Probiotic gene sequence mapped in world first

Finnish functional dairy giant, Valio, in conjunction with the University of Helsinki, has decoded the gene sequence of the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), an achievement Valio hopes will allow it "to produce more efficient science-based functional foods in future."

The genome consists of about 3100 genes, and Valio says it is now able to annotate individual genes and build a map of the functional capacity inherent in each gene which could then be patented. "The genome is large compared with that of most other lactic acid bacteria, which enables LGG to generate a greater variety of qualities compared to the others," the company said. "Completely new qualities are being sought, which can be patented and utilised in functional products. Such interesting probiotic qualities possessed by LGG include its ability to survive in the GI-tract, adhere to the surface of the intestine, and have a positive effect on the host's immunity."

The information gathered on the genome sequence also creates a basis for understanding how LGG functions in the intestines, as well as how the bacteria interact with people and with the microbiota in the GI-tract.

Valio and the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki worked on the project for 18 months completed the sequence in a joint project over a period of some 18 months.

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