Hyderabad, 25 March
The discovery of a new bacterial strain on the International Space Station (ISS) suggests the ability of astronauts to grow their own vegetables while in space, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), among others. institution.
New strains of bacteria discovered at different locations on ISS flights can help create “fuel” so that plants can withstand such stressful situations. The study’s findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. The research teams were led by Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CC Wang of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, Professor Appa Rao Podile of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) with expertise in promoting plant and bacterial growth and plant microbiome, and others. Ramprasad, a scientist from the CSIR pool.
Bacterial strains from the Methylobacteriaceae family were isolated from different locations on the ISS for two consecutive flights.
Although one strain was identified as Methylorubrum rhodesianum, the remaining three were not previously detected and belonged to a new species.
Genetic analyzes have revealed that they are closely related to Methylobacterium indicum.
The researchers named the new species Methylobacterium ajmalii, in honor of the famous Indian scientist for biodiversity, Dr. Ajmal Khan, a former professor at Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu.
Genome analysis of Methylobacterium ajmalii strains revealed the presence of genes involved in promoting plant growth.
Commenting on the discovery and based on genomic data, the lead authors said the strains could possess “biotechnologically useful genetic determinants that can help grow plants in extreme places where resources are minimal.”
However, further experimental validations are being carried out to prove that this could indeed be a potential game change in space agriculture.
The authors look forward to more exciting discoveries in collaboration with NASA’s JPL. IANS