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Archaea organism discovered in Sambhar lake

Date: 25 January 2020 Tags: Biodiversity


Scientists at the NCMR-NCCS in Pune have reported a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism), which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.



  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Based on a mandatory genome analysis, researchers found that the organism has potential gene clusters that helps maintain the metabolism of the archaea to survive in extreme harsh conditions.

  • This particular organism also harbours specific pathways for DNA replication, recombination and repair.

  • 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.

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