TODAY -

IBSD promotes traditional foods of Mizoram
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, May 16 2024: The Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Mizoram Centre organised a training programme on the "Starter culture-based controlled production of traditional fermented food of Mizoram - Bekang-Um", on Thursday.

The programme conducted by Mizoram Science, Technology & Innovation Council (MISTIC) and Mizoram University was sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

A statement of the IBSD, Mizoram informed that during the programme, Prof Pulok Kumar Mukherjee emphasised that IBSD is the sole institute set up under the ambit of Biotechnology Research and Innovation Council BRIC) within the DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology, specifically for the North Eastern Region (NER).

Prof Mukherjee highlighted that IBSD not only serves the people of Manipur but also operates centres in Aizawl, Mizoram; Gangtok, Sikkim; and Shillong, Meghalaya.

He elaborated on the significance of Bekang-Um, a traditional fermented soybean food of Mizoram, which is naturally fermented and widely consumed in the state.

The collaboration with MISTIC and Mizoram University has led to the development of a dry powdered starter culture formulation that shortens the fermentation period from three days to one, enhancing the quality, safety, and health benefits of Bekang-Um.

Traditional Bekang-Um is produced through a natural fermentation process in winnowing trays or baskets (thlangra) over three days.

However, incidents of food poisoning linked to its consumption have been reported by the state's Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), due to the presence of both beneficial and harmful bacteria.

The beneficial bacteria identified in Bekang-Um is Bacillus subtilis.

By introducing a controlled fermentation process using a defined beneficial bacteria starter culture, the safety and uniform quality of Bekang-Um can be significantly improved.

The new process developed by IBSD involves an activated starter culture of Bacillus subtilis in a dry powdered formulation, reducing the fermentation period to just one day.

This method ensures safety, consistent quality, and various health benefits, elaborated the director.

Prof Mukherjee, along with scientists of IBSD, MISTIC, and Mizoram University, also engaged with stakeholders and beneficiaries to promote the scientific validation and commercialisation of traditional fermented foods, supporting the growth of startups in the state.

Dr Lalchhandami Tochhawng, scientific officer at MISTJC, highlighted the benefits of such training programmes for stakeholders and entrepreneurs in promoting traditional fermented foods.

Dr K Jeyaram, scientist at IBSD, provided hands-on training on the controlled fermentation process for Bekang-Um to participants.

The event saw active participation from various stakeholders and entrepreneurs of Mizoram, along with faculty, scientists, and scholars from MISTIC, Mizoram University, IBSD Imphal, IBSD Sikkim, and IBSD Mizoram, fostering a collaborative effort towards enhancing the production and safety of traditional foods in the region.


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