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A collaborative programme involving industry and academia was initiated in September 2007 by the Department of Biotechnology to screen the bacterial diversity from various ecological niches in the country to search for novel bioactive molecules for therapeutic applications. The programme was designed to collect resource samples from the less-explored ecological niches at regular intervals for three years, to ensure a steady supply of microbes for high-throughput screening (HTS). The project had two major components. The first was targeted to generate a repository of 250,000 bacteria in three years by the academic research groups. The other component was preparation of microbial extracts and their screening on HTS platforms in four therapeutic areas followed by chemical profiling of potent extracts. Figure 1 shows the overall project plan.
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