site.btaProf Rahamin Shekerdzhiyski: Lowest Threshold for Perceiving Flavours in Space Is Much Higher than on Earth
The lowest threshold at which our taste buds register flavours on Earth does not apply in space: out there, we can perceive a flavour when the concentration of substances has been increased to at least level three or four. This difference in flavour perception has led to a correction of the optimal perceptions of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty in food, Prof Rahamin Shekerdzhiyski said in an interview for BTA. He was talking about the four experiments on flavour perception conducted in space with the purpose of improving the food for astronauts.
Prof Shekerdzhiyski was registered in the Patent Office’s Golden Book of the most outstanding Bulgarian discoverers and inventors on January 15, 1997. He is described as the father of the Benalgin, a fast-acting analgesic with antipyretic property. He is the author of a series of methods and technologies in the elaboration of pharmaceutical forms. His name is linked to the realization of hard dosage forms such at Benalgin, Alurex, and Pyramidon. His inventions have been used in space to study the taste analyzer in extreme conditions, and others have been incorporated in the wine industry, beekeeping, vaccine production, and sports.
Prof Shekerdzhiyski is on the team of Bulgarian specialists in pharmacology and immunology who created the Viru-Safe pill, described as a breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. The product was patented in early 2021.
He told BTA that he is one of the founders of contemporary pharmaceutical production in Bulgaria, which he developed in the pharmaceutical company in Dupnitsa (Southwestern Bulgaria) where he worked after completing his higher education. “It was there that the first contribution to the countries from the former Soviet Union was achieved: the Analgin and Piranal pills based on technology that I had created,” Prof Shekerdzhiyski told BTA.
He said he holds a total of 23 patents and there is one in the process of registration.
He also said that the requirements for creating medicinal products are becoming ever higher because of the discovery of some side effects and their diagnosis.
One of the products he is most familiar with – Benalgin – was created back in 1977. Several hundred million packages have been produced since then, including for export. Benalgin was acknowledged as a rationalization. It is an established medicinal product and continues to be in demand, he said, adding that his remuneration for Benalgin’s creation was BGN 150.
At present, Prof Shekerdzhiyski heads a laboratory established by him where various low-dose food supplements now used by Bulgarian military contingents abroad, have been created on the basis of polybacterial immune stimulants Respivax and Urostim. These supplements have been used by Bulgarian polar researchers on the South Pole for over 12 years. “We have several inventions related to improving brain activity and preventing cardiac incidents,” he also said. Also in focus is the topic of creating live-extending products.
Asked what being an inventor means to him, he told BTA it is a moral and personal fulfillment without public appreciation. “For me, science is an upgrade of professional activity and should always be linked to new biologically active products,” Prof Shekerdzhiyski said.
He described his inclusion in the Patent Office’s Golden Book as a momentary fulfillment. In his words, despite this fact, as scientists those in the Golden Book have not yet been acknowledged as individuals investing their art in science and practice.
Prof Rahamin Shekerdzhiyski was born in Dupnitsa in 1934. He obtained a degree in pharmacy in Sofia in 1954 and worked at the pharmaceutical factory in Dupnitsa from 1956 to 1968. In 1992, he became a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Medical University in Sofia. From 1990 to 2003, he headed the Industrial Pharmacy Department there established by him. From 1992 to 1994, he was national consultant on medicinal products. From 1996 to 2000, he was dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy. From 1997 to 2002, he was a member of the Supreme Council on Pharmacy founded by him. In 2003, he founded Natstim EOOD, which sells food supplements on the Bulgarian market and exports to various countries. He has written over 80 scientific publications and has created and incorporated dozens of medicinal products.
The interview with Prof Shekerdzhiyski was taken under a partnership initiative between BTA and the National Patent Office.