HYDERABAD: The researchers of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, have come up with an innovation that could make stem cell growth in tissue engineering both safer and cheaper. They have successfully extracted collagen from the skin of eel and have shown that the tissue scaffolds built using the same collagen would allow the proliferation of stem cells.
This finding, in turn, can lead to the utilisation of eel-skin-derived collagen as a promising alternative to animal-derived collagen, which is expensive and associated with pathological diseases.
Collagen is usually extracted from bovine skin and tendons, porcine skin and a rat tail. These sources are associated with several concerns, including the spread of the mad-cow disease. Extraction of collagen from non-mammalian sources is, therefore, an appealing alternative.
On Monday, the researchers, in a release, said that sustainable utilisation of collagen — derived from the skin of discarded eel — for the biomedical application would also boost the Indian ‘blue’ bioeconomic growth and help in the development of an alternate industry that converts waste into useful products.
The research team that came up with this discovery included Young Scientist Fellow Dr Mano Govindharaj, Associate Professor at Department of Biomedical Engineering Dr Subha Narayan Rath, and research scholar Uday Kiran Roopavath. Their finding was published recently in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Dr Govindharaj said: “This finding is a valuable asset in the area of ‘blue’ biotechnology. Our research group uses a common marine waste product for producing collagen, a biomaterial that is extensively used in tissue engineering.”
Dr Rath said: “Not only does the finding serve to provide a sustainable and safe source for collagen but also helps in waste management.”