Lonar lake turned pink resulting from ‘Haloarchaea’ microbes: Probe

The color of Lonar lake water in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district turned pink resulting from a big presence of the salt-loving ‘Haloarchaea’ microbes, a probe carried out by a Pune-based institute has concluded.

Salt-loving microbes

  • Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea is a micro organism tradition that produces pink pigment and is present in water saturated with salt.

  • The oval-shaped Lonar lake, fashioned after a meteorite hit the earth some 50,000 years in the past, is a well-liked vacationer hub.

  • The color of the lake water just lately turned pink, which has not solely shocked locals, however scientists too.

The state forest division knowledgeable the Bombay High Court final month that it had already collected the lake water samples and despatched them for probe to the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEER) and the Agharkar Research Institute in Pune.

“Initially, we thought it was because of the red- pigmented Dunaliella algae due to which the water might have turned pink. But during the investigation of the lake water samples, we found the water turned pink due to the large presence of Haloarchaea population in the lake,” Agharkar Research Institute Director Dr Prashant Dhakephalkar stated.

“And since it (Haloarchaea) produces a pink pigment, it formed a pink colour mat on the water surface,” he stated.

The elevated salinity and pH facilitated the expansion of halophilic microbes, primarily Haloarchae, he stated.

The different scope of the investigation was to seek out out whether or not the color attributed to the water was everlasting.

“So, we allowed the sample water to stand still for some time and we found out that the biomass settled at the bottom and the water became clear and transparent,” he stated. “So basically, it was the biomass of these microbes and because of that the surface of the water turned red or pink and as soon as the biomass subsided, the colour disappeared,” he defined.

The scientist stated the color of the lake is now returning to authentic because the wet season has kicked in, permitting dilution of the water. Because of that, the salinity and pH/alkalinity ranges have additionally come down and inexperienced algae have began rising within the water physique.

Dhakephalkar stated throughout the investigation, additionally they got here throughout an fascinating incidental discovering associated to flamingos that go to the lake. The plumage of the chicken is pink or reddish in color due to ingestion of carotenoids-rich meals, he stated.

“This bacteria, which produces a pink pigment, is ingested by these birds and they get carotenoid-rich food, because of that their plumage is pink in colour. So before we noticed it, these flamingos might have noticed the red colour at the lake and landed there,” he stated. He stated this could be one other fascinating side to seek out out. PTI

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