AU gets its first Independent patent

Published on Jan 22, 2006 12:51 AM IST

A YOUNG scientist of Allahabad University's Botany Department has added a golden feather to the cap of the 'Oxford of the East' by getting a patent for a process developed indigenously in the biological lab of the department.

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None | By, Allahabad

A YOUNG scientist of Allahabad University's Botany Department has added a golden feather to the cap of the 'Oxford of the East' by getting a patent for a process developed indigenously in the biological lab of the department.

The achievement has been conveyed in a communiqué received from the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi. Remarkably, the achievement is being hailed as the first patent for a process developed by a scientist of Allahabad University independently.

The patent has been granted following a patent application entitled "Modified Culture Medium and process for the preparation thereof", informed Prof Anupam Dikshit of the Botany Department under whose guidance the research scholar Siddarth Dutta developed this process.

Giving the details Prof Dikshit said that this particular process is a 'medium' which will help in growing of a fungal organism known as Malassezia, which is responsible for a disease called Pityriasis versicolor popularly known as 'sehuan'.

"This is a disease in which hypo pigmentation occurs on the skin of the human being because of which it loses its natural texture and is marked with small white spots on face and other parts of the body," he explained.

Prof Dikshit, who is also a member of Intellectual Property Rights Cell at Allahabad, said that proper treatment of a patient suffering from this disease can be more effectively done if the casual organism can be cultured in a laboratory. He said that the medium to culture this organism available in the market was too costly and had certain other limitations as well.

While guiding his students to develop this medium Prof Dikshit visited London twice, first in 1996 and again in 2000. There he met Dr Medgley G at the Institute of Dermatology at St Johns Hospital, London and who is considered to be an authority on Malassezia. But the medium used by her was not only too costly but had a strong unpleasant odour due to some animal constituents in it.

Prof Dikshit said that with the objective of developing the medium suited to Indian environment and Indian vegetarians, attempts were made to cultivate this medium in India so as to benefit not only the scientists but the patients suffering with this disease, which is quite prevalent in the rural areas of the country.

After a marathon research work of more than six years, the medium was successfully cultured in the Biological Process Laboratory of the AU Botany Department founded and being headed by Prof Dikshit.

Prof Dikshit said that the preparation of this medium, which is purely made from vegetarian substances, removes the bad odour and is also low in cost. He said that the medium will be very useful for the diagnostic labs of pathologists for the identification of casual organism of the disease, which will eventually help the dermatologists for prescribing proper medicine for the cure of this disease. Apart from this modified medium will also be of great help for various research labs.

Earlier the Biological Process Laboratory of the AU's Botany Department, under Prof Dikshit has brought laurels to AU by getting the first joint patent, which was a collaboration between Prof Dikshit, his two DPhil students Dr SK Shahi and Dr AC Shukla of the University of Allahabad, Prof AK Bajaj, former head of Dermatology Department of MLN Medical College, Allahabad, Dr Sushil Kumar and Dr AK Singh, scientists from the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow.

This patent was granted to them for developing a herbal ointment for the control of Ringworm infection caused by a human pathogenic fungi. This product has also been awarded separate patents by the US, Great Britain and Japan.

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    K Sandeep Kumar is a Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times heading the Allahabad Bureau. He has spent over 16 years reporting extensively in Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad and Lucknow. He covers politics, science and technology, higher education, medical and health and defence matters. He also writes on development issues.

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