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 July 20, 2011



“Concise Biological Glance on Garamchishma Hot Spring”

Written by Mr Aftab Khan Research Officer
Pakistan Medical Research Council
Khyber Medical college Peshawar

Garamchishma (Chitral) located at 4900 feet high from the see level nestled midway in a row of beautiful mountains. Garamchishma possess marvelous natural beauty and resources. It has unique culture, makes its inhabitant more prominent and marked. Main identity of Garamchishma is its natural Hot spring. This Hot spring, the hot tears of the earth, are one of the most precious gift that the earth has given to us. Ever since the ancient times, people have recognized the rejuvenating and therapeutic properties of this natural spring. This piece of earth (Garamchishma) can proudly regard itself as one of the region being wealthiest in beauty, natural assets and more than that beautiful culture. More and less we could find number of stories, written articles and popular saying about this hot spring. But what I have tried is just to make surface that how do this hot spring emerge and what are the potentials benefits of microbial flora found in this hot spring?
Hot spring emerge from earth crust is scienstifically called hydrothermal vent.A hydrothermal vent is a fissure in a planet's surface from which geothermally heated water issues. Hydrothermal vents are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart, ocean basins, and hotspots. Hydrothermal vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its surface and within its crust. Common land types include hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. The most famous hydrothermal vent system on land is probably within Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Relative to the majority of the deep sea, the areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive, often hosting complex communities fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Chemosynthetic archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms, clams, limpets and shrimp. Active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist on Jupiter's moon Europa, and ancient hydrothermal vents have been speculated to exist on Mars (Paine, Michael 15 May 2001)
Günter Wächtershäuser proposed the Iron-sulfur world theory and suggested that life might have originated at hydrothermal vents. Wächtershäuser proposed that an early form of metabolism predated genetics. By metabolism he meant a cycle of chemical reactions that produce energy in a form that can be harnessed by other processes.

Garamchishma water is similar kind of hydrothermal vent. The sprouting hot spring contains number of dissolve minerals, chemicals and elements. These chemical ingredients give brownish color and rotten smells to the location.

Do we ever think that either such a hot spring having temperature 67Ċ may have harboring living species? Absolutely! It has been proposed that amino-acid synthesis could have occurred deep in the Earth's crust and that these amino-acids were subsequently shot up along with hydrothermal fluids into cooler waters, where lower temperatures and the presence of clay minerals would have fostered the formation of peptides and protocells. (Tunnicliffe, Verena (1991) This is an attractive hypothesis because of the abundance of CH4 and NH3 present in hydrothermal vent regions, a condition that was not provided by the Earth's primitive atmosphere. A major limitation to this hypothesis is the lack of stability of organic molecules at high temperatures, but some have suggested that life would have originated outside of the zones of highest temperature. There are numerous species of extremophiles and other organisms currently living immediately around deep-sea vents, suggesting that this is indeed a possible scenario.

It may contain living organism like bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. this is just my hypothesis, forced me and our future generation to work on this aspect that how we could use this hot spring as a commercial and economical source for the betterment of inhabitants of this valley.

Bacteria a small living organism can’t be seen by naked eyes are grouped as beneficial and harmful. Bacteria are classified as Pchychrophilic, Mesophilic and Thermophilic based on its growing temperature. Pchychrophilic bacteria grow at low temperature best at 4 Ċ. Mesophilic grow at 15 Ċ to 40 Ċ best at 37 Ċ while Thermophilic grow at temperature greater than 40 Ċ, gives us the idea that this spring contain Thermophilic species.. Mesophilic bacteria grow best at body temperature so most Mesophilic bacteria are harmful. But as far Thermophilic bacteria is concerned, it grow at high temperature greater than body temperature are normally non harmful to human. These bacteria ( Thermophilic) could be used for beneficial purposes. Temperature of Garamchishma hot spring is 67 Ċ which shows that once bacteria found here would be Thermophilic.

Thermus aquatus is a Thermophilic bacterium, generally used in genetic engineering. DNA of this bacterium is used as primer in the amplification and polymerase chain reaction in diagnostic field of medical science. These primers are very expensive cost more than hundreds thousands. So Garmchishma hot spring would plays host to numerous microbiological researches. It is a place where the importance of microorganisms is immediately noticed. Similar kind of hot spring is designed in the form of a park known as yellow stone national park in united state host number of research project, officially 23. In different field like ecology, wild life, environmental education, geochemistry, geothermal systems and vegetation researches are in progress in this yellow stone national park. This extensive research provides good contribution in the economy of the country. Hydrothermal vents, in some instances, have led to the formation of exploitable mineral resources via deposition of seafloor massive sulfide deposits. The Mount Isa orebody located in Queensland, Australia, is an excellent example. ( Perkins, WG (1984).

Recently, mineral exploration companies, driven by the elevated price activity in the base metals sector during the mid 2000s, have turned their attention to extraction of mineral resources from hydrothermal fields on the seafloor. Significant cost reductions are, in theory, possible. Consider that in the case of the Mount Isa orebody, large amounts of capital are required to sink shafts and associated underground infrastructure, then laboriously drill and blast the ore, crush and process it, to win out the base metals, an activity which requires a large workforce.



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