In a major scientific development, Shomaila Sikandar, a  faculty member in the Department of Biology, Lahore Garrison University, and a PhD student in Quaid-i-Azam University, has published a USA Patent (US 20160304830A1) on the “fungal treatment to enhance extractable rubber yield from plants”. The work was done in collaboration with Dr. Katrina Cornish, Professor at the Ohio State University, USA, and Dr. Naeem Ali, Associate Professor at Quaid-i-Azam Univeristy, Islamabad.

The conventional methods currently in practice to extract plant rubber are unable to fully separate solid natural rubber from plant matter, thus limiting the extractable solid rubber yields, and they are often highly-mechanized, utilizing expensive, specialized equipment. The current invention offers a cost-effective and environmental friendly procedure to local and international industrialists to extract natural rubber for commercial application.

The procedure of the present invention, which was part of her PhD work, would help enhance natural rubber yields using fungal enzymes. It could also be used in conjunction with presently known conventional natural rubber extraction techniques to enhance their efficiencies. Moreover, the innovative technique in question would also help extract value added products from plants residues. These methods can be used with minimal capital investment, and have greater implications in tires and rubber manufacturing industrial units and agriculture sector.

The inventor, a mother of two children, is a source of inspiration to working Pakistani women, breaking through gender stereotypes and can achieve greatness through hard work and dedication.