New Approaches in Biological Research

Rajeshwar P. Sinha (Editor)
Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Richa (Editor)
Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Series: Biotechnology in Agriculture, Industry and Medicine
BISAC: SCI008000




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Biological science primarily deals with the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of living organisms, including their distribution, taxonomy, evolution, structure, growth, function and metabolism. All living organisms undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, have the capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, communicate through various means, reproduce and adapt to their environment through natural selection. The organisms that photosynthesize are the primary producers and represent life support systems from aesthetics to food to medicine. This book deals with the topics pertaining to biotechnology, molecular biology, ecology, plant pathology, bionanotechnology and stress biology.

The requirement of food, medicines, natural products, the quest to resolve and develop a better understanding of life and other biological processes need to conserve genes, plants and ecosystems; the apprehension of land, water and the environment have led to the strengthening of traditional disciplines as well as the emergence of diverse disciplines such as stress biology, molecular biology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

The chapters in this book impart recent developments and state-of-the art knowledge in the biological sciences. This book provides newer techniques and uses for these tools in achieving the potential of biotechnology to understand some of the basic problems in the biological sciences today. (Imprint: Nova)


Chapter 1. Recent Advances in Production and the Biotechnological Significance of Phycobiliproteins
Vinod K. Kannaujiya, Deepak Kumar, Richa, Jainendra Pathak, Arun S. Sonker, Rajneesh, Vidya Singh, Shanthy Sundaram, Rajeshwar P. Sinha (Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, and others)

Chapter 2. Efflux Pumps: Warheads of Gram-Negative Bacteria and Efflux Pump Inhibitors
Gaurav R. Dwivedi, D. P. Singh, Sanchita, Ashok Sharma and Mahendra P. Darokar (Department and School of Environmental Science, Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar Central University, Vidya Vihar, India, and others)

Chapter 3. DNA Methylation Dynamics in Plants
Neha Pandey, Krishna K. Rai, Anjana Kumari and Shashi Pandey-Rai (Laboratory of Morphogenesis, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India)

Chapter 4. Bionanotechnology: Past, Present and Future
Arun S. Sonker, Richa, Jainendra Pathak, Rajneesh, Abha Pandey, Ananya Chatterjee and Rajeshwar P. Sinha (Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India)

Chapter 5. Plant Protease Inhibitors: Biotechnological Insights with an Emphasis on Its Role in Plant Defense
Krishna K. Rai, Neha Pandey, Sanjay K. Rai, Shashi Pandey-Rai (Laboratory of Morphogenesis, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, and others)

Chapter 6. Soil Aggregates: Formation, Distribution and Management
Mahesh K. Singh, Sunil Singh and Nandita Ghoshal (Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India)

Chapter 7. Parasitic Weeds and Their Control by Means of Allelopathy
Lisa-Sophie Scheuer, Binod Prasad, Antony M. Hooper, Marcus Krüger, Peter Richter, Michael Lebert and Binod Prasad (Faculty of Sciences, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen, Nuremberg, Germany, and others)

Chapter 8. Various Virus Diseases of Papaya Plants Occurring in Different Countries
Rajesh Kumar (Department of Genetics and Plant Breedinng, Banaras Hindu University, Barkachha, India)

Chapter 9. Do Cyanobacteria Have Enough Mechanisms to Counteract UV Stress?
Vidya Singh, Jainendra Pathak, Rajneesh, Richa, Deepak Kumar, Haseen Ahmed, Deepak K. Singh, Vinod K. Kannaujiya and Rajeshwar P. Sinha (Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Center of Advanced Study in Botany, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India)

Chapter 10. Modulation of Allen Arnon Medium with Neem (Azadirachta indica. A. Juss) Seed Kernel Water Extract for Biomass and Biomolecules Production from Cyanobacteria
N. Dwivedi, Rishi K. Sharma and Shalini Singh (Department of Botany, U.P. College (Autonomous), Varanasi, India, and others)

About the Editors


"The volume “New Approaches in Biological Research” edited by Prof. R.P. Sinha and Dr. Richa is a state-of-the-art and timely book covering major aspects of biotechnology in agriculture, industry and medicine published by Nova Science Publishers, New York in 2017 (ISBN: 978-1-53612-139-1). Its 10 chapters focus on bacteria, cyanobacteria, higher plants as well as soil aggregates and biotechnological problems such as the production of biomolecules and molecular genetics.
Dr. Sinha is a professor of Molecular Biology at the Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, where he received his PhD in Biotechnology. In addition to over 23 years of experience in research and teaching, he has visited numerous countries in South America, Europe and Asia. His expertise includes UV radiation in aquatic ecosystems, DNA damage and repair, UV-screening pigments such as mycosporine-like amino acids and scytonemin in cyanobacteria. In addition to being a member of several national and international scientific societies and editorial boards he has published more than 200 papers including original research papers, reviews and book chapters which have generated many citations in excellent scientific journals including Nature and Science.
Dr. Richa received her PhD from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi at Applied Microbiology. She has obtained several fellowships and is a member of various national and international societies. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Her scientific work focuses on the synthesis and role of photoprotective compounds in cyanobacteria.
The volume discusses modern problems in the areas of molecular biology, stress biology, genomics, proteomics, ecology, plant pathology and focuses on biotechnological approaches used to study photosynthetic organisms from cyanobacteria to higher plants. It describes novel technological advances and instrumentation to solve some of the burning problems in biological sciences.
The first chapter discusses novel approaches in the production and biotechnological significance of phycobiliproteins found in cyanobacteria as well as cryptophytes and red macroalgae. These molecules are red- or blue-colored water soluble pigments consisting of an open chain tetrapyrrole attached to a protein and serve as antenna pigments for the photosynthetic apparatus. Furthermore, they have a growing biotechnological potential and commercial value as food colorants, in cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications. In addition to their fluorescent properties these molecules are used as anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-tumor and hepatoprotective agents. The chapter details advanced techniques for the production and extraction of the molecules as well as their potential use in diagnostics, biomedicals, nutrients, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications.
The following chapter discusses efflux pumps and their inhibitors in gram-negative bacteria which are some of the major sources for hospital-acquired infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. The acquisition of multiple resistances by Gram-negative bacteria towards antibiotica is a major problem in modern hospitals. Therefore research has now focused on the development of synergistic antibiotic combinations in order to reduce the necessary drug doses. Efflux pump inhibitors are promising agents as they have antimicrobial activity as well as the ability to augment the activity of less effective antibiotics.

The chapter on DNA methylation dynamics in plants covers an important epigenetic mechanism that controls many indispensible biochemical functions. It is involved in the repression of gene expression, plays essential roles in plant development and is involved in the defense against biotic and abiotic stresses. The mechanism is carried out by DNA methyl transferase enzymes by RNA-directed methylation. The techniques to determine the methylation status in the genome are explained.
The history, the current status and future developments of bionanotechnology are the topic of the subsequent chapter. After a short characterization of nanotechnology and the various types of nanoparticles, methods of synthesis and applications in medicine, electronics, agriculture, defense, food technology, energy and pollution control are described. Potential applications in the future are discussed such as nano-medicine, carbon nanotubes, nano foods, liposomes, nano pores, nanotube quantum dots, nanoshells, nanobubbles, food packaging and food additives. The chapter also discusses the risks of bionanotechnology.
Chapter 5 deals with the biotechnological insights into plant protease inhibitors with an emphasis on their role in plant defense. These molecules are natural proteins which are instrumental in plant defense against insects and other predators. Insects and microorganisms use proteolysis for digestion which is impaired by the inhibitors. In addition, these protease inhibitors play a key role in medicine for the treatment of immunity-related diseases. Other functions are storage proteins, signaling molecules and the regulation of endogenous proteins. The chapter describes the different families of these inhibitors on the basis of their chemical structure, function and sequence and discusses their mode of action, regulation and application in the development of transgenic plants protected against insect and pest attack.
Soil aggregates are important for soil quality and plant growth. Soil organic carbon together with clay defines the form of soil aggregates. They can be classified according to their size and size distribution which are determined by dry or wet sieving. The formation of soil aggregates is governed by management practices as well as biotic and abiotic factors which determine soil fertility and sustainability. The aggregates facilitate carbon sequestration as well as preventing decomposition of organic substances by microorganisms.
Parasitic weeds such as witchweeds (Sriga spp.) and broomrapes (Orobanche spp. Phelipanche ramose) are pest plants which cause high losses in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, around the Mediterranean and increasingly in Europe. After infection the seeds of these plants can hardly be removed from the soil but can be controlled by allelopathy. This phenomenon characterizes the effect of one organism on another by releasing chemicals into the environment. Selecting species and strains helps control weeds, insects, nematodes and other pathogens. This can be supported by applying crop rotation, intercropping and push-pull technology. Plant residues and extracts as well as mulches of plants rich in allelochemicals can be applied for parasitic weed management in crops.
Agriculture is plagued by numerous diseases in many different countries. In addition to insects, fungi and bacteria these problems are often caused by various viruses. Papaya is an economically important fruit produced in many tropical and subtropical countries. The trees are seriously attacked by a variety of viruses such as Papaya Mosaic Virus, Begomoviruses, Papaya Leaf Curl Virus, Potyviruses, Papaya Ringspot Virus, Papaya Leaf Distortion Mosaic Virus, Papaya Lethal Yellowing Virus and Papaya Meleira Virus which can affect individual trees or even destroy whole orchards. The chapter lists comprehensively the various viral diseases according to the countries they are found. The symptoms of viral diseases, their transmission methods and possible control measures are also discussed.
Solar UV radiation is a mayor stress factor for microorganisms as well as lower and higher plants. Stratospheric ozone depletion worsened this problem for many photosynthetic organisms which are bound to be exposed to solar light. Cyanobacteria are major biomass producers in almost all terrestrial and aquatic habitats. UV impairs many physiological and biochemical processes, damages DNA and other important biomolecules which absorb in this wavelength band. However cyanobacteria have developed several defense mechanisms including avoidance, synthesis of antioxidants as well as UV-absorbing compounds including mycosporine-like amino acids and scytonemin. Other lines of defense include DNA repair, protein synthesis as well as apoptosis.
The final chapter in the book deals with a modification of the Allen Arnon medium by addition of Neem seed kernel water extract for biomass and biomolecules production and describes the effects on growth, biochemical composition and carbon fixation in several cyanobacteria at different concentrations. Application of the substance resulted in growth stimulation which is more pronounced in heterocystous, filamentous cyanobacteria than in unicellular organisms. E.g., a growth stimulation of more than 400 % could be achieved in Anabaena flos-aquae by an addition of 8 %. The results on carbon fixation, total protein, chlorophyll, carotenoids, phycocyanin, phycoerythrin and allophycocyanin in response to different concentrations of the additive are described.
In summary, the book contains a wide variety of topics in soil, microorganisms and plants. The chapters present state-of-the-art reviews and are written in an informative and educated style. Therefore the volume is highly recommended for students and scholars in the fields of botany, biotechnology, crop and soil sciences." - Dr. Donat-P. Hӓder, Professor Emeritus, Friedrich-Alexander University, Department of Biology, Möhrendorf, Germany

This book is highly useful and must read for students, researchers and professionals in botany, biotechnology, environmental sciences, agriculture, molecular biology and other streams of biological sciences.

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