site.btaBulgarian Chemist Researched Beans to Tackle Famine
Inventor Prof. Bojidar Chorbanov spent his life working in bioorganic chemistry to try and tackle famine caused by war and natural disasters, BTA learned from Prof. Ivanka Stoineva, who collaborated with Chorbanov at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for many years. Chorbanov's work focused on the microalgae growing in Rupite, Southwestern Bulgaria, on the medicinal value of grape seeds and the potential of beans to feed the entire human population.
One of Chorbanov's significant studies involved the isolation and study of an enzyme, which is not produced in mammals, including humans, whose absence leads to the accumulation of polysaccharides that cannot be degraded in the human body after the consumption of legume.
Chorbanov's goal was to develop foods on the basis of legumes that have high biological value and low cost, which are processed with the enzyme, for which he had the technology to develop. To this end, he contacted the University of Food Technologies in Plovdiv, South Central Bulgaria. However, Chorbanov's death in 2013 put an end to the project.
Chorbanov enthusiastically rushed into charitable causes
Chorbanov, born in Lukovit, North Bulgaria, on December 16, 1946, was a warm social person, Stoineva recalls. He enthusiastically threw himself into charitable causes, finding particular meaning in creating new foods and beverages.
He graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. He defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Sofia. He studied at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Russia. He has over 60 scientific publications, 15 author's certificates and three patents.
His contribution to the protection of the environment and obtaining environmentally friendly products through the use of enzymes was the reason why in 2007 his name was inscribed in the Golden Book of the Bulgarian Patent Office.
Steps towards discoveries
Chorbanov began his scientific career in the late 1970s with the isolation of an enzyme that was thought to be capable of breaking down blood clots. The production of this enzyme, however, was too expensive, and the research was discontinued.
In the early 80s, Chorbanov found an interest in the now-fashionable green biotechnology. He began to analyze the use of grape seeds, a waste product of wine production, and found that they had enormous potential for producing biologically active substances. Chorbanov estimated that the price of products that could be obtained from grape seeds would be commensurate with that of rose oil. Unfortunately, at the time there was no technology developed and no interest in it, which is why no serious research was undertaken into the use of grape seeds. Today they are known as powerful antioxidants, applicable worldwide in cosmetic and healing creams.
In the mid-80s, Chorbanov turned his focus to protein hydrolysates, which today find application in a variety of dietary supplements, Stoineva said. Protein hydrolysates are degraded proteins that are easily digested by the body.
Chorbanov obtained protein hydrolysates from microalgae in Rupite, which marked his first patent with the discovery that the proteins contained in green algae could be used in regenerative facial creams.
Chorbanov studied malt roots and soybean meal as sources of protein hydrolysates. Hydrolysates from soybean meal found practical application in the form of food supplements and regenerative syrups.
Another success in Chorbanov's career was related to the isolation of amino- and iminopeptidases from cabbage cultures, which were used to remove the bitter taste in some protein hydrolysates.
This article was written within the framework of a partnership initiative between BTA and the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) which envisages the presentation of Bulgarians listed in the Golden Book of BPO and the activities of the BPO in a joint weekly column entitled "Created in Bulgaria".