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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Sanjit Chandra Debnath

Sanjit Chandra Debnath

PhD Student

 Geoffrey Pope 201


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


My broad research interests are in aquatic microbiology and microbial ecology. Therefore, I have carried out several research projects to investigate the quality of commercial probiotic products used in aquaculture; ecology of disease-causing pathogens in coastal waters of Bangladesh, studied bacterial diversity from various marine and terrestrial-aquatic ecosystems of China, and have discovered several novel bacteria. Thus, I have gained experience in microbial systematics, taxonomy and ecology.

With my growing interest in microbiology, I have joined Professor Charles Tyler’s research group where I will be investigating the microbial shift in cultured tilapia, interaction between the microorganism and their hosts to predict possible disease outbreak and develop strategies to minimize the economic losses may cause by disease outbreaks.


2020 – Present    PhD in Biosciences, University of Exeter, UK

2016 – 2019         MSc in Marine Science (Majoring Marine Microbiology), Zhejiang University, China

2013 – 2014         MSc in Marine Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

2009 – 2013         BSc (Hon’s) in Marine Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Research group links

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Research projects

Project Title: Understanding microbiomes in cultured tilapia for disease prediction and mitigation strategies

Supervisors: Professor Charles Tyler, Dr Ben Temperton, David Bass (Cefas), Chadag Vishnumurthy Mohan (WorldFish), and Jérôme Delamare-Deboutteville (WorldFish)

Funding Body: WorldFish, University of Exeter

Project Description:

Aquaculture is one of the major and important sectors to global food security, especially in low-income and food-deficit countries like Bangladesh, where it significantly contributes to poverty alleviation. Among various aquaculture species, tilapia are the second most important species farmed globally. Currently, more than 120 countries in the world have introduced various species of tilapia in their commercial fish farming system. Thus, the global tilapia aquaculture production annually grew 11% for the last three decades and in 2017, the global tilapia aquaculture production was 5.9 million tonnes, the value of which was approximately USD11 billion. But diseases caused by microbes in aquaculture are causing mass economic losses to this sector. Due to high stocking density and other stresses, disease outbreaks have become more prevalent in tilapia farms globally.

Microbiomes are one of the major components of human and animal health. Factors and stressors inducing microbial community shifts associated with increased disease in humans are known but very little is known regarding the factors responsible for inducing microbiomes related to fish disease. Microbiomes associated with the host's skin, gill, and gut are likely to provide signals that can be used to study the healthy and disease state of the host.

During this project, I will investigate the microbial communities in the skin and gills of tilapia cultured in Bangladesh aquaculture ponds under various stress conditions and study the shifts of microorganisms to signal for environments conducive for good health and those that signal for impending disease outbreak.


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Journal articles

Li K, Ye Z, Chen G, Zheng K, Yin J, Debnath SC, Yan C, Hong Y, Guo Z, Wang P, et al (2023). Atopomonas sediminilitoris sp. nov. isolated from beach sediment of Zhairuo Island, China. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 116(2), 97-107. Abstract.  Author URL.
Debnath SC, McMurtrie J, Temperton B, Delamare-Deboutteville J, Mohan CV, Tyler CR (2023). Tilapia aquaculture, emerging diseases, and the roles of the skin microbiomes in health and disease. Aquaculture International, 31(5), 2945-2976. Abstract.
Zheng K, Hong Y, Guo Z, Debnath SC, Yan C, Li K, Chen G, Xu J, Wu F, Zheng D, et al (2022). Acinetobacter sedimenti sp. nov. isolated from beach sediment. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 72(11). Abstract.
Wang P, Sheng H, Zheng K, Hong Y, Debnath SC, Yan C, Li K, Chen G, Xu J, Wu F, et al (2022). Ancylobacter gelatini sp. nov. isolated from beach sediment of Zhairuo Island, China. Arch Microbiol, 204(7). Abstract.  Author URL.
Sharifuzzaman SM, Rasid MH, Rubby IA, Debnath SC, Xing B, Chen G, Chowdhury MSN, Hossain MS (2021). DNA barcoding confirms a new record of flyingfish Cheilopogon spilonotopterus (Beloniformes: Exocoetidae) from the northern Bay of Bengal. Conservation Genetics Resources, 13(3), 323-328.
Khan I, Debnath SC, Yan C, Chen C, Xu Y, Wang W-J, Yu Y-C, Zheng D-Q, Xu J-Z, Wang P-M, et al (2020). Flavobacterium ajazii sp. nov. Isolated from Seaweed of Gouqi Island, China. Current Microbiology, 77(10), 2925-2932.
Debnath SC, Chen C, Khan I, Wang W-J, Zheng D-Q, Xu J-Z, Wang P-M (2020). Flavobacterium salilacus sp. nov. isolated from surface water of a hypersaline lake, and descriptions of Flavobacterium salilacus subsp. altitudinum subsp. nov. and Flavobacterium salilacus subsp. salilacus subsp. nov. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 70(7), 4250-4260. Abstract.
Khan I, Xie W-L, Yu Y-C, Sheng H, Xu Y, Wang J-Q, Debnath SC, Xu J-Z, Zheng D-Q, Ding W-J, et al (2020). Heteroexpression of Aspergillus nidulans laeA in Marine-Derived Fungi Triggers Upregulation of Secondary Metabolite Biosynthetic Genes. Marine Drugs, 18(12), 652-652. Abstract.
Debnath SC, Chen C, Liu S-X, Di Y-N, Zheng D-Q, Li X-Y, Xu X-W, Xu J-Z, Wang P-M (2019). Flavobacterium sharifuzzamanii sp. nov. Isolated from the Sediments of the East China Sea. Current Microbiology, 76(3), 297-303.
Debnath SC, Miyah AMA, Chen C, Sheng H, Xu X-W, Wu Y-H, Zheng D-Q, Xu J-Z, Di Y-N, Wang P-M, et al (2019). Flavobacterium zhairuonensis sp. nov. a gliding bacterium isolated from marine sediment of the East China Sea. Journal of Microbiology, 57(12), 1065-1072.
Chen C, Ye Y, Wang R, Zhang Y, Wu C, Debnath SC, Ma Z, Wang J, Wu M (2018). Streptomyces nigra sp. nov. Is a Novel Actinobacterium Isolated from Mangrove Soil and Exerts a Potent Antitumor Activity in Vitro. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9

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