Student Christo Opperman investigated non-dairy carriers for probiotics as part of a Summer Studentship with Applied Microbiology International - and here’s what happened.

The University of Melbourne student embarked on his studentship under the mentorship of A/Prof Senaka Ranadheera, picking up where his honours degree left off.

“I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to those at Applied Microbiology International for granting me this Internship,” he said.

”For my Bachelor of Science Honours degree at the University of Melbourne, I investigated non-dairy carriers for probiotics to establish their viability, providing an alternative source of health-promoting probiotics for those who cannot or do not want to consume dairy products.


”Specifically, my project incorporated the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus into freshly squeezed juice formulations. It measured different consumer-effecting characteristics such as pH and titratable acidity. My inaugural research year taught me a lot and I utilised skills rarely practised outside of a laboratory.”

Christo said that securing this internship immediately following his honours year provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on, experiment further with, and enhance the knowledge he had acquired during that period, all under the mentorship of A/Prof Senaka Ranadheera.

”It allowed me to concentrate on a crucial aspect valued by the scientific community: publication. The funding I received afforded me the chance to hone essential research skills and significantly advance my writing abilities. These skills are indispensable for effective science communication and for publishing in a tier-one journal,” he said.

“My improved research and communication skills have forever affected my career by granting me the opportunity to recently start a PhD. My current project explores ways to characterise dietary fibre and aims to use dietary fibre for targeted health outcomes. I hope to continue to learn new skills, further develop as a researcher and possibly improve people’s lives with new discoveries.

”This funding expanded my scientific knowledge and skills. Also creating an environment where I could personally grow in other aspects of my life, putting me in a privileged position where I could simultaneously develop my career and personality.

“Once again, I am grateful to AMI for granting me this esteemed opportunity, as I would not have been able to become the scientist I am today without their help. Thank you.”