• Biology & Biotechnology

    The CSIR mandate in the Biology and Biotechnology Sector is: To develop commercially viable products/technologies by carrying out research in genomics and molecular medicine, r-DNA technology, protein engineering, drug/nutraceutical development, DNA and immuno diagnostics, synthetic chemistry, toxicology, fermentation technology, analytical biochemistry, environmental sciences, besides bioprospecting, developing novel agro technologies, and conserving biodiversity.

    CSIR’s core competence in this area is multi-dimensional as several CSIR institutes carry out basic and applied multidisciplinary R&D work in the fields of biology and biotechnology including areas such as agro biotechnology, genetic manipulation of microbes, molecular genetics, control of gene expressions, recombinant DNA products, etc.

    Laboratory-wise core competence is as follows:

    Laboratory-wise core competence is as follows:
    Labs Core Competence
    Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB, New Delhi) It has the mission to translate concepts developed in basic biological research to commercially viable technologies for health care. It carries out research in various areas of modern biotechnology and biological sciences such as allergy and infectious diseases, molecular pathogenesis and recombinant DNA technology, while the main focus is on genomics and bioinformatics. IGIB has emerged as one of the leading institutes conducting globally competitive research in Functional Genomics and Genome Informatics for the benefit of human health.
    Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB, Hyderabad) R&D in frontier and multi-disciplinary areas of modern biology with a view to aiding development of biochemical technology in the country. CCMB has been chosen as a Centre of Excellence by UNESCO Global Network of Molecular and Cell Biology and has been designated as a South Centre of Excellence for Research and Training by the Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy.
    Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH, Chandigarh) Basic and application-oriented research in molecular biology and microbial genetics; cell biology and immunology; protein science and engineering; and fermentation technology and applied microbiology.
    Central Drug Research Institute(CDRI, Lucknow) Development of new drugs employing modern technologies of genomics, proteomics and structural biology for target identification, optimization using high throughput screening and combinatorial techniques, in addition to systematic investigation of natural products to develop novel herbal drugs. Research activities are also focused on designing new vaccines and development of novel tools for molecular detection of diseases based on DNA diagnostic and immunodiagnostic tests.
    Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI, Mysore) Development of post-harvest technologies for efficient protection, conservation, and processing of agricultural produce with focus on developing export-oriented value-added products from horticultural and plantation crops.
    Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP, Lucknow) R&D on genetic improvement through conventional breeding and biotechnological methods, agrotechnology of economically important medicinal and aromatic plants, process technology for phytochemicals, knowledge-based herbal formulations, genomics and DNA fingerprinting of plants, bioinformatics, bioprospection for new drugs and agrochemicals, and organic farming.
    Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT, Palampur) Establishment, upgradation and sustainable management of bioresources in the Himalayan region through agrotechnology, processing technology and biotechnology.
    Indian Institute of Chemical Biology(IICB, Kolkata) Development of natural products of medicinal, biological and industrial value, besides designing innovative immunoassay techniques, and tissue-targeted drug-delivery systems.
    Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC, Lucknow) R&D in toxicology by using advances in genomics and proteomics for ensuring safety to human health and environment. The focus is to understand the mechanism of toxicity at molecular level, including development of biomarkers for assessment of human exposure to chemicals.
    National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI, Lucknow) R&D in plant biotechnology, conservation biology, plant physiology, environmental sciences, plant breeding and agrotechnology. NBRI also worksg on documentation, inventorization, evaluation, conservation of biodiversity and bioprospecting
    Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu (RRL, Jammu) R&D on medicinal and aromatic plants, their conservation and genetic improvement, tissue culture, plant based drug development, their quality control and standardization. In the area of biotechnology, RRL,Jammu has made contribution in fermentation technology and molecular biology leading to cloning of genes and their expression for industrial uses.
    Regional Research Laboratory, Jorhat(RRL, Jorhat) R&D on aromatic and medicinal plants, exploration of microbes and screening them for novel metabolites for biotechnology based processes.
    Regional Research Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram(RRL, Thiruvananthapuram) Development of biocatalysts, bioactive compounds, secondary metabolites and other value-added products from microorganisms and plants utilizing the regional resources for various industrial applications with special reference to health care and green technologies.
    Central Leather Research Institute(CLRI, Chennai) R&D in core areas of leather technology that include leather processing, leather products, environmental technology, and leather science and technology.
    Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI, Bhavnagar) Marine Biotechnology and Ecology : Functional Genomics : Stress genomics, gene(s) of interest from halophytes and other marine species and development of transgenic; Halotolerant Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria – molecular characterization and biotechnological application; Extremophiles - Genomics, Metagenomics; Seaweed Biology, molecular phylogeny, b iodiversity and bioprospecting ; environmental biotechnology - n atural antifouling compounds from marine algae
    National Chemical Laboratory(NCL, Pune) Research efforts are geared towards biochemical sciences, nanotechnology, plant tissue culture, bio-organic and bio-mimetic chemistry. Besides, focus is on micro-propagation of endemic and endangered medicinal plant species, and isolation and heterologous expression of genes for the synthesis of biodegradable polymers.
    National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI, Nagpur) Focus of research is on environmental biotechnology and genomics for designing user-friendly products/technologies to control pollution.
    National Institute of Oceanography (NIO, Goa) With the objective of harnessing the ocean wealth, marine biotechnology is an important focus of research. NIO has expertise in the areas of marine biology, biodiversity, bioorganic chemistry and microbiology. It is actively engaged in the discovery of novel drugs, nutraceuticals, industrial enzymes and other useful products.
    Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT, Hyderabad) High quality basic and applied research in bioinformatics, entomology and toxicology besides developing specialty chemicals, biodiesel and nutraceuticals.

    MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

    Knowledge-based Products/Technologies Developed

    Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

    • A large number of medicinal and aromatic plants have been genetically characterized, evaluated and their improved varieties developed and released. For example, Saksham a high menthol yielding variety of Mentha arvensis developed by CIMAP produces 22% higher menthol than that of Kosi, a variety developed and released previously by CIMAP. Another variety of the same plant, named Kushal is a high yielding variety having rapid regeneration ability. It yields 177-194 kg/ha mint oil with 77-81% menthol. Thanks to the R & D efforts of CIMAP, India is today a world leader in menthol production.
    • CIMAP has developed a non-narcotic opium-less and alkaloid free poppy variety called Sujata for the first time in the world. This could be used as a protein and oil-rich food crop with a high calorie value.
    • RRL-Jammu has developed an improved strain of Jamrosa, which has better oil yield (0.8%), low citral content (2%) and higher content of geraniol and geranyl acetate (81%) and a rosaceous odour preferred by user industry.
    • RRL-Jammu has developed four improved aroma cultivars of hops, of which RRL-H-84 has been registered in USA with Crop Sciences Society of America.
    • High artemisinin yielding variety, Jeevanraksha, of Artemisia annua containing up to 1.2% artemisinin in the leaves and flowers has been developed by CIMAP.
    • CIMAP has developed a new strain of the herb, Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), which yields about 14 quintals of dry roots/hectare against 8 quintals obtained from the previous strain.
    • CIMAP has developed linalool-rich (66.6%) high of yielding (up to 0.6%) Lippia alba plant strain LAC-2 (Kavach) used in traditional medicines and control of pest infestations in food grains and which offers scope for better utilization of barren lands.
    • NBRI has developed new varieties of a large number of aromatic, medicinal and economic plant
    • IHBT is a nationally recognized centre for testing tissue culture raised plants against viruses in floriculture crops, and for pesticide residue analysis in tea and herbals. It has rejuvenated the abandoned tea gardens and helped in improving tea productivity of the region. Agrotechnologies for rose, wild marigold, gladiolus, lavender, geranium, Stevia, carnation, lilies, chrysanthemum, etc., have been developed. Besides efficient micropropagation protocols of bamboo, orchids lilies, rose, Podophyllum, Rheum emodi, tea etc., have also been developed.
    • Several agrichemicals have been obtained from plant sources. A fraction isolated from the essential oil of Mentha viridis has been found helpful in the management of mosquito species and crude ethanolic extract of the bark of Terminalia arjuna has been found to be bacteriostatic in nature.
    • RRL, Jorhat has developed a process for bio-methanation of deoiled Citronella grass by a novel two-phase process consisting of a hydrolysis-acidogenic phase and a methanogenic phase.
    • IICB has identified Tinospora cardifolia as a huge source of saccharifying alpha-amylase in purest form, present in the aqueous extract of the stem. It has developed a process that involves extraction, isolation and characterization of this enzyme from the plant.

    DNA Profiling

    • DNA profiling service is being routinely rendered by CCMB to various clinics/patients all over the country. The Bkm-derived probe is being extensively used for forensic investigations, paternity testing wild life preservation and management and seed stock verifications.
    • Scientists at CCMB have analyzed DNA samples of unrelated individuals using Y-chromosome and mitochondrial markers. With this genetic information (including that from tribals in the Andamans), it has been possible to construct haplotypes and further construct evolutionary trees.

    Prenatal Diagnosis of Genetic Disorders

    • CCMB is involved in the genetic diagnosis for many disorders such as haemoglobinopathies, musculopathies, bleeding and clotting disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autosomal dominant cerebral ataxia, spinal muscular atrophy, hemophilia, fragile X syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and thalassemia.
    • CCMB provides services to various institutes/universities for sequencing and genotyping. CCMB also extends its service to the public for various purposes such as: organ transplantation, immigration, paternity/maternity, identifying victims of natural disasters and in wildlife forensics.

    Genomics and Molecular Medicine

    • IGIB has made significant achievements in identification and molecular characterization of important allergens/antigens of Aspergillus fumigatus, large-scale synthesis and modification of oligonucleotides, development of non-invasive method of nasal immunization for anthrax, designing a delivery system to deliver plasmids in mammalian cells and expression of cholera toxin B in tomato and tobacco. For the first time, a significant association of CA-repeat polymorphism in the IFN gene with asthma and total lgE levels in the Indian population has been demonstrated. Novel universal primers have been developed for genotyping.
    • Genes encoding protective antigens for anthrax have been cloned, expressed and mutagenized for developing a safe and effective vaccine against anthrax. Cloning and expression of genes for production of therapeutic proteins such as r-pro-insulin, r-lysostaphin, r-staphylokinase and r-hEGF has been done. A computer-based method has been developed for identification of peptide motifs useful for drug target.
    • Theoretical formulae and computer software programs have been developed, to find minimum sample size for detecting SNPs and other types of polymorphisms. A web based software named PLHOSTFA has been developed. It is a peptide library based homology search tool for functional assignment, which makes a proteome wise comparison of several organisms and reports the invariant/unique peptide sequences. It is useful for identifying novel drug targets in pathogenic organisms.
    • The human GRAP gene (Grb2 related adaptor protein) has been identified with the help of Gene Chip analysis in unrelated individuals for simple repeats within and in the flanking regions in Chromosome 22. This gene is a key regulatory gene and is involved in signal transduction.
    • Other achievements include discovery of a biallelic CAG-repeat marker associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and two possible candidate genes involved in these disorders; identification of factors modulating aggregation and disease pathology for spinocerebellar ataxias and Huntington’s disease; identification of a novel mutation in the LCR of the beta-globin gene responsible for thalassemia besides the development of mathematical models for sample size estimation for various human complex genetic disorders. Several genes associated with hypertension have been identified as candidate markers such as ACE, NOS, and aldosterone synthase etc.
    • IICB has developed a potential therapeutic agent from herbal source for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), which is a malignant clonal disorder of hematopoietic stem cell leading to massive expansion of myeloid lineage cells. Development of CML is associated with a specific chromosomal translocation known as the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome, which results from reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosome 9 and 22 and fuses Bcr with c-Abl genetic sequences. By activity-guided fractionation, IICB scientists could identify a herbal molecule that induces apoptosis of Bcr-Abl-positive several chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cell lines and primary cells from CML patients in vitro and destroys Bcr-Abl-positive xenografts in nude mice. In contrast, this compound has no effect on the growth and viability of Bcr-Abl-negative lymphocytic and myeloid cell lines and primary CML cells.

    DNA Diagnostics

    IGIB’s contributions include the development of a diagnostic test for sexually transmitted diseases; evaluation of mycobacterial antigens for ELISA based detection of antibodies, development of DNA detection of aspergillosis. An ELISPOT assay has been standardized for evaluating the protective nature of synthetic peptides of A. fumigatus and antigens of Mycobacterium and Streptococcus.

    Molecular Biology

    • Glycoprotein G gene of a rabies virus strain has been designed at NBRI to facilitate its high level of expression in plant cells. Several oligonucleotides were chemically synthesized and assembled to give parts of the targeted gene.
    • NCL has developed a “PCR based assay” to detect male specific differences in papaya. The assay helps detect the sex of papaya plants at the one-month seedling stage so that male and female plants can be planted in a desired ratio to maximise the harvest.
    • A highly sensitive PCR method has been developed by NBRI for detection of poty viruses, gemini viruses and cucumber mosaic virus. The technology is useful in quarantine and export of plant material.
    • For analyzing and measuring DNA damage in mammalian cells, comet assay has been standardized by ITRC to strengthen the capabilities for rapid screening of the toxicogenic potential of chemicals.
    • NBRI has developed the cloning of antigens from tomato that reverse the process of its ripening and cell wall decay. It holds the potential to benefit fruit growers and exporters.
    • Salt-inducible expression system has been developed in E. coli, for regulated overproduction of any desired protein using common salt (NaCl) as the inducing agent. This method is cost effective, environment-friendly, easy to scale-up to pilot plant and commercial production stages.
    • Aspartame has a very high commercial potential. A biochemical process for continuous production of high purity L-Aspartic acid, using immobilized cells, has been developed and the technology is ready for transfer.
    • IMTECH has designed, expressed, purified and characterized a new, protein-engineered version of streptokinase, with improved clot specificity and fibrin affinity.
    • An ABC transporter that could be responsible for multidrug resistance in mycobacteria has been discovered by IMTECH. Besides, new drug targets for mycobacteria are being investigated.
    • High-level production of biologically active buffalo and goat growth hormone has been achieved by IMTECH.
    • By a novel strategy an avirulent cholera strain was converted into a vaccine candidate capable of elaborating only the immunogenic B subunit of the cholera toxin using recombinant DNA technology. Safety and non-reactogenecity of this genetically engineered oral cholera vaccine has been demonstrated. This vaccine, developed at IMTECH in collaboration with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, is undergoing phase II human trials.
    • Application of biocatalysis in the preparation of enatiomerically pure pharmaceuticals has been successful by approaches such as microbial screening, enzyme screening and substrate-structure screening.
    • The CSIR Task Force Programmes undertaken by RRL, Thiruvananthapuram, include the production of value added organic chemicals from biomass and agro-industrial wastes like producing PLA (polylactic acid) from biomass, GLA (Gamma linolenic acid) from agro products, organic chemicals from industrial wastes and enzymatic extraction of rice bran oil. Other Task Force Programmes were on development of liquid fuels and ethanol production from biomass, exploration and exploitation of microbial wealth of India for novel compounds and biotransformation processes, besides collection of soil samples from different habitats in the western ghats regions of Kerala and screening the microorganisms producing beta-lactamase and amino peptidases.
    • RRL, Thiruvananthapuram has achieved the optimization of phytase for maximum production, development and application of food enzymes like alpha amylases, molecular cloning, over expression and biochemical characterization of beta-lactamases of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    Improvement in Productivity and Quality of Hill Area Tea

    IHBT has made valuable contribution to improvement in productivity and quality of tea plantations in hilly areas. Results have been encouraging, abandoned tea plantations were revived; their productivity was improved bringing renewed prosperity and employment to the hilly areas. Some of the significant achievements in this direction include:

    • Screening and cataloguing of tea germplasm accessions in respect of disease response;
    • Hastened chemical withering during black tea manufacture;
    • Development of tea concentrates, suitable for ready-to-drink tea beverage;
    • Conversion of conventional tea section into ‘organic tea culture’, which is of value abroad;

    Conservation of Genetic Resources

    • For the conservation of biodiversity, CSIR has undertaken plant surveys from time to time covering diverse biomes in the country. Germplasms have been collected and conserved in the form of seed gene banks comprising seeds of fertile species.
    • Field gene banks are maintained at CIMAP, IHBT, NBRI and RRL-Jammu.
    • Conservation methodologies of various endangered plant species have been developed. The agrotechnologies of diverse economic, medicinal and aromatic plants have been also developed and commercialized for Artemisia annua, Phyllanthus amarus, Rose damescena etc.
    • Cryopreservation of the biodiversity in the form of seeds, cell/tissue cultures, embryos, pollen and nucleic acids is being undertaken.
    • Techniques have been standardized for semen collection, semen cryopreservation and artificial insemination in spotted deer and Blue Rock Pigeon.
    • Work has been initiated to develop non-invasive methods of DNA-based genetic characterization of Sangai deer or Manipur brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi), which is one of the critically endangered cervids in India. Similarly, efforts are on to conserve the genetically unique breeds of domestic buffalo. CCMB scientists have genotyped nine breeds of buffaloes for 23 microsatellite loci. This study has revealed that Jafarabadi, Bhadwari and Toda breeds are genetically very distinct from each other and from the rest of the buffalo breeds.
    • A satellite facility, named as the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), has been set up by CCMB for the creation of germplasm banks, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, cloning and molecular breeding of endangered species such as, lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards etc.

    Bioavailability Enhancers

    A new concept of enhancement of drug bioavailability/ bioefficacy based on clues from Ayurveda has been conceptualized at RRL Jammu. Based on this, the development of plant based bioavilability/bioefficacy enhancers are targeted for drugs, which are poorly bioavailable, given for longer period of time and are highly toxic and expensive. Based on systematic investigations on ‘Trikatu’ a reputed formulation (containing Piper spp and Zingiber officinale) prescribed for a number of ailments in Indian traditional medicine, piperine, a pure alkaloid molecule from Piper spp, having bioavailability/bioenhancing activity have been isolated. Piperine was studied in detail with anti-TB drugs. A reduced dose formulation (rifampicin + piperine) has gone through phased multicentric clinical trial up to Phase III.

    Environmental Biotechnology

    • ITRC has focused its R&D to understand the toxicogenic potential of chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals, and dyes and food colours. Adulteration of mustard oil by ‘argemone seed oil’, the principal causative agent for epidemic dropsy, was studied by using the indigenously developed kit for its detection.
    • A portable ‘Water analysis kit’ and a ‘Mobile water analysis laboratory’ for the analysis of water quality, and devices like ‘Amrit Kumbh’ and ‘Bact-O-kill’ for water purification have been developed, for increasing the access to safe drinking water.
    • ITRC has demonstrated the role of tuberculosis infection in the development of ‘pulmonary massive fibrosis’, a killing disease of coal miners.
    • PCR based methods have been standardized for the detection of the microorganisms, Salmonella and Shigella, present in trace quantities in food.
    • Bioremediation of contaminated sites is also undertaken.
    • Optimization of a bio-methanation process of vegetable waste for production of biogas. A bacterial package, Alkanutri has been developed for neutralization of alkaline industrial effluents.
    • Efforts at IMTECH have been directed towards degradation of two distinct classes of organic pollutants, which are considered to be particularly harmful, namely nitroaromatics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Three efficient microorganisms have been isolated and characterized at IMTECH, which are capable of utilizing among others, p-nitrophenol, o-nitrobenzoate and p-nitrocatechol as sole source of carbon and energy. Similarly, several microorganisms have been isolated and characterized that are capable of utilizing naphthalene, phenanthrene, o-phthalic acid and salicylic acid as sole source of energy. The complete degradative pathways for these compounds have been established mainly by performing the enzymatic studies. Genes for the entire naphthalene degradation pathway have been cloned.
    • NIO has developed several processes for decolourization of coloured effluents using a versatile fungus, Flavodon flavus, isolated from decaying seagrass from a coral lagoon of the Lakshadweep Island. This fungus decolourizes highly coloured molasses spent wash (MSW) effluent from alcohol distilleries. Besides decolourization, it also detoxifies the effluent.
    • NIO has isolated many mercury-resistant bacteria from oceanic and coastal waters, which have the potential to degrade several new generation pesticides. A US patent has been granted for this discovery. A closed seawater/brackish water recycling system has also been designed for effective management of culture organisms.
    • IICB has shown that Carp adipocyte secretes immunoreactive insulin, which causes hypoglycemia in rats. Hybridization of adipocyte RNA with zebrafish and rat cDNA has shown insulin gene expression in these cells.
    • Methods to deliver genes into cells without side effects are essential in successful gene therapy. Among non-viral methods, gene delivery using cationic amphiphiles has been found to be very efficient and safe.
    • Several new species of bacteria with unique low temperature growth characteristics have been identified from the samples collected from the lakes of Antarctica.
    • Tropical calcific pancreatitis (TCP) is peculiar to India and is associated with an early age of onset and high incidence of Diabetes mellitus. New findings suggest that variability in the phenotype of tropical calcific pancreatitis may be related to a different genotype.
    • Gene silencing is a genetic control mechanism implicated in viral resistance, genome maintenance and development control. A systemic signal has been discovered that can travel long distance to mediate gene silencing in other parts of the body.
    • For the first time, CCMB scientists reported a unique case of sex reversal of an individual who had XXY chromosome constitution but a female phenotype. This finding of the occurrence of XXY female with normal SRY, ZFY and SOX9 genes, testifies the involvement of other gene(s) in sex determination.
    • Apotopsis in tumour cells mediated by natural killer cells of the immune system has been demonstrated in vitro as well as in vivo. The finding has tremendous potential in cancer immunotherapy.
    • Stem cell populations have been identified in several adult tissues of mammals. They are characterized by their capacity of self-renewal and potential to differentiate in one or more cell types under appropriate biological signals in vivo. These cells are being projected as potential targets of gene-based and cell-based therapies in various human diseases.
    • The growth promoting activity of specific rhizobacteria enhances root and shoot biomass production in geranium and rosemary cuttings. A strain of Streptomyces (CIMAP A1) has been found to inhibit the growth of many important plant pathogenic fungi and is highly effective against root-rot and wilt-disease of geranium and pyrethrum.
    • A novel broad-spectrum antibiotic has been isolated at RRL, Jorhat, from Streptomyces sp.201. It has both antifungal and antitubercular activity. This antibiotic was found to be active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    Marine Biotechnology

    Stress genomics of salt tolerance

    Development of partial transcriptome data base from a highly salt tolerant halophyte.

    Halotolerant Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

    Ten highly salt tolerant PGPR have been isolated from a salt tolerant non- leguminous plant with potentiality for nitrogen fixation, IAA production and phosphate solubilization.

    Molecular characterization of economically important seaweeds

    Molecular phylogeny of some important seaweeds yielding carrageenan, agar, agarose and alginates have been done and full length gene sequences for 18S rDNA and ITSI have been deposited in NCBI ( DQ 399795, DQ 409339, DQ409340 ).

    Molecular characterization of extremophiles

    Thirty five haloalkaliphiles have been isolated from coastal area of Gujarat of which ten isolates were found to be extremely alkaliphile and are capable to grow above pH 12.5.

    Molecular detection of quorum sensing and biofilm formation

    Technologies Developed

    • CIMAP has developed a low cost and efficient technology for the production of rose oil and rose water.
    • IHBT has developed micropropagation protocols in tea using leaf segments and has standardized tea shoot proliferation using liquid medium. An improved method of tea propagation by grafting of microshoots onto decapitated tea seedlings has also been developed. Enzymes imparting stress tolerance in tea have been identified and protocols have been standardized for production of transgenics in tea.
    • A solid neutral conducting polymer-based potentiometric sensor has been developed by ITRC for detection of copper ions in fluids and a novel solid-state polymer based pH electrode has been developed with potential of detecting urea in milk samples.
    • A process has been developed for the economic extraction of taxol and its precursors from other plant parts (leaves, seeds, roots) apart from the bark of Taxus tree;
    • Process technologies have been standardized to obtain edible dyes from Beta vulgaris, Punica granateum, Butea monosperma, Bixa orellana, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Eclipta alba.
    • A technology package of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) for its micro-propagation, agro-technological package, chemical standardization on the basis of two major molecules, hypericin and hyperforin and six minor compounds has been developed. This work is supported by Nicholas Piramal Group.
    • Some of the technologies developed by NBRI include dehydration of flowers and floral craft; high tech low cost nursery technology for clonal propagation of difficult-to-root species; macro-propagation and hardening of ornamental, horticulture, medicinal and forest species; tissue culture protocols for ornamental, medicinal and other economically important plants; production of safe eco-friendly, herbal colours, herbal health drinks; extraction of neem oil, neem based pesticides, fertilizers and other value added products; microbial biofertilizers and biopesticides; and production of nutraceuticals.
    • NCL’s forays in biotechnology range from microbial transformations and polymer immobilization of enzymes to tissue culture, plant molecular biology and fermentation technology. Technologies developed include the ones for early flowering of bamboo, Encillium technology for producing ethanol from molasses and EcoNCL for treating effluents from paper industry. Recent developments include biosynthesis of gold nano-prisms.
    • CSMCRI developed a cost-effective process for preparation of low sodium salt of botanic origin using byproducts of Salicornia brachiata and Kappaphycus alvarezii.
    • CSMCRI developed processes for the preparation of refined and semi-refined carrageenan (SRC) from Hypnea and Kappaphycus
    • Integrated process from CSMCRI for a liquid sap containing plant nutrients and a k -carrageenan rich solid granules from Kappaphycus alvarezii
    • Agarose and high gel strength agar from Gelidiella acerosa and Gracilaria dura developed at CSMCRI .
    • CSMCRI developed processes for preparation of biodegradable films & hard and soft capsules based on seaweed polysaccharides
    • CSMCRI developed technology for cultivation of Kappaphycus and Gracilaria edulis on large scale.

    Products/Technologies Commercialized

    • CSIR developments have enabled India to attain leading position in the global market place in Mentha-menthol production and exports. Two new menthol mint genotypes ‘Sambhav’ and ‘Saksham’ have been developed through in vitro genetic manipulation.
    • In the area of microbial manipulation a salt inducible expression system for E. coli for overproduction of desired protein has been developed by CCMB, and licensed in USA and India. IMTECH has isolated an ABC transporter responsible for multi-drug resistance in Mycobacteria and licensed a cloned alpha amylase gene for expression in B. subtilis.
    • CCMB has developed an efficient method to isolate and prepare in the pure form, large quantities of Rnasin from discarded human placenta. This process has been commercialized.
    • NBRI has developed and transferred the technology for the production of plant growth promoting bioinoculants to an Indian pharma firm.
    • The process technology package for extraction of artemisinin and its active derivative arteether has been developed and commercialized.
    • A complete fermentation technology package for the production of metal gluconates has been transferred to M/s Prathista Industries Ltd; Secundrabad (AP) and a production unit for calcium D-gluconate at batch capacity of 1500 TPA has become functional. A special strain of Aspergillus niger, resistant to heavy metal salts, has been developed for this fermentation process. For this achievement RRL, Jammu, has bagged CSIR Technology Award for the year-2001.
    • Technologies for the production of rhizobial biofertilizers and microbial biocontrol agents have been transferred to M/s Javeri Agro-Industrial and investment Co Ltd., Amravati. These were tested/validated by RRL, Jammu before commissioning.
    • A process for the kinetic resolution of an intermediate of paroxitne developed for M/s Cadila Healthcare (Zydus) under tripartite agreement between CSIR-DST-Cadila (Zydus).
    • A product (BODSEED) developed for measuring pollution load in waste waters and the technology has been successfully transferred to Indo-Bioactive (P) Ltd, Delhi
    • Some commercialisable S&T outputs of IGIB include diagnostic kit for early detection of Aspergillosis, biostrips for estimation of glucose in urine, recombinant allergens for diagnosis and immunotherapy, DNA probes for diagnosis of fungal and bacterial diseases, protective antigens against anthrax, liposome based delivery system for immunotherapy, monoclonals, recombinant products like h-EGF and cytokines and a process for the preparation of recombinant pro-insulin.
    • IMTECH has developed technology for the production and purification of therapeutic grade natural streptokinase, a blood clot dissolving drug, which is much needed for the treatment of myocardial infarction. This technology has been transferred to a leading drug company, which has commercially launched this product in Indian markets under the brand name STPase.
    • The Energy Efficient Alcohol Technology developed jointly by IMTECH and Vittal Mallya Scientific Research Foundation, Bangalore, has been licensed to a leading Indian distillery chain. The process gives about 10% alcohol using molasses having initial sugar levels of 25-30% in about 30 hours, saves 15-20% steam upon distillation; keeps net effluent load same while reducing effluent volume by about 30%
    • The technology for bioconversion of rifamycin B to rifamycin S involves an efficient, cost effective enzymatic process using an IMTECH isolate. It obviates the harsh chemical treatments involving oxidative and corrosive agents. This technology has been licensed to two large sector Indian drug companies.
    • IMTECH has developed a commercially viable process for the enzymatic conversion of D-l-hydantoin to corresponding d-amino acid; i.e. D-p-hydroxyphenylglycine.
    • IMTECH, in collaboration with Bio Mantra, has developed VaxiPred, a user-friendly, web-enabled immunoinformatics tool useful in computer-aided vaccine design.
    • NBRI has developed significant technologies for upliftment of the rural sector, which have been commercialized. These include dehydration of flowers and foliage, tree plantations, Nursery technology for clonal propagation of difficult to root species, macro-propagation and hardening of ornamental, horticulture and forest species, and tissue culture protocols for trees, ornamental and medicinal plants. The technology for producing dry herbal colours has been transferred to M/s D M Herbal and that for production of safe eco-friendly cosmaceuticals has been transferred to Ayur Herbals. Other technologies that have reached the market include the production of fruit based herbal health drink, biofertilizers for enhanced productivity, development of high yielding varieties of economically important plants like poppy, amaranth, etc., and organic cultivation of select plants.
    • A geraniol rich and high yielding geranium clone Cimpawan, citral rich and high yielding lemongrass variety named, Nima and an early maturing and high yielding isabgol variety called Mayuri, all produced by CIMAP have been released for commercial cultivation.
    • Technology for biotransformation of nicotinic acid to 6-hydroxynicotinic acid has been developed by RRL, Jorhat, which has been transferred to M/s Jubilant Organosys Ltd., Noida.
    • Technologies of RRL, Thiruvananthapuram, available for commercialization, include laboratory scale processes for the production of bacterial endoxylanases and phytases for feed preparation.
    • Technology for cultivation of Kappaphycus and preparation of carrageenan and LSF there from has been commercialized to M/s. Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon by CSMCRI.
    • CSMCRI has transferred the technology for cultivation of Gracilaria edulis and agar there from to M/s. Community Enterprise Forum International (CEFI), New Delhi.
    • CSMCRI has transferred technology for low sodium salt of vegetable origin to M/s. NMS Pharma, Bhavnagar.

    Technologies/Products Under Development

    Cell & Tissue Engineering

    In this area CSIR has undertaken a SWOT analysis of the stem cell and cell & tissue engineering domain and identified four niche areas for focused activity:

    Blood-vessel research & vascular cell biology

    • Understanding the mechanisms of formation of cholesterol plaques and other occlusions in blood vessels;
    • Growing of functional blood vessels in vitro.

    Hematopoeitic stem cell research and applications

    • Establishing requisite facilities for large scale sterile isolation of hematopoeitic stem cells and their use in cell therapy;
    • Identification of critical factors responsible for regulating the signal pathway in hematopoeitic stem cells and its aberration in disease;
    • Development of cultured keatinocytes and melanocytes for clinical application

    Artificial skin development

    • Development of tissues for skin replacement

    Collagen polymorphism

    • Development of unique type of collagen

    Molecular Biology of Enteric Pathogens

    • Vibrio cholerae and Shigella spp. are the two major enteric pathogens in India. Essential proteins and enzymes of these parasites could be potential drug targets. Proteome analysis studies may help in developing safe and effective drugs against enteric pathogens. Similarly, by identifying important proteins of M. tuberculosis, new drug or vaccine targets could be found.
    • Development of molecular probes and pulse field gel electrophoresis for the detection of water-borne pathogens.
    • Field application and validation of techniques of molecular characterization of pathogens isolated from wide range of water sources;

    Development of biomarkers for toxic chemicals

    • Toxicogenomics is the genome-wide analysis of any organism with special reference to toxic response of any stimuli. It would be used for determining the mode of action of industrial chemicals, identification of suitable biomarkers of toxic exposure, and for the identification of individuals that are genetically predisposed towards increased toxic stress.
    • Development of a database of distinct/unique gene expression profile (fingerprint) of different classes of chemicals, would be useful for determining/predicting the toxicity of newer chemicals of the same class.
    • Characterization of genes that are important in determining a toxic response, and the polymorphisms that increase the susceptibility of individuals/class/group.

    Designing of Bio-reactors

    Increasingly proteins are being made at commercial scale by using cell-culture based methods and facilities employing microbes and animal cells as bioreactors. CSIR proactively seeks to evolve a major programme for developing technologies using animals and plants as bioreactors. This focuses on the following aspects;

    • Achieving high level synthesis of proteins in strategically planned animal and plant systems
    • Designing of gene expression vectors
    • Expression of proteins in seeds of legumes, like chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut
    • Analysis of level of expression of protein in farm animals to ascertain viability of production at industrial scale
    • Strategies for the recovery and purification of proteins at high economic yields

    Medicinal Plant Chemotypes

    CSIR has been at the forefront in development of new varieties of medicinal plants and is now establishing some chemomarkers. For this, a systematic approach for bioprospecting the plant diversity for medicinal values could yield vast benefits. Genetically improved superior genotypes/chemotypes of the following plants would be developed: Andrographis paniculata, Artemisia annua, Bacopa monnieri, Catharanthus roseus, Curcuma longa, Capsicum annum, Ocimum species, Plumbago zeylanica, Phyllanthus amarus and Withania somnifera.

    New Agrotechnologies for flowering plants

    Efforts are on to develop niche varieties of endemic flowering plants for domestic as well as export markets. Already six excellent quality gladiolus hybrids, six new varieties of chrysanthemum and two of Hippeastrum have been developed and released for commercial cultivation.

    Some important CSIR targets in this area are:

    • Collection of germplasm of hybrid roses, Alstroemeria for standardization of agrotechnologies;
    • Introduction of primary, secondary and inter-cultural operational techniques for gladiolus, lily, carnation and rose;
    • Collection of tulip varieties, establishment, and studies on pollen fertility and compatability;
    • Cytological studies in wild strains of roses;
    • Study the effect of transportation of cut flowers under simulated conditions

    Gene Bank of Medicinal Plants of NW Himalayas (RRL, Jammu)

    This project is part of an umbrella programme under National Gene Banks of Medicinal/Aromatic plants sponsored by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It would have five components: Resource bank, Germplasm bank, Seed bank, Cryo bank and Data bank.

    Protein Production

    • Clinical trials on recombinant staphylokinase (SAK) developed by IMTECH have been encouraging. This product may be developed as an alternative thrombolytic agent particularly due to its smaller size, lower antigenicity and relatively greater fibrin-specificity.
    • A strain of Bacillus sphaericus, isolated by IMTECH has shown high protease activity up to 70,000 AU/litre in 100 L fermenter with a medium containing starch and soyatose. This technology can be used for the production of a better quality enzyme for use in detergents and in leather industry.
    • IMTECH has cloned and expressed in B. subtilis, alpha-amylase gene from a thermophilic strain. Alpha amylase enzyme is used in textiles and food industry. The know-how is available for transfer at 100 L process scale.
    • The know-how for production of urokinase, an enzyme to dissolve blood clots, is available for transfer.

    New Bioactive compounds

    • NBRI technologies in the pipeline include production of anti-hyperlipidemic and slimming herbal compositions, anti-diabetic herbal formulation, development of anti-cough, anti-tussive and throat soothing herbal formulation among others.
    • Technologies under development at RRL, Jorhat, include bioformulation for control of wood eating termites in tea plantations, bioactive compounds to control red rust disease in tea and plant-based products to control bacterial disease in silkworms.

    Aquaculture and Phytosalinity

    CSMCRI has made significant contributions in this area which include:

    Introduction of Eucheuma (the single-most important source of k-carrageenan, the technology is being utilized commercially); simultaneous production of liquid fertilizer and k-carrageenan –rich raw material from the fresh seaweed; super agar from a red seaweed species of Gracilaria; seaweed poly saccharide based thin films; somatic embryogenesis and regeneration of somatic embryos to whole plants through micropropagules; In vitro antioxidant activity of C-phycocyanin (Spirulina); low sodium salt of vegetable origin; cultivation of crops eg., Salicornia, Jatropha curcas and Jojoba in waste/saline lands.

    Biodiversity

    • Investigations on the biodiversity of fauna of the Andaman Sea are underway at NIO and two cruises addressing this challenge have been undertaken and the data is being processed.
    • Digitized inventory of secondary producers/zooplankton of Indian EEZ is being prepared by NIO. A repository is being built for the planktonic and benthic species.

    Software Development

    IICT, Hyderabad, has developed the software Filariasis DBMS 1.1, which is a database management system for integrated control of Bancroftian filariasis of East and West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. It has also developed an integrated forecasting system for the control of malaria in Mizoram and Sikkim. The ANOMAS 1.1 software has been developed for the rapid identification of mosquito species.

    Marine Science

    A US patent has been filed by NIO for developing a process of deinking of office waste paper using a bacterial culture isolated from marine sediments by enrichment technique. Consultancy services are offered on primary and secondary productivity studies related to Indian Ocean regions.

    Future Evolution

    Besides undertaking ongoing R&D programmes, CSIR laboratories in this Sector would focus their attention on the conversion of R&D leads into marketable products and technologies, through upscaling and validation, licensing of IP and developing in vivo/clinical model, bioprospecting for new molecules, pathway engineering, bio-village approach for technology dissemination and networking with each other and industry. The idea is to develop value added technologies that would make a significant and positive impact on society.