Thursday, January 28, 2010

Understanding of Immunoisolation

A variety of systems can be employed for cell or enzyme immobilization. These include, for example, microcarriers, gel entrapment, hollow fibers, encapsulation and conformal coatings. The latter three have been extensively tested in small animal models over the last 20 years, particularly in the area of diabetes therapy. The polymeric materials used in bioartificial endocrine devices (the terms bioartificial and endocrine device are often distinguished from ‘artificial organs’ due to the presence of tissue in the former two) serve two major purposes:

1. As a scaffold and an extracellular matrix they favor the attachment and differentiation of functional cells or cell clusters and keep them separate from one another;

2. As permselective envelopes which provide immunoisolation of the transplant from the host.

The central concept of immunoisolation is the placement of a semipermeable barrier between the host and the transplanted tissue. The properties required for the semipermeable membranes used in cell transplantation depend strongly on the source of cells. An allograft is a transplant between individuals within one species, while a xenograft is a graft between individuals from different species.

Immunoisolation of transplanted cells by artificial barriers that permit crossover of low molecular weight substances, such as nutrients, electrolytes, oxygen, and bioactive secretory products, though not of immune cells and high molecular weight proteins such as antibodies (IgG, IgM), provides great promise for developing new technologies to overcome these problems in a reasonable time frame.

Device Geometry Considerations

The immunoisolation of allogeneic or xenogeneic islets can be achieved via two main classes of technology: macroencapsulation and microencapsulation. Macroencapsulation refers to the reliance on larger, prefabricated “envelopes” in which a slurry of islets or cell clusters is slowly introduced and sealed prior to implantation. An intravascular device usually consists of a tube through which blood flows, on the outside of which is the implanted tissue contained within a housing. The device is then implanted as a shunt in the cardiovascular system. Extravascular devices are implanted directly into tissue in a body space such as the peritoneal cavity, though some have also been vascularized into a major artery such as in Calafiore’s clinical trial. Geometrical alternatives include cylindrical tubular membranes containing tissue within the lumen and planar diffusion chambers comprised of parallel flat sheet membranes between which the implanted tissue is placed.

Microencapsulation refers to the formation of a spherical gel around each group of islets, cell cluster or tissue fragment. Microcapsules based on natural or synthetic polymers have been used for the encapsulation of both mammalian and microbial cells as well as various bioactive substances such as enzymes, proteins and drugs. A review of alternative semipermeable microcapsules prepared from oppositely charged water soluble polyelectrolyte pairs has been presented in recent papers. The main advantage of this approach is that cells, or bioactive agents, are isolated from the body by a microporous semipermeable membrane and the encapsulated material is thus protected against the attack of the immune system. In the case of microencapsulated pancreas islets, a suspension of microcapsules is typically introduced in the peritoneal cavity to deliver insulin to the portal circulation.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Cell Encapsulation

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Future of Plant-cell Tissue Culture

The commercial potential of plant-cell tissue culture has not yet been fully recognized and is underexploited. Plant-cell tissue culture has two primary products: plant tissue for efficient micropropagation of plants and the use of plant-tissue culture to produce specialty chemicals.

Plant-cell, tissue, and organ cultures can be used in processes analogous to traditional fermentation processes for producing chemicals. Although less than 5% of the world's plants have even been identified taxonomically, from among the known plants over 20,000 chemicals are produced - about 4 times as many as from all microorganisms. Very few of the chemicals in pure or semipure form have been tested for their pharmacological activity for other uses. The enzymatic systems in plants can be used to generate completely new compounds when supplied with analogues of natural substrates; thus, plants contain an underused biochemical diversity. Even the limited use of this vast biochemical potential has had important impacts on mankind; in western countries, about one-fourth of all medicines are derived from compounds extracted from plants. Other plant products are used as flavors, fragrances, or pesticides.

Plant-cell tissue culture to produce chemicals commercially has been exploited in Japan, although regulatory approval for medicinal uses has proved difficult and commercial production is restricted to food uses and pigment production. In Japan, a government-sponsored consortium of universities and corporations was recently developed to establish a foundation for plant-cell culture exploitation (i.e., a precompetitive research thrust). In the US plant-cell tissue is not being exploited for chemical production, although some companies are developing processes for the production of the chemotherapeutic agent taxol.

The major technical barriers to the commercial exploitation of plant-cell tissue culture are low growth rates and relatively low product yields. To mitigate those problems, research is needed in subjects as diverse as bioreactor strategies to maintain high-density cultures and enable large-scale production of chemicals through organ cultures and a mechanistic understanding of the role of elicitors in activating pathways for secondary metabolites that could lead to higher productivities of compounds with therapeutic value.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Bio Process Engineering

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Role of Bio-Process engineering in agriculture and food

Bioprocess engineering in agriculture and the food industry involves the application of biocatalysts (living cells or their components) to produce useful and value-added products, and it offers opportunities to design and produce new or improved agricultural and food products and their manufacturing processes. This will likely have a great impact on the food-processing industry. In the increasingly health-conscious society, genetically engineered microorganisms and specialty enzymes will find increased use in improving the nutritional, flavoring, and storage characteristics and safety of food products. Products under development range from genetically improved strains of freeze-resistant yeast used in frozen bakery products to phage-resistant dairy (yogurt) starter cultures. Chymosin, a product of recombinant E. coli, is already used in the milk-clotting step of cheese manufacture, and a recombinant maltogenic amylase is being used as an antistaling agent. Enzyme-based immunoassays could develop into a widely used method for detecting pesticides in foods at parts-per-billion concentrations. Challenges that must be addressed include the economics of production and regulatory issues.

The most important applications of bioprocess-engineering research and development related to agriculture and food involve production of agricultural chemicals for control of animal and plant diseases, growth-stimulating agents for improved yield, and biological insecticides and herbicides; increasing bioprocess efficiencies for fermented foods, natural food additives, food enzymes as processing aids, and separation and purification of the products; use of plant-cell culture systems to produce secondary metabolites or chemical substances of economic importance; and efficient use of renewable biomass resources for production of liquid fuel and chemical feedstocks and efficient treatment and management of agricultural wastes and wastes from food-processing industries.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Bio Process Engineering