National Centre for Microbial Resource- An emerging Microbial Resource Centre of India

Microbes are tiny organisms which are not visible to the naked eyes. Microbes contribute to different phenomenon like global climate change, energy generation, production of bio-molecules for pharmaceuticals and other industries, plant nutrition and soil health. Microbes are also good source of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and help in production of food, fuel and fodder. Microbes play an important role in biotechnology research and are essential for development of many products and processes. Recent studies revealed that huge microbial diversity of immense biotechnological potential is yet to be cultured. In order to increase the contribution of microbial resources towards world’s bio-economy the cultivation, taxonomical characterization and bio-banking of microbes is essential. Establishment of a quality microbial resource centre (MRC) with state-of-the-art facilities is essential for safeguarding microbial diversity and for developing bio-economy of the nation.

National Centre for Microbial Resource (NCMR) affiliated with National Centre for Cell Science, Pune is a project under Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. NCMR is well equipped with all the essential facilities fulfilling the criteria of a good Microbial Resource Centre (MRC). The centre has well trained researchers and technicians with extensive experience in cultivation, preservation, biosafety, metagenomic, genomics, proteomics, intact microbiome preservation and handling capacity of different group of organisms including anaerobes, photoautotrophs, fungi, archaea, cyanobacteria etc. NCMR is actively involved in research related to different areas of microbiology including ecology and systematics.

Cultivation, characterization and preservation of microbes and supplying them for academic and industrial usage is the main aim of the centre. Cultivation and accession of microorganisms of environmental, agricultural, medicinal and biotechnological importance to researchers and industries will be contributing to the sustainable development of India. NCMR also provides different services including deposit services, culture supply services, identification/characterization services, genomics/metagenomic services etc. The centre has newly launched different services like genome-based taxonomy, imaging by scanning electron microscopy, phytoplasma detection, testing for microbial load for food safety certifications and deposit of AMR strains. NCMR continuously tries to establish new facilities and services.

Some microorganism are pathogenic and possess environmental and personal risk. Along with providing Good Lab Practices (GLP) and Biosafety Levels (BSL) trainings, centre also tries to lower the risk of transmission, contamination and spread of pathogens in the environment. NCMR is actively involved in supplying microorganisms to national and international research communities, industries and academic institutions. NCMR is establishing a unique repository of microorganisms with extended antimicrobial resistance (AMR) traits and simultaneously working on generation of Indian standard strains for research related to development of antibiotic resistance in pathogens. The centre is also aiming at establishment of animal and human cell line repository for patent processed under Budapest Treaty, WIPO.

Observation of data based on publications, offered services, and deposition etc. indicates that NCMR is performing well as one of the Microbial Resource Centre of the nation. Due to extensive agricultural, medicinal and environmental potential microbes are the key component of bio-based economy of any nation. Researchers in different parts of the world are working towards cultivation, characterization and exploitation of microbial diversity to boost their bio-based economy. Considering the available biodiversity and microbial resources establishment of Microbial Resources Centre (MRC) with state-of-the-art facility is current requirement of developing nations.

Reference: https://www.currentscience.ac.in/php/forthcoming/2020/2020000792.pdf