The researchers – from the Canadian Centre for Human Microbiome and Probiotics – had previously studied the protective effects of microbes against environmental health damage in poor regions of the world. They found that one bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, was particularly adept at binding toxic heavy metals. From this finding, the team wondered if regularly consuming this probiotic strain could be an effective way to prevent metals from being absorbed in the diet. In addition, the team had been working with kitchens in Mwanza, Tanzania, to produce a probiotic yogurt for the local communities. As Mwanza is built on the shores of a lake polluted with pesticides, mercury and other toxic metals, the team used this network to trial a new type of yogurt containing L. rhamnosus.
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