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Indigenous Indian probiotic strains set for commercialisation

By Ankush Chibber , 09-May-2012

Indian scientists have developed two probiotic cultures for use in dairy products and food supplements – with patent applications in process.

A spokesperson at the Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology confirmed to FoodNavigator-Asia it had received patent applications for two probiotic cultures by the Seth Mansukhlal Chhaganlal (SMC) College of Dairy Science.

The college, which has been working under the aegis of Anand Agricultural University (AAU), made the patent deposits earlier this week, he said.

“Isolated in 1990 and tested in the last 20 years, the first two indigenous probiotic cultures from India are Lactobacillus helveticus MTCC 5463 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus MTCC 5462 are now available to the industry for probiotic products manufacture,” AAU Vice Chancellor A M Sheikh said.

According to the AAU, the probiotic cultures are fully sequenced, using the pyrosequencer located at its Animal Biotechnology Department. “More than 8,000 gene sequences from these cultures have been deposited in Genebank at the National Center for Biotechnology Information.”

Cultures are typically imported by the Indian food industry from Danish suppliers like Chr Hansen and DuPont-Danisco, said a spokesperson for the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

NDDB data shows the Indian probiotics market to be worth about US$20m.

Probiotic lassi

SMC’s head of dairy microbiology, Dr J B Prajapati, said process patents for the manufacture of a herbal probiotic ‘lassi’ – a fermented Indian milk product – had been applied for using the two strains.

“We are testing the lassi to check its potential in reducing cholesterol levels in humans,” Dr Prajapati said.

The AAU said it had also undertaken a three-year long project with a medical college in Gujarat to check how the indigenous probiotic cultures can help improve immunity levels among people above 60, years of age.

The university also said it was collaborating with Sweden's Lund University, for further research and trials.

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