Chandigarh, October 5: The Ganga is said to be the holiest of all due to her healing properties and myth. However, the growing pollution and dirt that surrounded the river raised many questions about the purity of the water, in recent times. These questions now have been put to end by the scientists from the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh.
They first time validated that the water of this ancient river does not putrefy easily and there is scientific evidence for it. The scientists through their search on the river identified new viruses, or bacteriophages, which mimic bacteria in the sediment of the river and eat them up.
It is noticeable that in 1896, a British physician- E Hanbury Hankin, firstly observed that cholera microbes died within three hours in the Ganga water but grew continuously in distilled water even after two days. However, this research was called hypothetical until now, when the IMTECH experts confirmed the existence of new viruses making water a disinfectant. This research has made the scientists awestruck after the confirmation.
Dr Shanmugam Mayilraj, senior principal scientist and professor at IMETCH said, “"We analyzed the viral metagenomes from the sediments of the Ganga and found out different types of phages. "Bacteriophages were represented by the order Caudovirales which shared the 57% of the total viral community. Further analysis showed the presence of families Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Myoviridae." "After we have identified these bacteriophages, we will explore the possibility of using them to fight against diseases which have developed resistance against various antibiotics," assured Mayilraj.
The project was commissioned by the Union water resources ministry in November 2014, and the report is due on December. Apart from CSIR-IMTECH, Nagpur-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute co-ordinating laboratory, National Botanical Research Institute , Indian Institute Toxicology Research and Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants were those institutes who took part in the research.