Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad Researchers have produced collagen from waste eel skin and proved that the tissue scaffolds built using such collagen allow the growth of stem cells. Eel skin collagen that is less expensive and disease-causing organisms free can be used as an alternative to animal-derived collagen.
The biomedical application would boost Indian ‘blue’ bioeconomic growth and alternate industry that converts waste into useful products. The research was funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Engineering Research Board. Dr Mano Govindharaj, Young Scientist Fellow and Dr Subha Narayan Rath, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Research Scholar Uday Kiran Roopavath led the research.
Dr Mano Govindharaj said, “Our team’s finding is a valuable asset in the area of ‘blue’ biotechnology. Our research group at IIT Hyderabad uses a common marine waste product for producing collagen, a biomaterial that is extensively used in tissue engineering.”
Collagen is usually extracted from bovine skin and tendons, porcine skin and a rat tail. Such sources are associated with several problems such as the spread of diseases such as the mad-cow disease and religious constraints of using certain animals.
Dr Subha Narayan Rath said, “Eel skin and fish skin wastes are commonly discarded in coastal areas, or even disposed of in the sea, which leads to a cascade of events due to breakdown of organic matter and reduction of oxygen levels in seawater.”The research team derived collagen from eel skin by treating it with acetic acid, common salt and pepsin. The researchers then combined the collagen with alginate hydrogel and used a 3D printing process to obtain scaffolds.