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Biography

Shree Kumar Apte, a Former Director of Bio-Science Group, BARC, is currently Emeritus Professor at the Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, India. His laboratory has extensively studied stress and adaptive responses in bacteria and plants in response to agricultural stresses and ionizing radiation and developed eco-friendly biotechnologies for agricultural and environmental applications. He is an elected fellow of all the national science academies and agriculture academy in India and has over 170 research publications in high impact international journals to his credit

Abstract

In nature, uranium occurs over a wide range of concentrations and is generally toxic to all living cells. Exploitation of uranium by the nuclear industry generates acid/alkaline waste, wherein uranium is found at low (<1-2mM) concentration. Removal of even such low concentrations of uranium is desirable for safe disposal of the waste, but is difficult to achieve by physico-chemical methods. Bioremediation, especially bio-precipitation as uranyl phosphate, is an efficient way to remove uranium from such waste, where high levels radiations also prevail. The radio-resistant microbe, Deinococcus radodurans, was genetically manipulated to individually over-express acid and alkaline phosphatases using deinococcal strong promoters, including the radiation-induced Pssb promoter. Lyophilization was successfully employed to preserve both the phosphatase activities and uranium precipitation ability of recombinant cells up to 1 year at ambient temperature. Such cells could remove 7-11 g U/g dry weight of the biomass

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