Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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Bacteria in natural environments are most often challenged with more than one stress factor at a time. Hence they evolve with
molecules, which confer to them the ability to tolerate more than one stress condition. These multistress-protectants interlink
mechanisms involved in adaptation of bacteria to different environmental stressors and are useful for various purposes. Some time
back, a DBT-sponsored project was undertaken at CCMB to look for the multistress-protectants in some cold-adapted Antarctic
bacteria. Association between cold stress and oxidative stress was demonstrated earlier in an isolate by measuring the specific
activity of two antioxidant enzymes and the intracellular level of free radicals (using EPR-spectroscopy) in cells grown at room
temperature and 4
C. Enzyme activities and production of free radicals (oxidative stress) were higher in the cold-grown cells.
Studies on tolerance of 8 Antarctic and 2 mesophilic bacteria to different environmental stress factors (high and low temperature
and pH, high salt, oxidative stress, ultraviolet radiation) revealed remarkable variation in stress-tolerance of organisms belonging
to the same genera and isolated from the same environmental niches. Increase in the amount of unsaturated lipids was observed
in a salt and cold-adapted mesophile by GC-MS analysis of the total lipids. Mutants of an Antarctic strain, sensitive to multiple
stress factors, were obtained by transposon mutagenesis. Mutation in a gene encoding citrate synthase was detected in a mutant
using inverse-PCR, implying the role of the enzyme in multiple stress-tolerances. Further studies are in progress.
Madhab K. Chattopadhyay (born 1956, M.Pharm, Ph.D from Jadavpur University, Kolkata) worked on control of methionine biosynthesis in
Escherichia coli at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR), Kolkata as a graduate student; on chemical chaperones at the Institut Jacques
Monod, Paris University (France) as a post-doctoral fellow (2001); on physiological characteristics, antibiotic and heavy metal tolerance of some lake
bacteria at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Neuglobsow (Germany), as a visiting scientist (2006, 2009). At present,
he is working on stress adaptation of bacteria at CCMB (CSIR). He is actively involved in popularization of science.
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