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Fermentation Technology Division

Overview | Missions and goals | Competencies | People | Area of research | Facilities | Current research |

Fermentation Technology Division focuses on microbial biodiversity research / IPR leading to the production of novel bioactive products, biocatalysts, biotransformed products for human health and enhanced agriculture crop yields through microbial fertilizer, biocides and metal gluconates. This division is well equipped with latest fermentors from lab scale to pilot scale 4KL with supporting downstream processing facilities.

Mission and goals
Isolation of microbial strains of industrial importance and their characterization for novel bioactive products, biocatalysts for health, agriculture
Production of novel bioactives, biocatalysts for health and agriculture from novel endophytes and extremophiles
Industrial scale production of microbial enzymes and high value microbial products from wild type and genetically modified strains
Biotransformations using free and immobilized enzymes for the production of industrially important molecules
Helping Indian industries for scale up of processes and building confidence in Indian industry through transferring technology and training on microbial fermentation processes

Isolation, characterization & identification of microbes, screening for specific microbial enzymes and secondary metabolites, enantio/ regio-specific biotransformations
Chemo-profiling of biocatalysts, biotransformations
Multi-functional fermentation scale up facility from lab to pilot scale ranging from 5 to 4000L capacity and downstream processing
Technology development for agricultural crop yield increase by biofertilizers, biocontrol agents and micronutrients.

S/NO Name Expertise E-mail
1. Asha Chaubey
Microbial Enzymes, bioactives, endophytes, Enzymes immobilization, biotransformation  and biosensors
2. Vikash Babu Enzyme Technology, Biotransformation vikash@iiim.res.in
3. Rajinder Kumar Khajuria   rkkhajuria@iiim.res.in
4. Urmila Jamwal Microbiology, enzymes, bioactives ujamwal@iiim.res.in
5. Chandji Raina Microbial Fermentation, process development, endophytes, bioactives craina@iiim.res.in

Area of research
Isolation of new microorganisms and endophytes to develop library of microorganisms for novel bioactives and biocatalysts.
Detailed chemo profiling of enzymes/microorganisms, biotransformations, resolution of chiral drugs/drug intermediates
Endophytes isolation & characterization from selected plants for high value products
Identification of microbial strains for various industrially important products/enzymes and their large scale production
Biotransformation for industrial process development using microbes/ enzymes and immobilized enzymes for making the bioprocess easy to operate
Metabolic engineering of microbes for metabolite production and yields improvement
Microbial processes for agriculture crop yield increase through biofertilizers, biocontrol agents and micronutrients
Cost effective and environmental friendly processes development for Gluconates (Their use as neutraceuticals, human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics and crop yields increase)

The department has excellent Micro-processor controlled fermentation facility from lab scale to pilot scale (5-4KL capacity) with supporting down-stream processing facilities for bacterial, fungal and yeast based products.
State-of–art equipment required for Microbiology, Enzymology and Bio-process development
Centrifuges ranging from laboratory to industrial scale

Bioprospecting microbial diversity of J&K

Microbial strains isolated from various niches of Leh (Ladakh), Drass (Kargil) area (water samples  from hot water springs of  Chumathong- 16000Ft, Pugga, Nobra 15000Ft and  Cold water Lakes of  Karzok (Tsomorari 15075 Ft.), Tsoker, Pangong; Soil samples from Karzok 15075Ft, Tanglangla 17500Ft, Changla Pass 17830Ft, Pangong, Nobra (North and south Pullu) 16000-17000Ft, Khurdungla18360Ft. Cataloguing and characterization of the microbes according to physiological/ molecular properties with more emphasis on halophiles, psychrotrophs and thermophiles is done for exploration for novel bioactives & biocatalysts.

Microbial enzymes production and their chemoprofiling

The prime mandate of the department is to search for microbial strains for novel biocatalysis/ industrially important enzymes for biotransformation. We emphasize more on hydrolases (e.g. lipases, nitrile hydrolyzing enzymes), lyases (c-c bond forming enzymes) and oxidoreductases. Detailed chemo-profiling the enzymatic activity is done for the strains screened positive for specific enzyme activities w.r.t. enantio/ regio-specificity

Microbial enzyme immobilization and biotransformation:

Enzyme immobilization studies being done to develop the enzyme based cheaper, easy to operate and green processes. Chiral drugs and their intermediates are well known for application in pharmaceutical industry, therefore, we focus on resolution of important drugs or their intermediates using free and immobilized enzymes.

Scale up of fermentation processes for stereospecific enzymes production

Large scale production of enzymes such as glucose oxidase, glucose dehydrogenases, lipases, esterases, nitrilase, glucosidases, cellulases is being done. Scale-up processes of a few enzymes have been demonstrated to industries.

Microbial fermentation process for the production of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Fermentation technology for production of DHA (cis-4, 7,10,13,16,19-Docosahexaenoic Acid)  has been developed using marine isolate.  The technology has been successfully demonstrated to Avesthagen Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore. 

Microbial Biofertilizer and biopesticides fermentation processes

We have developed microbial strains of Rhizobium, Azatobacter, Azospirillum and further cultivated under certain specifically defined physico-chemical conditions in 500L fermentor. The fermentation product can be used for nitrogen fixation to increase crop yields.
Similarly technology on production of biocontrol agents by submerged and  solid state fermentation (SSF) has been transferred to various Indian industries. A strain of Trichoderma viride has been developed which profusely sporulate under submerged fermentation conditions at certain specifically defined physico-chemical conditions. The process has been scaled up to 500L scale.

Microbial industrial Process for metal gluconates

A fermentation process for metal gluconates has been developed for production at 40KL. The technology has been transferred to industries and is being produced at 1500TPA.
A single step fermentation process allows starch hydrolysate to convert directly to gluconates of Calcium, Sodium, and Barium etc. has been developed. The process is highly cost effective, less energy intensive and environmental friendly. The gluconate salts are used in neutraceuticals, human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetic industry. The products like bio potash and bio zinc produced by this process are also being marketed by the company through out the country as an outcome of  our technology  for crop yield increase and now many more industries are approaching us for this technology package.

In recognition of this achievement the Institute has been honored by various awards
a)  CSIR Technology Award 2001,
b)  Vasvik Award 2002 and
c)  64 th All India Industrial Award for best invention at  Hyderabad 2004.