Breakthrough melanin production in India

Breakthrough for melanin production in India

6:18 AM, 12th September 2015
Breakthrough for melanin production in India
Research scholar D N Madhusudhan (left) and professor Dayanand Agsar of Gulbarga University explaining how the soluble melanin was derived from a micro organism in Kalaburagi city.

CHENNAI, INDIA: A group of scientists of little-known Gulbarga University has made a major breakthrough in simplifying the production of the melanin used widely by pharmaceutical companies for treatment of melanoma, a type of skin cancer and the cosmetics industry in the production of skin protection factor (SPF) creams.

The three scientists - principal investigator Dayanand Agsar, co-investigator M B Sulochana and research scholar D N Madhusudhan - working under the major research project funded by the department of biotechnology of the union government, have for the first time come out with the production of a soluble melanin from a new micro organism “tyrosinase” from actino bacterium.

Patent pending

According to professor Agsar, a senior faculty in the microbiology department of the university and Madhusudhan, who has submitted a thesis for his PhD on the same subject, they have already applied for the Indian patent and have obtained a registration number for patent and the genome of the new species is deposited in the national centre for biotechnology information (NCBI) in the US and available in the public domain.

The findings of the trio had been published in reputed international journals, including the Journal of Cluster Sciences of the Springer publications and the Biomed Research International published from the US.

The melanin at present being used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry is either derived from chemical formulations or derived from micro-organisims other than tyrosinase and is insoluble in water.

Agsar and Madhusudhan said that besides wastage of material in the process of making melanin, the cost involved in making it water soluble was exorbitant. The Gulbarga University scientists, while following universally accepted modulation in the production and extraction of melanin, have changed some of the steps in the extraction of melanin making it soluble in water.

Now the trio want to exploit their invention commercially with large-scale production to meet the huge demand in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. One gram of melanin now costs Rs 50,000. Besides approaching the union government for the commercial exploitation of their invention, the trio have approached the state government for production of water-soluble melanin in the Bangalore Bio Invention Centre for providing the infrastructure back-up for its production. The application was under the active consideration of the state government.

© The Hindu News

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