BIOTEC researchers receive NRCT Invention Awards 2013

On 24 January 2013, the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) made an announcement on the NRCT Invention Award 2013. Three inventions from BIOTEC were among the 29 award recipients this year.


“ENZbleach: An alkaline-tolerant enzyme for pulp bleaching process by Dr. Thidarat Nimchua and colleagues from Bioresources Technology Unit was recognized in the engineering and industry category. In a conventional chemical bleaching process, a large scale of chemicals is used, releasing pollution into the environment and causing numerous harmful disturbances to ecosystem. The new biobleaching process using enzymes leads to a significant reduction of chlorine and chlorine-based compounds. The xylanase attacks hemicellulose and alters the interface between the cellulose and lignin, thereby facilitates the chemical extraction of lignin from pulp. ENZbleach has been developed and optimized for pulp biobleaching without the need of pH adjustment of the pulp, which will make the large-scale operations more simple and cost effective. Moreover, ENZbleach is cellulase-free, thus does not destroy the structure of cellulose and diminish pulp quality.


“Diagnostic tests for detection of bacterial fruit blotch in cucurbits” received the award in the agricultural science and biology category. Dr. Oraprapai Gajanandana and her team developed diagnostic tests in the forms of ELISA and immunochromatographic strip test based on mouse monoclonal antibodies against Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli, a bacterium causing the fruit blotch disease. Fruit blotch disease is the most crucial problem for the plants in cucurbit family (cantaloupe, cucumber, watermelon, gourd, squash, and pumpkin). This test provides seed exporters and growers a tool to cost-effectively, conveniently, accurately, and rapidly (in 5 to 10 minutes) detect the disease.  The test also enables epidemiological studies, disease management and quality control for export disease-free seeds.


“Serotyping-NS1-ELISA: A method for detection of dengue NS1 protein and serotyping of dengue virus simultaneously” was recognized in the medical science category.  It was the work of BIOTEC team, led by Dr. Chunya Puttikhunt, and collaborators from Faculty of Science Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol and Chiang Mai Universities.  Dengue is caused by four closely related viruses, dengue serotypes 1 – 4.  Determination of dengue serotypes in current and previous epidemics is crucial for predicting of the severity of the current epidemics and also in detection of switch in predominant serotype, which could serve as a warning to dengue outbreak. The new assay “serotyping-NS1-ELISA” was developed to detect the NS1 protein and identify dengue serotypes simultaneously. This new method offers much simpler and faster diagnosis, compared to the conventional practice which requires laborious virus isolation followed by immunofluorescent assay and sophisticated RT-PCR.

Posted on 30 January 2013