Seminar on Microbial Fermentation Explains How to Use Bacteria to Make Glue

An expert in the field of fermentation technology and a Professor Emeritus from the M.S. University of Baroda, Dr. Avinash Shah, has spent the week of March 16, 2016, at Amrita School of Biotechnology (ASBT), teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. As an Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Shah is a familiar face at ASBT and the department shares great joy and gratitude for each of his visits to the school. Along with his enlightening lectures, Dr. Shah also spoke to the students and faculty about his work in microbial fermentation during a seminar on March 16th. His talk focused on his research concerning the characterization, production, and application of bioadhesin and biofilm properties of Bacillus megaterium ADE-0-1. Most adhesives in the market are made synthetically and are often toxic and non-degradable. Many bacteria secrete exopolysaccharides (EPS) in order to stick to one another to form biofilms. This property of certain bacteria was utilized by Dr. Shah and his team as an alternate source of marketable adhesives that would be more eco-friendly, easily derivitized, and possible stronger than the currently available adhesives. 

Through multiple rounds of screening, Dr. Shah was able to isolate and characterize a specific Bacillus Species – Bacillus megaterium ADE-0-1 – that showed superior secretion of EPS and was highly adhesive when compared to controls such as fevicol and other microbially produced adhesives. The adhesive was put to the test and shown to be extremely effective and long-lasting when attaching glass, metal, and wood. Dr. Shah’s seminar also illustrated the ubiquitous use of microorganisms in industries today – fifty years ago, who would have thought of using bacteria to make glue? Overall, Dr. Shah made us contemplate the unlimited possibilities associated in the growing field of biotechnology. 

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