The role of biotechnology in environment and biodiversity conservation

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Biotechnology has the tremendous potential for unique, efficient, ecofriendly and economically viable options to waste treatment in situ and degradation hazardous toxic waste into relatively less harmful products.

The Department of Bio-technology has also given a major thrust to programmes of ecorestoration concerned with degraded ecosystems, mining spoil dumps, development of biosensors for detection of pollutants, treatment of industrial effluents, and use of molecular markers for characterization of biodiversity.

Biotechnological tools are being applied for conservation of endangered plant species, controlling environmental pollution restoring environmental quality, developing cleaner technologies etc. Biosensors have been developed for detection of organ-phosphate pesticides residues in water. Many projects for restoration of ecosystem particularly in coal and mining areas is in progress. Technologies for environmental monitoring based on DNAprobes have been developed in the area of detection of biological toxins.

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Biotechnological tools are being employed for conservation of endangered plant species of economic and medicinal importance. For this, the Red Data Book of Botanical Survey of India has been the reference point to develop research projects. Tissue culture techniques have been developed for endangered species found in southern coastal ecosystem. Germplasm of rare desert plants has been collected for conservation.

Some major achievements have been made in conservation of environment and biodiversity. Such as establishment of a Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Animal, Hyderabad. Various projects for ex situ conservation micro propagation and in vitro conservation of rare and endangered plants of medicinal importance, ethnobotonical plants and microbial diversity of north eastern region have been supported.

Many projects on biosystematics and conservational studies of liver worst, genetic diversity of ferns, lichens and their use as indicators of pollution have been supported. An integrated biotechnological approach for bioremediation of mine spoil dumps and degraded ecosystems has been developed by scientists at National Environmental Engineering Research institute; Nagpur and University of Delhi have been successfully demonstrated at a number of sites.

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