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Title: Investigation of the biological properties of Kerala red rain cells
Author: Gangappa, Rajkumar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 8055
Awarding Body: University of Glamorgan
Current Institution: University of South Wales
Date of Award: 2012
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This PhD research project was designed to provide further information about the biological properties of red cells found in the rains that fell for three months from July 2001 during the monsoon season in Kerala, Southern India. The studies involved using a variety of staining methodologies as well as spectroscopic and microscopic analyses. The red rain cells display an exceptionally thick, multilayered cell wall and contain high concentrations of UV absorbing components. The cells often live in clumps forming a bio- film rich in silicon, most of which is readily precipitated in the outer layers of their thick cell wall. These properties may suggest that the cells can survive in multiple extreme environments. DAPI staining method demonstrating the presence of DNA in these cells contradicted earlier work by Louis and Kumar (2006) that the red cells were devoid of DNA. The positive detection of DNA was only possible if the red cells were pre-treated with DMSO prior to DAPI staining. The DMSO treated cells showed no structural damage, but instead released the red compounds. This solvent thus seemed to affect the binding of the red compounds to the outer layers, but not the structural integrity of the cells. Additional data indicated that the red rain cells are possible hyperthermophiles. The data provided in the current study tentatively suggests that the red cells are unusual prokaryotes of hyperthermophilic nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available