Friday, December 04, 2020
Profile

Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

maghauri@nibge.org & ghauri1961@gmail.com


Dy Chief Scientist
Head Industrial Biotechnology Division

https://scholar.google.com.pk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt

Work Phone: 041-2550814
Fax Phone: +92 41 9201322
Cell/Direct Phone: 0300-7231572-(041)9201257
Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

 

Qualifications:

  • B.Sc. 1982, Zoology, Chemistry, Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • M.Sc. (Zoology) University of the Punjab, 1986
  • Ph.D (Microbiology/Biotechnology), University of Wales, UK, 1991
  • Postdoc (Gene Mining), University of Leicester, UK, 2002-2003

 

Research Interests

 1.      Biotechnology of Extremophiles/Extremozymes

Attention to extreme environments has increased because of interests to isolate previously unknown extremophilic microorganisms in pure culture and to profile their metabolites. Microorganisms that live in extreme environments produce extremozymes that have the potential to be valuable resources for the development of a bio-based economy through their application to white, red and grey biotechnologies. A range of microorganisms has been screened from diverse extreme environments of Pakistan. On the basis of preliminary characterization and 16S rDNA analysis they have been assigned various groups. Moreover, their potential to produce industrially important enzymes has been explored.

 

2.      Bacterial Biodiversity and Systematics

Bacterial systematics face unique challenges when trying to identify ecologically meaningful units of biological diversity. Advances in molecular techniques have given us a glimpse of the tremendous diversity present within the microbial world, but significant work remains to be done in order to understand the ecological and evolutionary dynamics that can account for the origin, maintenance, and distribution of that diversity. We have developed a conceptual framework that uses ecological/evolutionary theory as well as genomic information to identify the DNA sequence clusters most likely corresponding to the fundamental units of bacterial diversity.

 

3.      Biotechnology of Ores and Fossil Fuels

Biotechnology could provide many innovative alternatives for changing the way metals are obtained. Microbes have been used to dissolve metallic minerals and release metal ions into solution, from which pure metal can be obtained by electrolysis. However, for billions of years microbes have been interacting with metals. Microbial communities in and near mineral sources are therefore a rich source of genetic information which could be used to create synthetic or modified microbiomes that concentrate metals. Biotechnology can also be used to upgrade coal and petroleum by removing undesirable elements/components such as sulfur, nitrogen, metals, and ash and by reducing viscosity. Microbial conversion of hydrocarbons to methane could dramatically increase the amount of energy recovered. All of these aspects including coal liquefaction are focus of our research in this area.

 

4.      Biosynthesis of Prebiotics and Antimicrobials

Acquisition and characterization of bacterial, archaeal and plant species capable of producing diverse range of oligo/polysaccharides is a major focus of our research. We have established a collection of more than 20 prebiotic exopolysaccharide (EPS) producing bacteria isolated from diverse local environments of Pakistan. These include novel bacteria capable of simultaneously producing prebiotics and antimicrobials and those yielding high titers of EPS. Moreover, we are also focusing on the isolation, structural solution and bioactivity investigation of new antibiotic natural products and their application in agriculture to control bacterial and fungal diseases of crop plants. The antimicrobials and the prebiotics (EPS) are excellent candidates for applications in poultry-feed industry for alleviating the use of antibiotics. Isolation and characterization of genes involved in antimicrobial and EPS synthesis by novel bacteria and archaea is also a prominent focus of our research.

Research Projects

 

1               Title of the Project    Microbial leaching of low grade Saindak ore 

Name of P. I.              Dr. Ahmad M. Khalid

Participation              As a research team member

Funding Agency        Government of Pakistan (Saindak Metals Limited)

Allocated Amount     Rs. 1.6 Million

Status  (Period)          Completed (1994-1995)

 

2               Title of the project     Radionuclide immobilization by biosorption on microbial biomass

Name of P. I.              Dr. Ahmad M. Khalid

Participation              As a research team member

Funding Agency        International Atomic Energy Agency

Allocated Amount     US $ 10,000.00

Status  (Period)          Completed (1995-1997)

 

3-              Title of the Project             Studies on biodiversity of extremophiles and their use in bioprocess technology 

Name of P. I.              Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

Funding Agency        Third WorldAcademy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy.

Allocated Amount     US $ 7000.00.

Status  (Period)          Completed (2001-2002 for 18 months)

 

4-              Title of the project             Upgradation of high sulfur Pakistani coals through biotechnological process

Name of P. I.              Dr. Munir A. Anwar

Participation              As a research team member 

Funding Agency        Third WorldAcademy of Sciences (TWAS), Trieste, Italy.

AllocatedAmount      US $ 7000      

Status  (Period)          Completed (2001-2002 for 18 months)

 

5               Title of the Project    Bacterial leaching of metals from ores 

Name of P. I.              Dr. Ahmad M. Khalid

Participation              As a research team member

Funding Agency        Government of Pakistan (Pak-Kazakh project-MoST)

Allocated Amount     Rs. ~30.0 Million.

Status  (Period)          Completed (1998-2005)

 

6-              Title of the Project             Genetic manipulations of mutation that leads to hyperproduction of Tylosin from       

                 Streptomyces fradiae NRRl-2707  and development of solid state fermentation (SSF) process using that mutant 

Name of P. I.              Dr. Kalsoom Akhtar

Participation              As supervisor 

Funding Agency        International Foundation for Science, USA

Allocated Amount     US$ 6500

Status  (Period)          Completed (April 2007- September 2008)

 

7               Title of the Project    Biodesulfurization of indigenous fossil fuels

Name of P. I.              Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

Funding Agency        Government of Pakistan (MoST)

Allocated Amount     Rs. 28.8 Million.

Status  (Period)          Completed (2004-2011)

 

8-              Title of the Project             Development of hyper producer cephalosporin C producing strain of       

                 Acremoniumchrysogenumby RNA interference technique

Name of P. I.              Dr. Kalsoom Akhtar

Participation              As supervisor 

Funding Agency        Pakistan Science Foundation

Allocated Amount     Rs. 9,82,000

Status  (Period)          Completed (2007-2010)

 

9-              Title of the Project             Gene mining studies on extremophilic microorganisms using integron specific probes

Name of P. I.              Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 28,30,000

Status  (Period)          Completed (2007-2012)

 

10-            Title of the Project           Biotechnological applications of microorganisms in bioleaching and bioremediation of metals

Name of P. I.              Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

Name of Co-P.I.        Dr. Kalsoom Akhtar

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 35,98,927

Status  (Period)          Completed (2007-2012)

 

11              Title of the Project           Exploiting biodiversity of Carbon-Sulfur bond cleaving microorganisms to select new strains

                  potentially interesting for enhanced desulfurization of coal

Name of P. I.                        Dr. Nasrin Akhtar

Participation              As supervisor

Funding Agency        International Foundation for Science, Sweden.

Allocated Amount     US$ 10,000

Status  (Period)          Completed (2013-2016)

 

12-           Title of the Project           Microbial production of prebiotic fructans for application in food, feed and pharmaceutical

                 industry

Name of P. I.              Dr. Munir A. Anwar

Participation              As Co-P.I.

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 4,840,818

Status  (Period)          Completed (2015-2018)

 

13-            Title of the Project           Fungal mediated degradation of indigenous brown coals and subsequent transformation into

                 humic materials (humic and fulvic acids)     

Name of P. I.              Dr. Kalsoom Akhtar

Participation              As Co-P.I.

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 3,638,679

Status  (Period)          Completed (2015-2017)

 

14-            Title of the Project           Tracking of infiltration of mobile DNA elements into natural environments

Name of P. I.              Dr. M. Afzal Ghauri

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 7,466,400

Status  (Period)          On-going (2015-2019)

 

15-            Title of the Project   Microbial liquefaction/solubilization of indigenous brown coals and

                 characterization of liquefied products for fuel and non-fuel applications.

         Name of P. I.                        Dr. Kalsoom Akhtar

         Participation             As Co-P.I.

         Funding Agency      Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 4,716,495 

Status  (Period)          On-going (2016-2019)

 

16-            Title of the Project           Process upscalling for biodesulfurization of automobile fuels (diesel and petrol)

                 to meet Euro-4 equivalent sulphur standards.

Name of P. I.  Dr. Nasrin Akhtar

Participation  As Faculty 2 (Co-PI 2)

Funding Agency        Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

Allocated Amount     Rs. 5M 

Status  (Period)          On-going (2020-2023)

 

 

Research Publications

  • Zafar, M. N.*, Wahid, A., Ghauri, M. A.Zubair, M., Mumtaz, M. W., Anwar, F. and Danish, M. 2013. Trichodermaharzianum: a green sorbent for Pb(II) uptake from aqueous solutions.TOXICOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY 95(3):422–433. (Impact Factor 1.050, Citations 4)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02772248.2013.790973?needAccess=true 
  • Andaleeb,S., Ghauri, M. A. and Qazi, J.I.*2013.Isolation of malathion degrading chromogenicPseudomonas aeruginosa strains from insecticide impregnated soils. PAKISTAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY 45(5):1447-1451.(Citations 4)http://www.zsp.com.pk/pdf45/CORRECTED%201447-1478%20_34_%20SHORT%20COMMUNICATIONS%2045%20_5_.pdf 
  • Khaliq, S., Ghauri, M. A.* and Akhtar, K.* 2014.Characterization of mutations in regulatory genes of Tyl cluster leading to over expression of tylosin in mutant γ-1 of Streptomyces fradiae NRRL-2702. APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY 98:785-793. (Impact Factor 3.530, Citations 3)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00253-013-5317-8.pdf 
  • Bano, I, Ghauri, M. A.*, Yasin, T.*, Huang, Q. and Palaparthi, A. D. 2014.Characterization andpotential applications of gamma irradiated chitosan and its poly(vinyl alcohol) blends. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL MACROMOLECULES 65:81-88 (Impact Factor 5.162, Citations 34)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141813014000166 
  • Haider, R., Ghauri, M. A.*, Jones, E. J. andSanFilipo, J. R. 2014. Methane generation potential of Thar lignite samples. FUEL PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY 126:309-314 (Impact Factor 4.982, Citations 10)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378382014002100 
  • Akhtar, N., Ghauri, M. A.*, Anwar, M. A. and Heaphy, S. 2015. Phylogenetic characterization and novelty of organic sulphur metabolizing genes ofRhodococcus spp. (Eu-32).BIOTECHNOLOGY LETTERS 37:837-847(Impact Factor 1.977, Citations 9)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10529-014-1736-6.pdf 
  • Haider, R., Ghauri, M. A.*, Jones, E. J. Orem, W. H.andSanFilipo, J. R. 2015.Structural degradation of Thar lignite using MW1 fungal isolate – optimization studies. INTERNATIONAL BIODETERIORATION & BIODEGRADATION 100:149-154(Impact Factor 4.074, Citations 9)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964830515000724 
  • Haider, R.*, Ghauri, M. A. 2015. Geo-microbial niches: The control rooms for securing energy access. FUEL 153:717-719(Impact Factor 5.578, Citations 3)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016236115003403 
  • Haider, R., Ghauri, M. A.* andAkhtar K.2015. Isolation of coal degrading fungus from drilled core coal sample and effect of prior fungal pretreatment on chemical attributes of extracted humic acid. GEOMICROBIOLOGY JOURNAL 32:944-953(Impact Factor 1.972, Citations 6)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01490451.2015.1039673?needAccess=true 
  • Rehman, A., Sarwar, Y., Raza, Z. A., Hussain, S. Z., Mustafa, T., Khan, W. S., Ghauri, M. A., Haque, A. and Hussain, I.* 2015. Metal nanoparticles assisted polymerase chain reaction for strain typing of Salmonella Typhi. ANALYST140(21):7366-7372 (Impact Factor 3.978, Citations 12)http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2015/AN/C5AN01286D#!divAbstract 
  • Akhtar, N., Ghauri, M. A.* andAkhtar K.2016. Exploring coal biodesulphurization potential of a novel organic sulphur metabolizing Rhodococcusspp. (Eu-32) – a case study. GEOMICROBIOLOGY JOURNAL  33:6, 468-472(Impact Factor 1.972, Citations 10)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01490451.2015.1052119?needAccess=true 
  • Akhtar, N.*, Ghauri, M. A. andAkhtar K.2016. Dibenzothiophene desulfurization capability and evolutionary divergence of newly isolated bacteria. ARCHIVES OF MICROBIOLOGY 198:509-519(Impact Factor 1.884, Citations 14)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00203-016-1209-5.pdf 
  • Iram, A.*, Akhtar, K., Ghauri, M. A. 2017.  Coal  methanogenesis:  A     review  on the  need of  complex  microbial  consortia  and culture conditions  for  the  effective  bioconversion of  coal  into methane.  ANNALS OF MICROBIOLOGY 67:275-286(Impact Factor 1.528, Citations 4)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs13213-017-1255-5.pdf 
  • Bano, I.*, Arshad, M., Yasin, T., Ghauri, M. A., and Younus, M.2017.  Chitosan: A potential biopolymer for wound management. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL MACROMOLECULES 102:380-383 (Impact Factor 5.162, Citations 126)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141813017308024 
  • Bano, I.*, Ghauri, M. A., Arshad, M., Yasin, T., and Younus, M.2017.  Bioactivity of variant molecular weight chitosan against drug resistant bacteria isolated from human wounds.   MICROBIAL DRUG RESISTANCE 23:8,958-965(Impact Factor 2.296, Citations 5) https://doi.org/10.1089/mdr.2016.0211 
  • Haider, R. *, Ghauri, M. A. andRahim M. U.2018. On comparison between fungal and bacterial pretreatment of coal for enhanced biogenic methane generation. GEOMICROBIOLOGY JOURNAL 35:5,432-437(Impact Factor 1.972, Citations 7)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01490451.2017.1388885?needAccess=true 
  • Akhtar, N.*, Akhtar, K. and Ghauri, M. A.2018. Biodesulfurization of thiophenic compounds by a 2-hydroxybiphenyl resistant Gordonia sp. HS126-4N carrying dszABC genes. CURRENT MICROBIOLOGY 75-5:597-603(Impact Factor 1.746, Citations 8)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00284-017-1422-8.pdf 
  • Bano, I.*,  Arshad, M., Yasin, T. andGhauri, M. A.2019Preparation, characterization and in-vivo evaluation of glycerol plasticized chitosan/PVA blends for burn wounds.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL MACROMOLECULES  124:155-162(Impact Factor 5.162, Citations 24)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141813018340030?via%3Dihub
  • Akhtar, N.*, Ghauri, M. A.*, Akhtar, K., Parveen, S., Farooq, M., Ali, A. and Schierack, P. 2019. Comparative analysis of draft genome sequence of Rhodococcus sp. Eu-32 with other Rhodococcus species for its taxonomic status and sulfur metabolism potential. CURRENT MICROBIOLOGY  76:1207-1214(Impact Factor 1.746, Citations 0)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00284-019-01737-1.pdf 
  • Ashfaq, I., Amjad, H., Ahmad, W., Nasir, A., Ali, A., Ali, W. R., Khaliq, S., Hayat, A., Ali, H., Sattar, F., Ghauri, M. A. and Anwar, M. A.*2020. Growth inhibition of common enteric pathogens in the intestine of broilers by microbially produced dextran and levan exopolysaccharides. CURRENT MICROBIOLOGY 77,9:2128–2136.  (Impact Factor 1.746, Citations 0)https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00284-020-02091-3.pdf 
  • Parveen, S., Akhtar, N.*, Ghauri, M. A.* and Akhtar, K.2020.Conventional genetic manipulation of desulfurizing bacteria and prospects of using CRISPR-Cas systems for enhanced desulfurization activity. CRITICAL REVIEWS IN MICROBIOLOGY 46:3,300-320. (Impact Factor 7.349, 
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