This health video you will learn about the evolution of Nebraskan cultures and how their health has adapted to their environment.
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Tom Audette: Michael, we've talked about the early pioneering research that your father did at the University of Nebraska in developing DDS-1 acidophilus. Could you explain then from there, from the University, what led to the establishment of the company, Nebraska Cultures that was also founded by him, and how you came to be associated with it? Michael Shahani: Okay, as I mentioned, he started at the University of Nebraska in 1957, and discovered DDS-1 acidophilus in 1959. But, based on his research work, he'd been asked in the 60s and 70s to speak all over the world, and in fact, he traveled all over the world talking about these lactic acid bacteria and the properties, the beneficial properties that he discovered, primarily of the DDS-1 strain. In the late 1970s people would approach him occasionally after giving a scientific lecture or seminar, and say, you know, how do we find these bacteria? How can we get these bacteria to people? How can we turn this into some kind of product? At that time he started working to bring this product into the commercial arena. And so, in 1981 he founded American Cultures of Enzyme Systems, which later changed the name to Nebraska Cultures. And, Nebraska Cultures was one of the first manufacturers of probiotic bacteria for the commercial market. There have been others that have been around just about that long, but one of the very first. And so, in 1981 he founded Nebraska Cultures and continued at the University, but the family continued to run the business, has always run the business; it's still a family-run business. My background, I didn't start with Nebraska Cultures until about 1996 when I came on as Director of Operations, and have been working with Nebraska Cultures ever since. Tom Audette: What was your background prior to coming to Nebraska Cultures? Michael Shahani: My background was, of course, I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska where the University of Nebraska was. Of course, I was aware of my father's research, we occasionally traveled with him growing up. I remember visiting his lab as a young person. and being fascinated by the science going on there. My background is not in science. My background is in the arts actually, but we wanted to keep the business a family business. And so, of course, we work very closely with scientists still at the University of Nebraska as a technical team, and in Wisconsin where the plant is based. So, my background is in the management and operation side. Tom Audette: Thank you, Michael.