This proposal seeks to identify new natural molecules from the Chinese flora that have potential application in the European flavour and fragrance industry. In order to achieve this, the techniques used for extraction, isolation and selection of target compounds must first be substantially improved.
Improvements in the isolation, identification and selection of target molecules will be achieved through the novel use of a single machine combining gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and olfactive evaluation in a single pass of a plant extract. For the isolation of target compounds, we will research the use of Solid Phase Extraction technologies, originally developed by the pharmaceutical industry, and adapt and apply these for the separation of flavour and fragrance compounds from crude extracts.
These are two major innovations. Novel molecules with desirable odour or taste characteristics will be evaluated by expert panels for their potential as new ingredients for use in perfume and flavour products. The candidate has 10 years experience in ethnobotany and the isolation of pharmacologically active molecules from plants. During the project she will learn new technical skills of taste and odour analysis and the personal skills of odour recognition, description and evaluation required to work in this field of research.
This will be supplemented with training in general and scientific project management. With these new skills and techniques the fellow will return to the State Key Laboratory for Phytochemistry at the Kunming Institute of Botany, where she is currently an Assistant Professor, to establish a new research group to investigate the aromatic plants of Yunnan for species with economic potential.
The project provides Quest with new products, the candidate with new skills, the KIB with a new research group and initiates scientific and economic partnerships between China and Europe.
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