The work this project contemplates has mostly to do with finding combinations of improved environmentally friendly processes in order to obtain new ingredients for use in the food, cosmetic and even dietetic and pharmaceutical industries. A variety of ingredients, such as spices, aromatic herbs, anti oxidants, pigments and vitamins, which can be obtained from live matter, faces as a common barrier the low levels at which it exists in the biological materials from which they come. Another set of common characteristics is that most of them are, at a molecular level, species of intermediate polarity, and to be found intracellularly . As a consequence, obtaining these natural and high added-value ingredients entails combined extraction and purification processes prior to use. These will normally include mechanical treatment such as grinding, and possibly the use of solvent extraction when the low polarity ingredients are sought after. Some of the ingredients which were mentioned above, can be advantageously obtained from vegetation which either grows or can be cultivated in marginal lands in semiarid climates. It is mainly these which are to be explored in this project. Combination treatments involving enzymatic pretreatment of biological material in order to enhance leachability, and essentially solvent-free extraction processing are to be tested for a variety of herbs, spices and also algal biomass. In this way it is hoped that new higher purity active ingredients will be obtained, which will be used in the preparation of products ensuring stabler, less concentrated and/or slow release properties, via molecular inclusion or entrapment technology. With this work it is expected that knowledge of the production of new, natural food and cosmetic ingredients of high added value and increased stability and process ability will be gained, possibly leading to their eventual use in the processing of food with improved preservation, colouring and aroma properties, as well as natural ingredients for use by the cosmetics industry. The proposal brings together groups with different capabilities which complement each other and provide a multidisciplinary approach to the problem they are tackling.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
B15 2TT Birmingham