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Bamboo: A Plant with Tremendous Potential for Protection against Ionizing Radiations

In this modern era humans are exposed to the radiations by means of space exploration, radiation therapy in cancer and other diagnostic procedures. So, shielding of human in such conditions is very essential. Radioprotector are the compounds which protect human beings from the harmful effect of ionizing radiations and are generally given to human before the radiation exposure. Till date no such drug is approved by FDA except amifostine, which is also not used due to its cumulative toxicity. So, the search of ideal radioprotector led researcher to explore natural sources having properties such as antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory actions which are essential for radioprotection and causes no toxicity to human. Up to some extent researchers were successful and have found the radioprotective potential of many plants like tulsi, palak, turmeric, garlic, ginger, etc. But still no proper radioprotector which can be administered to human for the protection is available in the market.
Our study was a little step forward in the search of radio protectors. We selected one such plant with all the above said properties i.e. “BAMBOO”. India is the second largest reserve of bamboo after china. Bamboo is also known as “The Green Gold” and widely used by Indians for their livelihood. Bamboo also has its importance as medicine since ancient times in Indian Ayurveda. It is used in hard tumors, blood purification, respiratory disorders, urinary tract infections, inflammatory disorders and in many aliments by tribal community. Bamboo is miraculous plant due to its richness in phytochemicals. It contains high amount of poly phenolic compounds which are the cherry on top for radioprotection.
In our study we made polyphenol rich leaf extract of different bamboo species. Standardization of the prepared extract was done using eight polyphenol compounds by HPLC. The prepared extract was tested on various in vitro and in vivo models for evaluation of radioprotective activity. Our preliminary research findings in vitro models indicates that prepared bamboo leaf extract showed protection against radiation induced genetic damage. Further in-vivo studies are ongoing for systematic evaluation of radioprotective activity. Our research team has reported this activity of bamboo for the first time and have published preliminary findings.
Dr Priti Mehta received research grant of Rs 42 million from Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India as interdisciplinary project with Dr Sonal Bakshi, faculty of Institute of Science. Ms Mansi Patel received INSPIRE SRF fellowship to work for this proect.
Ms Mansi Patel, Research Scholar, Institute of Pharmacy