The project will study various aspects of health-promoting organisms in indigenous fermented milk. Some probiotic lactic acid bacteria have great potential in the preparation of functional foods. Their potential health benefits include protection against infections caused by diarrhoeagenic microorganisms, use as an oral adjuvant and immunopotentiator in malnutrition. Their protective role may also be the result of competition with potentially harmful microorganisms. Additional health benefits include alle viation of problems of lactose intolerance in humans, increasing the peristaltic movement of parts of the digestive system, prevention and/or treatment of rotavirus and antibiotic induced diarrhoea, reduction in serum cholesterol, and reduction in hyperte nsion. Many LAB also produce antimicrobial compounds (e.g. nisin) which can inhibit the growth of spoilage and/or pathogenic microorganisms in food, this providing a natural conservation of the food and protection of the consumer.
Selected microorganisms previously isolated and characterized during our collaborative program 200 which exhibit unique biochemical attributes as desired for specific applications in milk fermentations will be incorporated as starter cultures and probiotic agents. As these spec ies are shown to have antagonistic effects against undesired pathogens and contaminants, they will be applied to promote health, and secure safe products for the communities. Positive species will be incorporated in scale-up methodology.
These novel idea s can also be applied to related industries, small scale farmers, communities in the rural areas and entrepreneurs in the implementation of new protective starter cultures and probiotics in fermented milk to improve present safety standards associated wit h the production and processing of the milk. The significance of the study will be due to promotion of safe and wholesome products with extended shelf-life, based on indigenous food technology. The research will
S-AFRIKA-Program for forskningsamarbeid med Sør- Afrika