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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

Dr.Sirimal Premakumara wins Chandrasena Memorial Award

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 06 January, ( senior Research Officer Dr.Sirimal Premakumara who serves at the Industrial Technology Institute [ITI] has been awarded prestigious Professor Chandrasena Memorial Award 2006 for his exceptional research contribution to the field of organic chemistry, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Bioactivity studies.Dr.Sirimal Premakumara received the award at the  recently concluded Annual General meeting of the Institute of Chemistry held in Colombo.Dr.Sirimal Premakumara received the award at the recently concluded Annual General meeting of the Institute of Chemistry held in Colombo.

Dr.Premakumara was a product of University of Colombo and he was a keen sportsman during his schooldays.

He received the award at the recently concluded Annual General meeting of the Institute of Chemistry held in Colombo.

Sri Lanka has not yet effectively exploited the resources of its vast maritime area, which amounts to eight times of the land area available. This sea area includes 3000 km costal reef harboring marine plants and animal species that could provide potentially useful bio-active molecules for various bio-medical and agricultural applications. However, very little effort has been taken to uncover the chemistry and biological activities of these remarkable resources.

Dr.Premakumara first attempted screening Nudibranch species, which are soft bodied sea slugs, for sedative and analgesic activity .Extract of one species, Phyllidia varicose contained a sedative compound called Bisabolane isonitrile.

Following this successful, attempt he concentrated on algae and screened them for anti-hypertensive, anti-fertility, spermicidal, gastro-protective, sedative and analgesic activity.

For this study seven red algal species, namely Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria corticata, Gelidium crinale, jania sp. and three other Gracilaria species were collected from the southern costal reef.

Though different activities were exhibited by various fractions of the algal extracts, the species Gelidiella acerosa yielded two main fractions, which had significant biological activity .One fraction had contragestative activity and the other showed an in vitro effect on motility of human spermatozoa.

After extensive spectrospic analyses , compounds separated from the two fractions were identified .The contragetative fraction yielded tow new compounds .The structure of the human sperm motility stimulant was also established as S-ACT-1.This is the first time that all these three compounds were isolated , identified and reported.

S-ACT-1 was critically analyzed for series of tests related to sperm functions and tests related to sperm processing in assisted reproductive techniques .Comparison of motility stimulating concentrations of S-ACT-1 with that of caffeine and Pentoxifylline , two current clinical motility stimulants , revealed that S-ACT-1 was more potent than both the currently used compounds.
Other than the contribution to the organic chemistry field , Dr.Premekumara’s study reveals the vast potentional of the marine resources available to the country.It is only too apparent that more research studies are needed if these resources are to be utilized effectively, for the benefit of the country.

Dr.Premakumara also contributed a number of successful researches such as invention of chemically developed system to absorb kitul sap without using traditional ways. This system is now popular among the kitul toddy-tappers .

- Asian Tribune -

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