Dr. Jason McCallum and Dr. Chris Kirby have found a much faster way to purify specific plant-based compounds so they can be analyzed.
They have already used the technique to isolate and purify a compound from hops that appears to be able to counter cancers.
The technique takes minutes instead of traditional methods which take days and will help researchers who are looking for plant compounds that improve health, agriculture and nutrition.
Dr. McCallum worked in nutri-science and spent hundreds of hours in his lab separating various plant extracts into pure chemical compounds – until he helped discover the new, much faster, approach.
Their UPLC technology can extract a pure compound from many different parts of plants – leaves, flowers, fruit, etc.
“Older purification methods produced large volumes of compounds for analysis, and for our purposes, we required only a fraction of that output,” says Dr. McCallum.
“Our theory was simple – by reducing the scale of the device and materials used, we could decrease the time to complete analysis and reduce waste.”
The technique will help those working for to find compounds to help agriculture, nutri-science and pharmaceuticals.
“Through UMSF, we’ve confirmed the anti-cancer activity of hops components in a multicellular organism (brine shrimp) for the first time,” McCallum said.
“The mystery that cancer researchers will need to explore further is, how are these hops chemicals destroy cancer cells,” he said.