Lincoln-based SME, Nutrapharma has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to develop novel powder products for the nutraceutical sector. Nutrapharma will collaborate with The Open University to identify specific compounds present in powders generated from food waste. This will enable the company to be the first to market in the nutraceutical sector to apply this process to local produce.
Nutraceuticals are any substance that is a food or part of a food, and provides medical or health benefits. Nutrapharma believes that focusing on previously discarded, but nutritionally valuable, products can boost food sustainability by developing new, premium products, rich in fibre, nutrients and nutraceuticals, for food and food ingredient companies.
The Open University (OU) will provide Nutrapharma with the laboratory facilities and expertise in laboratory assay development and novel analytical methods, utilising the OU’s portfolio of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCXGC-MS) and liquid chromatography -mass spectrometry (LC-MS) systems.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Dr Eric Hilton, CEO of Nutrapharma said: “We’ve worked with universities a lot, both in commercial and research fields. After an initial, opportune meeting at an industry event, we were keen to find out more about the OU’s expertise in mass spectrometry and how this could support our analysis of food waste powders.
“SPRINT will give us opportunity to validate our ideas with expert research and facilities from the OU team. With so much food wasted or undervalued in today’s society, we can help local farmers and food production companies across the UK by maximising the viability of a new range of nutraceutical products.”
Dr Geraint Huw Morgan from the School of Physical Sciences at The Open University added: “Having met Eric at a virtual STFC Food Network2.0 sandpit, I was struck by how similar our approaches were to R&D and product commercialisation. It also became instantly clear that one of my existing commercial collaborators, in the SPRINT programme, could provide Eric with the missing step in his commercial route-to-market.
“Having developed the value proposition further through this SPRINT proposal – we are excited at the opportunity to develop bespoke mass spec methods with a view to, hopefully, confirming the commercial viability of turning food waste powders in to valuable nutraceuticals, to the benefit of UK farmers and UK food producers.”
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