Components to ward off cancer present in tapioca leaves: Israel for combined research
Malappuram: Cancer preventing components have been discovered in the leaves of tapioca. In a research under the principal scientist at Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), CA Jayaprakash found the presence of cancer evading element cyanogen in tapioca leaves. He published his findings in the international research journal ‘Toxicology’. Dr Mohanan of Sree Chitra Research Institute in Poojappura provided guidance for the research in which students T Joseph and S Sreejith also participated.
Dr Jayaprakash had earlier synthesised biopesticide with the cyanogen molecule separated from the tapioca leaf. The machine for this discovery had been set up at CTCRI with the aid of Vikram Sarabhai Space Research Centre (VSSC) and Jayaprakash obtained a patent for it. Further research on the tapioca leaf surfaced with the presence of cancer preventing components in it.
Jayaprakash said that the cyanogen causes bitterness of leaves. It has been found that the linamarin and lotaustralin, which are the components in cyanogen, inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Some Israeli scientists have already deduced this finding. However, technology to separate this element from the leaf had not been developed by them. CTCRI director MN Sheela informed that the Israeli team has expressed their interest in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with CTCRI. But it needs approval from the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Dr Jayaprakash claims that the tapioca leaves have several benefits. Apart from preventing cancer and making biopesticides for crops, mosquito killing biopesticides can also be prepared from these leaves.