KOCHI: The biotechnology wing of the SCMS College has come up with a study confirming the medicinal property of the lactoferrin protein in the milk of Vechur Cow.
The study was published in the International Journal of functional and evolutionary genomics- GENE on December 30. The Vechur Cow is the indigenous breed of Kerala.
As per the finding, the anti-bacterial property of the lactoferrin protein of the Vechur Cow milk is more than that of the antibiotic ampicillin. The scientists from SCMS have also found a way to produce the lactoferrin protein in the lab through genetic engineering. This is expected to enable production of the therapeutic protein on a commercial scale without dependence on cow milk. “We were able to produce the lactoferrin protein in the lab by expressing the lactoferrin gene in a bacteria.
The anti-bacterial property of the protien was found to be more than ampicillin. Since we were able to express the gene, now we can produce lactoferrin protein directly from the gene. There won’t be any need to depend on the cow or the milk.”, said Dr C Mohankumar, Director-SCMS Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology R&D.
The lactoferrin is present in the milk of all mammals and is found to have antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, immunodefence and anti-inflammatory properties. But the study proves that in the case of the lactoferrin protein in the Vechur Cow milk, these properties are much more enhanced. This roots of this enhanced therapeutic property lie in the large number of ‘amino acid Arginine substitution’ in the lactoferrin gene of Vechur Cow milk. “The Gene sequence has 11 amino acid substitutions. In lactoferrin protein of an ordinary cow milk, there will be just 2 or 3 argenine aminoacid substitution”, Dr Mohankumar said. The study opens up several oppurtunites for the Vechur Cow milk including its usage as a therapeutic food and for nutrition therapy. The college has filed a patent for the technology. This is the second major finding of the biotechnology department of the college after they developed a recombinent antigen kit to diagnose Chikungunya. The antigen will be brought out commercially Ubio Biotech from next month.