Science

IIT-G develops low-cost tech to produce anti-ageing compounds

The Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati campus. Photo: iitg.ac.in
Special Correspondent GUWAHATI 27 October 2020 15:06 IST
Updated: 27 October 2020 15:54 IST

Patented by a professor and a student, membrane technology uses a wide range of farm resources, including citrus fruits, berries, pulses, tea and onions

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) have developed a low-cost membrane technology to produce psychoactive drugs and anti-ageing compounds from agricultural resources.

The technology, eliminating the use of any organic solvents, has been patented and developed by Mihir Kumar Purkait, professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering and head of the Centre of Environment and his M Tech student V.L. Dhadge.

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According to the duo, the technology produces caffeine (psychoactive drugs) and flavonoids (anti-ageing compounds) from citrus fruits and peels, berries, ginkgo biloba, parsley, pulses, tea, sea buckthorn, onions and other farm resources.

“Commercially available techniques use costly organic solvents such as chloroform and acetone. These pharmaceutical raw materials ultimately increases the price of the antioxidant developed,” Professor Purkait said, adding that the use of organic solvents had other disadvantages.

The membrane technology used only water, thereby reducing the cost of pharmaceutical stimulants and anti-ageing compounds.

IIT-G researchers said there were very few global manufacturers who used solvent-based technology to produce costly flavonoids but with purity up to 80%. Data with the Ministry of Commerce say the global market for flavonoids is expected to increase from 347.8 metric tonnes in 2017 to 412.4 metric tonnes by 2022.

The IIT-G developers claimed the new membrane technology could help India reduce the import of flavonoids as camellia sinensis (tea), of which the country is the second largest producer on earth, is one of the key resources.

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