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Genomics provided biomedical scientists an inventory of all genes and sequences present in a living being. This provides an unique opportunity to the scientists to predict and study biological functions of these genes. The changes in the gene expression regulated by genomic sequences therefore reflect changes in the molecular processes working in a cell or tissue in response to external factors including exposure to toxic compounds and pathogens. Microarray offers a biotechnological revolution with the help of DNA chemistry, silicon chip technology and optics to be used to monitor gene expression for thousands of genes in one single experiment. Briefly, 20,000 to 100,000 unique DNA molecules get applied by a robot to the surface of silicon wafers (approximately the size of a microscope slide). Using a single microarray experiment, the expression level of 20,000 to 100,000 genes will be examined in one single experiment.  Genomics and microarray have a significant role and impact on the design and development of modern detection and diagnostic tools in several different ways. Microarray tools are now used on regular basis for monitoring gene expression of large number of genes and also frequently applied to DNA sequence analysis, immunology, genotyping, and molecular diagnosing. For diagnostics, these tools can be used to distinguish and differentiate between different DNA fragments that differ by as little as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). These microarrays can be divided based on the gene density spots that will be high density (≯10,000 spots) per slide, medium (<1000≯100) and low density (<100). High-density arrays have proven to be very useful in disease diagnosis especially in diagnosis and classification of different types of cancers. These microarray tools hold tremendous potential for pathogen detection, which will be comprised, of unique sets of genes (also referred to as “signatures”) able to unambiguously identify the species and strain of pathogens of interest.

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Most agronomic soils contain large reserves of total phosphorus [P], but the fixation and precipitation of P cause P deficiency, and in turn, restrict the growth of crops severely. Phosphorus replenishment, especially in sustainable production systems, remains a major challenge as it is mainly fertilizer-dependent. Though the use of chemical P fertilizers is obviously the best means to circumvent P deficiency in different agro-ecosystems, their use is always limited due to its spiralling cost. A greater interest has, therefore, been generated to find an alternative yet inexpensive technology that could provide sufficient P to plants while reducing the dependence on expensive chemical P fertilizers. Among the heterogeneous and naturally abundant microbes inhabiting the rhizosphere, the phosphate solubilizing microorganisms (PSM) including bacteria have provided an alternative biotechnological solution in sustainable agriculture to meet the P demands of plants. These organisms in addition to providing P to plants also facilitate plant growth by other mechanisms. Despite their different ecological niches and multiple functional properties, P-solubilizing bacteria have yet to fulfil their promise as commercial bio-inoculants. Current developments in our understanding of the functional diversity, rhizosphere colonizing ability, mode of actions and judicious application are likely to facilitate their use as reliable components in the management of sustainable agricultural systems.

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Authors: Shams T. Khan, Ajmaluddin Malik, Rizwan Wahab, Omar H. Abd-Elkader, Maqusood Ahamed, Javed Ahmad, Javed Musarrat, Maqsood A. Siddiqui and Abdulaziz A. Al-Khedhairy

Although the antimicrobial activity of the engineered nanoparticles (NPs) is well known, the biochemical mechanisms underlying this activity are not clearly understood. Therefore, four NPs with the highest global production, namely SiO2, TiO2, ZnO, and Ag, were synthesized and characterized. The synthesized SiO2, TiO2, ZnO, and Ag NPs exhibit an average size of 11.12, 13.4, 35, and 50 nm, respectively. The antimicrobial activity of the synthesized NPs against bacteria and fungi were also determined. NPs-mediated inhibition of two very important enzymes, namely urease and DNA polymerase, is also reported. The synthesized NPs especially Ag and ZnO show significant antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus even at low concentration. The DNA polymerase activity was inhibited at a very low concentration range of 2–4 µg/ml, whereas the urease activity was inhibited at a high concentration range of 50–100 µg/ml. Based on their ability to inhibit the urease and DNA polymerase, NPs can be arranged in the following order: Ag > ZnO > SiO2 > TiO2 and Ag > SiO2 > ZnO > TiO2, respectively. As the synthesized NPs inhibit bacterial growth and suppress the activity of urease and DNA polymerase, the use of these NPs to control pathogens is proposed.

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