Saturday, September 26, 2020
Systems Biology Of Prebiotic Synthesis



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Group Leader:

Dr. Munir Ahmad Anwar

Principal Scientist


Team Members:

  • Dr. Muhammad Afzal Ghauri    (Deputy Chief Scientist)
  • Mrs. Shazia Khaliq (Senior Scientist)
  • Mr. Fakir Muhammad (Principal Scientific Assistant)
  • Mr. Amer Zahid (Senior Scientific Assistant)
  • Ms. Asma Munir (PhD Student)
  • Ms. Anam Nasir (PhD Student)
  • Ms. Fizza Ashraf (PhD Student)
  • Ms. Iram Ashfaq (PhD Student)
  • Ms. Neelma Ashraf (PhD Student)
  • Ms. Komal Ghauri (MPhil Leading to PhD Student)
  • Ms. Ayesha Zahid (MPhil Student)
  • Mr. Fazal Sattar (MPhil Student)



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. Systems Biology of Prebiotic Synthesis is relatively new research area in the Industrial Biotechnology Division, where we are exploiting 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. We are also interested in the bioactive compounds with antimicrobial properties produced by the prebiotic synthesizing and other microorganisms. The specific objectives of our research are:

  • Exploring bacterial, archaeal and plant systems for prebiotic (exopolysaccharides e.g. fructans & glucans) synthesizing enzymes
  • Characterizing genes and enzymes (fructosyltransferase: FTF and Glucosyltransferase: GTF) involved in exopolysaccharide synthesis
  • Protein Engineering  for generating FTF and GTF enzymes with desired properties
  • Bioprocess development for the synthesis of novel prebiotic compounds from economical substrates for industrial applications (animal feed, food etc.)
  • Synthesis and characterization of the bioactive compounds with antimicrobial properties produced by the prebiotic synthesizing microorganisms and their application in poultry and animal feed industry
  • Identification and characterization of bioactive compounds with antimicrobial properties produced by Streptomyces sp. and exploring biosynthetic pathways involved in the synthesis of these compounds.


We use a range of analytical tools and microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics approaches to achieve these goals. 


Salient Facilities: 

  1. Thermocycler for Standard and Gradient PCR
  2. Gel Electrophoresis Units for DNA and Proteins
  3. Sonicator
  4. Lyophilizer
  5. Fermenter
  6. Shaking Incubators (4° C to 70° C)
  7. UV-Visible Spectrophotometers
  8. HPLC
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