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Hidaa Lifesciences: Fortifying roti and curry with Vitamin D extract from mushrooms
By Vishal Dutta ET Bureau| Updated: Mar 29, 2018, 11.19 PM IST
AHMEDABAD: What India’s scorching summers haven’t been able to do, maybe mushrooms can—help rid the country of its vitamin D deficiency problem.
Hidaa Lifesciences has developed a process-patented technology to extract vitamin D2 from mushroom, a vegan alternative to fish oil and sheep wool used to produce vitamin D3 extracts. Both D2 and D3 are converted to vitamin D in the body.
The Ahmedabad-based startup’s vitamin D2 powdered extract can be used to fortify Indian dietary staple such as roti and curry without changing the taste, texture or aroma. The powder can be directly mixed with food while cooking, according to the company.
Hidaa sells mushroom supplements under the brand name D’Bello and has also developed vitamin D-based chocolates, khakhara (wheat crisps) and bread that it sells both online and offline.
“It is ancient knowledge that mushroom can produce vitamin D in very less concentration (5-7 international units/ 100gm). We have developed a patented process in which we are getting up to 5,000 IU/gm of powder,” said Menka Gurnani, cofounder Hidaa Lifesciences.
According to her, India has no vegan source of vitamin D tablet/powder, and globally, only one USbased company, Dole Food Co. Inc., makes vitamin D products from mushroom.
Gurnani and cofounder Dr Raj Kumar Maurya are microbiologists, each with more than a decade of research experience with leading pharmaceutical companies. Hidaa Lifesciences is being incubated at the Entrepreneurship
Development Institute of India’s technology business incubator, the Centre for Advancing and Lunching Enterprises (CrAdLE), which is supported by the Union government’s Department of Science & Technology (DST).
The human body can get a large amount of vitamin D from the sun and smaller quantities from foods such as fish and chicken. For reasons such as culture and sedentary lifestyles, though, most Indians do not get enough exposure to the sun or eat enough non-vegetarian food for the body to produce sufficient vitamin D.
The most common effects of vitamin D deficiency are depression and osteoporosis (weakening of the bones). A recent study by Indian and Norwegian researchers and published in peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS One found vitamin D deficiency to be alarmingly common in the Indian subcontinent— and yet, it often goes undiagnosed.
“Hidaa Lifesciences is one of our first startups operating in the (business-to-customer) segment. Their patented process is not only innovative but also tries to help solve the nutrition gap, especially in the vitamin D segment,” said Mayank Patel, chief executive, CrAdle. Infosys cofounder S. Gopalakrishnan is chairman of the advisory committee at CrAdle.
Hidaa Lifesciences was recently selected as an innovative startup and registered under the Union government’s Start-Up India scheme. “We have received Rs 10 lakh funding from government of Gujarat under the Start-Up India scheme,” said Gurnani.