MBIE Probiotic foods for India funding bid successful

Dist Prof Harjinder Singh

The Riddet Institute has secured $200,000 in funding from MBIE over two years to develop probiotic foods for India.

Institute co-director Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh said, “Our aim is to develop probiotic products containing bacterial strains of Indian origin with clinically-proven health benefits that are shelf stable under the climate conditions of India. We will be working with the highly prestigious National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal, India and so will further strengthen our existing relationship.”

Probiotics are defined as live micro-organisms that confer a health benefit on their host. Probiotic bacteria have been successfully applied in the treatment and prevention of diverse gastro-intestinal diseases and for improving immunity. In many parts of India poor drinking water quality and other environmental factors compromise the immune and digestive health of many segments of the population, especially infants in the rural sectors.

While the market for probiotic products in developed countries is well established, it is at a nascent stage in India primarily because of two major limitations. Evidence of inherent differences in the gut microflora of the Indian population has been suggested to occur stressing the need for selecting bacterial strains of indigenous origin with clinically-proven health benefits specifically tested on the Indian population. The other barrier to market growth is the tropical climate and poor cold chain distribution in most Indian regions that restrain probiotic fortification to shelf stable foods making survival of the temperature-, and humidity- sensitive, probiotics a major technical challenge.

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