Pradeep Pattanayak

The Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar has added another feather to its cap by discovering a health-promoting probiotic bacteria from the tribals of Odisha. The isolated probiotic is claimed to be useful in preventing diarrhoea and obesity. 

The name of the bacteria discovered by the ILS is Ligilactobacillus Salivarious. The significance lies in the fact that the health-promoting probiotic bacteria have been found in the tribal people of Odisha. 

So far, the ILS has identified 30 to 40 such probiotic bacteria from the bodies of the tribal people of Odisha and their foods. The bacteria have successfully been tested on rats in laboratories. This discovery has also been published in the ‘World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology’. 

“We have discovered some probiotic bacteria. We have even done the whole genome sequencing of some bacteria. Now we are confirmed that these bacteria are of probiotic type and can be used for promoting health of tribal people,” said senior scientist of ILS, Dr Shantibhushan Senapati. 

Another scientist of ILS, Dr Jaylaxmi Dash said, “Since we have done basic research, proof of validation is there to take the finding of the research to the next level. Their evaluation has also been completed, confirming their safety in animal studies. It will be available for all after passing through the regulatory checks.”

With a view to provide better healthcare to the tribal people of Odisha, the former director of ILS, late Dr Ajay Parida started a programme namely, Tribal Health and Nutrition three years ago. Under this programme, 20 samples of faeces and food items were collected from different tribes of the State. From these samples, the health-promoting probiotic bacteria have been discovered. 

With the changing lifestyle, these health-promoting bacteria are getting lost. Since there is a possibility of these bacteria may go extinct, the ILS has planned to set up a Probiotic Bank. 

“Our aim is to isolate these health-promoting probiotic bacteria from the sources like faeces or fermented food items and set up a probiotic bank,” said senior scientist of ILS, Dr Senapati.

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