The Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET) [Reference Centre for Lactobacilli] has participated in several social food programmes at provincial and national level. Since 2008, Yogurito, a yogurt enriched with probiotic that help to improve the nutrition of more than 200 thousand kids from the province of Tucumán, is distributed in schools. This programme is the result of the work of researchers at the CERELA and the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Health from Tucumán and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of the Nation. Currently, this scientific project for technology transference has been implemented in other provinces such as Santiago del Estero, San Juan and Entre Ríos.
As a result of this successful programme, the Asociación de Productores de Leche de Tucumán (Aproleche) [Tucumán Milk Producers’ Association] and some private enterprises are going to launch “Ñulac” with the support of the CERELA and the Government of the province of Tucumán. This new trademark is going to have two products with the same lactic strain of Yogurito: a drinkable yogurt in two presentations – 160 grams and 1 litre – and cheese sticks that will probably be included in the Price Watch programme of the National Government in order to ensure that its value is accessible. This plan is part of the Polo Lácteo de Tucumán [Dairy products’ Association of Tucumán] in which all the above mentioned institutions participate.
“We did not expect the scope of the project, which has begun in 2008 with Yogurito. We proved the beneficial results of this probiotic yogurt in children’s health; and now, thanks to the interaction between the research area, the State and the productive sector we will be able to launch this product and keep its social character”, Graciela Font, senior researcher at the CONICET and director of the CERELA explains.
The probiotics are live microorganisms that provide a beneficial effect on the consumer. This is the case of the “Ñulac” products, which will contain the Lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL 1505 probiotic lactic strain.
“The probiotic lactic bacteria play a leading role in the improvement of quality of life. The studies conducted on the consumption of CRL 1505 probiotic included in food provided the following encouraging results: they stimulate the immune system by reinforcing the natural defenses of the body and reduce the incidence of respiratory and intestinal infections because they act as a barrier against some pathogens”, Font explains.
The researcher highlights that this development is the result of more than ten years of research at the CERELA conducted by Susana Alvarez, principal researcher at the CONICET. “This development, plus technological and R+D+I studies allowed us to produce a probiotic with a social spirit to extend its benefits to a great part of the population. We are very proud of this project: we aim to popularize science”, the researcher concludes.
- By Cecilia Leone