Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be beneficial to humans by restoring the balance of microflora in the digestive tract. Now food scientists at The University of Nottingham are to investigate the optimum way of carrying and releasing these organisms.
The aim is to pinpoint how effectively probiotics work when in the gut, obtain proof that they are effective, and to look at whether probiotics could become part of everyday foods such as bread.
The project has received funding of £39,500 from Food and Drink iNet, which encourages innovation in the food and drink sector. The organisation is hoping this study could bring key benefits to the food and drink sector in the East Midlands.
The project is being led by Dr Ian Fisk, a lecturer in food chemistry in the School of Biosciences. He will be working with a range of different collaborators.
Benefits to health and the economy
Dr Fisk said: “It is envisaged that this research will generate increased revenue for the East Midlands and the UK, enhance the training of key skilled workers within the project and through dissemination contribute to a healthier society and a more sustainable UK economy. We are grateful for the Food and Drink iNet support.”
The team is looking for an industrial partner to join the consortium to add value to the project by producing food products which contain probiotics for testing via the developed device.
The potential partner would need to have an interest in developing a probiotic food product, and would be expected to help develop the food ingredients and conduct factory/pilot scale trials in preparation for clinical trials. The project could be suitable for a range of different food products as the collaborators are actively interested to identifying novel applications.
Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall, said: “This research has great potential for local businesses because it will help to identify an effective probiotics delivery method and should provide substantiated evidence that probiotics are effectively delivered to the gut, which will mean that manufacturers can use this information to substantiate claims on their packaging and marketing material. Ultimately it may help manufacturers to add probiotics to a range of different products, which could help to improve the nation’s gut health.”
Support for regional business
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), The Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. It has developed an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.
It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.
Once the initial part of the research has been carried out, a number of small and medium-sized businesses in the East Midlands will be invited to trial the use of probiotics in their products.
The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by The Food and Drink Forum and including Nottingham Trent University, The University of Lincoln, and The University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.
Interested industrial partners should contact Jo Murphy at the iNet via Jo.email@example.com
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The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme, which runs from 2007-13, is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development.
The ERDF objectives for England are:
• Promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
• Stimulating enterprise and supporting successful business
• Ensuring sustainable development, production and consumption
• Building sustainable communities
• Improving accessibility and connectivity (for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only – as part of their Convergence Programme).
The programme is delivered and overseen by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf
The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…
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