Punjab University Scientists Discover Novel Thermo Acidophilic Enzyme

Lahore:01 June:Scientists from Punjab University Institute of Agricultural Sciences including Dr Nasir Ahmad, Dr Muhammad Saleem Haider and School of Biological Sciences Dr Naeem Rashid and Dr Muhammad Akhtar have discovered a novel thermo-acidophilic enzyme which can efficiently hydrolyze starch into glucose and maltose syrups in a single step and in a simpler way in the absence of any other enzyme.

A PU spokesperson said the US patent office has issued patent in their names in this regard, adding this was the first international patent of Pakistan in the field of industrial enzymes.

Since the last three decades, scientists around the globe were in search of efficient enzymes that could simplify the process of starch hydrolysis for glucose and maltose production. Wonderful features of the enzyme resulted in the publication of US PATENT titled; “Single Step Liquefaction and Saccharification of Corn Starch Using an Acidophilic, Calcium Independent and Hyperthermophilic Pullulanase” (United States Patent Pub. No. US 2014/0227744 A1 published on 14/08/2014; Funded (US $ 11000) by Higher Education Commission) Dr Nasir Ahmad, the first author of patent, is an experienced food technologist.

This marvelous job was done by Dr Ahmad during his PhD research (2005-2011) at PU School of Biological Sciences. During this period, Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Haider and Prof Dr Naeem Rashid were his supervisors. It is worth mentioning that all the work was completed within Pakistan, the spokesperson added.

Dr Nasir Ahmad started his PhD in 2005 under HEC’s Indigenous 5000 PhD Fellowship Programme. Previously he has served at various food industries in quality assurance/production departments. Since December 2011, he is serving as Assistant Professor Food Technology at Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Punjab University.

It is worth mentioning that there is not even a single unit of enzyme production in Pakistan therefore the scientists say there is great potential in this field in the country. The authors of patent are highly obliged to PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and HEC Pakistan for provision of funds during research and patent publication fee.The news.