Art & Culture
- Sexual Harassment Charges against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
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- PM Modi’s Mission Shakti Speech & Model Code of Conduct
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Governance & Social Justice
- Candida Auris : Drug- resistant fungi
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- Lateral Entry in Civil Services explained
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- NIRF India Rankings 2019 declared
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- Survey 2019 Ambitions Beyond Growth report by UNESCAP
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- 1st Bimonthly Monetary Policy review – April 2019
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Defence & Security
Science & Technology
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- India to Buy MH60 Romeo Helicopters
- Nepal and Sri Lanka Launch Their First Satellites Raavana 1 & NepaliSat-1
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- High Bacteriophages in Ganga River
- Army invokes Emergency Powers for Missile Deal
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- Gujarat Fishermen’s victory in US Supreme Court
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Spice of the Month
- GS 3 || Science & Technology || Biotechnology || Environment & Biotechnology
Why In News?
A study commissioned by the Union Water Resources Ministry to probe the “unique properties” of the Ganga found that the river water contains a significantly higher proportion of organisms with antibacterial properties.
Assessing Ganges Water
- The Nagpur based NEERI team was tasked with assessing the water quality for “radiological, microbiological and biological” parameters in the Bhagirathi and the Ganga at 20 sampling stations.
- As part of the assessment, five pathogenic species of bacteria (Escherichia, Enterobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio) were selected and isolated from the Ganga, Yamuna and the Narmada.
- Their numbers was compared with the bacteriophages present in the river water.
What are Bacteriophages?
- They are prokaryotic viruses that infect the bacteria.
- They reproduce within bacterial cell and break them open in the process of their amplification.
- In effect, they kill the bacterial cell and are antibacterial in nature. Further, they are extremely diverse.
Uniqueness of Ganga
- That the Ganga may contain unique microbial life, which makes it relatively more resilient to putrefaction, was suggested by British colonial scientists about 200 years ago.
- Because bacteriophages are a kind of virus that kill bacteria, they are frequently found in proximity to each other.
- In the river Ganga, the bacteriophages were detected to be approximately 3 times more in proportion than bacterial isolates.
- Though it isn’t evident that there are bacteriophage species unique to the Ganga, the study suggests there are many more of them in the Ganga than in other rivers.
- Samples drawn from the Ganga contained almost 1,100 kinds of bacteriophage, and proportionally there were less than 200 species detected in the samples obtained from the Yamuna and the Narmada.
- However, these antibacterial properties varied widely along the length of the river.
Uses of Bacteriophages
- Phage therapy or viral phage therapy is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacterial infections.
- Phage therapy has many potential applications in human medicine as well as dentistry, veterinary science, and agriculture.
- Bacteriophages are much more specific than antibiotics. They are typically harmless not only to the host organism, but also to other beneficial bacteria.
Additional Info –Background: Anti bacterial properties of Ganga
- River Ganga is known for its self-purifying property and anti-bacterial property.
- A British scientist had in 1896 confirmed that ‘Vibrio cholerae’, the pathogen that causes cholera, could not survive in Ganga water for even few hours.
- A French microbiologist also found that even the dead bodies of people dead due to dysentery and cholera floating in Ganga had no germs.
- The main reason for anti-bacterial property of river Ganga is the presence of bacteriophages.
What is the Importance of Ganga River?