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Probiotics are a type of "good" bacteria found in some foods and supplements that humans consume that is said to promote digestive system health. There is some debate in the medical community about the need for those supplements but there's no question that good bacteria in the gut helps keep you healthy and has shown benefits that tend to outweigh side effects.

Now probiotics will be used in a federally funded Oregon research study aimed at reducing a bad bacteria that crops up in oysters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded scientists at Oregon State University a $150,000 grant working on reducing Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters without altering the texture and consistency of the shellfish through the use of probiotics.

Researchers plan to use naturally occuring marine probiotics in seawater depuration tanks that are usually employed to flush contaminants out of oysters. leading up to the grant scientists have isolated various marine probiotics that inhibit the growth of pathogens.

The researchers will also work on the development of a simple tester that can be used without special training to quickly screen adult oysters for the Vibrio bacteria.

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