Australia’s next generation of food technology and manufacturing experts will be educated at a new training centre led by University of Sydney chemical engineers.
The ARC Biotechnology and Food Processing Training Centre was kick-started in early April at a roundtable conference attended by more than 10 major food industry partners.
Funded for three years, the centre will be directed by Professor Fariba Dehghani from the university’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Professor Dehghani said the centre will support Australian businesses to design better methods of food processing and storage, as well as develop advanced manufacturing techniques aimed at reducing costs and increasing energy efficiency.
“A key objective is to boost the Australian industry’s capacity to compete in a global market, particularly in the production of nutraceuticals – food products that are fortified with vitamins or minerals and which provide health benefits as well as nutritional value,” professor Dehghani said.
“Nutraceutical products include pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, or food ingredients. The centre will design cost-effective and sustainable processes for producing these types of products with a view to minimising waste while enhancing efficiency and reducing energy consumption.
“These nutraceuticals are highly valued products with the potential to boost not only our industry partners’ revenues but also significantly boost Australian exports in agribusiness.”
Professor Dehghani’s team has previously helped to reveal strong evidence of vitamin MK-7’s role in reducing the risk of common health disorders such as arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease and varicose veins.
She says the centre will look at how to develop nutraceutical products that can also help reduce the risk of viral diseases and diabetes.