Marine-derived preservatives project unveiled

Aquapharm Biodiscovery, a marine biotechnology company, has signed a research agreement with Leatherhead Food Research to identify novel functional extracts with broad-spectrum anti-microbial activity using its extensive collection of marine micro-organisms.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aquapharm will apply its suite of proprietary screening technologies, including SeaRch, and fermentation know-how to generate extracts for screening. Leatherhead Food Research, drawing on its scientific expertise and track record on the identification, evaluation and application of alternative preservatives for food and other applications, will then undertake the screening of these shortlisted extracts from Aquapharm’s collection against a range of different micro-organisms, bacteria and fungi.

Aquapharm and Leatherhead Food Research will offer the output of this screening effort – namely a rich new source of naturally derived antimicrobial compounds – to the food and beverage industry and seek an appropriate partner, or partners, to support the further development and commercialisation of selected candidates.

The collaboration builds on Aquapharm’s established deals with Croda to develop novel bio-active ingredients for the personal care industry and AMRI to isolate and identify active pharmaceutical ingredients, thus maximising the exploitation of its marine collection in producing a range of high value-added products for multiple market sectors.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly demanding naturally derived ingredients and we are delighted to engage in collaboration with Leatherhead Food Research, who operate at the very forefront of food research, to develop a productive new source of natural preservatives that meets this need,” says Aquapharm CEO Simon Best.

“Consumer demand for additive-free foods is a key research driver in the area of food preservatives. Adding to Leatherhead’s current research portfolio on natural alternatives to chemical preservatives, this collaboration aims at the effective exploitation of Aquapharm’s unique source of biodiverse marine micro-organisms,” adds Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou, head of food safety at Leatherhead Food Research.

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