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Radiomodifying and Antioxidant Plant Composites


Plant Composites from Specimens of Southern Caucasian Flora as Radiomodifying and Antioxidant Agents

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-RAD/Radiobiology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-CHM/Biochemistry/Biotechnology
  • AGR-FOD/Food & Nutrition/Agriculture

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Research Center of Radiation Medicine and Burns, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • Texas Technical University / Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, USA, TX, Lubbock\nPrivate University Witten/Herdecke gGmbH, Germany, Witten\nINAGROSA - Industrias Agrobiologicas, S.A., Spain, Madrid\nMcMaster University, Canada, ON, Hamilton\nMassachusetts General Hospital, USA, MA, Boston\nUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, USA, AR, Little Rock

Project summary

Intensive development of nuclear technologies including wide application of ionizing radiation for industrial and military purposes, technogenic accidents at Nuclear Power Plants, occurrence of ecological disaster zones due to high radiation background of an anthropogenic nature, as well as presence of permanent nuclear terror threats require establishment of adequate means to protect general population against the damaging action of radiation.

Available radioprotectors, mainly, substances of an aminothiol chemical nature, are frequently of limited value due to their serious toxic side effects and their lack of radiation recovery activity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to search for new radiation protectants and radiation recovery agents. Candidates for these agents may be found amongst natural antioxidant compounds, in particular, those of plant origin. The rich and unique flora of the Southern Caucasus region represents a great number of plants that have been used from time immemorial as medicinal remedies for the treatment of many diseases. Aims of the present project are motivated by the recognized biological activity and curative properties of these floral specimens, many of which were first described and used in the Middle Ages. Their use confirmed by modern research through rigorous scientific analysis.

The goals of the Project are: (1) to develop new composites, using biological active natural compounds obtained from raw plant material of various specimens of Caucasian flora, and (2) to study their potential radioprotective effects, in-vivo and in-vitro, following exposure to ionizing radiation.

To achieve the above-mentioned goals we plan:

–––- ––––––to select various plants with high antioxidant properties; selection will be done from regional flora of the Southern Caucasus;

- to develop the technology to obtain compounds with antioxidant properties from the selected plants; these compounds will be obtained and studied for their potential use as food additives;
- to carefully analyze these antioxidant composites for their potential radioprotective properties.

In the framework of this proposal we plan:

- to develop methods of isolation and purification of certain classes of chemical compounds from plant raw material (tea leaves, vine leaves, husks of walnut, sour fruits, citrus plants) with antioxidant properties, such as polyphenolics, vitamins, pectins, etc.;

- to make composites of separate fractions with and without addition of Са2+ and Со2+ ions;
- to study their antioxidant, antiradical and radioprotective properties in experiments in vitro and in vivo.

The following tasks will be solved in the frames of the Project:

Task 1 - Development of radioprotective composites from biological active natural compounds of different chemical classes, isolated from plant raw material of various Southern Caucasian floral specimens.

Task 2 - In-vivo analysis of the potential effects of these obtained composites in non-irradiated and irradiated animals (i.e., toxicity, mutagenicity, effect on survival, etc.). In-vitro analysis of the antioxidant, antiradical and radioprotective properties of tested composites.

From the regional Caucasian floral specimens and commercially available resources of Georgia we plan to select the plants with high content of compounds exerting antioxidant and anti-radiation properties. Plant raw material will be processed, including the stages of fixation, fermentation, extraction, concentration, filtration, drying, and isolation of separate classes of compounds (with the use of molecular sieve and affinity ion-exchange chromatography), as well as obtainment of plant composites. The resulting composites will be passed to the Research Center of Radiation Medicine and Burns (Armenia) for testing the antioxidant and radioprotective/radiorecovery properties in experiments in vitro and in vivo.

In order to determine radioprotective or radiorecovery activity, we will analyze, in-vivo, the endpoint of rat survival following oral treatment with diet-vehicle or diet, containing various composites obtained, before or after exposure to ionizing radiation. We will investigate clinical parameters and the cytogenetic state of bone marrow cells (BMCs) in irradiated and non-irradiated animals given the tested plant composites as food biological additives. Radioprotective/radiorecovery effects following their application will be studied according to the indices of frequency of chromosomal aberrations and the level of BMCs proliferative activity. We will also study, in-vitro, the effect of these composites using the chicken-embryo fibroblast cell model to analyze survival, apoptosis and proliferative rate in non-irradiated and irradiated cells. We plan to study and characterize the structure-functional state of cell membranes of erythrocytes and lymphocytes in both irradiated and non-irradiated animals that were given the studied plant composites as food additives.

Compounds of phenolic, pectic substances, vitamins and other biologically active compounds obtained from the different specimens of cultural and wild-growing Caucasian flora are under study at the Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Academy of Sciences of Georgia) for more than 25 years. In particular, all the a.m. compounds are investigated in concern of their radioprotective activity in case of internal irradiation by incorporated radionuclides.

Initial testing of composites from biological active compounds for antioxidant, antiradical, radio-modifying properties will be performed using in vitro and in vivo test systems at the Research Centre of Radiation Medicine and Burns, Ministry of Health, Republic of Armenia (WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network – REMPAN). This institution has scientific staff formerly engaged in the programs of USSR Ministry of Defense. At present the scientific-research team of highly qualified scientists and young specialists is formed at this Center for fulfillment of medical and biological research with funding from ISTC A-361 Project.

The project research team is composed of 40 highly educated specialists, involving 16 Ph.D. candidates of sciences and 4 inpiduals with Sc.D. degree, as well as specialists with special secondary technical education from Armenia and Georgia. Sixty-three percent of these are former “defense-related” scientists. This Project will enable us to apply the knowledge and experience these researchers gained in the “closed” defense laboratories, to address and solve medical and biological problems under “open” peaceful circumstances. It will also facilitate integration of researchers formerly engaged in military activities into an international community and promote widening connections between researchers from abroad and in the Newly Independent States (NIS).

The research relates to “Applied research and technology development”. Data obtained as a result of Project completion will have a significant impact on progress in protection living organisms against ionizing radiation. Recommendations will be given on application of new plant composites as biologically active food additives in medicine and radiobiology. Industrial technology will be developed to obtain plant radiomodifying composites.

Roles of foreign collaborators will include information exchange in the course of project fulfillment, reviewing progress reports and arranging joint workshops.

As a result of Project fulfillment, the plants with high content of antioxidant and antiradical compounds will be selected out of the wide variety of Caucasian flora. Composites derived from these plants will be suggested for wide use as dietary radioprotectors. Prophylactic use of the obtained plant composites may be useful to inhabitants of areas with high technogenic radiation background and areas contaminated by radionuclides, as well as to patients undergoing radiation therapy aimed to remove tumors and facilitate repair of proximal ionizing radiation damaged healthy tissues. Information obtained from these studies may also be of great significance for National Public Health systems worldwide, environmental and human health protection and present both scientific and commercial interest for specialists in biotechnology, medicine, and producers of means for radiation protection.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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