THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: A research team led by Dr. Smita Srivastava, Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras has identified a sustainable, alternative source for anti-Cancer Drug Camptothecin. The researchers have published their findings in the Journal of Scientific Reports.
“Camptothecin is an alkaloid isolated from Camptotheca acuminata and Nothapodytes nimmoniana trees. Due to extensive overharvesting to meet the market demand these plants are now critically endangered” says the research. Nearly 1,000 tons of plant material is required to extract one ton of Camptothecin. The population of Nothapodytes nimmoniana trees has seen more than a 20% decline in the last decade.
As an economically efficient and sustainable method, IIT Madras researchers have developed a microbial fermentation process of Camptothecin production.
“Unlike other potential microbial strains reported, this strain has been found to show sustainable production even beyond 100 generations which we consider the novelty of this research” said Dr Srivastava highlighting the applications for this research. “The research looks forward to use the isolated novel strain for the development of a microbial fermentation based sustainable bioprocess for large scale in vitro production of Camptothecin, preferably in collaboration with interested Industrial partner(s)” , she added.
Researchers have been able to successfully isolate the “highest-yielding strain of Camptothecin reported to date” said Mr Khwajah Mohinudeen, a research scholar at IIT Madras, upon elaborating on the technical aspects of the research.
“We have also come up with a rapid screening technique for isolation of high Camptothecin yielding microbial strains from plants, in addition to isolating a novel microbial source for bioprocess development for the large scale production of Camptothecin,” he added.