Our research identifies compounds in natural produce for use in a diverse range of applications from medical and agricultural to packaging and food.
Plant and marine life offer rich sources of active compounds and unique properties that we are discovering and harnessing for food and non-food applications. Plant & Food Research is exploring plant and marine extracts such as proteins and carbohydrates that are highly functional natural polymers with potential applications in structured biomaterials like electrospun fibres, emulsions, films and composites. Often there are opportunities to find value in co-product streams from primary and secondary processing. The potential uses for the extracts and materials are diverse and range from medical applications such as skin or bone replacements to new packaging materials, horticulture applications such as weed and frost protection, to fine-filtering systems and bioremediation. In food, the possibilities include ultra-smart packaging that keeps products fresh and safe and may indicate when they are past their best.
Our understanding of material engineering, chemistry, food and health combines with our expertise in electro-spinning to develop new biomaterials. Electrospinning uses a high voltage electrical potential to form a mat of fine fibres from polymer substances and is an emerging technology around the world for producing new materials. It creates a very fine fibre with properties like the original material that can be moulded, woven, sprayed or compressed for desired applications. We helped to design prototypes of the laboratory-scale electro-spinning equipment that is now sold around the world by ElectroSpinz
We are partners in the Biopolymer Network that has research programmes investigating extract from plants for applications in personal care products, adhesives, coatings and plastic additives, and fibre, foam and resin materials for applications as wide ranging as furniture, boat building, packaging materials, textiles, amenity and leisure products.