Ashwani Kumar Rai

Distinguished Professor & NASI-Senior Scientist
Ph D (BHU)
Contact Information:
(O)91 542 6701098; (R)91 542 2366514
Email:
akrai@bhu.ac.in ; akrai.bhu@gmail.com
Employee No. 12031

 
Academic Qualifications:
S. No.DegreeInstitutionYear
1.B.Sc. (Hons.)Banaras Hindu University1967
2.M.Sc.Banaras Hindu University1969
3.Ph.D.Banaras Hindu University1974
 
Brief writeup on area of specialization/awards/achievements:
 

I have been working with cyanobacteria from the time of my Ph.D. dissertation and contributed significantly in the field of cyanobacteria and Azolla-Anabaena association especially to salt tolerance, nitrogen nutrition and airborne algal particles in the atmospheric air. We reported mechanism of nitrate transport, proved that ammonium inhibits nitrate assimilation at uptake level and the process is energy dependent, and pioneered the work on urea assimilation in cyanobacteria. We, for the first time transformed Synechococcus PCC 7942 with bet genes, which accumulated glycinebetaine, and resolved the controversy of cyanobacterial RuBisCO structure. Our work revealed that cyanobacteria and plants, like Azolla pinnata could be trained for increased salt-tolerance employing stepwise transfers, nitrate enhances salt tolerance through the interaction with Na+ carrier and protects nitrogenase activity of the association against NaCl toxicity. Salinity induced damage in electron transport chain is located at QB and/or cyt b6-f complex, halophytic forms increase protein levels involving cyclic electron flow around PS I. Cyanobacteria are the permanent constituent in the atmosphere of subtropics and some taxa produce allergy. We, for the first time reported microcystin producing Nostoc sp. BHU001 from India. Presently, we are studying how a small increase in salinity produces such vast metabolic disturbances.

 
Contact Information:
Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi 221005, India
Email: akrai@bhu.ac.in ; akrai.bhu@gmail.com
Phone (office): 91 542 6701098
(residence): 91 542 2366514.
 
Current Research Projects:
 
S. No. Name of the Project Duration Source Amount (in Rs)
1. Growth, P acquisition and conserve use and energy homoeostasis by cyanobacteria under salt-stress .. .. ..
2. Cyanobacterial blooms and secondary metabolites: Discovery, isolation and characterization of novel biochemicals.. .. ..
3.Growth behaviour and mechanism of salt-tolerance in diazotrophic cyanobacteria from saline ‘Usar’ soils ......
4.N2 fixation and assimilation of combined-N by Azolla-Anabaena under salt stress .... ..
5.Impact of environmental factors on carbon metabolism of some bloom-forming cyanobacteria in eutrophic water bodies.... ..
6.Effect of NaCl on the growth, and physiological and biochemical characteristics of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).... ..
7.Heterotrophy in blue-green algal symbionts with reference to its impact on the modification of nitrogen metabolism.... ..
8.Metabolism of organic nitrogen fertilizers by blue-green algae .. ....
 
Awards & Recognition:
  1. Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences

  2. Fellow of Biotech Research Society, India.

  3. Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, India

  4. Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences Fellowship, Japan, 1993.

  5. Invited Professor, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Japan, 1992

  6. Visiting Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA, 1987.

  7. National Biotechnology Overseas Associateship, New Delhi,1986.

  8. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship, Germany, 1983.

  9. Matsumae International Foundation Fellowship, Japan, 1982.

 

List of 10 major Publications:

  1. Nomura M, Ishitani M, Takabe T, Rai AK and Takabe T et al. 1995. Synechococcus sp PCC7942 transformed with Escherichia coli bet genes produces glycine betaine from choline and acquires resistance to salt stress. PLANT PHYSIOL 107 (3): 703-708.

  2. Rai AK, Kashyap AK & Gupta SL 1981. ATP-dependent uptake of nitrate in Nostoc muscorum and inhibition by ammonium ions. BIOCHIM BIOPHYS ACTA 674: 78-86.

  3. Takabe T, Rai AK & Akazawa T. 1984. Interaction of constituent subunits in ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase from Aphanothece halophytica. ARCH BIOCHEM BIOPHYS 229: 202-211.

  4. Rai AK. 1989. Purification and properties of urease from a cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. FEMS MICROBIOL LETT 61: 319-322.

  5. Rai V and Rai AK. 1999. Growth behaviour of Azolla pinnata at various salinity levels and induction of high salt tolerance. PLANT SOIL 206 (1): 79-84.

  6. Sharma NK, Rai AK and Singh S. 2006. Meteorological factors affecting the diversity of airborne algae in an urban atmosphere. ECOGRAPHY 29: 766-772.

  7. Sharma NK, Singh S and Rai A K 2006. Diversity and seasonal variation of viable algal particles in the atmosphere of a subtropical City in India. ENVIRON RES 102: 252–259.

  8. Sharma Naveen Kumar and Rai AK Singh S and Brown Jr. RM 2007. Airborne algae: Present status and their relevance. J PHYCOL 43: 615-627.

  9. Rai AK, Pandey KD and Kashyap AK 1978. Heterocyst differentiation and polarity in Calothrix. NEW PHYTOL 81: 647-651.

  10. Rai AK, Pandey GP. 1981. Influence of environmental-stress on the germination of Anabaena vaginicola akinetes. ANN BOT 48 (3): 361-370.

Additional Information/ Achievements:

  1. Convenor, International Symposium on Phycological Research 2010, Banaras Hindu University, India.

  2. Organising Secretary: Algal Biology and Biotechnology”, Banaras Hindu University, Feb.6-8, 1997.

Delivered lectures and chaired sessions:

  1. National Seminar on Forest and Environment in India: Contemporary Issues and Challenges, Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur, Feb 18-19, 2008.

  2. National Symposium on Recent Advances in Toxicological Studies: Molecular and Physiological aspects, Banaras Hindu University, Feb 27-28, 2008.

  3. International Symposium on Green Biotechnology in Asia, Asian Research center, Meijo University, Japan, Dec 15-16, 2006.

  4. National Seminar and Training Workshop on Impact of Changing Climate Biodiversity Conservation and Ecofunctional Status, Jiwaji University, Gwalior, Jan. 15-17, 2004.

  5. National Symposium on Recent Trends in Algal Biology and Biotechnology, Punjabi University, Patiala, Feb. 4-5, 2004.

  6. International Symposium on Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants, Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan, Dec. 5-6, 2003.

  7. Fourth Convention of the Indian Society of Agricultural Biochemists and Symposium on Recent Developments in Biochemistry, Banaras Hindu University, March 20~21, 1995.

 

Full List of Publications:

Books:

  1. Advances in Life Sciences (eds. RP Sinha, NK Sharma and AK Rai) IK International Publishers, New Delhi, 2010 (in press).

  2. Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants: Toward the Improvement of Global Environment and Food. Pp 267 (eds. AK Rai and T Takabe) Springer, The Netherlands, 2006.

  3. The Changing Scenario in Plant Sciences, pp 565, (eds VS Jaiswal, AK Rai, Uma Jaiswal and JS Singh) Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 2000.

  4. Cyanobacterial Nitrogen Metabolism and Environmental Biotechnology, pp 299, (ed AK Rai) jointly published by Springer-Verlag, and Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, 1997.

  5. Shaval (Algae) in Hindi medium, pp 260 (RR Mishra, B Rai, GC Saxena, DN Yadava and AK Rai) Hindi Granth Academy, U.P., 1973.

Research articles

  1. Sharma NK, Chaudhary KK, Bajpai R and Rai AK. Freshwater cyanobacterial (blue-green algae) blooms: causes, consequences and control In: Impact, monitoring and management of Environmental Pollution (ed. Ahmed EI Nemr) Nova Science Publishers Inc., 2010 (in press).

  2. Singh RK, Tiwari SP, Rai AK and Mohapatra TM. 2010. Cyanobacteria: an emerging source for drug discovery. J Antibiotics (Accepted)

  3. Pankaj Kumar and Rai AK. Problems, pitfalls and advantages of transgenic crops. In: Advances in Life Sciences (eds. RP Sinha, NK Sharma and AK Rai) IK International Publishers, New Delhi, 2010 (in press).

  4. Bajpai R, Sharma NK, Rai AK 2010. Cyanotoxins: An Emerging Environmental Concern. In: Advances in Life Sciences (eds. RP Sinha, NK Sharma and AK Rai) IK International Publishers, New Delhi, 2010 (in press).

  5. Rai AK and Sharma NK. Algal particles in the atmosphere (Invited article, MS number 332), In: Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, Major Reference Works, Elsevier Ltd, The Boulevard Oxford UK (in press).

  6. Bajpai R, Sharma NK, Rai AK and Usha. 2009. Hepatosplenomegaly and phytotoxicity of a planktonic cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. BHU001 isolated from agricultural pond. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 25:1995–2003.

  7. Sharma NK, Mohan D and Rai AK. 2009. Predicting phytoplankton growth and dynamics in relation to physico-chemical characteristics of Water Body. Water Air Soil Pollut 202:325–333.

  8. Bajpai R, Sharma NK, Lawton L A, Edwards C and Rai AK. 2009. Microcystin producing cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. BHU001 from a pond in India. Toxicon 53: 587–590.

  9. Ozaki K, Uchida A, Takabe T, Shinagawa F, Tanaka Y, Takabe T, Hayashi T, Hattori T, Rai AK., Takabe T. 2009. Enrichment of sugar content in melon fruits by hydrogen peroxide treatment. J Plant Physiol. 166 (2009) 569–578.

  10. Sharma, NK, Singh, S., Bajpayi, R. and Rai AK 2008. Effect of Nostoc muscorum toxins on upper respiratory tract of mice. Int J Algae 10: 34-41.

  11. Sharma NK and Rai AK 2008. Allergenicity of air borne cyanobacteria Phormidium fragile and Nostoc muscorum. Ecotox Environ Safe 69: 158-162.

  12. Sharma NK and Rai AK Singh S and Brown Jr. RM 2007. Airborne algae: Present status and their relevance. J Phycol 43: 615-627.

  13. Sharma NK, Rai AK and Singh S. 2006. Meteorological factors affecting the diversity of airborne algae in an urban atmosphere. Ecography 29: 766-772.

  14. Sharma NK, Singh S and Rai AK 2006. Diversity and seasonal variation of viable algal particles in the atmosphere of a subtropical City in India. Environ Res 102: 252–259.

  15. Singh SS, Kumar P and Rai AK. 2006. Ultraviolet radiation stress: molecular and Physiological adaptation in trees. In Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. Toward the Improvement of Global Environment and Food. Eds AK Rai and T Takabe, Springer, the Netherlands, pp.91-110.

  16. Rai V, Sharma NK and Rai AK and 2006. Growth and cellular ion content of a salt-sensitive symbiotic system Azolla pinnata–Anabaena azollae under NaCl stress. J Plant Physiol 163: 937 – 944.

  17. Rai AK, and Sharma NK. 2006. Phosphate metabolism in the cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum under salt stress. Curr Microbiol 52: 6-12.

  18. Dubey AK, Rai V, Tiwari SP, Narain R and Rai AK. 2004. Changes in growth behaviour, major metabolites and nitrogenase activity of the cyanobacterium Aulosira fertilissima under nitrogen shift. In: Plant Diversity and Conservation. Ed. J. S. Singh, A. K. Bhatnager, V. P. Singh and B. K. Roy. Pilgrim Books Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

  19. Rai AK and Rai V 2003. Effect of NaCl on growth, nitrate uptake and reduction and nitrogenase activity of Azolla pinnata-Anabaena azollae. Plant Sci 164:61-69.

  20. Rai V, Tiwari SP and Rai AK. 2001. Effect of NaCl on nitrogen fixation of unadapted and NaCl-adapted Azolla pinnata-Anabaena azollae. Aquat Bot 71: 109-117.

  21. Rai V and Rai AK 2000. Response of NaCl-adapted and unadapted Azolla pinnata-Anabaena azollae complex to salt-stress: Partial photosynthetic processes and respiration. Symbiosis 29: 249-261.

  22. Rai AK and Tiwari SP.1999. Isolation and characterization of transposon induced chlorate resistant mutants of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Microbios 102: 103-112.

  23. Rai AK and Tiwari SP. 1999. Response to NaCl of nitrate assimilation and nitrogenase activity of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 and its mutants. J Appl Microbiol 87: 877-833.

  24. Rai S, Singh SP, Samarketu, Tiwari SP, Mishra AK, Pandey KD and Rai AK (1999) Effect of modulated microwave modulation frequencies on the physiology of a cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. Electro Magnetobiol 18: 221-232.

  25. Rai AK and Tiwari SP. 1999. Mutants of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 altered in nitrate transport and reduction. Curr Microbiol 39: 237-243.

  26. Rai AK and Tiwari SP. 1999. NO3- nutrition and salt tolerance in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 and mutant strains. J Appl Microbiol 86: 991-998.

  27. Rai V and Rai AK. 1999. Growth behaviour of Azolla pinnata at various salinity levels and induction of high salt tolerance. Plant Soil 206: 79-84.

  28. Rai AK and Tiwari SP. 1999. Nitrate Assimilation in Cyanobacteria: An Overview; In The Changing Scenario in Plant Sciences (ed VS Jaiswal, AK Rai, Uma Jaiswal, JS Singh), Allied Publishers, New Delhi, pp 116-129.

  29. Abraham G. and Rai AK.1998. Role of potassium in relation to salt tolerance in a cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. Indian J Plant Physi 391: 52-54.

  30. Rai AK. 1997. Urea Metabolism. In Cyanobacterial Nitrogen Metabolism and Environmental Biotechnology, (ed AK Rai) Springer Verlag, Germany & Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, pp 73-93.

  31. Hibino T, Lee BH, Rai AK, Ishikawa H, Tawada M, Shimoyama H and Takabe T. 1996. Salt enhance photosystem I content and cyclic electron flow via NAD(P)H dehydrogenase in the halotolerant cyanobacterium Aphanothece halophytica. Aust J Plant Physiol 23: 321-330.

  32. Pandey M, Shrivasta A, Rai AK and Goyle MR. 1996. Environmental factors affecting bimolecules production in the cyanobacteria Anabaena flos-aquae and Synechococcus cedrorum. In Current Researches in Plant Sciences, vol II, (ed TA Sarma, SS Saini, ML Trivedi & M Sharma), Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, India, pp. 59-62.

  33. Rai AK, Abraham G and Tiwari SP. 1996. Response of the cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum to NaCl stress: Tolerance, recovery, adaptation and sodium transport. In Current Researches in Plant Sciences, vol II, (ed TA Sarma, SS Saini, ML Trivedi & M Sharma), Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, India, pp. 1-10.

  34. Dubey AK and Rai AK 1995. Application of algal biofertilizers (Aulosira fertilissima Tenuis and Anabaena doliolum Bhardawaja) for sustained paddy cultivation in Northern India. Israel J Plant Sci. 43: 41-51.

  35. Rai AK and Abraham G. 1995. Relationship of combined nitrogen sources to salt tolerance in freshwater cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. J Appl Bacteriol 78: 501-506.

  36. Nomura M., Ishitani M, Takabe T, Rai AK and Takabe T. 1995. Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 transformed with Escherichia coli Bet genes produces betaine from choline and acquires resistance to salt stress. Plant Physiol. 107: 703-708.

  37. Singh SS, Tiwari SP, Abraham G, Rai SS and Rai AK. 1994. Magnetobiological effects on a cyanobacterium, Anabaena doliolum. Electro Magnetobiol 13: 227-235.

  38. Singh SP, Rai S, Rai AK, Tiwari, SP, Singh SS, Samarketu & Abraham G. 1994. Athermal physiological effects of microwaves on a cyanobacterium Nostoc muscorum: evidence for EM-memory bits in water. Med Biol Eng Comput 32: 175-180.

  39. Rai AK and Abraham G. 1993. Salinity tolerance and growth analysis of the cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. B Environ Contam Tox 51: 724-731.

  40. Rai AK 1990. Biochemical characteristics of photosynthetic response to various salinities in halotolerant and freshwater cyanobacteria. FEMS Microbiol Lett 69: 177-180.

  41. Rai AK. 1990. Cyanobacteria (Blue-green Algae): The diazotrophs. BHU News Lett 3: 28-30.

  42. Singh S and Rai AK 1990. Nickel dependent growth and urea uptake in the cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum and Anacystis nidulans. Indian J Exp Biol. 28: 80-81.

  43. Rai AK. 1989. Purification and properties of urease from a cyanobacterium Anabaena doliolum. FEMS Microbiol Lett 61: 319-322.

  44. Singh S and Rai AK. 1989. Localization of urease in Anabaena doliolum. Curr sci India 58: 59.

  45. Singh S and Rai AK. 1989. Methionine sulphoximine induced changes in cyanobacteria Anabaena doliolum and Anacystis nidulans. Indin J Exp Biol 27: 227-229.

  46. Rai AK and Singh S. 1987. Kinetics and regulation of urea uptake in Anabaena doliolum and Anacystis nidulans. J Gen Appl Microbiol 33: 471-479.

  47. Rai AK and Singh S. 1987. Urease of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) Anabaena doliolum and Anacystis nidulans. Curr Microbiol 16: 113-118.

  48. Takabe T, Rai AK and Akazawa T. 1984. Interaction of constituent subunits in ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase from Aphanothece halophytica. Arch Biochem Biophys 229: 202-211.

  49. Rai AK and Singh S. 1982. Regulation of nitrate uptake in Nostoc muscorum by glutamine synthetase. FEMS Microbiol Lett 14: 303-306.

  50. Rai AK and Pandey GP. 1981. Influence of environmental stress on the germination of Anabaena vaginicola akinetes. Ann Bot-London 48: 361-367.

  51. Rai AK, Kashyap AK and Gupta SL 1981. ATP-dependent uptake of nitrate in Nostoc muscorum and inhibition by ammonium ions. Biochim Biophys Acta 674: 78-86.

  52. Rai AK. 1980. Protein synthesis in germinating spores (akinetes) of Anabaena doliolum. Microbios Lett 13: 23-26.

  53. Rai AK, Pandey KD and Kashyap AK. 1978. Heterocyst differentiation and polarity in Calothrix. New Phytol 81: 647-651.

  54. Rai AK. 1978. Nitrate reductase activity in mutants of the blue-green alga Anabaena ambigua Rao. Biochem Physiol Pfl 172: 409-412.

  55. Rai AK. 1978. Mutants of blue-green alga Anabaena ambigua. Biochem Physiol Pfl 172: 177-180.

  56. Rai AK. 1978. Phycobilin pigments of some blue-green algae. In Advances in Cyanophyte Research (ed SP Singh et al), pp 33-42.

  57. Rai AK and Talpasayi, ERS. 1977. Electrophoretic and immunological studies on the phycobilin pigments of some blue-green algae. In Physiology of Micro-organisms (ed KS Bilgrami), Today & Tomorrow’s printers and Publishers, New Delhi, pp 399-410.

  58. Rai AK and Rai UN. 1977. Simultaneous utilization of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen by Scenedesmus obliquus (Turp.) Kuetz. Microbios Lett 5: 13-18.

  59. Rai AK. 1977. Growth characteristics of Anabaena ambigua and its strains. Biochem Physiol Pfl 171: 359-372.

  60. Rai AK. 1977. Induction of phycoerythrin in Anabaena ambigua and its strains. Experientia (Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences) 33: 595.

  61. Rai AK. 1976. Heterocyst differentiation in Anabaena ambigua. Biochem Physiol Pfl 170: 461-463.

 

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