Industrial Biotechnology in Palestine
- Interests include the identification and characterization of proteins and/or bio-agents that are of interest to research and biotechnology industries in Palestine. These include enzymes that are of potential interest in molecular cloning and food processing;
1. Phytase Project: This enzyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of phytic acid (myo-inositol hexakisphosphate) --an indigestible, organic form of phosphorus that is found in grains and oil seeds-- and releases a usable form of inorganic phosphorus. Phytase is produced by bacteria found in the gut of ruminant animals (cattle, sheep) making it possible for them to use the phytic acid found in grains as a source of phosphorus. Non-ruminants (monogastric animals) like human beings, dogs, birds, etc. do not produce phytase. Research in the field of animal nutrition has put forth the idea of supplementing feed with phytase so as to make available to the animal phytate-bound nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, other minerals, carbohydrates and proteins. We are developing a recombinant phytase from fungus to be used as an animal feed supplement in poultry to enhance the nutritive value of plant material by liberation of inorganic phosphate from phytic acid.
2. Phage therapy: It is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacterial infections. Phage therapy has many potential applications in human medicine as well as dentistry, veterinary science, and agriculture. Bacteriophages are much more specific than antibiotics, so they can hypothetically be chosen to be indirectly harmless not only to the host organism (human, animal, or plant), but also to other beneficial bacteria, such as gut flora, reducing the chances of opportunistic infections. We develop methods to isolate bacteriophages that can host on pathogenic bacteria affecting poultry as alternative agent to antibiotics that are used extensively in poultry industries.
Researchers: Fawzi Alrazem, Alia' Manasra, Dalia Abu-Issa