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Natural Product Radiance

A Bimonthly Digest on Natural Products














Lac – The versatile natural resin,

S A Siddiqui                                     






Sorrel  ¾ A lesser-known source of medicinal soft drink and food in India,

R D Gautam                                                                               




Some neglected spices in India,

S B Gokhale, P V Joshi, A U Tatiya, S R Bakliwal and R A Fursule




Chebulic Myrobalan for controlling bacterial disease in Muga Silkworm Antheraea assama – A preliminary report,

B G Unni, Archana Yadav, Arundhati Chaudhary, Jyotsna Kumari, S W Wann , and Runjun Sarma




Green Page


Insulin plant in gardens,

Merina Benny    



Shoot regeneration of Costus speciosus (Koen.) Sm.                          






Medicinal plants used by the tribals for hair disorders in Melghat forest of Amravati district, Maharashtra,

D M Sakarkar, U M Sakarkar, N M Sakarkar, V N Shrikhande, J V Vyas and R S Kale                            




Mahuwa tree and the aborigines of North Maharashtra,

D A Patil, Shubhangi Pawar and M V Patil 




Botanical names of Madhuk-pushpi,

Phulwara and Mahua, M R Uniyal   




Kateli seed fume is good for tooth and gum disorders                        



Ayurvedic Tips


Dehydration (Trsna Roga ) ― Prevention and Cure, 

Dr Atul Kumar                                      



Internet News


Mosquito repellent from tomatoes                                                    


Food for the brain — Broccoli, Spinach help keep one keen  Baked fish keep heart in rhythm                                               


Tomato packs more cancer-fighting punch                                


Anti-blood clotting orange drink developed                              


Bananas for Inflammatory Bowel Disease                                        


Anti-freeze protein keeps fish going strong                                  


Low-calorie potato on the anvil                                                    


Ethnoveterinary medicine for dairy cows                                   


Moringa leaf extract increases crop yield                                              


Guava—The seasonal fruit                                                       






Research achievements of Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow                                                         


Classified Digests
















Pulp/ Paper                                                                             






In Brief                                                                                           


Readers write                                                                          


Guidelines to Authors                                                               


Subscription form                                                                    




Ten Good Reasons                                                                  






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 332 - 337


Lac – The versatile natural resin

S A Siddiqui


Lac is a unique gift of nature to the mankind, especially to the people of India. It is the only natural resin of animal origin, secreted by a tiny lac insect on some trees. It mostly consists of a polyester type resin formed by fusion of hydroxyl fatty acids with sesquiterpene acids besides having some colouring matter, wax, etc. Lac is an important ingredient of several Ayurvedic and Unani formulations. Due to its wonderful characteristics, shellac, the product of commerce, has a wide range of applications in surface coating industries, electrical insulation, filling materials, adhesives, controlled release fertilizer and other agricultural formulations. Its recent uses include synthesis of bioactive and perfumery compounds. It not only provides livelihood to nearly three million poor people but also fetches foreign exchange through export.






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 338 - 342


 Sorrel  ¾ A lesser-known source of medicinal soft drink and food in India

 RD Gautam


Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. var. sabdariffa, commonly known as Sorrel or Lal Ambari is widely grown in Africa and many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America as an important commercial crop for its uses in food, feed, medicine and aesthetic value. In India also it is cultivated on a small scale for edible calyces and ornamental purposes in home gardens. It is used as medicine, herbal tea, and safer food colouring agent especially in confectionaries but to a small extent. The information available in literature and author’s observations on possibilities of making a soft drink by utilizing its colouring constituent and sour taste have been discussed in this paper to promote the potential of this plant in manufacturing a natural and medicinal soft drink and food items like chutney and sauces.


Keywords: Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. var. sabdariffa, Sorrel, Lemon bush, Lal Ambari, Patwa, colouring agent, Herbal tea, Herbal medicine.


IPC code; Int. cl7 ─ A23L1/27, A23L1/22, A23L1/06, A23L2/02, A61K35/78




Natural Product Radiance

 Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 343- 346


Some neglected spices in India

S B Gokhale1, P V Joshi, A U Tatiya, S R Bakliwal and R A Fursule2*


Since antiquity spices have been considered virtually indispensable in the culinary arts, they are used to flavour foods and beverages all over the world. Spices add savor to insipid dishes, a tang to beverages and are appetizer as well. Some are also used in perfumery and cosmetics whereas others heal through medicine. Their preservative, antiseptic, antibiotic and anti-oxygenic properties are also esteemed throughout the world. India is one of the major spice producing and exporting country in the world. According to latest figure compiled by spices board, Government of India, Cochin, the export of spices from India during 1998-99 earned valuable foreign exchange worth over Rs.16500 million. Thus, India alone contributes about 20-25 % of the total world trade in spice. Though they are produced in India, few of them are neglected for their commercial use as compared to others.


Keywords: Spices, Neglected spices, White mustard, Black mustard, Ajmod, Pathurchur, Dill, False nutmeg, Spearmint, Lemon grass.


IPC Code; Int. cl.7 ¾ A23L 1/221, A61K 35/78




Natural Product Radiance

 Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 347- 348


Chebulic Myrobalan for controlling bacterial disease in Muga Silkworm Antheraea assama – A preliminary report

 B G Unni*, Archana Yadav, Arundhati Chaudhary, Jyotsna Kumari,

S W Wann and Runjun Sarma


India produces four varieties of silk obtained from four types of moths. These are known as Mulberry, Tussar, Eri and Muga. Muga silkworm, Antheraea assama Ww. producing golden yellow silk, reared in outdoors is found only in Brahmaputra valley of Assam. Now-a-days muga silkworm is very much susceptible to bacterial infection called ‘flacherie’ caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and developed certain symptoms such as poor appetite, retarded growth, black body fluid and hanging upside down. Terminalia chebula Retz. (Chebulic myrobalan; Assam ¾ Hilika; Hindi ¾ Harar), a moderate sized or large deciduous tree found in North East India and other parts of the country was evaluated for antibacterial property against P. aeruginosa strain AC-3 causing ‘flacherie’ in muga silkworm. A comparative study on the antimicrobial properties of extracts prepared by different methods was performed in order to choose the most efficient antimicrobial compounds for in vitro as well as in vivo control of bacteria.


Keywords: Muga silkworm, Bacterial infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain AC-3, Flacherie, Chebulic myrobalan, Terminalia chebula, Antibacterial.


IPC Code; Int.cl7. ¾ A01K 67/04, A61K 35/78




Green Page


Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 349- 350


Insulin plant in gardens

Merina Benny


The genus Costus Linn. belongs to family Costaceae, which has been separated from family Zingiberaceae on the basis of the presence of spirally arranged leaves and rhizomes being free from aromatic essential oils. More than 100 species of the genus are distributed in the tropics all over the world.


Costus pictus D. Don syn. Costus mexicanus  (DC.) Greene commonly known as Spiral ginger, Stepladder or Insulin plant is a plant originated in Mexico. In India it is grown in gardens as ornamental plant especially in Kerala in every home. The major attraction of this plant is its stem with spiral leaves and light airy and tissue paper like flowers. Red painted stem enhances the beauty of the glossy linear leaves and strongly spiralling canes. The flowers are in a terminal cone, yellow in colour with an orange red tip and this lasts for 3 – 4 days. Usually the plant grows up to 2 –3 m and spread 1.5 – 2 m. The flowers are displayed in a dramatic form high above the leaves. While the flowers do not produce an aroma, they do make a beautiful effect sitting atop of the tall spiraling stems. Propagation is carried out through stem cuttings and also from rhizomes.


The species is similar to Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm., which is commonly known as Channakkoova in Kerala and Keu in Hindi. The leaves of this species are less fleshy and have an acrid taste. The rhizomes are cooked and eaten. Local people eat the leaves for curing diabetes. The roots are used as tonic and anthelmintic.


 The R&D section of Arjuna Natural Extracts Ltd., Kerala have first time studied scientifically the anti-hyperglycaemic activity of C. pictus D. Don


Keywords: Costus pictus D. Don, Insulin plant, Spiral ginger, Ornamental, Medicinal, Antidiabetic.


IPC code; Int. cl.7 — A61K35/78, A01H5/00, A61P3/10






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 351- 355


Medicinal plants used by the tribals for hair disorders in
Melghat forest of Amravati district, Maharashtra

D M Sakarkar,1* U M Sakarkar,2 N M Sakarkar,3 V N Shrikhande,4 J V. Vyas4 and R S Kale4


Products from natural sources are an integral part of human health care system because there are major concern about synthetic drugs owing to their side effects and toxicity. The present study is an attempt to investigate the medicinal plants used for hair disorders by tribal women community based in the Melghat forest of Amravati district. Twenty four plant species belonging to 22 families of ethnomedicinal interest are recorded after survey and critical screening.


Keywords: Hair disorders, Herbal remedies, Melghat tiger reserve forest, Ethnomedicine.


IPC Code; Int. cl.7 ¾ A61K 7/06, A61K 35/78.




Natural Product Radiance

 Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 356- 358


Mahuwa tree and the aborigines of North Maharashtra

D.A.Patil*1, Shubhangi Pawar2 and M V Patil3


Plants have been associated with health, nutrition and overall care of mankind since time immemorial. Madhuca indica J. F. Gmel. (Family - Sapotaceae) is deeply associated with the culture and livelihood of tribal people in North Maharashtra. It provides them food, medicines, feed and medicines for their livestock, apart from its miscellaneous utilities. It is boon for the poverty ridden forest dwellers. However, this species has received hatred from the non-tribals in past and even in present times. This trend has culminated into marginalization of this plant in wild populations in this region. However, the aborigines concerned are conserving it. This paper highlights its traditional uses by these tribal people.


Keywords: Madhuca indica, Traditional uses, Conservation, North Maharashtra.


IPC code: Int. cl.7 — A61K35/78




Ayurvedic Tips


Natural Product Radiance

 Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 360- 361


Dehydration (Trsna Roga )


Prevention and Cure


Our body requires certain amount of water and other elements, called electrolytes, to function properly. Trsna Roga or dehydration is the condition that results from excessive loss of water and minerals from the body. In this state thirst does not quench even after repeated intake of water. Fluids are lost through sweat, urine, bowel movements and breathing. Our vital organs like kidneys, brain and heart can not function without a certain minimum amount of water and salt and if it is not replaced, death may occur. Hence, when body looses too much water it should be replaced by drinking and eating fluids and other water containing items.




The main causes of dehydration include vomiting, diarrhoea, high fever, exposure to the heat and sun, excessive exercise, inadequate fluid intake, decreased thirst, perception, gastroenteritis, cholera, urinary disorders and burns.


Signs of dehydration


The signs of mild dehydration include increased thirst, dry lips and slightly dry mouth membranes whereas in moderate cases very dry mouth membranes, sunken eyes, sunken fontanelle (soft spot) on infant’s head and skin doesn’t bounce back quickly when lightly pinched and released can be noticed. In severe conditions all signs of moderate dehydration along with weak pulse (more than 100 at rest), cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, blue lips, confusion, lethargy, difficulty in walking, decreased urination, dizziness or feeling faint, nausea, fever, low blood pressure, weight loss and leg cramps, etc. are noticed. In infants there is lack of tears when crying and irritability have also been observed.


One of the signs of dehydration is dark yellow urine having bad smell.  Urine should be clear; if it is not, increase water intake until it becomes clear.




·        In dehydration apple juice, chicken broth, cola or tea should not be given to children under two years of age because these drinks do not contain the right balance of sugar, salt and other elements. Caffeine increases the loss of water and salt. Even plain water can cause problems, such as lowering the amount of salt or sugar in the blood.

·        Avoid foods and drinks that contain a lot of sugar, such as ice cream, juice, soda pop and candy. Should not take excess of pungent (Katu) and bitter (Tikta) dietary items.




·        If there is diarrhoea and no vomiting, plenty of ORS may be taken (if desire to take). If only vomiting (without diarrhoea), try taking small amounts of the ORS often (one teaspoon a minute to a child). For making ORS take half litre of boiled water and mix to it half a 5ml teaspoon (or two pinches) of salt and four 5ml teaspoons (or one handful) of sugar.  Once the solution is prepared keep it in the fridge and use within 24hours.

·         To infants breast feeding and formula feeding may continue while using an ORS.

·        Starchy foods, such as noodles, bread, rice and potatoes may be helpful. After the diarrhoea subsides, start adding solid food especially easy-to-digest BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apple and toast).

·        Pomegranate juice in small quantities can also be taken frequently. 


 Home remedies


·        Drink a cup of water with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons lime juice.

·        In stomachache due to dehydration chew betel leaves with a few rock salt crystals to get immediate relief.

·        If can not keep any liquids down, try sucking on ice cubes.

·        Tender coconut water/milk (Narikelajala) should be taken frequently.

·        Cold water mixed with honey (Madhu) may also be taken frequently.

·        Sadanga paniya, available in market is very effective and may be given to the patient along with honey (Madhu) 24-48 ml per day. 

·        Thin gruel (Peya) of Sali (Oryza sativa Linn.) mixed with granular sugar (Sarkara) is good.

·        Gruel water (Manda) of unripe Yava (Hordeum vulgare Linn.) mixed with granular sugar.

·        Soup (Yusa) of Mung [Vigna radiata (Linn.) R. Wilcz.], Masura (Lens culinaris Medic.) and Chana (Cicer arietinum Linn.), fried with clarified butter (Ghrita) is good for providing strength.

·        Decoction (Kvatha) of Trnapancamula, Kusa (Desmostachya bipinnata (Linn.) Stapf, Kansa (Saccharum spontaneum Linn.), Nala (Arundo donax Linn.), Darbha [Imperata cylindrica (Linn.)P. Beauv.], Kandeksu (Saccharum officinarum Linn.) mixed with granular sugar 24-48 ml per day.

·        Fresh Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) fruit ground with clarified butter (Ghrita) and sour vinegar and made into herbal paste  (Kalka), may be applied locally on forehead.

·        Fruits of Kharjura (Phoenix dactylifera Linn.), Anar (Punica granatum Linn.) and Jambu [Syzygium cuminii (Linn.) Skeels] are the fruits recommended during dehydration. Milk may also be given if there is no sign of diarrhoea and vomitting




In severely dehydrated condition one must get to a hospital and Intravenous fluids (IVs) should be given to quickly reverse dehydration.


Dr. Atul Kumar

M.D. (Ayurveda) E-mail:


Classified Digests





Natural Product Radiance

 Vol 3, September-October, 2004 pp 365  

Oats for arteries


When blood cells stick to and cause inflammation of the artery wall, plaques build up. The accumulation called atherosclerosis can eventually block the blood vessel. The research findings revealed that oats are heart-friendly because of their high fibre content. Fiber washes cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise be released into the bloodstream. The scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts have discovered that oats contain a compound, avenanthramides, which keep blood cells from sticking to artery walls.  It significantly suppress adhesive molecules that glue blood cells to artery walls.


The suppression provided by avenanthramides in oats may prevent this narrowing of the passageways through which blood flows. To test the compounds' antiatherosclerotic activity, the scientists purified avenanthramides from oats and exposed them to human arterial wall cells over a 24 hour period. After observing the mixture under incubation, scientists found significant reductions in both the expression of adhesion molecules and the sticking of blood cells to arterial wall cells. Water-soluble fibre in oats is believed to help reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in blood.


Adding oat products as part of an overall healthy diet and cutting down on high-fat, high-cholesterol foods are important to gaining these benefits. As a grain, oats can be found in foods such as enriched cereals and breads; as rolled oats, in oatmeal; and as oat bran, in muffins or other baked foods.  Researchers hope that plant breeders or genetic engineers will create oats with high levels of avenanthramides [Marion Bliss, Agric Res, 2004, 52(6), 6-7].






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 367


Water-insoluble fiber-rich fraction from the pomace of Carambola


Various research reports have established that dietary fibre can provide health-promoting effects such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Averrhoa carambola Linn., known as Carambola and Starfruit, is a popular juicy fruit throughout Asia. Carambola juice is mostly used for making confectionary, juice concentrate and refreshing drinks. After juice extraction in the food industry, thousands of tonnes of Carambola pomace are produced and discarded as feeds.  It is reported that Carambola is rich in dietary fiber, especially insoluble fibre and contains a high concentration of water-insoluble fibre-rich fraction (WIFF) (50.8 g/100 g of pomace, dry weight), which is the predominant fibre fraction (~80% of the total dietary fibre) and possesses distinctive physico-chemical properties.


Researchers at Department of Food Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, Republic of China evaluated the effects of a novel pomace fibre on lipid and cholesterol metabolism in the hamster and compared with those of cellulose-added and fibre-free diet as controls. Pomace sample of the fruit was collected from a food industry where it is left after the juice extraction process. Water-insoluble fibre-rich fraction (WIFF) was prepared from the powdered sample (0.5 mm) using cold distilled water as a solvent.


 The results showed that the consumption of Carambola WIFF decreased (P < 0.05) the concentrations of serum triacylglycerol, serum total cholesterol, and liver cholesterol, and increased (P < 0.05) the concentrations of faecal total lipids, faecal cholesterol, and faecal bile acids. The intake of WIFF also increased the faecal bulk and moisture. These pronounced cholesterol- and lipid-lowering effects of WIFF might be attributed to its ability to enhance the excretion of cholesterol and bile acids via faeces. Thus, Carambola WIFF can be used as a promising cholesterol-lowering ingredient in human diets or new formulations of fibre-rich functional foods [Chau et al, Nutr Res, 2004, 24(5), 337-345].






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 369


Mosquitocidal effect of Bitter Gourd leaf extracts


The vector-borne diseases (VBDs), malaria, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, etc., are increasing and have been spreading to newer areas recently due to the increased risk of transmission fuelled by developmental activities, demographic changes and introduction of new products. All over the world, more than 50% of persons with filariasis receive their infections from the bites of mosquitoes, particularly Culex quinquefasciatus (Say). This species of mosquito and the incidence of filariasis are quite abundant in India, particularly in Chidambaram town of Tamil Nadu. Natural products are generally preferred because of their less harmful nature to non-target organisms and due to their innate biodegradability. Prabakar and Jebanesan of Vector Biology Division, Department of Zoology, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar carried over studies to assess the larvicidal properties of leaf extracts of five Cucurbitacious plants against C. quinquefasciatus.


Larvicidal efficacies of extracts of five species, viz. Momordica charantia Linn. (Bitter Gourd, Hindi ¾ Karela), Trichosanthes anguina Linn. (Snakegourd, Hindi ¾ Chachinda), Luffa acutangula (Linn.) Roxb. (Ridged or Ribbed Gourd, Hindi ¾ Kali tori), Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. syn. B.cerifera Savi (Ash Gourd, Hindi ¾ Petha) and Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsumura & Nakai syn. C.vulgaris Schrad. (Watermelon, Hindi ¾ Tarbuz) were tested against the late third larval age group of C. quinquefasciatus. The plants of M. charantia, T. anguina, L. acutangula, B. hispida and C. lanatus were collected from in and around Annamalai University campus, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu. The leaves were washed with tap water, shade-dried, and powdered. One gram of the plant residue was dissolved in 100 ml of methanol (stock solution). The solution was used for assaying mosquito larvicidal activity. The larval mortality was observed after 24 hr exposure. The LC50 values of M. charantia, T. anguina, L. acutangula, B. hispida and C. lanatus were 465.85, 567.81, 839.81, 1189.30 and 1636.04 ppm, respectively. The present study reveals that there is a scope to use M. charantia to control the mosquito larvae of C. quinquefasciatus and the extract in mosquito coil formulation and isolation of the insecticide component is underway in  the laboratory [Prabakar & Jebanesan, Bioresour Technol, 2004, 95 (1), 113-114].






Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 372


Flaxseed effective in prostate cancer


Under new discoveries, the CNN recently reported that flaxseed, Linum usitatissimum Linn. (Linseed, Hindi ¾ Alsi) is proving to be effective in treating prostate cancer. The study reported in Neurology Journal found that limiting dietary fat to 20 per cent of calories while eating three heaping tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed every day can significantly slow down prostate cancer growth. They can be mixed with water, any fruit or vegetable juice. They can be added to salads, soups, yoghurt, cereals and even baked goods. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil should be kept refrigerated. Whole flaxseeds must be ground within 24 hours of use, otherwise the ingredients lose their activity.


Flaxseed is a rich, vegetarian source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that are critical in the production of prostaglandins. In the body prostaglandins help regulate fat metabolism, inflammatory response, hormones, as well as the cardiovascular, immune and central nervous systems. It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in the diet as these two substances work together to promote health. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation while most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. A proper balance of essential fatty acids helps maintain and even improve health, while an inappropriate balance contributes to the development of disease.


In addition to important omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed also contains a group of chemicals called lignans - plant compounds that, in this case, are believed to bind to testosterone, the male hormone thought to spur the growth of such cancer. The lignans thus impedes testosterone’s action – helping to slow the progression of the cancer. Studies suggest that flaxseed - both the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the lignans in flaxseed - may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of not only prostate cancer but also other diseases (Herbal Remedies Natural Health Newsletter, November 2003, Issue 222).






Natural Product Radiance

 Vol 3, September-October, 2004 pp. 377


Packaging and storage of broccoli


Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is commonly used to maintain the quality and improve the shelf life of foodstuffs. Scientists at The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology investigated the sensory quality of broccoli stored raw in different commercially available packaging solutions with an aim to study the effect of cooking, after storing the fresh broccoli in MAP.


During experiment freshly harvested broccoli (Brassica oleracea Linn. var. italica cv. ‘Marathon’) was obtained from a grower in Sweden. The broccoli was cooled unpacked overnight, before being subjected to the experiments the next morning, i.e. one day after harvesting. Only broccoli heads, 200–300 g, free from decay, were used.


Oriented polypropylene (OPP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) were used as packaging materials. The LDPE contained an ethylene-absorbing sachet. The samples were stored for 1 week, either at a constant temperature of 10°C or for 3 days at 4 °C, followed by 4 days at 10 °C. The atmospheres that were developed inside the different packaging materials during storage differed significantly. After storage, the broccoli was evaluated both raw and cooked using a triangle test and a quantitative descriptive analysis. The triangle test showed significant differences in the smell of broccoli stored in different packaging materials after cooking. No differences were detected in the raw broccoli. The quantitative descriptive analysis showed significant differences in the fresh smell and flavour, the chewing resistance, and the crispness, between samples after cooking. Overall, including all the sensory properties studied, broccoli packaged in LDPE (5% O2, 7% CO2) that contained an ethylene absorber was perceived to be the sample most similar to fresh broccoli. There were no differences in weight loss between broccoli stored in the different packaging materials [Jacobsson et al, Food Quality Prefer, 2004, 15(4), 301-310].




In Brief


Natural Product Radiance

 Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 379


Coconut oil cake – A potential raw material for the production of α-amylase


The extensive application of amylases in the food industry such as baking, brewing, preparation of digestive aids, production of chocolate cakes, moist cakes, fruit juices, starch syrups, etc. has paved a way for their large-scale commercial production. Coconut oil cake (COC) is a byproduct obtained after oil extraction from dried copra. COC is generally fed to animals and finds no other application. It contains starch, soluble sugars, soluble proteins, lipids and trace amounts of nitrogen. Solid-state fermentation (SSF) was carried out by Ramachandran and others of Biotechnology Division, Regional Research Laboratory, CSIR, Thiruvananthapuram, India and Department of Agricultural and Chemical Technology, University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary using coconut oil cake as substrate for the production of α-amylase using a fungal culture of Aspergillus oryzae. Raw COC supported the growth of the culture, resulting in the production of 1372 U/gds α-amylase in 24 hr. Process optimization using a single parameter mode showed enhanced enzyme titre, which was maximum (1827 U/gds) when SSF was carried out at 30°C for 72 hr using a substrate with 68% initial moisture. Supplementation with glucose and starch further enhanced enzyme titre, which was maximum (1911 U/gds) with 0.5% starch. However, maltose inhibited the enzyme production. Studies on the effect of addition of external organic and inorganic nitrogenous compounds further showed a positive impact on enzyme synthesis by the culture. Increase of 1.7-fold in the enzyme activity (3388 U/gds) was obtained when peptone at 1% concentration was added to the fermentation medium. The enzyme production was growth-related, the activity being the maximum when the fungal biomass was at its peak at 72 hr. These studies showed that COC could be a good substrate for α-amylase synthesis by fungal culture of A. oryzae. Use of COC as raw material for enzyme synthesis could be of great commercial significance [Ramachandran et al, Bioresour Technol, 2004, 93 (2), 169-174].




Natural Product Radiance

Vol.3, September- October, 2004, pp. 378  


Bicycle from vegetable leather


Bicycles have been made using vegetable leather with partnership between the Ministry of the Environment Amazon Life and WWF-Brazil. The vegetable leather known as TreetapÒ, is made from natural rubber and was produced by three rubber-tapping communities in Amazonia. The new products made using natural rubber guarantee the sustainable use of forest resources and income of the local population [Non-Wood News, No.11, March 2004, 12).