Highlights

State-of-art laboratory and pilot plant facilities for environmental pollution control systems. Innovative technologies for wastewater, odour and solid waste management. R&D and Consultancy services for environmental management. Testing and analytical services. Multi-disciplinary staff-highly qualified scientists and experienced engineers

Biofuel from marine microalgae

The ongoing CSIR-NMITLI project initiated by NIIST Trivandrum, aims to develop a viable and scalable process for the generation of bio-fuel from Indian marine microalgae. NIIST has the following components a) Development of technology for autoflocculating algal cultivation with CO2 fertilization. b) Development of settler for algal biomass separation. An experimental raceway pond reactor has been installed in NIIST Environmental technology lab for carrying out the experiments on algal cultivation. The reactor is instrumented for data collection. Autoflocculating algal cultures have developed as planned in the raceway reactor. These are easily separated using an innovative settler and strainer. This achievement overcomes a key issue in the development of microalgal cultivation technology.

High perchlorate level in ground water samples from Kerala:

Perchlorate (rocket fuel) is an emerging toxic oxy-anion affecting the normal functioning of Thyroid gland leading to Hypothyroidism. The ongoing research at NIIST has observed high levels of perchlorate in water samples (ground water, public drinking & surface water) from different locations in Kerala. In a recent sampling, the highest levels were observed in ground water samples from Thiruvananthapuram (~300 ppb) and Ernakulam (~6 ppm) districts, which is several magnitude higher than US EPA guideline (24.5 ppb). Studies are in progress to correlate with high incidence of hypothyroidism in Kerala.

Bioremediation of Perchlorate (Rocket Fuel):

A heterotrophic mixed microbial system (dominated by Beta proteo bacteria) was developed and was tested in lab-scale fed-batch type bioreactors for reducing perchlorate completely to chloride. Conc. upto 2500mg/L was degraded in the reactor using acetate as sole substrate for the culture. Real wastewater from VSSC rocket propellant plant and diluted discharge brine from APEP (ISRO) were treated using the microbial system. A novel bacterium (Serratia marcescens sp. NIIST) was isolated in pure (GenBank No. JQ 807993) and found expressing genes (GenBank Nos. JX 993983 & KC190515) coding for key enzymes involved in the degradation pathway of perchlorate. The isolate showed growth coupled perchlorate reduction under high salt and extreme pH conditions.

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