Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - BIOPOWDERS (Research training in powder technology for competitive manufacture of food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and biological powders)

Many ingredients, intermediates and final products are produced in powder form. Many of these powders, such as food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and biochemical powders, are biopowders, that is, they contain molecules of biological origin (e.g. proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) and / or contain molecules that are biologically active. A driving motivation behind this project is that knowledge of particle and powder processes lags far behind that of liquid and gas processes, and there remains a great many practical problems that the current state-of-the-art cannot address effectively.

A major bottleneck in advancing particle and powder technology and its application to biopowders is a serious lack of human resources in terms of engineers and scientists that have a good understanding of powders and powder processing. Powder science and technology is seldom taught in engineering courses or bio science and technology courses. As a result, there is a real need for education, training and research in particle and powder technology to help reduce the human resource deficit that is a prerequisite for the advancement and industrial application of powder technology. The world of particle and powder technology should be as important as liquids and gases.

The BIOPOWDERS RTN commenced on the 1 November 2004 and continued for 4 years until the 31 October 2008. It trained 12 PhD students and 1 Master's student in particle and powder technology and research management, conducting research that helps tackle industrial problems and develop more effective particle processes, and fostered research collaboration, both within the RTN and to the wider community, that converts ideas into reality.

The primary vehicles for implementing this RTN project was through the implementation of 13 research projects, 5 RTN meetings and a RTN website for disseminating the activities of the RTN. The RTN meetings consisted of formal training courses and mini-conferences. The mini-conferences acted as a vehicle for knowledge-transfer, whereby invited speakers from within the RTN and outside as well as the students made presentations on topics that they have expertise in, which has direct relevance to industry.

The titles of the 13 projects under five headings are presented below:

Particle coating and agglomeration.
1. Particle coating using dry powder technology
2. Control of user properties of biopowders by dry coating
3. Improvement of powder functionality via fluidised bed coating
4. Controlled powder agglomeration during spray drying

Powder caking and adhesion
5. Glass transition and powder caking
6. Caking of amorphous and crystalline powder mixes
7. Adhesion of particulate ingredients to food products

Biopowder nanotechnology
8. Nanogrinding of food powders
9. Production of solid-phase biocatalysts by nanoparticle formulation methods

Decontamination and dust prevention
10. Decontamination of powdered food ingredients using infra-red
11. Coating strength of coated particles

Control of particle processes
12. Dextrose crystallisation - Control of crystal growth and crystal size
13. Prediction of mass flowrate during pneumatic conveying.

More information about the BIOPOWDERS RTN, including a description of the research projects and publications can be obtained from the RTN website:

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