ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases

आई सी एम आर - राष्ट्रीय कॉलरा और आंत्र रोग संस्थान

Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India
स्वास्थ्य अनुसंधान विभाग, स्वास्थ्य और परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय, भारत सरकार
WHO Collaborating Centre For Research and Training On Diarrhoeal Diseases

NICED : Scientists

Dr. B. L. Sarkar

Dr. B. L. Sarkar

Dr. B. L. Sarkar joined in National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in May 01, 1979 as a Junior Research Fellow. After completion of Ph. D. degree in 1984, he joined as an Assistant Research Officer in 1985. Presently, Dr. Sarkar is the Deputy Director at Vibrio Phage Reference Laboratory in this institute and is engaged in research on cholera phages. He is the Guest Lecturer and External Examiner of several universities.

General Information
Name Dr. B. L. Sarkar
Educational Qualification M.Sc., Ph.D.
Designation Scientist F
Division Bacteriology
Specialization Microbiology (Cholera bacteriophage)
Date of joining ICMR 1st May 1979
Email : bl_sarkar@hotmail.com


Professional Experience

Dr. Sarkar joined as a Research Fellow in 1979 and his Ph.D. work was mainly concerned on the seasonal distribution of V. parahaemolyticus - a diarrheagenic halophile in the freshwater environs in relation to hospitalized patients in Calcutta. Dr. Sarkar and his group successfully developed a phage typing scheme for V. Cholerae O1 biotype Eltor in 1993. Subsequently, he developed the phage typing scheme for V. cholerae O139 after the emergence of newly toxigenic serogroup. Presently, he is engaged in research on phage typing, molecular characterization and animal experiment of bacteriophages of V. cholerae O1 biotype ElTor and O139. He is the Guest Lecturer and External Examiner of several universities. Dr. Sarkar was a post- doctoral Research Associate in USA during 1990- 91, Vising Scientist in Brazil, South America during 1996 - 97, visited Japan JICA/NICED project during 2001 - 02, Korea and Vienna, Austria in 2009. Dr. Sarkar has published 43 research papers and is presently engaged in research on cholera phages.

As a Research Associate, engaged in studies on molecular mechanism of tetracycline resistance gene interferes with E.coli growth particularly interacts with ATP synthase complex -the research work done in USA in 1990-1991.

Invited to deliver lecture at the 1st. World Congress of Pediatric Infectious Diseases held on December 4-7, 1996 in Acapulco, Mexico.

As a Visiting Scientist, engaged in research on cholera and diarrhoeal diseases problems in Brazil, South America in 1996-1997.

As a Visiting Scientist under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) engaged in studies on molecular characterization of cholera bacteriophage in Japan in 2001-2002.

Participated in the training on Vibriocidal Assays in connection with cholera vaccine study in Seoul, Korea in 2005.

As a Visiting Scientist, joined in a collaborative research study organized in Vienna, Austria in 2009.

Participated in a joint collaborative research study organized by National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan in 2013.

As a Visiting Scientist, invited the inaugural seminar to launch the Indo- UKIERI, UKcollaborative project organized at the University of Nottingham from May 25-31, 2014.

Research Interests

Dr. Sarkar and his group successfully developed a phage typing scheme for V. Cholerae 01 biotype ElTor in 1993. Subsequently, he developed the phage typing scheme for Vibrio cholerae O139. Division of vibriophage operates as a Reference Laboratory and receives 1000 to 1500 strains per year from 30-40 institutions in India and abroad for biotyping, serotyping and phage typing and is serving the nation by sending the results from time to time. Additionally, Dr. Sarkar is engaged in research on cloning and sequencing of phage DNA, phage therapy in animal model and surveillance studies in aquatic environs.

We are interested to compare new phage typing scheme with Basu & Mukerjee scheme for phage typing study of V.cholerae O1 and O139 strains. Also, to correlate the current status of phage types in the country. A study is ongoing to determine whether V. cholerae strains with similar phage types are also genetically homogeneous or heterogeneous by molecular typing methods like PFGE, RAPD- PCR etc. employed in this study. Also, to find out the most important and convenient molecular typing tool, which will be fruitful for rapid and extensive epidemiological analysis of cholera outbreaks. To understand host-virus interaction it is mandatory to study the phages specially their genomic make up at the molecular level. We wanted to characterize cloning and sequencing of phage DNA. Our interest is to observe the host lysis activity with the vibriophages, which have the broad-spectrum host lysis activity in animal model. The goal of our present study is to explore the therapeutic potential of phages in cholera.



  • Nationwide screening of phage types of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139
  • Retrospective analysis of toxigenic traits of Vibrio cholerae receiving for phage typing
  • Studies on effect of Vibrio cholerae phages on Vibrio cholerae in RITARD model
  • Molecular analysis of Vibrio cholerae bacteriophages: cloning and sequencing of phage DNA


  • Retrospective analysis on the evolutionary aspects of Vibrio cholerae (NIID, Japan).
  • Development of a bacteriophage-based biocontrol technology for the treatment of cholera (Indo-UK)
  • A randomized controlled trial of the bivalent killed whole cell oral cholera vaccine in eastern Kolkata (NICED-IVI)
  • Gastrointestinal Tract Pathogen Repository (GTPR)[NICED-ICMR]
  • Analysis of Vibrio cholerae O139 specific bacteriophages and comparison of phage typing with other molecular typing methods(CSIR Project ended in 01.04.2003)

Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Students

  • Mayukh Das (Awarded in 2009)
  • Tushar Suvra Bhowmic (Awarded in 2010)
  • Abhishek Jaiswal


  • "Life Time Achievement Award" was awarded by Indian Association of Applied Microbiologists at SRM University, Chennai on Dec 17, 2012
  • Delivered lecture as an Invited Speaker entitled "Applications of Vibriophages against the experimental infection associated with Vibrio cholerae in rabbit model" and felicitated in the 95th session of Indian Science Congress Association held at Visakhapatnam on 3-7 January 2008.


  • Indian Science Congress Association


Dr. Sarkar has published 60 research papers in various national and international journals of repute.


  1. Wabale VR, Joshi AA, Bharadwaj RS, Chowdhary AS, Sarkar BL. 2016. Acute gastroenteritis (age) due to V. cholera El Tor Ogawa in Mumbai ---a 5 year study. Int J Pharm Bio Sci. 7: (B) 226 - 230.


  1. Jaiswal A, Sarkar S, Das P, Nandy S, Koley H, Sarkar BL. 2015. Trends in the genomic epidemiology of Vibrio cholerae O1 isolated worldwide since 1961. Int J Antimicrob Agents 46:460-464. Pubmed
  2. Singh P, Kumar D, Prasad Y, Ramamurthy T, Sarkar BL, Sharma NC. 2015. Prevalence of multidrug resistant altered Vibrio cholerae O1 isolates among diarrhoeal patients in Delhi during 2008-2012. Indian J Appl Res.5: 624-628.


  1. Mookerjee S, Jaiswal A, Batabyal P, Einsporn MH, Lara RJ, Sarkar B, Neogi SB, Palit A. 2014. Seasonal dynamics of Vibrio cholerae and its phages in riverine ecosystem of Gangetic West Bengal: cholera paradigm.Environ Monit Assess. 186:6241-50 Pubmed
  2. JaiswalA, H. Koley, S. Mitra, D. R. Saha and B. L. Sarkar. 2014. Comparative analysis of different oral approaches to treat Vibrio cholerae infection in adult mice. Int. J Med. Micro. 304:422-430. Pubmed


  1. Bhattacharya SK, Sur D, Ali M, Kanungo S, You YA, Manna B, Sah B, Niyogi SK, Park JK, Sarkar B, Puri MK, Kim DR, Deen JL, Holmgren J, Carbis R, Dhingra MS, Donner A, Nair GB, Lopez AL, Wierzba TF, Clemens JD. 2013. 5 year efficacy of a bivalent killed whole-celloral cholera vaccine in Kolkata, India: a cluster-randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 13:1050-56 Pubmed
  2. B. L. Sarkar and U. A. Rao. 2013. Cholera-A Disease Revisited. Ind. J. Appl. Microbiol. 16:1-12.
  3. Jaiswal A, Koley H, Ghosh A, Palit A, B. L. Sarkar. 2013 Efficacy of cocktail phage therapy in treating Vibrio cholerae infection in rabbit model. Microbes Infect. 15: 152-156.


  1. Sarkar, B.L., S. Kanungo and G.B.Nair. How endemic is cholera in India? 2012. Ind. J. Med. Res.135: 246-248 Pubmed
  2. Das, M, Jaiswal A., Pal S., Bhowmick TS, Ghosh A., Goel AK and B. L. Sarkar. 2012 Dynamics of classical-El Tor switch of Vibrio cholerae strains isolated from 1961-2010. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents. 40: 570-1. Pubmed


  1. Das M.,  R.K. Nandy, T.S. Bhowmick, S. Yamasaki,  A. Ghosh, G. B. Nair and B. L. Sarkar. 2011. Vibrio cholerae typing phage N4: genome sequence and its relatedness to T7 viral supergroup. Intervirology. 55: 185-193 Pubmed
  2. Sarkar BL, Bhowmick TS, Das M, Rajendran K, Nair GB. 2011 Phage types of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 in the past decade in India. Jpn. J. Infect. Dis., 64, 312-315. Pubmed
  3. Bhowmick, T.S., M. Das and B. L. Sarkar. 2011. Genotypic characterization of Vibrio cholerae isolates using several DNA fingerprint techniques. Future Microbiol. 6: 29-42. Pubmed
  4. Das S, S. Chowdhury, R. Saha, V.G. Ramachandran, K. Kaur and B. L. Sarkar. 2011.Emergence of multiple drug resistance Vibrio cholerae O1 in East Delhi. J Infect Dev Ctries. 5: 294-298. Pubmed


  1. Bhowmick TS, M. Das and B. L. Sarkar. 2010. Evaluation of VcA VNTR as a strain-typing and phylogeny study method of Vibrio cholerae strains. Epidemiol Infect 5:1-13. Pubmed
  2. N. Chowdhury, M. Asakura1, S.B. Neogi1, A. Hinenoya1, S. Haldar, T. Ramamurthy, B.L. Sarkar, S.M. Faruque and S. Yamasaki. 2010. Development of simple and rapid PCR-?ngerprinting methods for Vibrio cholerae on the basis of genetic diversity of the superintegron. J. Appl. Microbiol. 109: 304-312. Pubmed
  3. Choi SY, Lee JH, Jeon YS, Lee HR, Kim EJ, Ansaruzzaman M, Bhuiyan NA, Endtz HP, Niyogi SK, Sarkar BL, Nair GB, Nguyen BM, Hien NT, Czerkinsky C, Clemens JD, Chun J, Kim DW. 2010. Multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis of Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor strains harbouring classical toxin B. J. Med. Microbiol., 59:713-769. Pubmed


  1. Lee, Je Hee., Seon Young Choi, Yoon-Seong Jeon1, Hye Ri Lee, Eun Jin Kim, Binh Minh Nguyen, Nguyen Tran Hien, M. Ansaruzzaman, M. Sirajul Islam, Nurul A. Bhuiyan, S.K. Niyogi, B.L. Sarkar, G. Balakrish Nair, Dae Shick Kim, Anna Lena Lopez, Cecil Czerkinsky, John D. Clemens, Jongsik Chun, and Dong Wook Kim. 2009. Classification of Hybrid and Altered Vibrio cholerae Strains by CTX Prophage and RS1 Element Structure. J. Microbiol.  47:783-8. Pubmed
  2. Bhowmick, T. S., H. Koley, M. Das, D. R. Saha and B. L. Sarkar. 2009. Pathogenic potential of vibriophages against an experimental infection with Vibrio cholerae O1 in the RITARD model. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents. 33: 569-573. Pubmed
  3. Bhowmick, T. S., M. Das, W. Ruppitsch, A. Stoeger, A. T. Pietzka, F. Allerberger, D. P. Rodrigues and B. L. Sarkar. 2009. Detection of Virulence associated and regulatory protein genes detection in association with phage typing of human Vibrio cholerae population from several geographical regions of world. J. Med. Microbiol.58: 1160-67. Pubmed
  4. Chander, J., N. Kaistha, V. Gupta, M. Mehta, N. Singla, A. Deep, and B. L. Sarkar. 2009. Epidemiology & antibiograms of Vibrio cholerae isolates from a tertiary care hospital in Chandigarh, north India. Indian J Med Res. 129: 613-617. Pubmed
  5. Das, M., T. S. Bhowmick, R. K. Nandy, G. B. Nair, B. L. Sarkar. 2009 Surveillance of vibriophages reveals their role as biomonitoring agents in Kolkata. FEMS. Microbiol. Ecol. 67: 502-510. Pubmed


  1. Sur, D., S. Dutta, B. L. Sarkar, B. Manna, M. K. Bhattacharya, K. K. Dutta, A. Saha, B. Dutta, G. P. Pazhani, A. Roy Choudhuri and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2007. Occurrence, significance and molecular epidemiology of cholera outbreaks in West Bengal. Indian J. Med. Res. 125: 772-776. Pubmed
  2. Huhulescu, S., A. Indra, A. Stoeger, W. Ruppitsch, B. L. Sarkar and F. Allerberger. 2007. Occurrence of Vibrio cholerae serogroups other than O1 and O139 in Austria. Wien. Klin. Wochenschr. 119: 235-241. Pubmed
  3. Bhowmick, T. S., M. Das, N. Roy and B. L. Sarkar. 2007. Phenotypic and molecular typing of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 isolates from India. J. Infect. 54: 475-482. Pubmed


  1. Dutta, B., R. Ghosh, N. C. Sharma, G. P. Pazhani, N. Taneja, A. Roychowdhuri, B. L. Sarkar, S. K. Mandal, A. K. Mukhopadhyay, R. K. Nandy, M. K. Bhattacharya, S. K. Bhattacharya and T. Ramamurthy. 2006. Spread of cholera with newer clones of Vibrio cholerae O1 ElTor, serotype Inaba in India. J. Clin. Microbiol. 44: 3391-3393. Pubmed
  2. Sur, D., B. L. Sarkar, B. Manna, J. Deen, S. Datta, S. K. Niyogi, A. N. Ghosh, A. Deb, S. Kanungo, A. Palit and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2006. Epidemiological, microbiological & electron microscopic study of a cholera outbreak in a Kolkata slum community. Indian J. Med. Res. 123: 31-36. Pubmed
  3. Sur, D., S. L. Von, B. Manna, S. Dutta, A. K. Deb, B. L. Sarkar, S. Kanungo, J. L. Deen, M. Ali, D. R. Kim, V. K. Gupta, R. L. Ochiai, A. Tsuzuki, C. J. Acosta, J. D. Clemens and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2006. The malaria and typhoid fever burden in the slums of Kolkata, India: data from a prospective community-based study. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 100: 725-33. Pubmed


  1. Sur, D., J. L. Deen, B. Manna, S. K. Niyogi, A. K. Deb, S. Kanungo, B. L. Sarkar, D. R. Kim, M. C. Danovaro-Holliday, K. Holliday, V. K. Gupta, M. Ali, L. Von. Seidlein, J. D. Clemens and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2005. The burden of cholera in the slums of Kolkata, India: data from a prospective, community based study. Arch. Dis. Child. 90: 1175-1181. Pubmed


  1. Gupta, D. N., S. K. Mandal, B. L. Sarkar, S. Mukherjee and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2004. An ElTor cholera outbreak amongst tribal population in Tripura. J. Commun. Dis. 36: 271-276. Pubmed
  2. Sarkar, B. L., A. N. Ghosh, A. Sen and D. P. Rodrigues. 2004. Newly isolated Vibrio cholerae non-O1, non O139 phages. EID. 10: 754-756. Pubmed


  1. Sundaram, S. P., J. Revathi, B. L. Sarkar and S. K. Bhattacharya. 2002. Bacteriological profile of cholera in Tamil Nadu (1980-2001). Indian J. Med. Res. 116: 258-263. Pubmed
  2. Sarkar, B. L. 2002. Cholera bacteriophages revisited. ICMR Bull 32: 33-37.


  1. Chakrabarti, A. K., A. N. Ghosh, G. B. Nair, S. K. Niyogi, S. K. Bhattacharya, and B. L. Sarkar. 2000. Development and evaluation of a phage typing scheme for Vibrio cholerae O139. J. Clin. Microbiol. 38: 44-49. Pubmed


  1. Gupta, D. N., B. L. Sarkar, M. K. Bhattacharya, P. G. Sengupta and S. K. Bhattacharya. 1999. An ElTor cholera outbreak in Malda district, West Bengal. J. Com. Dis. 31: 49-52. Pubmed
  2. Sarkar, B. L., M. K. Roy, A. K. Chakrabarti and S. K. Niyogi. 1999. Distribution of phage type of Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype ElTor in Indian Scenario (1991-98). Indian J. Med. Res. 109: 204-207. Pubmed


  1. Chakrabarti, A. K., A. N. Ghosh and B. L. Sarkar. 1997. New cholera phages for Vibrio cholerae serovar O139. J. Infect. 36: 131-132. Pubmed
  2. Chakrabarti, A. K., A. N. Ghosh and B. L. Sarkar. 1997. Isolation of Vibrio cholerae O139 phages to develop a phage typing scheme. Indian J. Med. Res. 105: 254-257.


  1. Valenzuela, M. S., K. A. I. Siddiqui and B. L. Sarkar. 1996. High expression of plasmid-encoded tetracycline resistance gene in E. coli causes a decrease in membrane-bound ATPase activity. Plasmid 36: 19-25. Pubmed
  2. Sarkar, B. L., A. K. Chakrabarti, H. Koley, M. K. Chakrabarti and S. P. De. 1996. Biological activity and interaction of Vibrio cholerae bacteriophages in rabbit ileal loop. Indian J. Med. Res. 104: 139-141. Pubmed


  1. Niyogi, S. K., S. K. Mandal, B. L. Sarkar, S. Garg, D. Banerjee and G. N. Dey. 1994. Outbreak of cholera due to Vibrio cholerae O1 in Orissa state. Indian J. Med. Res. 100: 217-218.
  2. Sarkar, B. L., S. P. De, M.R. Saha, S. K. Niyogi and M. K. Roy. 1994. Validity of new phage typing scheme against Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype ElTor strains. Indian J. Med. Res. 99: 159-161. Pubmed


  1. Sarkar, B. L., 1993. A new phage typing scheme for Vibrio cholerae biotype ElTor developed at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. ICMR Bull. 23: 82-83.
  2. Niyogi, S. K., B. K. Sircar, B. L. Sarkar, S. P. De and B. C. Deb. 1993. An outbreak of acute diarrheal disease amongst tribal population in Tripura. Ind. J. Med. Res. 97: 168-169.
  3. Chattopadhyay, D. J., B. L. Sarkar, M. Q. Ansari, B. K. Chakrabarti, M. K. Roy, A. N. Ghosh and S. C. Pal. 1993. New phage typing scheme for Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype ElTor strains. J. Clin. Microbiol. 31: 1579-1585. Pubmed
  4. Sarkar, B. L., S. P. De, B. K. Sircar, S. Garg, G. B. Nair and B. C. Deb. 1993. Polymyxin B sensitive strains of Vibrio cholerae non-O1 from recent epidemic in India. Lancet. 341: 1090. Pubmed


  1. Nair, G. B., B. L. Sarkar, S. P. De, M. K. Chakrabarti, R. K. Bhadra and S. C. Pal. 1988. Ecology of Vibrio cholerae in the freshwater environs of Calcutta, India. Microbiol. Ecol. 15: 203-216.


  1. Sarkar, B. L., R. Kumar, S. P. De and S. C. Pal. 1987. Hemolytic activity and lethal toxin production of environmental strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 53: 2696-2698. Pubmed
  2. Sarkar, B. L., R. Kumar, S. P. De and S. C. Pal. 1987. Observation on a 65 kd protein isolated from Kanagawa positive strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Can. J. Microbiol. 33: 1113-1116.
  3. Mitra, U., S. P. De, G. B. Nair, B. L. Sarkar and S. Palchaudhuri. 1987. Plasmid patterns, serotyping and Kanagawa phenomenon of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates from man, water and fish in Calcutta, India. J. Diarr. Dis. Res. 5: 171-174. Pubmed


  1. Nair, G. B., M.R. Saha, B. L. Sarkar and S. C. Pal. 1985. Comparison of the modified ELEK test and Wagatsuma Agar for the determination of the Kanagawa phenomenon of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. J. Clin. Microbiol. 22: 868-869. Pubmed
  2. Nair, G. B., B. L. Sarkar, M. Abraham and S. C. Pal. 1985. Serotypes of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates from hydrobiologically dissimilar aquatic environs. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 50: 724-726. Pubmed
  3. Palchaudhuri, S., R. Kumar, R. Pal, S. Ghosh, D. Sen, B. L. Sarkar, S. Bhattacharya and S. C. Pal. 1985. Molecular epidemiology of plasmid patterns in Shigella dysenteriae type 1 obtained from an outbreak in West Bengal (India). FEMS. Microbiol. Lett. 30: 187-191.
  4. Sarkar, B. L., G. B. Nair, A. K. Banerjee and S. C. Pal. 1985. Seasonal distribution of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in freshwater environs and in association with freshwater fishes in Calcutta. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 49: 132-136. Pubmed


  1. Sarkar, B. L., G. B. Nair, B. K. Sircar and S. C. Pal. 1983. Incidence and level of Vibrio parahaemolyticus associated with freshwater plankton. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 46: 288-290. Pubmed

Book Chapters

  1. B.L. Sarkar. Impact of climate change on microbial community with special emphasis on cholera. 2012. Climate change: man and Environment. Daya Publishing House, New Delhi.