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Title: Studies on microbial prospecting for exobiopolymeric flocculants
Researcher: Pathak, Santosh
Guide(s): Ghosh, Moushumi
Keywords: Engineering and Technology
Exobiopolymeric flocculants
Microbial prospecting
University: Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology
Completed Date: 2011
Abstract: There are currently few effective bioflocculants as alternatives to chemical flocculants used extensively in solid-liquid separation processes. The present study was carried out with an objective of bioprospecting efficient and novel flocculant producing bacterial strains. A potential strain (isolated from activated sludge) exhibiting high flocculating activity, metal and pathogen removal ability was identified as Klebsiella terrigena. The bioflocculant purified from culture supernatants exhibited flocculating ability over a wide range of colloid particles (0.5 to 100and#956;m) at low dosage, its flocculating ability being better than or equivalent to both natural and synthetic flocculants. Highest flocculating activity was observed in the pH range of 6-8, temperature 30oC and in presence of CaCl2 (5mM). Thermal gravimetric (TGA) and rheological analysis of the bioflocculant demonstrated it to be thermostable (100oC, 5min) with temperature dependent viscosity and elasticity changes. The purified flocculant had a high molecular weight (~2.6×106 Da) as determined by gel permeation chromatography; the ultrastructural pattern of purified bioflocculant was visualized by SEM as a porous structure with randomly distributed small pores interconnected with channels. HPLC of hydrolyzed flocculant could establish it to be a polysaccharide comprising of D-Glc, D-Man, D-Gal and D-GlcA monomers with linkage pattern resembling galactoglucans. FTIR of the biopolymer showed abundance of hydroxyl, carboxyl, and methoxyl groups as well as uronic acid residues. To elucidate the role of cellular mechanisms in flocculation, mutants defective in glucose utilization were generated and their flocculant analyzed for functionality as well as composition. High Performance liquid Chromatograms of flocculants obtained from mutant indicated a complete absence of galactose residues and a loss of flocculating activity, suggesting the crucial role of galactose for functionality of the flocculant.
Pagination: 206p.
Appears in Departments:Department of Biotechnology

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