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Detection of cholesterol in food samples made easy

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city kempA first of its kind kit for detection of presence of cholesterol in food samples (processed, packaged etc) for consumers has been developed at the Department of Biotechnology, New Horizon College of Engineering, Bengaluru by 2014 passed out Batch of students: Apeksha U V, Charulatha M S, Nell Namitha N and Monica M Novella. The work has been carried out under the supervision of Professor and HOD, Department of Biotechnology Dr Pratima Khandelwal.
The prototype of the kit is definitely an outcome of simplifying scientific research for societal use. The beneficiaries of this kit are various types of consumers of processed and packaged food viz., health conscious people, and patients suffering from heart and related ailments (strokes), people with high BP, diabetics and alike wherein, diet is an important aspect of managing the physiological condition of body. Thus, detecting occurrence of cholesterol in food being consumed is quite important. Cholesterol in diet through such food can cause more trouble as it can increase the ‘bad cholesterol’ levels in blood and lead to more deposits in blood vessels. In present scenario, any consumer who wants the food to be tested, much shell out a huge money and wait for at least few hours to one day to get results in hand from testing laboratories.
As on today, there’s no means for any consumer to find out the presence of cholesterol in the foods they consume (packed food/street food/minimally processed etc). Thus, no kit exits in market in the country to undertake such test. Looking at the statistics for heart related ailments, doctors recommend lifestyle changes, including healthier diet. Thus, BT Dept at NHCE that stands dedicated for useful research through its faculty and students, stood out to work in designing such useful kit for consumers from all section of society.
After doing a lot of review of literature, optimizing various protocols, and numerous trails, we concluded that using Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) Technique bearing consumer- friendly developing solvents and visualizing agent, and techniques of drying that can be attempted in any home set-up, within a span of 20 minutes, the results can be inferred.
The prototype of the kit is affordably priced at Rs 150. Principal, NHCE Dr Manjunatha is elated on this development and appreciates such useful project works touching the society. The visionary chairman NHEI Dr Mohan Manghani is quite encouraging and thus, has offered his support to this research team to roll the product from college itself as a lab to industry product.
Discoveries at Biotechnology Department, New Horizon College of Engineering
Lovastatin, a kind of natural statin produced by some fungi lowers LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and improve the production of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the body. It is well approved by US-FDA as a powerful drug for the treatment of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Scientist worldwide proved that lovastatin has profound medicinal and health care benefits such as, cancer treatment, treatment of kidney disease, heals bone fractures and helps in bone regeneration, reduces occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in old age people, treatment of Neurofibromatosis type 1 in children and in the treatment of Fragile X Syndrome.
R S Upendra, Sr. AP, Dept of Biotechnology and a Ph.D scholar at VTU recognized Biotechnology Research Centre isolated three novel fungi, which produce the drug lovastatin at higher rates. The doctoral work is being carried out under the guidance of Dr.Pratima Khandelwal, Professor & Head, Department of Biotechnology. These three fungal cultures have been deposited at national repository of India- Microbial Type Culture Collection (MTCC) and Gene Bank, at IMTech, Chandigarh. Accession numbers for each has been issued by authorized body, MTCC.
Further Research work was continued using the fungal discoveries to produce lovastatin at very high rates and also to bring down the cost of the drug by applying statistical tools such as Plackett-Burmann design, Response methodology and Artificial Neural network. Various Agro industrial waste such as wheat brawn, whey powder, ragi seed husk, black gram husk, groundnut oil cake, jackfruit seed powder have been used in this study for producing the drug at very low cost.

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