UNAIR FST lecturer uses beta-glucosidase enzyme in microorganisms for ginseng biotransformation

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Biodiesel products from Chlorella vulgaris microalgae. (Photo: Asthesia Dhea)

UNAIR NEWS – Ginseng is Korean medicinal plant believed to have many benefits. However, the active compound in ginseng, called Minor Ginsenoside, is very limited, only 0.001% of total weight of ginseng. One effort used to increase the amount of active compound is using enzyme modification.

With the basic knowledge obtained during previous studies in South Korea, Almando Geraldi, S.Si, P.hD., Biology lecturer of Faculty of Science and Technology, Universitas Airlangga (FST UNAIR) used beta-glucosidase enzyme producing microorganisms in Indonesia for ginseng active compound biotransformation.

“I think Indonesia has great biodiversity, especially in terms of microorganisms. Well, why don’t I look for the beta-glucosidase enzyme in Indonesia, “said Gerry.

It is known that most of the active compounds contained in ginseng, called Major Ginsenoside, have a lot of sugar groups causing these compounds not easily absorbed by the body. Therefore, the sugar group must be cut with an enzyme called beta-glucosidase to produce minor ginsenoside.

Three tested microorganisms

In the research, Gerry took three samples of bacteria from various places, a hot spring, oil spilled area and a slaughterhouse.

“The bacteria tested were from Indonesia, some bacteria were obtained from the Cangar hot spring, and the other bacteria were isolated from oil spilled area and the other from slaughterhouse,” he said.

According to Gerry, the three bacteria have their own uniqueness, such as from bacteria originating from Cangar hot springs, Batu, can survive at 60 °. Furthermore, oil spills and slaughterhouses have high capacity enzymes capable of converting unique substrates.

“From the hot springs Cangar, they (bacteria, ed) can stand at a temperature of 60 ° and the higher the temperature the faster the reaction. The other two bacteria, one isolated from oil spilled area and the other from slaughterhouse. Yes, from extreme places like those, there are many unique substrates. They are expected to have high enzymatic ability, “explained Gerry.

Through various stages

The research first stage is screening, where isolated microorganisms are observed whether they are able to produce the enzyme beta-glucosidase. According to Gerry, the time used for isolation and screening is rather long, which is around three weeks, because they have to take samples in the field.

Furthermore, according to the lecturer graduated from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the isolates can produce beta-glucosidase, but cannot produce in large quantities. To be able to produce large amounts of enzyme, the beta-glucosidase coding gene from these isolates is cloned and transferred to bacteria that can grow fast and are easily controlled for their growth, such as Escherichia coli.

“After getting the large amount of enzyme I can test it to the substrate easily, in this case, Major Ginsenoside,” he added.

From research that has been done and published in Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology (Scopus, Q2), according to Gerry, the results showed that enzyme that can convert Major Ginsenoside was from isolates obtained from slaughterhouses and oil spilled area. Both can cut two sugar groups in Major Ginsenoside to produce Minor Ginsenoside from type F2 which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

“Its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and also some other activities have been commercialized in Korea. Both of these enzymes can convert to F2, “he said. From this research, Gerry hoped to find a strong isolate of beta-glucosidase producing microorganisms from Indonesia to be used in the conversion of active ginseng compounds. Furthermore, Gerry also hoped to apply the results of his research to improve the efficacy of typical Indonesian medicinal plants, such as Javanese ginseng, so it can be competitiveglobally. (*)

Author: Asthesia Dhea Cantika

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh

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