Dr. Pooja Shivanand


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science


Pooja Shivanand is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental and Life Sciences Programme, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.


Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering - Industrial Biotechnology) - National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, Mangalore, India
DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) scholar for short term Ph.D. studies - Institut für Mikrobiologie & Biotechnologie der Universität Bonn, Germany
M.S. Research (Industrial Biotechnology) - Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India
B. Eng. (Biotechnology) - B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology, Hubli, Visveswaraya Technological Uni


Applied Microbiology
Bioprocess and Microbial Technology
Fermentation & Enzyme Technology
Green Technology, Environmental Design and Environmental Management


Microbial diversity in Brunei for applications in bioremediation and biotechnology

Microbial diversity encompassing a spectrum of various types of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae etc.) is a promising national resource. There are more kinds of microbes than plants, vertebrates and insects combined. However, since microbes are small, they are least known. They have not just adapted to extreme environments on earth but can also consume just about anything, including metals, chemicals, pesticides, petroleum and natural gas—all of which are toxic to us. Hence these microorganisms play a pivotal role to ameliorate effects of naturally occurring and man-made disturbances in environments. Study of microbes will reveal novel biochemicals, enzymes and active ingredients useful to humans as industrial agents, food products, biopharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and more. Microbial diversity in Brunei has been less investigated till date. This region offers a niche for exploring this untapped natural resource.

Applications Invited

Secondary metabolites production as a defense mechanism in fungal-plant interaction - perspectives and commercial application

This project aims for microbial inoculum development using locally isolated microorganisms to induce resin production. Plants are constantly challenged by microbes. This can affect plant growth, health and productivity with important ecological and economic consequences. Such interactions may be beneficial or detrimental to the plant. Unfavorable interaction leads to a production of secondary metabolites as a mean of protection. Such compounds have varied applications. This study will focus on the development of inoculum using regionally isolated fungi and/or bacteria and evaluation of resin formation as a response to this inoculation.

Applications Invited

Mangrove endophytes

The mangroves of Brunei Darussalam are among the best preserved in Southeast Asia and rich with different types of flora and fauna. Of particular interest to this research is the microbial diversity of mangrove plants specifically endophytes. Endophytes are fungi and/or bacteria that colonize the internal tissues of a plant without causing any immediate overt negative effect. The endophyte-host plant interactions is best describe as a symbiotic continuum where it ranges from symbiotic, mutualistic, commensalistic and even parasitism. It is their enormous diversity, variable interactions and specialized biotopes that make them an interesting field of study. This endophyte - plant interaction is known to be beneficial for most plants and can be exploited in biotransformation, biopharmaceuticals, drug discovery, biocatalysis, biotechnological applications and others.

Applications Invited

Scopus Publications


Google Scholar Citations


Google Scholar h-index


Google Scholar i10-index

Scopus Publications


Journal Publications:

Identification of culturable petroleum-degrading bacteria and fungi from petroleum-contaminated sites in Brunei Darussalam. Accepted Sep 2020. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A DOI: 10.1080/10934529.2020.1826238. [Hussein Taha, Pooja Shivanand, De Hwa Khoo, Yumni Haziqah Mohammad, Nur Bazilah Afifah Matussin and Faizah Metali].

Isolation and Identification of Culturable Bacteria and Fungi from Mixed Dipterocarp and Mangrove Forests of Brunei Darussalam. July 2019. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences India Section B - Biological Sciences, ISSN: 03698211, Springer [Hussein Taha, Pooja Shivanand, Nurul Izzah Nabilah Shahminan, Munirah Osman, Abdul Muizz Al-Azim Abdul-Halim and Mariam Abdullah].

Isolation of fungi from various habitats and their possible bioremediation. March 2019. Current Science, ISSN: 00113891. 116:733-740 Indian Academy of Sciences [Farazimah Yakop, Hussein Taha and Pooja Shivanand].

From fruit waste to enzymes. Jan 2019. Scientia Bruneiana 17 (2), 1-12 [Yeo Yen Chin, Roemah Goeting, Yabit bin Alas, Pooja Shivanand].

Fermented food in Asia as a source of potential probiotics: Properties and beneficial effects. 2016. Scientia Bruneiana 15:18-32. [Bazilah Matussin, Yeo Yen Chin, Illisa Ishan, Pooja Shivanand].

Utilization of renewable agricultural residues for the production of extra-cellular halostable cellulase from newly isolated Halomonas sp. strain PS47. 2013. Ann. Microbiol. 63:1257-1263. [Pooja Shivanand, Gopal Mugeraya, Anubhav Kumar].

Halophilic bacteria and their compatible solutes – osmoregulation and potential applications. 2011. Curr. Sci. 100(10):1516-1521 [Pooja Shivanand, Gopal Mugeraya].

Isolation and characterization of a metal ion-dependent alkaline protease from a halotolerant Bacillus aquimaris VITP4. 2011. Indian J. Biochem. Biophys. 48(2):95-100 [Pooja Shivanand, Gurunathan Jayaraman].

Production of extracellular protease from halotolerant bacterium, Bacillus aquimaris strain VITP4 isolated from Kumta coast. 2009. Process Biochem. 44(10):1088-1094. [Pooja Shivanand, Gurunathan Jayaraman].

Book Chapters:

22. Microbial Surfactants: Current Perspectives and Role in Bioremediation. Accepted July 2020. Rhizomicrobiome Dynamics in Bioremediation. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group). [Pooja Shivanand1, Nur Bazilah Afifah Binti Matussin and Lee Hoon Lim].

8.8.Needs and Role of Sustainable Green Technologies for the Pollution Free Environment. June 2018. Handbook of Env. Eng., McGraw-Hill Education. [Pooja Shivanand, Krishnamoorthy Hegde and Vinayak Laxman Pachapur].

5.11. Current status of resources/energy recovery from wastewater and environmental management. June 2018. Handbook of Env. Eng., McGraw-Hill Education. [AD Araceli, VL Pachapur, B Alvarez, P Kuknur, JH Palacios, P Shivanand et al.]

Conference Proceeding:

Environmental Design - Role of sustainable green technologies for pollution free environment. 6-11 Aug 2018. Commonwealth Workshop on Environmental Sustainability and Management, Universiti Brunei Darussalam [Pooja Shivanand].

Production of extracellular laccase from Pleurotus sajor-caju. 10-14 Oct 2017. Asian Mycological Congress (AMC) Hochiminh City, Vietnam pg. 60. [Abdul Zul’Adly Bin Haji Mohaimin and Pooja Shivanand].


1. Principle Investigator - FIC Block Grant No UBD/RSCH/1.4/FICBF(b)/2020/030 'Mangrove endophytes – study of plant host interactions, bioactive compounds and their applications' (01 August 2020 - 31 July 2023).

2. Principle investigator - Herbal Research Grant No UBD/RSCH/URC/NIG/1.0/2019/003 'Microbial Induction of Agarwood' (02 February 2019 - 01 February 2022).

3. Principle investigator - IBER Grant No UBD/RSCH/1.13/FICBF(b)/2019/012 'Microbial Induction of Agarwood' (02 February 2019 - 01 February 2022).

4. Principle Investigator - Competitive Research Grant No. UBD/OAVCRI/CRGWG(010)/170501 'Studying the microbial diversity in Brunei for applications in Bioremediation and Biotechnology' (May 2017 - October 2020).

5. Member - Tourism Research Grant UBD/RSCH/URC/NIG/4.0/2020/001. Establishment of the monitoring program for sustainable tourism and environmental conservation at Brunei river (01 Feb 2019 – 31 Jan 2022).

6. Member - Competitive Research Grant UBD/OAVCRI/CRGWG (013)/170601. The diversity of sea weeds in Brunei Darussalam and the search of useful substances towards commercialization (01 June 2017 – 31 May 2020).


Product/Project exhibitions by graduate students in Convocation festival:

Production of Biosurfactant from newly isolated oil degrading microorganisms from Brunei Darussalam
-Nur Bazilah Afifah binti Matussin, Pooja Shivanand and Lee Hoon Lim

Production of crude enzyme based cleaners using fruit waste for domestic use
-Yeo Yen Chin, Yabit Alas and Pooja Shivanand


Will provide on request. Please contact pooja.shivanand@ubd.edu.bn

Industry, Institute, or Organisation Collaboration

Brunei Darussalam:
Tropical Biodiversity Centre (TBC)/ Biodiversity Research and Innovation Centre (BioRIC), Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), Brunei
Department of Forestry, MPRT, Brunei
Agriculture and Agrifood Department, MPRT, Brunei
Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, Ministry of Development, Brunei
Sewarage Services, Public Works Department, Ministry of Development, Brunei

Research Centre for Drug Discovery, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
Mushroom Research Centre, Universiti Malaya, Malaysia
School of Bio Sciences and Technology, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India
Department of Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, Mangalore, India
Biological Oceanography, CSIR - National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India


Research Scientist R&D (Aug 2013 - Jun 2014) Richcore Lifesciences Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, Karnataka, India

-Designed enzyme based formulation products for sugar industry
-Worked on research and development of biological FMCG products
-Involved in project planning, task allocation and team management
-Collaborated with the Marketing team for product improvements
-Customer production plant visits for troubleshooting issues and providing solutions


Other contributions include Public Speaking, Effective Communication and Leadership training.

Represented Brunei and Won Evaluation Championship and speech contests
- District Championship of Toastmasters District 87 (Brunei, Indonesia and East Malaysia) speech Evaluation Contest (2016)
- Division Championship of Toastmasters Division K Table Topics Speech Contest (2017)

Served as President of the Brunei Speakers Club (2017-2018)
- facilitated the club achieving Presidents Distinguished Award for the year by scoring 10/10 points

Served as Secretary of the Brunei Speakers Club (2015-2016)
- procured the chartered Club Constitution