L. Shantikumar Singh
Dr. LAISHRAM SHANTIKUMAR SINGH
Scientist – B
IBSD Sikkim Centre
Bioprospecting of Indigenous Microbial flora including Endophytes of the Sikkim Himalayas for their potential application in Agriculture and Therapeutics
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature, established in many habitats including plants and found within almost every tissue type studied. They have found applications in agriculture, industry, medicine, environment etc. due to their functional diversity. The Sikkim Himalayan region being a part of the Biodiversity hot spots has enormous potential for exploring and bioprospecting of the untapped indigenous microflora which could be exploited for various useful applications. Hence tremendous opportunities in bioprospecting for novel molecules out of these unique pristine habitats cannot be rule out. It’s imperative to highlight the proposition of “Renaissance in antibacterial discovery from actinomycetes”. In our view, making the uncultured from untapped habitat to pure culture is one new hope for getting new drug leads which would offer great potential to mitigate ever increasing burden of drug resistance in health care sector. Our group mainly focuses on bioprospecting of endophytes, actinomycetes & rare actinomycetes from unique pristine untapped ecological niches for their therapeutic as well as biocontrol potential towards sustainable utilization of the untapped microbial resources for the benefit of mankind. Our group also focussed on the potential of endophytes from indigenous traditional medicinal plants of high altitude region for production of host plant secondary metabolites. Exploration of associated endophytes and screening for their capacity to yield host plant secondary metabolites is a promising way for producing the bioactive compounds and also holds to protect the plant species. We are interested in studying the plant endophyte relation and their cross talk due to the co-existence and evolution. The ability of the endophytes to produce the same or similar bioactive substances as those originated from the host plants would be beneficial to study the relations between the endophytes and their host plants. It would enable to develop a substitutable approach for efficiently producing these scarce and valuable bioactive compounds. It intends to reduce the need to harvest slow-growing and rare medicinal plants as well as preserve the world’s ever-diminishing biodiversity and save the delicate ecosystem.