (patented). The enzyme is industrially important and now complete technology has been developed for its in vitro production in E.coli in bioreactors as a recombinant protein. Further, construct of the SOD gene has been developed for transformation of Arabidopsis. Also a number of low temperature responsive partial genes were identified and cloned from the plants like Arnebia, Rehum, Potentila, Caragana etc.
The work is underway for bioprospection of microbes form these areas for development of plant growth promoting formulations.