London, Jan 17 (Agencies): Food scientists have created friendly bugs that can help you shed pounds when added to yogurt. They found they could alter a gut bacteria to produce a type of molecule that has been shown to reduce levels of fat tissue in the body.

The scientists from the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority (IAFDA) and Cork University, Ireland, hope they will be able to produce new types of probiotic yogurts and drinks that can help to cut obesity, the Telegraph reports.

Catherine Stanton, from the IAFDA who led the research, said: 'Fat is not an inert layer around our bodies, it is active and pro-inflammatory. It is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancers.'

The scientists created a strain of Lactobacillus bacteria, found in the human gut and aids digestion, by inserting a gene from another type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, which naturally produces a polyunsaturated fatty acid called t10, c12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).

The researchers found that the levels of t10, c12 CLA in the body fat of mice fed the engineered Lactobacillus bacterium were four times greater than mice fed a control strain.

They also found that concentrations of the molecule in the rodents' livers were 2.5 times higher when they were fed the new bacterium.

Recent research has shown that t10, c12 CLA is capable of shrinking fat cells, causing overall body fat to decrease, while it has also been shown to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.