Studying the salt of her land – Flory Pereira

Flory Pereira

Can you imagine a meal without salt?
Salt is perhaps the most ancient of the food additives in the history of human culinary evolution.
Living in the coastal belt with an ocean full of salty water detracts from its value, whereas in tribal communities in the hinterland, salt is a prized commodity that fetches high value in barter transactions.
With the advent of commercial salt in convenient packaging, traditional organic salt use and its production is rapidly being edged out. Add to that conversion of salt pans into residential built up areas and the decline of traditional salt production displays an even more dismal picture.
Flory Pereira’s Biotechnology doctoral thesis on “Metal Tolerance in Heterotrophic Bacteria from Marine Salterns of Ribandar”, is a study of immense relevance that can perhaps put the traditional salt pans on a higher commercial value pedestal.
Flory Pereira and her husband Mr. Clifford Pereira (Additional GM- Goa Shipyard Ltd. Vasco) are residents of our neighbourhood at the GSL Colony, Chicalim. Flory, in her over a decade long career in the education field, has published several papers on various allied subjects like improving waste management using micro-organisms.
Flory has been on the faculty of the Microbiology Dept of the Sri Ravi Sitaram Naik College of Arts and Science, Farmagudi, for the past ten years.
Her study of the bacterial present in the salt pans that play an important role in cycling metals has the potential to provide an environmentally friendly way for remedying the high metal content in the waters of the state, especially in those areas where the impact of mining has been severe leading to high ferro-manganese content in the water.
Flory’s study showed that these bacteria reduce the toxicity of the metal content in the water by converting it to other less toxic forms. More importantly these organisms are non-pathogenic and therefore their presence in the water from which traditional salt is made is not harmful to humans.
Flory’s thesis took six years to complete which she did under the guidance of Prof. Savita Kerkar, Dept. Of Biotechnology, Univ of Goa.
The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research at Bogda and the scientists at this Centre provided her with full co-operation and state of the art laboratory facilities for her research work.
She observed that while the subject of Microbiology and Biotechnology were important and had considerable application, the avenues for employment in this field were very limited in Goa.
Her study adds strength to the need to switch to traditional salt and preserve and encourage the traditional salt pans of the state which has dwindled from 18,000 hectares in 2001 to just 2978 hectares in 2009.
When the whole stress on healthy eating is to go organic, why not go organic with the simple salt that we eat? It is healthy and tastier too!
Give it a considered thought!

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