`Rare bacterium discovered in Lonar crater sediments`

This could be first biological evidence of the origin of Lonar crater.

Last Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 23:38 PM IST

Nagpur: A rare bacterium has been discovered
in the Lonar crater lake sediments in Buldana district of
Maharashtra, a microbiologist said here today.

This could be first biological evidence of the origin of
Lonar crater, microbiologist Dilip Tambekar of Sant Gagdge
Baba University in neighbouring Amravati district, claimed.

The bacterium `Bacillus odysseyi` which the scientist
discovered was first reported in 2004 by NASA`s Mars Odyssey
spacecraft, revolving around planet Mars since 2001, he said.

"US scientists had reported that the bacterium does not
have existence on earth. But our findings clearly indicate
that the Lonar crater-lake (50,000 years old) formed due to
the Mars meteorite that hit Earth," Tambekar told a news agency.

He also said the existence of Bacillus Odysseyi
bacterium has ruled out the possibility of formation of Lonar
crater by volcano.

Tambekar said the characterisation and the RNA sequence
of the bacterium were already been done at the National Centre
for Cell Sciences in Pune.

"The newly discovered bacterium correlated almost 96 per
cent with the Bacillus odysseyi which was discovered in the
Mars Odyssey spacecraft seven years back," he said adding that
these findings are in the process of communication to
scientific journal `Nature`.

Bacillus odysseyi can resist UV radiations and gamma
radiations to some extent, Tambekar, who has already
identified 31 new bacterial species from Lonar lake which are
industrially important to produce various enzymes, said.

The occurrences of this new bacterium will revolutionise
the future agriculture practices for food security due to its
dessication resistant properties, the 53-year-old, who has
been working on water microbiology and extremophiles (microbes
occurring in extreme conditions), said.

PTI