Dr. Suryendu Dutta

Department of Earth Sciences
Phone : +91-22-2576 7278
s.dutta [at] iitb.ac.in

Research Interest

  • Higher plant biomarkers in sediments and crude oils
  • Plant metabolites and their evolution
  • Shale gas potential studies of organic matter rich shales
  • Molecular taphonomy
  • Protein diagenesis
  • Hydrocarbon source rock characterization
  • Lignin metabolism in deep time
  • Petroleum Geochemistry (M.Tech)
  • Petroleum and Coal Geology (M.Sc.)
  • B.Sc. (Geology), 1999
    Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.
  • M.Sc. (Applied Geology), 2001
    Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.
  • M.Tech. (Geoexploration), 2003
    Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India
  • Ph.D. (Organic-Geochemistry), 2006
    RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Professor, since December, 2018
  • Visiting Professor, University of Lille, France, June, 2019
  • Associate Professor, September, 2014-November, 2018
  • Visiting Scientist, September-October, 2013
    University of Bremen, Germany
  • Visiting Scientist, June 2010 – January 2011
    MIT, Cambridge, U.S.A
  • Visiting Scientist, June – July , 2009
    Forschungzentrum Jülich, Germany
  • Visiting Scientist, May – June, 2008
    Forschungzentrum Jülich, Germany
  • Assistant Professor, June, 2007-October, 2014
    Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
  • Guest Scientist, June 2006- April, 2007
    Forschungzentrum Jülich, Germany


  • S. S. Bhatnagar Award, 2020
  • SwarnaJayanti Fellowship Award, 2017
  • National Geoscience Award, 2017
  • Prof. S. P. Sukhatme Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017
  • NASI-SCOPUS Young Scientist Award, 2014
  • INSA-DFG Exchange Fellowship, 2013
  • Boyscast Fellowship, 2010-2011
  • German DAAD Academic Exchange Fellowship, 2008
  • German DAAD Academic Exchange Fellowship, 2002

Community Service

  • Editorial Board member of journal Palaeoentomology
  • Member of Research Advisory Board of Birbal Sahani Institute of Palaeoscience, Lucknow (2014-2017)
  • Executive Council Member of Journal of Applied Geochemistry since 2016
  • Referee for Science, Nature CommunicationsBiological ReviewsOrganic Geochemistry, Fuel, Int. J. Coal Geol. etc.

Media Reports

Publications in peer reviewed journals

Student authors from my group identified by *

64. Kumar*, S., Dutta, S. 2021. Utility of comprehensive GC×GC-TOFMS in elucidation of aromatic hydrocarbon biomarkers. Fuel  283, 118890.

63. Umamaheswaran*, R., Dutta, S., Kumar*, S., 2020. Elucidation of the macromolecular composition of fossil biopolymers using Py-GC×GC TOFMS. Organic Geochemistry (in press).

62. Dutta, S.,Kumar*, S., Singh, H., Khan, M.A., Barai, A., Tewari, A., Rana, S., Bera, S., Sen, S., Sahni, A., 2020. Chemical evidence of preserved collagen in 54-million-year-old fish vertebrae. Palaeontology 63, 195-202.

61. Paul*, S., Gross, D., Bechtel, A., Dutta, S.,2020. Preservation of monoterpenoids in Oligocene resin: Insights into the evolution of chemical defense mechanism of plants in deep-timeInternational Journal of Coal Geology 217, 103326.

60. Mathews , R.P., Singh, B.D., Singh, V.P., Singh, A., Singh, H., Shivanna, M., Dutta, S., Mendhe, V., Chetia, R., 2020. Organo-petrographic and geochemical characteristics of Gurha lignite deposits, Rajasthan, India: Insights into the palaeovegetation, palaeoenvironment and hydrocarbon source rock potential. Geoscience Frontiers 11, 965-988.

59. Das, D., Dutta, S., Bhandarkar, U., Sethi, V. 2019. Assessment of carbonization of coal as a potential strategy to reduce emissions for domestic applications. Atmospheric Pollution Research10, 1745-1754.

58. Tewari*, A., D’Rozario, A., Bhattacharya, S., Barua, A., Bera, M., Bera, S., Dutta, S., 2019. Biomarker signatures of the iconic Glossopteris plant. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecolog531, 10888

57. Umamaheswaran*, R., Prasad, G.V.R., Rudra, A., Dutta, S., 2019. Biomarker signatures in Triassic coprolites. Palaios, 34, 458-467

  1. Zheng, D., Chang, S-C, Perrichot,V., Dutta, S., Rudra*, A., Mu, L. et al. 2018. A Late Cretaceous amber biota from central Myanmar. Nature Communication9: 3170.
  1. Bhattacharya*, S., Khan, M.A., More, S., Paruya, D.K., Chakraborty, T., Bera, S., Dutta, S., 2018. Amber embalms essential oils: a rare preservation of monoterpenoids in fossil resins from eastern Himalaya. Palaios 33, 218-227
  1. Patra, S., Dirghangi, S.S., Rudra*, A.,  Dutta, S.,Ghosh, S., Varma, A.K., Shome, D., Kalpana, M.S., 2018. Effects of thermal maturity on biomarker distributions in Gondwana coals from the Satpura and Damodar Valley Basins, India.International Journal of Coal Geology 196, 63-81.
  1. Hazra, B., Wood, D.A., Kumar*, S., Saha, S., Dutta, S., Kumari, P., Singh, A.K., 2018. Fractal disposition, porosity characterization and relationships to thermal maturity for the Lower Permian Raniganj basin shales, IndiaJournal of Natural Science and Engineering59, 452-465.
  1. Wang, H., Dutta, S.,Kelly, R.S. et al., 2018. Amber fossils reveal the Early Cenozoic dipterocarp rainforest in central Tibet. Palaeoworld27, 506-513.
  1. Mohabey, D., Samant, B., Kumar*, D., Dhobale, A., Rudra, A., Dutta, S., 2018. Record of charcoal from early Maastrichtian intertrappean lake sediments of Bagh valley of Madhya Pradesh: Palaeofire proxyCurrent Science114, 1540-1544.
  1.  Dutta, S.,Mehrotra, R.C., Paul*, S., Tiwari, R.P., Bhattacharya, S., Srivastava, G., Ralte, V.Z., Zoramthara, C. 2017. Remarkable preservation of terpenoids and record of volatile signalling in plant-animal interactions from Miocene amber. Scientific Reports7: 10940.
  1. Dutta, S., Mallick*, M., 2017. Chemical evidence for dammarenediol, a bioactive angiosperm metabolite, from 54 Ma old fossil resins. Review Palaeobotany and Palynology 237, 96-99.
  1. Tewari*, A., Dutta, S., Sarkar, T., 2017. Biomarker signatures of Permian Gondwana coals from India and their palaeobotanical significance. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology468, 414-426.
  1. Paul*, S. Dutta, S.2017. Preservation of hopenol-B in Eocene dammar resins: Insights into the evolution of biochemical synthesis of angiosperm metabolites. Geobios 50, 453-457.
  1. Bhattacharya*, S., Dutta, S.,Summons, R.E., 2017.  A distinctive biomarker assemblage in an InfraCambrian oil and source rock from western India: Molecular signatures of eukaryotic sterols and prokaryotic carotenoidsPrecambrian Research290, 101-112.
  1. Hazra*, B., Dutta, S., Kumar, S. 2017. TOC calculation of organic matter rich sediments using Rock-Eval pyrolysis: critical consideration and insightsInternational Journal of Coal Geology169, 106-115.
  1. Rudra*, A., Dutta, S., Raju, S.V., 2017. The Paleogene vegetation and petroleum system in the tropics: A biomarker approachMarine and Petroleum Geology86, 38-51.
  1. Arora*, A., Dutta, S.,Gogoi, B., Banerjee, S., 2017. The effects of igneous dike intrusion on organic geochemistry of black shale and its implications. International Journal of Coal Geology 178, 84-99.
  1. Bera, S., Dutta, S.,Paul*, S., Khan, M., Ghosh, R., 2017. Dammar resin from the Eocene lignite of Bengal Basin, eastern India: terpenoid composition and botanical origin.Geobios 50, 3-8.
  1. Saitta, E.T., Rogers, C., Brooker, R.A., Abbott, G.D., Kumar*, S., O’Reilly, S.S., Donohoe, P., Dutta, S., Summons,  R.E., Vinther, J., 2017. Low fossilisation potential of keratin protein revealed by experimental taphonomy.  Palaeontology60, 547-556.
  1. Singh, V.P., Singh, B.D., Mathews, R.P., Singh, R.P., Singh, A., Mendhe, V.A., Singh, P.K., Mishra, S., Dutta, S., Shivannae, M., Singh, M.P., 2017. Investigation on the lignite deposits of Surkha mine (Saurashtra Basin, Gujarat), western India: their depositional history and hydrocarbon generation potential. International Journal of Coal Geology 183, 78-99.
  1. Singh, V.P., Singh, B.D., Sing, A., Singh, M.P., Mathews, R.P., Dutta, S.,Mendhe, V., Shivanna, V., Misra, S., 2017. Depositional palaeoenvironment and economic potential of Khadsaliya lignite deposits (Saurashtra Basin), western India: based on petrographic, palynofacies and geochemical characteristics. International Journal of Coal Geology171, 223-342.
  1. Singh, A., Shivanna, M., Mathews, R.P., Singh, B.D., Singh, H., Singh, V.P., Dutta, S.,2017. Paleoenvironment of Eocene lignite bearing succession from Bikaner-Nagaur Basin, western India: Organic petrography, palynology, palynofacies and geochemistry. International Journal of Coal Geology 181, 87-102.
  1. Paul*, S.,Dutta, S., 2016. Terpenoid composition of fossil resins from western India: New insights into the occurrence of resin-producing trees in Early Paleogene equatorial rainforest of Asia. International Journal of Coal Geology167, 65-74.
  1. Tewari*, A., Dutta, S., Sarkar,T., 2016. Organic geochemical characterization and shale gas potential of Permian Barren Measures Formation, West Bokaro Basin, India. Journal of Petroleum Geology39, 49-66.
  1. Surve, M., Anil, A., Kamath, K., Bhutda, S., Basu, B., Dutta, S., BanerjeeA., 2016. Extracellular membrane vesicles produced by Group B Streptococcus promotes interactions with host cells and contributes to pathogenesis. Plos Pathogenes12(9), e1005816.
  1. Bhattacharya,* S., Dutta, S.,2015. Neoproterozoic-Early Cambrian biota and ancient niche: a synthesis from molecular markers and palynomorphs from Bikaner-Nagaur Basin, western India. Precambrian Research266, 361-374.
  1. Girard, V., Salpeteur, I., Dutta, S.,Bauer, H., Raju, S.V., 2015. An enigmatic piece of amber in the Oligocene of the Assam-Arakan Basin (Eastern India). Geobios42, 1-8.
  1. Paul*, S., Sharma, J., Singh, B.D., Saraswati, P.K., Dutta,S., 2015. Early Eocene equatorial vegetation and depositional environment: Biomarker and palynological evidences from a lignite-bearing sequence of Cambay Basin, western India. International Journal of Coal Geology149, 77-92.
  1. Paul*, S., Dutta, S., 2015. Biomarker signatures of Early Cretaceous coals of Kutch Basin, western India. Current Science108, 211-217.
  1. Arora*, A., Banerjee, S., Dutta, S.,2015. Black shale in Late Jurassic Jhuran Formation of Kutch: Possible indicator of oceanic anoxic event? Journal of Geological Society of India85, 265-278.
  1. Tiwari, R.P., Ralte, V., Vza, C.Z., Srivastava, G., Mehrotra, R., Paul*, S., Dutta, S., 2015. Fossil Leaves in Amber from the Bhuban Formation. Himalayn Geology36, 33-38.
  1. Dutta, S., Saxena, R., Singh, H., 2014Exceptional preservation of angiosperm markers in Miocene and Eocene ambersGeology42, 155-159.
  1. Chattopadhyay*, A., Dutta, S.,2014Higher plant biomarker signatures of Early Eocene sediments of North Eastern IndiaMarine and Petroleum Geology57, 51-67.
  1. Mallick*, M., Dutta, S.,Greenwood, P.F., 2014. Molecular characterization of fossil and extant dammar resin extracts: Insights into diagenetic fate of sesqui- and triterpenoids. International Journal of Coal Geology121, 129-136.
  1. Shi, G., Dutta, S.,Paul*, S., Wang, B., Jacques, F.M.B., 2014. Terpenoid composition and botanical origin of Cretaceous and Miocene ambers from China. PLoS One9, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111303.
  1. Wang, B., Rust, J., Engel, M.S., Zwedo, J., Dutta, S.,Nel, A., Fan, Y., Shi, G. et al. 2014. A diverse paleobiota in Eocene Fushun amber from China. Current Biology24, 1606-1610.
  1. Rudra*, A., Dutta, S., Raju, S.V., 2014. Molecular composition and paleobotanical origin of Eocene resin from northeast India. Journal of Earth System Science123, 935-941.
  1. Bhattacharya*, S., Dutta, S.,Dutta, R., 2014. Molecular fossils in early Cretaceous condensate from western India. Journal of Earth System Science 123, 923-934.
  1. Saraswati, P.K., Khanolkar, S., Raju, D.S.N., Dutta, S., Banerjee, S. 2014.  Foraminiferal Biostratigraphy of Lignite mines of Kutch, India: Age of Lignite and Fossil Vertebrates. Journal of Palaeogeography3, 90-98.
  1. Dutta, S., Bhattacharya*, S., Raju, S.V., 2013. Biomarker signatures from Neoproterozoic-Early Cambrian oil, western India. Organic Geochemistry 56, 68-80.
  1. Dutta, S.,Hartkopf-Froder, C., Witte, K., Brocke, R., Mann, U., 2013. Molecular characterization of fossil palynomorphs by transmission micro-FTIR spectroscopy: Implications for hydrocarbon source evaluation. International Journal of Coal Geology 115, 13-23.
  1. Glass, K., Ito, S., Wilby, P.R., Sota, T., Nakamura, A. Bowers, C.R., Miller, K.E., Dutta, S.,Summons, R., Briggs, D.E.G., Wakamatsu, K., Simon, J., 2013. Impact of diagenesis and maturation on the survival of eumelanin in the fossil recordOrganic Geochemistry64, 29-37.
  1. Mathew, G., De Sarkar, S., Pande, K., Dutta, S.,Ali, S., Rai, A., Netravali, S., 2013. Thermal metamorphism of the Arunachal Himalaya, India:  Raman thermometry and thermochronological constraints on the tectono-thermal evolution. International Journal of Earth Sciences102, 1911-1936.
  1. Mathews*, R.P., Tripathi, S.K.M., Banerjee, S., Dutta, S.,2013.  Palynology, palaeoecology and palaeodepositional environment of Eocene Lignites and associated sediments from Matanomadh Mine, Kutch Basin, western India. Geological Society of India82, 236-248.
  1. Glass, K., Ito, S., Wilby, P.R., Sota, T., Nakamura, A. Bowers, C.R., Vinther, J., Dutta, S.,Summons, R., Briggs, D.E.G., Wakamatsu, K., Simon, J., 2012. Direct chemical evidence for eumelanin pigment from the Jurassic period. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS)109, 10218-10223.
  1. Dutta, S.,Bhattacharya*, S., Mallick*, M., Shukla, A.C., Mann, U., 2012. Preserved lignin structures in Early Eocene Surat lignites, Cambay Basin, western India.
    Journal of
    Geological Society of India
    79, 345-352.
  1. Dutta, S.,Tripathi, S.M., Mallick*, M., Mathews*, R.P., Greenwood, P.F., Rao, M .R., Summons., R., 2011a. Eocene out-of-India dispersal of Asian dipterocarps. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 166, 63-68.
  1. Dutta, S.,Mathews*, R.P., Singh, B.D., Tripathi, S.M., Singh, A., Saraswati, P.K., Banerjee, S., Mann, U., 2011b. Petrology, palynology and organic geochemistry of Eocene lignite of Matanomadh, Kutch Basin, western India: Implications to depositional environment and hydrocarbon source potential. International Journal of Coal Geology 85, 49-55.
  1. Dutta, S.,Mallick*, M., Kumar, K., Mann, U., Greenwood, P.F., 2011c. Terpenoid composition and botanical affinity of Cretaceous resins from India and Myanmar. International Journal of Coal Geology 85, 91-102.
  1. Dutta, S.,Mallick*, M., Mathews, R.P., Mann, U., Greenwood, P.F., Saxena, R., 2010. Chemical composition and palaeobotanical origin of Miocene resins from Kerala-Konkan coast, Western India. Journal of Earth System Science 119, 711-716.
  1. Dutta, S.,Hartkopf-Froder, C., Mann, U., Wilkes, H., Brocke, R., Bertram, N., 2010. Macromolecular composition of Palaeozoic scolecodonts: Insights into the molecular taphonomy of zoomorphs. Lethaia 43, 334-343.
  1. Dutta, S., Mallick*, M., Bertram, N., Greenwood, P.F., Mathews, R.P., 2009. Terpenoid composition and class of Tertiary resins from India. International Journal of Coal Geology80, 44-50 55.
  1. Sharma, M., Mishra, S., Dutta, S.,Banerjee, S., Shukla, Y., 2009. On the affinity of Chuaria-Tawuia complex: A multidisciplinary study. Precambrian Research173, 123-136.
  1. Mallick*, M., Dutta, S.,Greenwood, P.F., Bertram, N., 2009. Pyrolytic and Spectroscopic studies of Tertiary resin from Vastan Lignite Mine, Cambay Basin, western India. Journal of Geological Society of India74, 16-22.
  1. Dutta, S.,Brocke, R., Hartkopf-Froder, C., Littke, R., Wilkes, R., Mann, U., 2007. Highly aromatic character of biogeomacromolecules in Chitinozoa: a spectroscopic and pyrolytic study. Organic Geochemistry 38, 1625-1642.
  1. Dutta, S.,Greenwood, P.F., Brocke, R., Schafer, R.G., Mann, U., 2006. New insights into the relationship between Tasmanites and tricyclic terpenoids. Organic Geochemistry 37, 117-127.
  1. Dutta, S., Steiner, M., Banerjee, S., Erdtmann, B.D., Jeevankumar, S., Mann, U., 2006.Chuaria circularisfrom the early Mesoproterozoic Suket Shale, Vindhyan Supergroup, Central India: Insights from light and electron microscopy and pyrolysis-gas chromatography. Journal of Earth System Science115, 99-112 716.
  1. Banerjee, S., Dutta, S.,Paikary, S., Mann, U., 2006. Stratigraphy, sedimentology and bulk organic geochemistry of black shales from the Proterozoic Vindhyan Supergroup (Central India). Journal of Earth System Science115, 37-47 716.
  1.  Dutta, S.& Chaudhuri, S., 2005. Trace fossils in the Manendragarh Beds of Lower Gondwana, Talchir Formation and their significance. Indian Journal of Geology77(1-4), 23-31.

Invited Lectures:

  1. Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow, November, 2019
  1. Department of Botany, University of Calcutta, April, 2014
  1. IISER Kolkata, March, 2014
  1. Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow, January, 2014
  1. Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, U.S.A., July, 2010
  1. Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow, India, May, 2009
  1. 12th International Palynological Congress and 8th International Organisation of Palaeobotany Conference, 30th August-05th September, 2008 in Bonn, Germany (Keynote lecture).
  1. Annual meeting of Palaeontological Society of Germany, 8-10 September, 2008 in Erlangen, Germany
  1. At GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany


  • Organic geochemistry of fossil resins/ambers
  • Investigations of higher plants biomarkers in sediments and crude oils.
  • Evolution of early life.
  • Organic chemistry of carbonaceous chondrites
  • Shale gas potential studies of Permian Gondwana shales
  • Plant metabolites and their evolution
  • Molecular taphonomy
  • Protein diagenesis
  • Lignin metabolism in deep time


  • Prof. Armelle Riboulleau, University of Lille, France
  • Dr. Gongle Shi, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, China
  • Prof. Kevin Lepot, University of Lille, France
  • Dr. B.D. Singh, BSIP Lucknow, India
  • Dr. Michael Steiner, FU-Berlin, Germany
  • Prof. Roger Summons, MIT, Cambridge, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Jacob Vinther, University of Bristol, UK
  • Prof. Bo Wang, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, China

Funded research projects

Sponsoring AgencyTitle of projectAmount of grantPeriodCo-investigators
Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of IndiaOrgaic Geochemistry of Tertiary Lignites and Carbonaceous Shales of Kutch, Gujarat.Rs. 14.22 lakhs ($ 32000)2009-2013Nil
Oil India Development Board (OIDB)Organic Geochemistry of the Lignite bearing Palaeogene Sequence of Selected Sections of Gujarat and Rajasthan.Rs. 2.04 crore ($ 453000)2011 to 2013Prof. P. K. Saraswati and Prof. S. Banerjee

PhD students:

M.Tech students:

  • Mr. Anindya Nandi


  • Ms. Sharmila Bhattacharya (PhD)
  • Ms. Monalisa Mallick (PhD)
  • Mr. Runcie Paul Mathew (PhD)
  • Mr. shreyas vichare (M.Tech.)
  • Ms. Madhubanti Bose (M.Sc.)
  • Mr. Saptarshi Dey (M.Sc.)
  • Ms. Rupsa Mukherjee (M.Tech)
  • Mr. Tanmoy Sarkar (M.Tech)
  • Mr. Sanket Bhattacharya (M.Tech)
  • Mr. Ashish Chandra Shukla (M.Tech)
  • Mr. Asit Baran Mahato (M.Tech)
  • Mr. Swaraj Kumar Jena ( M.Sc)
  • Ms. Priyanka Bhardwaj (M.Sc.)
  • Ms. Puja Sarkar (M.Sc)
  • Mr. Sikhar Banerjee (M.Sc)
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