Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Biotechnology of Prebiotics and Antimicrobials



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Group Leader:

Dr. Munir Ahmad Anwar

Dy. Chief Scientist


Team Members:

  • Dr. Shazia Khaliq (Principal Scientist)
  • Ms. Iqra Jawad  (Junior Scientist)
  • Dr. Anam Nasir (Assistant Professor, HEC IPFP Fellow)
  • Ms. Bakhtawar Maqbool (Research Associate)
  • Mr. Umair Abbas (Research Assistant)
  • Mr. Abdul Mateen (Research Assistant)
  • Mr. Amer Zahid (Principal Scientific Assistant)
  • Mr. Muhammad Farooq Aslam (Senior Scientific Assistant)
  • Mr. Amjad Gohar (Senior Scientific Assistant)


Biotechnology of Prebiotics and Antimicrobials is a relatively new research area in the Industrial Biotechnology Division. In this research group, the research objectives have further been categorized into two themes i.e. Prebiotics (Dr. Munir A. Anwar) and Antimicrobials (Dr. Shazia Khaliq).



Biosynthesis and Applications of Prebiotics

Many plant, fungal and bacterial species are capable of producing fructan polymers and/or fructooligosaccharides (FOS) that can be distinguished by the type of glycosidic linkages between fructosyl units. So far, two main types of fructans have been identified: inulins and levans, containing β(2-1) and β(2-6) linked fructosyl units, respectively. Fructans retain proven prebiotic properties and are emerging as functional foods that can address health issues by protection from gastroenteritis, immune regulation, improved digestion and gut function. We are exploring different microbial systems (bacteria, fungi, archaea) and their enzymes with an aim to acquire highly efficient strains/enzymes capable of synthesizing novel prebiotics from cheaper raw materials. Moreover, we are also exploring the potential of prebiotics as feed additives, modulators of gut microbiota and for pharmaceutical applications.


Biosynthesis of bioactive compounds/antimicrobials from Streptomyces Bacillus spp. and applications


Streptomyces are Gram-positive, filamentous soil bacteria with great industrial relevance, as they produce clinically important antibiotics and other bioactive molecules for medical, veterinary and agricultural use. Their ability to synthesize diverse natural products is temporally and genetically coordinated with a complex developmental life cycle. They grow as a vegetative mycelium of branching hyphae and disperse via spores formed on specialized reproductive structures called aerial hyphae. The main objective of this project is to explore and characterize the indigenous Streptomyces spp. producing bioactive compounds and molecular pathways (NRPSs & PKSs) involved behind their synthesis and characterization of compounds to find out novel ones.


Lipopeptide biosurfactants are surface active biomolecules that are produced by a variety of microorganisms. Microbial lipopeptides have gained the interest of microbiologists, chemists and biochemists for their high biodiversity as well as efficient action, low toxicity and good biodegradability in comparison to synthetic counterparts. Our group has an interest in the microbial production of lipopeptide biosurfactants having antifungal and antibacter ial potential from Bacillus spp. and their potential industrial applications


The specific objectives of our research are:

  • Exploring bacterial and archaeal systems for prebiotic exopolysaccharides (e.g. fructans & glucans) synthesizing enzymes
  • Characterizing genes/enzymes involved in exopolysaccharide synthesis
  • Bioprocess development for the synthesis of novel prebiotic compounds from economical substrates for industrial applications
  • Exploring the potential of prebiotics as feed additives, modulators of gut microbiota and for pharmaceutical applications
  • Identification and characterization of bioactive compounds with antimicrobial properties produced by Streptomyces sp. and exploring biosynthetic pathways involved in the synthesis of these compounds.


Lab Activites:

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