Sunday, July 14, 2024
Probiotic and Food Safety



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Group Leader

Dr. Arsalan Zaidi

Principal Scientist

Team Members: 

Dr Muhammad Tariq         (Principal Scientist)



Our research interest is in food safety and quality assessment of new food processing technologies and to conduct research pertaining to relevant questions of industrial and regulatory importance. One of these research efforts is the development of a full-fledged laboratory for microbiological food safety in NIBGE.



Probiotic bacteria, mainly lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (e.g. lactococci and bifidobacteria) have been considered safe for human consumption. However, reports of clinical infections, the spread of antibiotic resistance genes, and development of new and/or modified probiotic LAB strains, have been of much public concern. This project shall focus on assessing the biosafety of LAB. Isolates from healthy humans and immune-compromised patients, commercially available and new probiotic LAB shall be studied. After taxonomic identification, their biosafety shall be assessed by using modern microbiological protocols. The project will eventually yield recommendations for biosafety testing of LAB.



Overall objective:

The safe use of probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) (e.g. lactococci, bifidobacteria) for human consumption, by proposing criteria, standards, guidelines, and regulations on the one hand, and procedures and standardized methodologies of pre-marketing biosafety testing and post-marketing surveillance on the other hand.

Specific objectives:  

  • Taxonomic description of probiotic and other LAB.
  • Detection of resistance and HGT of antibiotic resistance genes in LAB.
  • Detection of known and new virulence properties of LAB.
  • Survival, adhesion and colonization of probiotic LAB in the human gut.


  • Culture collection and database of probiotic and other LAB.
  • Standardized methodologies to detect antibiotic resistance in LAB.
  • Investigation of (potential) virulence properties in LAB.
  • Genetic stability and colonization of probiotic LAB in the human gastro-intestinal gut.
  • Recommendations for biosafety evaluation of probiotic LAB.


  • Higher Education Commission (HEC)
  • Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF)
  • Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC)
  • PSDP program of the Federal Government of Pakistan
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