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Probiotics: Busting the Myths

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Writers Column

Pati- E- Pateinki Lyngdoh
The human gut contains more bacteria than there are eukaryotic cells in the body. Collectively, this gut flora represents a virtual organ with a metabolic activity and a microbiome more diverse than that of the human genome. Some members of this commensal flora, defined as probiotics, have been demonstrated to beneficially affect the body by providing a health-promoting or immunomodulatory challenge to the host. Although described for over a century, scientists and clinicians have realised the significant medical applications of these probiotics. There are very few people who have not heard about the “new” health miracles called probiotics. They claim to help health problems, ranging from constipation to diarrhoea, and prevent colds or fight them once you had once. Probiotics are showing up in foods, beverages, and supplements. What exactly are they, do they work, and are they safe for us to consume them? Let’s start with the facts behind what probiotics are. The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word ‘pro’ meaning “promoting” and ‘biotic’ meaning “life.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Most people think of antibiotics and antibacterial products when talk about bacteria.

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The trend of the cupcake

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Writers Column

Rajiv Daulaguphu
Cupcakes probably evolved in the United States in the late 19th century. Food historians are yet to ascertain the exact reason of naming cupcakes as cupcakes. There are two theories revolving though, first is the cakes are originally cooked in cups, and secondly, the ingredients used to make cupcakes were measured by cups. Whatever may be the reason one thing is true that cupcakes are candy to your eyes and your all time taste buddy. Being the first article on this genre I would like to share my cupcake journey with you all.

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Preventive measures for Pox, Pneumonia and Enterotoxemia in sheep and goats

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Writers Column

Dr. Simson Soren
The goat is one of the earliest domesticated animals in livestock farming. It is a multifunctional animal, providing meat, milk and wool and it gains much importance among the landless, small and marginal farmers in our country due to its higher prolificacy and short generation interval. Goat rearing is a great economic support to a large section of the population in rural areas and it is because of this that the goat is known as a ‘Poor Man’s Cow’. The very important characteristics of goats is their efficient survival abilities in adverse harsh environments and in poor quality land where very few crops can be grown, they can efficiently survive with poor quality available shrubs and trees. In many parts of our country, the goat has a religious and ritualistic importance and also in ceremonial feastings and for the payment of social dues.

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The myth of North East being a neglected region

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Writers Column

Rajiv Roy
The recently held International Conference ‘India’s North Eastern States and Eastern Neighbors: Engaging for Connectivity, Culture and Prosperity by An Intelligent Third Space’ organized by Divya Jeevan Foundation, Asian Confluence and Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Union Ministry of External Affairs at Shillong last December has some vital points to ponder upon even as it was argued that the notion of the north east region of India being a neglected region is nothing more than a myth.
Ambassador Ranjit Gupta, ICWA who participated in the conference emphasized on seven important steps that civil society institutions could and should initiate.

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Small bugs, big business: The economic power of the microbes

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Writers Column

Dr Kiran Thakur
Economic importance of any organism refers to the advantages and disadvantages of that organism to nature, the humans and the environment. Bacteria are unicellular and ultra-microscopic organisms, yet they play an important role in nature. They are of tremendous importance to man. They play an important role in agriculture, dairy and medicine and are the basis of many industries. Some are beneficial to man directly or indirectly, others are very harmful as they cause various plant and animal diseases. Bacteria are considered as our friends and foes due to their beneficial and harmful activities. The versatility of microbial biosynthesis is enormous. The most industrially important primary metabolites are the amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins, solvents, and organic acids. Microbially produced secondary metabolites are extremely important to our health and nutrition. Other important pharmaceutical products produced by microorganisms are hypocholesterolemic agents, enzyme inhibitors, immune suppressants and antitumor compounds, some having markets of over 1 billion dollars per year. Agriculturally important secondary metabolites include coccidiostats, animal growth promotants, antihelmintics and biopesticides. The modern biotechnology industry has made a major impact in the business world, biopharmaceuticals (recombinant protein drugs, vaccines and monoclonal antibodies) having a market of 15 billion dollars. Recombinant DNA technology has also produced a revolution in agriculture and has markedly increased markets for microbial enzymes.

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