I am excited to share a preview of my Ph.D. work at the Gulbarga University under Dr. Ramesh L Londonkar (Professor, Dept of Biotechnology, Gulbarga University).
I am excited about this phase of my life, as this involves some original work with the leaves of Strelitzia reginae. The flowers of Strelitzia reginae are popularly known as the bird of paradise flowers or the crane flowers. The plant is indigenous to South Africa. Strelitzia reginae is a very popular ornamental plant. It was first introduced to Britain in 1773 and grown at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. Since then, it has been widely introduced around the world.
I became interested in doing work on this plant while I was doing a literature survey. There are 5 species of Sterlitzia namely- Sterlitzia nicolai, Sterlitzia alba, Sterlitzia caudata, Sterlitzia juncea and Sterlitzia reginae. Quite a considerable work has happened on the plant parts of Strelitzia Nicolai. An animal protein bilirubin is found in the plant extracts of Strelitzia Nicolai. This finding is intriguing, an animal protein in a plant! Will this give out some evolutionary links? To my excitement, a few years later researchers have also worked on Strelitzia reginae and found the same protein. The roots of the genus are used as traditional medicines to treat urinary tract infections.
I have started work on the pharmacological effects of leaf extracts of Strelitzia reginae. I collected around 5kgs of the leaves from the beautifully maintained gardens at the Raman Research Institute with help from Mr. Ram Subramanian (Retd PRO at RRI) in Feb 2018. This work is original and till now nobody has worked on this area, at least no literature is found. As I said earlier, I am excited to continue in this research journey.