DRDO developing bacteria from Antarctica to aid setting up of bio-toilets in India
Bacteria from Antarctica holds the potential to solve India’s sanitation problem in the years to come, the Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that bacteria from Antarctica was used in anaerobic microbial consortium that is used for seeding (inoculation) bio-digesters.
Psychrophile is the humble bacteria to be used by DRDO for the bio-digester technology for the disposal of human waste in an eco-friendly manner.
Scientists of DRDO brought the bacteria from Antarctica and started working on it to develop them to suit Indian standards.
The bacteria works for breaking down of human waste and produces colourless and odourless inflammable bio gas that comprises 50-70 per cent methane.
"There is a bio-digester underneath where the temperature is maintained at 5-30 degree Celsius. The bacteria break down the waste. There is no foul smell, disease-carrying organisms or solid matter. Nearly 90% of the solid waste is reduced. The bio-gas is released into the air continuously and can be used for cooking and heating. The residual liquid can be drained without any ill-effect," a scientist said.
DRDO has already tied up with Indian railways to setting up bio-toilets in trains.
"The consortium is composed of bacteria belonging to four groups, which work in sequential manner. The Antarctic bacteria which are cold active (work in wide temperature range) constitute the first two groups, i.e., hydrolytic & acidogenic. Cow dung, being abundantly available at low cost, has been used for multiplication of bacteria used in the bio-digester," he said.
Once cow dung is consumed by the bacteria and converted into a form that does not have any fly attractant property but rather detract them, the final bacteria which is fed into the bio-digester does not have any unpleasant odour and gets washed away within few days, he said.