Coastal and marine resources are an area of focused scientific attention of the Department of Biotechnology, which has taken several measures for their conservation and management. These include development of bioremediation technologies for cleaning up waste in the ocean, identification, characterisation and conservation of marine resources and develop methods of scientific and sustainable use of these resources.
The department has developed effective bio-remediation technologies promising eco-friendly microbial degradation system for managing the waste disposal.
At National facility for Marine Cyanobacteria (NFMC) in Trichy facility was upgraded with 500 marine cyanobacterial strains and 30 marine green algae collected from the Indian Ocean and potential microalgae identified and characterized. The international Depositary Authority at the National Center for Cell Science, Pune has been established for resource conservation and sustainable exploitation.
The programme on bio-prospecting, Inventorisation and characterisation, value addition were explored for novel genes and genes products, bio-molecules and compounds. Under the Grand challenge Mission programme on microbial prospecting: drugs from microbes launched in a unique public private partnership.
A digitized Inventorisation, the IBIN portal launched towards developing a single window gateway to access distributed bioresource database available in the country to 47 offer spatial and non-spatial services on diverse domains of bio-resources and biodiversity. Also Natural Resource Awareness Club supported for capacity building programmes for students during vacations, particularly for the children who have appeared in class X board exam.
A day to highlight the importance of marine resources
The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients, regulate climate, and are the important resources for fishing tourism and other marine resources for income generation for the poor community. DBT upholds the celebration of the World Oceans Day on 8th June every year to honour, help, protect and conserve the world’s oceans and also respects this unique opportunity to take personal and community action. This year the theme for World Oceans Day-2017 is ‘Our Oceans Our Future’.
The conservation action focus is on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future. India has unique marine and coastal ecosystems. The Indian peninsula is bounded by the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Indian Ocean on the south and the Arabian Sea on the west. It has an extensive coastline of 7517 km, which offers different habitats and ecosystems supporting diverse marine bio-resources of fauna and flora including marine mammals and sea bird species. However, the ecology and biodiversity has been disturbed due to natural and demographic pressures and therefore protection and restoration of the treasure of the ocean need to be protected.
Overexploitation of ocean resources, illegal, unregulated and destructive fishing, marine pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification are the regular incidences happen in the ocean and the seas. Plastic debris has now become the most serious problem affecting the marine environment, not only in the coastal areas but also in all the oceanic regions.
The Department of Biotechnology is making an all round effort to prevent ocean pollution and ensure scientific and sustainable use of marine resources.