Ganga has higher proportion of anti-bacterial agents
24th Apr, 2019
Recently, a study commissioned by the Union Water Resources Ministry has confirmed a significantly higher proportion of organisms with antibacterial properties in River Ganga.
Anti-bacterial properties of Ganga:
- River Ganga is known for its self-purifying and anti-bacterial properties.
- A British scientist in 1896 confirmed that ‘Vibrio cholera’, the pathogen that causes cholera, could not survive in Ganga water for even few hours.
- The main reason for anti-bacterial property of river Ganga is the presence of bacteriophages.
What are Bacteriophages?
- They are prokaryotic viruses that infect the bacteria.
- Bacteriophages are a kind of virus that kill bacteria, they are frequently found in proximity to each other.
Key observations of the study:
- The study was commissioned by the +Union Water Resources Ministry to probe the “unique properties” of the river Ganga.
- Also, these antibacterial properties varied widely along the length of the river, with it being high especially in upper stretches of the river.
- Though presence of bacteriophage species may not be unique to the Ganga, the study suggests there are many more of them in the Ganga than in other rivers.
- In the river Ganga, the bacteriophages were detected to be approximately 3 times more in proportion than bacterial isolates. As part of the assessment, five pathogenic species of bacteria (Escherichia, Enterobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Vibrio) were selected and isolated from the Ganga, Yamuna and the Narmada and their numbers compared with the bacteriophages present in the river water.
- The study was conducted by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineeringand Research Institute (NEERI), a CSIR lab.
- It was titled “Assessment of Water Quality and Sediment To Understand Special Properties of River Ganga”
- NEERI started its research in 2016.
- The NEERI team was tasked with assessing the water quality for “radiological, microbiological and biological” parameters in the Bhagirathi (a feeder river of the Ganga) and the Ganga at 20 sampling stations.