Centre for Lipid Research of CSIR-IICT is recognized nationally and internationally as centre for excellence in the area of lipid research. Vegetable oil industry is one of the major industries in the world with a huge turnover next to petrochemicals. Vegetable oils not only play a significant role in nutrition but find use in diverse applications. Centre for Lipid Research has given major thrust on basic as well as applied research. The vision and goals of the Lipids Group mainly pertain to Newer Processing Methodologies for Vegetable Oils, Oleochemicals and Specialty Chemicals, Biolubricants, Biodiesel and Nutraceuticals. Centre for Lipid Research is presently executing several R & D projects with the financial support of several Government Agencies and Industrial Organizations. Centre for Lipid Research has established a good rapport with the Indian Industries and CSIR has taken a decision to strengthen this group by recognizing it as “The Centre of Excellence for Lipid Research”
The Centre has established state of art facilities in the areas of Vegetable Oils and Allied Products, Biodiesel, and Lubricants in addition to some specialized pilot units during the 11th five year plan. This facility caters the needs of the vegetable oil and allied product industry on par with the International Standards. The Centre for Lipid Research is also organizing several Human Resource Development Programmes for the benefit of the vegetable oil and allied industry. In the present scenario, renewable raw materials are gaining prominence offering greater opportunities for researchers to develop processes and products based on green technologies and the Centre for Lipid Research is geared up to meet the future challenges.
Enzymatic Degumming of Rice Bran Oil: Rice bran is a valuable co-product of the rice milling industry and its oil content ranges from 12-25% depending upon the quality of the bran. Chemical refining of rice bran oil generally results in losses considerably higher than those encountered in other vegetable oils due to the presence of larger amounts of free fatty acids and non-triacylglycerol constituents. Refining losses can be considerably reduced by using physical refining. For successful implementation of physical refining, the most important pre-requisite is the efficient removal of gums. Many Indian oil-processing units have adopted physical refining without taking proper measures to lower the phosphorus content. The resulting dark coloured oil fetches less value in the market.
Enzymatic degumming process is the answer for the entire problem as it catalyzes the conversion of hydratable and non-hydratable phospholipids into water-soluble lyso-phospholipids, which are then removed by centrifugation, yielding degummed oil with lower phosphorus. CSIR-IICT was actively involved in solving the problems related to rice bran processing under programmes funded by Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses & Maize (TMOP & M), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and came out with an efficient enzymatic degumming technology for rice bran oil (patent filed) employing a commercially available enzyme to bring down the residual phosphorus levels to 0 to 5 ppm after bleaching and de-waxing. This oil, if refined in a well-maintained physical refining unit, will produce good quality edible rice bran oil. The enzymatic degumming process is less energy intensive, minimizes the loss of oil, reduces water consumption and is more environment-friendly. The enzymatic degumming technology is one of the outstanding projects of CSIR-IICT in terms of its reach and impact on the Indian vegetable Oil industry. CSIR-IICT has transferred the technology to nineteen rice bran refineries and eight Project Engineering companies (as licensee) spread over nine states of the country.
Rice Bran Wax: Rice bran wax (3 to 6% of crude oil) is a by-product obtained during dewaxing process. A simple bench-scale process (patent filed) was developed for the upgradation and bleaching of crude rice bran wax. The upgraded wax is a good substitute to the imported carnauba wax fully or partially. The process has been demonstrated to four industries. A process for the hydrogenated wax was also developed and transferred to one industry.
Triacontanol and Octacosanol: Triacontanol and octacosanol are presently marketed as plant growth stimulant and cholesterol reducing agents respectively. IICT has developed a bench-scale patented process for the production of these two products (triacontanol with 30% purity and octacosanol with 20% purity) from crude rice bran wax and transferred the process to three industries.
Oryzanol: The soap-stock generated during alkali refining is a good source for oryzanol, a biologically active component used in foods and pharmaceuticals with several biological activities like cholesterol lowering property. A process was developed on laboratory scale for the isolation of oryzanol upto 60-70% purity (two patents granted).
Lecithin and Lysolecithin: Lecithin and lysolecithin are the by-products of water and enzymatic degumming processes of rice bran oil. These products have lot of potential in food and pharmaceuticals applications. A laboratory scale-process was developed for bleaching of these products.
Phytic Acid and Inositol: Phytic acid is present in rice bran and is endowed with attractive biological properties. A bench-scale process was developed for the extraction of phytic acid from deoiled rice bran. A laboratory scale process was also optimized for the preparation myo-inositol from phytic acid.
Eri Silkworm Oil: Eri silkworms (Samia cynthia ricini) are grown on two different host plants, castor (Ricinus communis Linn.) and tapioca (Manihot utilizsima Phol.) leaves. CSIR-IICT has developed pilot scale process for the extraction of oil (upto 18--20% on dry pupae basis) for eri silkworm pupae grown on both varieties. The pupal oil was found to be rich with a-linolenic acid (ALA) upto 58 and 43% in the oil of silkworm pupae grown on tapioca and castor leaves respectively. A laboratory scale process was also developed for the refining of eri silkworm oil.
Glycerol-Based Carbon Acid and Base Catalysts for Green Processes: Utilization of glycerol for the preparation of carbon catalysts is completely a novel concept and enhances the value of glycerol and the economy of biodiesel and oleochemical industry. Heterogeneous carbon-based acid and base catalysts were developed from crude glycerol (by-product of biodiesel process / technical grade glycerol / glycerol-pitch-waste product from fat splitting industry). The carbon acid catalyst exhibited excellent esterification activity particularly for the conversion of free fatty acids present in indigenous non-edible oils to biodiesel thus reducing effluent load by avoiding sulfuric acid as catalyst. The acid catalyst was modified to base catalyst with a very good transesterification activity for the production of biodiesel from neat vegetable oils. These carbon catalysts are very stable, water resistant and exhibited extra-ordinary recycling capability without any leaching into the reaction systems. The carbon acid catalyst was successfully employed for the preparation of variety of esters, protection and deprotection of alcohols and phenols. Apart from biodiesel preparation, the carbon acid catalyst has extra-ordinary potential to replace sulfuric acid or other heterogeneous catalysts for variety of reactions
Glycerol-based Crown Ethers and Dendrimers: CSIR-IICT prepared several glycerol-based crown ethers namely, hydroxymethyl 15-crown-5, crown ether mixture and alkyloxy methyl-15-crown-5, benzyl vanillin methyl 15-crown-5 and veratryl methyl 15-crown-5 etc. All these crown ethers exhibited very good surface active property, CMC and alkali metal ion extraction ability. Glycerol-based dendrimers with pentaerythritol core and amine and Schiff’s base functionalities at the periphery were also prepared and are being evaluated for biological activity and enzyme immobilization studies.
Dr. R.B.N. Prasad, Chief Scientist
Dr. P. Vijayalakshmi, Chief Scientist
Dr. Arabinda Chaudhuri, Chief Scientist
Lipid based gene & drug delivery systems, DNA vaccination
Dr. B.L.A. Prabhavathi Devi, Principal Scientist
Dr. Pradosh P. Chakrabarti, Principal Scientist
K.N. Prasanna Rani, Principal Scientist
Dr. Rajkumar Banerjee, Principal Scientist
Gene Therapy for Cancer, Lipid based anticancer therapeutics
Dr. K.V. Padmaja, Principal Scientist
Dr. M.S.L. Karuna, Scientist
Dr. Sanjit Kanjilal, Scientist
Dr. Rati Ranjan Nayak, Scientist
Dr. Ram Chandra Reddy Jala, Scientist
Dr. B.V.S.K. Rao, Sr. Technical Officer (3)
K. Saravanan, Sr. Technical Officer (1)
T. Ravinder, Technical Officer