Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human albumin from tobacco plants

24.03.2006
Human serum albumin (HSA) is the intravenous protein most commonly used in the world for therapeutic ends.
It is employed to stabilise blood volume and to avoid risk of a heart attack, its administration in operating theatres being almost a daily occurrence. It is used for haemorrhages, burns, surgical operations or when the patient shows symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration, chronic infections and renal or liver illnesses. The annual consumption in Spain is about 10 tons but, at a worldwide level, the demand exceeds 500 tons.

Agricultural engineer, Alicia Fernández San Millán, has developed a novel technique in Spain - plastidial transformation, in order to produce, in a recombinant form, human albumin from tobacco plants. According to her PhD thesis, plastidial transformation is an economically viable alternative, as it enables increasing the levels of HSA by between 10 and a 100 times, compared to levels obtained by nuclear transformation.

The title of the PhD is: “Production of human serum albumin in tobacco plants by means of plastidial transformation”. It should be added that this novel technique, fruit of Ms Fernández San Millán’s PhD, has been patented at a world level and there is already a company interested in marketing it.

An efficacious and cheap alternative

Commercial albumin is currently extracted from blood, but the lack of sufficient reserves to cover all worldwide needs has instigated researchers to look for new formulae to multiply this protein. One of the methods most used has been the obtention of HSA from yeasts and mammal cells. However, their high market-place costs have meant that these methods are not competitive. While the price at the pharmacy of albumin produced using plasma is 4 euros per gram, that obtained from yeasts or mammal cells costs between 300 and 4,000 euros per gram. Another option worked on over recent years has been the production of albumin from vegetables, always using nuclear transformation.

The novelty in this research arises from the method of obtention of the HSA. The plastidial system enables the extraction of great quantities of albumin. With nuclear transformation, the maximum level obtained is 0.5% of the total soluble protein of the plant, while application of the plastidial system multiplies this percentage by fourteen (to 7%), reaching an average of 0.9 milligrams of HSA per gram of fresh leaf weight.

The key is the place where the gene in question is deposited. With the nuclear transformation method, it integrates into the DNA of the cell nucleus of the leaf and, thus, can only manage a small number of copies of the gene. With the plastidial system, on the other hand, the gene is introduced into the chloroplast, where photosynthesis takes place and where the genomes can multiply up to 10,000 times.

A property highly valued by the experts has to be added to these positive results: the production of albumin from plants using this technique does not involve the escape of genes through pollen transmission given that, with most crops under cultivation, the genome of the plastids is inherited maternally.

More biomass in tobacco plants

The tobacco plant is very easy to handle genetically and also it is great generator of biomass. The authoress of the thesis says that up to 100 tons of biomass per hectare can be obtained in optimum growth conditions. “Given that the protein is produced in the chloroplasts, the more the leaf biomass we have, the more albumin we can get”.

To date all the trials undertaken with tobacco plants have been with laboratory varieties. The aim is to do tests with commercial varieties. Laboratory plants are very small and, as a result, the quantity of albumin extracted is not sufficient. However, the commercial varieties of tobacco are some 30 times more productive in terms of biomass.

Despite the advantages demonstrated by the experts, there is still a long way to go. Involving, as it does, a protein that is intravenously injected into patients, it has to be thoroughly purified to eliminate any kind of contaminant. Moreover, it is necessary to assure that the protein obtained has an identical structure to the human one to guarantee that its functioning will be 100%.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Gelaxka=1_1&hizk=I&Berri_Kod=926

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>