Screening of coagulant proteins from plant material in southern India

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Access to fresh water is limited due to the growing population and to provide safe drinking water is a global challenge. In this initial study, about a hundred different samples were screened for coagulation activity. Amongst the plants tested were fruits and vegetable pulps, leaves and seeds (like jackfruit, tamarind, papaya, orange, watermelon, pineapple, cucumber, green gram, peas, black gram, cluster bean rice, maize, chili, cabbage, mustard, cauliflower, beetroot and carrot). The crude extracts were prepared in water and salt solution in order to extract the coagulant protein and compare the coagulation activity. Among the tested samples, only a few seed extracts showed coagulation activity. The seed extracts of mustard and cabbage showed coagulation activity in both water and salt extracts and were comparable to that of Moringa seed extract. The salt extracts showed higher activity compared to that of water extract in most of the samples tested. The coagulation activity was stable after incubation at 95 °C for 5 hours implying heat resistance. A protein profile analysis showed major protein bands with a molecular weight around 6.5 and 9 kDa. In this preliminary study, mustard and cabbage seed extracts were promising in terms of coagulation and heat resistance, so could be an alternative to Moringa seed for water treatment and should be investigated further.

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