Newly developed ultrathin heteroprotein film: better alternative to isolated protein films

Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films with excellent thermal, mechanical and pH stability which can pave the way for expanding applications of thin films in biomedical and food packaging industries. These films are much thinner as compared to the other protein or plastic films. They are soft and thin and have the advantage of being more flexible than the other films.

In the recent past, several modifications of these protein films with the help of suitable heteroprotein complexes were reported by different research groups. These complexes were usually developed from bulk solutions.

A research group from the physical sciences division of Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, has successfully developed ultrathin monolayer protein films consisting of two globular proteins: bovine serum albumin (BSA) and lysozyme (Lys). They used the technique called using Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique which gives the films thickness in the order of nanometer. 

This research work is led by Dr. Sarathi Kundu, Associate Professor, along with Mr. Raktim J. Sarmah, SRF, a Ph.D. student developed a monolayer heteroprotein film – the first one using this technique. They explored the different structures and morphologies of this complex films at variable pH conditions to explore its stability and related properties.

The complex formation between the two proteins occurred at a unique pH of 9.2 as a result of an electrostatic attraction along with hydrophobic interactions. This monolayer complex was formed at the air-water interface, which was later transferred to the silicon substrates at a surface pressure of 18 mN/m for further study. It was shown that the monolayers at the air-water interface can hold its intrinsic structure for a sufficiently longer period of time due to the complexation forming a highly stable film.

Films of such protein complex of BSA and Lys can be useful for fabricating highly stable biodegradable thin films of different protein complexes for expanding its applications in the area of thin-film technology. Diverse physicochemical methods such as parameter alteration or incorporation of different fatty acids or polyol moieties (glycerol, starch, gelatin, etc.) into this protein complex can make the film free standing for diverse applications. This research work was recently published in the esteemed journal of Food Hydrocolloids under the reputed Elsevier publishers.

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Newly patented diagnostic tool for aquaculture pathogen to boost shrimp cultivation

Scientists have developed a handy diagnostic tool that detects an aquaculture pathogen known as the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV). The peptide-based diagnostic tool by scientists of Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been grated patent on 31 March 2022 as an alternative biorecognition element.

Infection caused by the WSSV to the shrimp Penaeus vannamei results in huge loss of crop. This high value super-food is susceptible to a wide range of viral and bacterial pathogens and the probability of occurrence of infections is rather high.  Improved nutrition, probiotics, disease resistance, quality control of water, seed and feed, immuno-stimulants and affordable vaccines play an important role in enhancing the production. Technologies for early and rapid detection of pathogens on the field will help fish and shell-fish farming which provides significant export revenue to the country which is a leading supplier of shrimp to the USA.

To provide a handy, self-use diagnostic for WSSV, Dr Prabir Kulabhusan, Dr Jyutika Rajwade and Dr Kishore Paknikar developed a lateral flow assay using gold nanoparticles for easy visualization of the results. Instead of using poly-/mono-clonal antibodies in assay development, the ARI scientists selected twelve amino acid containing peptides from a phage display library by biopanning. This was a time- and cost-saving approach, eliminating the need for immunization of laboratory animals to obtain the antisera. With the use of peptides, cold-chain requirements for storage are reduced and the assay becomes production friendly.

“Our data indicates high specificity (100%) and sensitivity (96.77%) of the assay, early detection from hemolymph, highly reproducible results with a time-to-result of only 20 minutes,” said Dr Jyutika Rajwade. 

The inventors have published this research in Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology and Journal of Molecular Modelling. ARI PhD student Ms Snehal Jamalpure-Lakka, has presented this idea at the National Bio-Entrepreneurship Conclave (NBEC)-2021 and awarded. She will take this work further for commercialization.


  • PK Kulabhusan, JM Rajwade, ASS Hameed, KM Paknikar. 2017. Lateral flow assay for rapid detection of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) using a phage-displayed peptide as bio-recognition probe. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 101:4459–4469
  • S Jamalpure, G Panditrao, PK Kulabhusan, AS Sahul Hameed, KM Paknikar, M Joshi, JM Rajwade. 2020. In silico studies on the interaction of phage displayed biorecognition element (TFQAFDLSPFPS) with the structural protein VP28 of White spot syndrome virus. Journal of Molecular Modelling. 26:264 10.1007/s00894-020-04524-z
  • Immunoassay, peptide-based agent and field-usable kit for early rapid detection of white spot syndrome virus (Patent No. 393879)

Handy assay for detection of WSSV

(High specificity for WSSV, other viruses not detected)

In-silico study of VP28 (major capsid protein of WSSV) binding to the 12-mer peptide (blue)


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