International Studies & Programs

Molecular Characterization of the Microbial Communities of Traditional Spontaneously Fermented Milk in Kenya

For this GCFSI student innovation grant, the project team will use DNA sequencing to study microbial diversity in Kenya’s traditional fermented milks, which will be used to improved health and economic status for the rural poor, particularly women


Project Team: Moses Barasa Sichangi, Phares Muraya, Caroline Chepkemoi, John M. Nduko, Joseph Matofari

This project team will study microbial diversity in Kenya’s traditional fermented milks, known as amabere amaruranu. Using DNA sequencing, microbial culturing, phenotypic characterization, and carbohydrates fermentation, the team plans to isolate potential starter cultures for safe amabere amaruranu production. This innovation will lead to improved health and economic status for the rural poor with a heavy emphasis on women.

There is a need for this service in Kenya, because the people do not have the technology to perform the DNA sequencing studies that are important for safe and effective starter culture design. The project will also help set up small-scale processing in Kenya, which will promote industrialization while still maintaining African traditions and cultural practices.

For the first four months of the project, the team will be purchasing and setting up equipment, and then collecting local samples as data. Those samples then will be transported to the laboratory at Egerton University where they will be cultivated and analyzed until the potential starter cultures are found. Lastly, the team will spend the final months analyzing their results and creating reports that document their findings.