PSS’s Abidi aids research team focusing on new pollen cleaning protocol
By: Norman Martin
A Texas Tech University research team that included Noureddine Abidi, an internationally-recognized professor with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, have found a new method for cleaning out the insides of pollen grains so the non-allergenic shells can be used to carry medicines or vaccines into the human body.
In an ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering journal paper titled, "A Chemical Treatment Method for Obtaining Clean and Intact Pollen Shells of Different Species," the team described a simple cleaning protocol that can now enable pollen grains of different species to potentially be used as therapeutic or vaccine carriers.
It was co-authored by Harvinder Gill, Texas Tech's Whitacre Endowed Chairman of Science and Engineering, and Abidi, who also serves as managing director of Texas Tech's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute. The paper also was authored by chemical engineering graduate students Pedro Gonzalez-Cruz, Md Jasim Uddin and Shashwati Atwe.
The scientific team tested ragweed, sunflower, black alder and lamb's quarters pollens, and the new cleaning protocol worked on all four. Though unable to test every pollen species – there are thousands of them – the scientists are confident it should work on any that have apertures, which are areas on the walls of pollen grains where the wall is thinner and/or softer.
Abidi's role in the study included aiding in the chemical and physical characterization using techniques such as thermogravimetric analysis and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy.
One of the main applications for the new pollen cleaning protocol is to hopefully use the empty pollen shells to develop edible vaccines and medicines. There are two major benefits to edible vaccines as opposed to a traditional vaccine injected via a hypodermic needle. They are psychological and immunological.
Abidi has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on funded research grants totaling more than $16 million since 1999. He has published over 102 peer review publications and book chapters. Prior to joining Tech in 1999, Abidi worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the materials and membrane processes laboratory of the National School of Chemical Engineering of Montpellier (France); and a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of physical chemistry of Condensed Matter at the University of Montpellier II (France).
He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from the University of Med I, Faculty of Sciences Oujda (Morocco); and his doctorate in theoretical, physical, and analytical chemistry from the University of Montpellier II (France). He was awarded the H.D.R. (Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches), a French diploma required to be full professor in French universities, in engineering science from the University of Haute Alsace, Mulhouse (France) in 2007.
CONTACT: Noureddine Abidi, Managing Director, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0125NM19 / Editor's Note: For a full-text version of Amanda Bowman's article from the Texas Tech Office of Communications & Marketing, click here
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Editor: Norman Martin
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