At the ongoing Sattvik Food Festival, a stall is entirely manned by students of the Gujarat University (GU). In the festival that promotes traditional food, the students have set up the stall to increase awareness about a product that may not necessarily be traditional but is a rich source of protein – spirulina.The students of microbiology from the MG Science college have been setting up stall at the Sattvik Food Festival for four years now. “The idea is to promote microbial food rich in nutrients. Another example of microbial food is the mushroom. Such food can help address the nutrient needs of people,” said Nazir Ahmed, a fourth year student of microbiology.He said spirulina is an excellent source of protein. “It is similar to the green layer of plant that we see on water. Because its source is water, it has a fishy smell and many people don’t like to eat it in its natural form and think it is fish. Spirulina tablets are also available but its better to use it as a food source than as a tablet,” said Ahmed.This year, the students have made mushroom ball patties and Jowar totha (tuver totha is a traditional dish) with mushrooms and spirulina. They said many people avoid mushrooms too thinking it comes under the non-vegetarian food category. Incidentally, the students don’t get any additional credits for setting up stalls in the festival but are doing so to create more acceptance for microbial food among the people.”45% of the population of Gujarat suffers from protein malnutrition and spirulina can be the answer to that. Every year, we try to make new dishes from spirulina and other microbial foods to popularise their use,” said Ahmed.He along with his friend Tirth Thakkar have even incubated a start up at GU to sell products made of spirulina. “As of now, we have made chocolates from spirulina so that kids can be encouraged to eat it as well as ‘khakhra’. We are selling it in some stores of SEWA,” said Thakkar, a biotechnology graduate.A SOURCE OF PROTEINThis year, the students have made mushroom ball patties and Jowar totha (tuver totha is a traditional dish) with mushrooms and spirulina.

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At Sattvik, students try to create more acceptance for microbial nutrient-rich food