IIT Guwahati develops tech to produce anti-aging compounds

GUWAHATI: Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) has developed a low-cost membrane technology to produce psychoactive drugs and anti-aging compounds from a wide range of agriculture resources like citrus fruits, berries, pulses, tea and onions.

“The technology, which has been patented and developed by Mihir Kumar Purkait, head, Centre for Environment, and professor, department of chemical engineering, IIT Guwahati along with his M. Tech student V L Dhadge, does not use any organic solvents,” the institute said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.

The health-related benefits of psychoactive drugs (caffeine) and anti-aging compounds (flavonoids) are attributed to stimulating detoxification of enzyme activity and inhibition of cell invasion and angiogenesis.

Explaining how the technology works, Purkait said, “The developed technology is exclusively pore/particle size based pressure driven membrane separation process. The water extracts of plants/fruits/leaves at optimum operating conditions are passed through specially made cascade membrane units of fabricated with appropriate molecular weight cut off (MWCO) membranes capable of separating targeted flavonoids selectively.”

“Permeate and retentive part from appropriate membrane unit is then fridge dried to get the powdered product. We have synthesized stimuli responsive smart membranes for the selective separation and purification of targeted compounds from the mixture of plants or leaves or fruit extracts in simple water,” he said.

 Commercially available techniques use various costly organic solvents like chloroform, acetone, acetonitrile, etc. As a result the prices of these important pharmaceutical raw materials are quite high that ultimately increases the price of the antioxidant.

On the other hand, the technology developed by Prof. Purkait does not require any costly organic solvents and uses only water.

“Hence, the cost of the process and price of pharmaceuticals thereon is much cheaper than that of existing solvent based separation technique. The patented membrane-based green technology has enormous scope to replace the existing costly organic solvent-based techniques and can be used for continuation mode of operation in industrial scale,” the statement said.



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