Project Drsti: A Sustainable Method for Alleviating Vitamin A Deficiency (UC Berkeley)


BI Filler Photo-01This project proposes an innovative strategy to alleviate Vitamin A (VA) deficiency in the developing world by harnessing the metabolic power of a probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus casei. By engineering L. casei to produce provitamin A (β-carotene) during yogurt fermentation, the team can develop a safe and sustainable method of increasing dietary intake of VA. This provitamin A biofortified (i.e., enhanced) yogurt can support VA status and benefit the health of populations in India who consume yogurt as a staple. Moreover, the bacteria strain can be produced inexpensively, freeze-dried into a room-temperature-stable powder, and seamlessly integrated into existing yogurt production cycles. As L. casei is common in many different fermentations processes, this strain could be adapted for use in many other human and animal food sources. Once this strain becomes established in a fermentation system, it will self-perpetuate to ensure a sustainable source of dietary β-carotene.

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Blum Center for Developing Economies
The University of California, Berkeley
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Berkeley, CA 94720-5570
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Host and Fellow Responsibilities

Host Organizations

  • Identify staff supervisor to manage I&E Climate Action Fellow
  • Submit fellowship description and tasks
  • Engage in the matching process
  • Mentor and advise students
  • Communicate with Berkeley program director and give feedback on the program.

Berkeley Program Director​

  • Communicate with host organizations, students, and other university departments to ensure smooth program operations

Student Fellows

  • Complete application and cohort activities
  • Communicate with staff and host organizations
  • Successfully complete assignments from host organization during summer practicum
  • Summarize and report summer experience activities post-fellowship