Dr Nigel Perry wins NZIC prize

30 October 2013

Plant & Food Research’s Dr. Nigel Perry has been awarded the 2013 New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Prize for Industrial and Applied Chemistry. Dr Perry was recognised for his focus on the discovery and development of biologically active natural products.

With his colleagues in Plant & Food Research and the Chemistry Dept of the University of Otago, he has combined fundamental chemistry knowledge with a drive to establish practical applications. Nigel works with medical and agricultural researchers, Māori groups, and New Zealand and international companies.

He is an inventor on six patents, including one on an insect attractant now in commercial use around the world. Much of this work is documented in confidential technical reports to clients, but he has also published many papers on applied chemistry, on three main themes:

  • Crop protection, including an insect attractant, fungicidal and herbicidal natural products, and most recently a project on rapidly sensing plant fungal infection;

  • New Zealand natural products and Māori commerce, working on an antimicrobial mānuka leaf oil with Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals, another mānuka oil for flavour with the Federation of Māori Authorities and Manawhenua ki Mohua, and taramea for perfume development with Ngai Tahu; and

  • Bioactives in high value New Zealand crops, with research relating agricultural production and processing to the concentrations of bioactive components in medicinal and culinary herb crops, applying the latest analytical technologies to support "fast phenotyping" for breeding selection e.g. of hops, and work in the Nutrigenomics New Zealand programme on the health benefits of New Zealand foods.