HYDERABAD: The University of Hyderabad has been granted a new patent for ‘Method for separation and purification of multifunctional Bowman-Birk and Kunitz inhibitors’. The novel method was developed in the laboratories of Professor K Padmasree from the Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics and Dr M K Arunasree from the Department of Animal Biology.
This technology enables the separation of two plant proteins - Bowman-Birk and Kunitz inhibitors - which are generally inseparable using conventional purification methods. The technology will also drastically reduce the time required for their independent purification from 10 days to less than 24 hours by applying mild Tricarboxylic acid cycle extraction followed by trypsin affinity chromatography.
Prof Padmasree explained that the Bowman-Birk and Kunitz inhibitors present in plants have several biological functions such as defence against invading pests and pathogens. These protease inhibitors help farmers as they are effective in the management of lepidopteran pests such as Helicoverpa armigera (a pod borer) and Achaea janata (a castor semilooper), both of which cause destruction to many economically important crops of India.
According to Dr Arunasree, many proteases involved in the development of cancer act as targets for Bowman-Birk and Kunitz inhibitors. Therefore, the new technology will be beneficial to both the agriculture and pharmaceutical sectors to produce these inhibitors in large quantities in a limited time using minimal resources, she said.