Issue 15's archives
Scientists at Nofima are participating in a major EU-financed project in which “active” packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products – and after use the packaging biodegrades. Environmentally stubborn plastic is getting competition from biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shell.
Nofima’s part of the project equates to around NOK 1 million over a two-year period. Together with the coordinator, Italian company Mavi, the majority of the project involves four medium-sized companies in EU and three research centres.
“Our job is to ensure food contact safety in the project and quantify the effect on bacteria. Chitosan used as an integrated part of the packaging can have an antibacterial effect on the food products,” says Morten Sivertsvik, Director of Research at Nofima’s department for Processing Technology in Stavanger.
“The EU has strict regulations in this area, and our role is to see that the active packaging have a positive and not negative impact on the food products. The chitosan-based fibres that are used in the packaging are based on nanotechnology, so we are talking about minute particles that by no means have to break down so they come in the food products.”
Sivertsvik has worked on packaging technology at Nofima, Europe’s largest food research institute, since 1992.
A maritime milestone will be set this week as a container of 18 tons of fresh salmon from Chile is offloaded from a cargo ship in California after a month at sea — without being frozen.
How, you ask. By using fuel cell technology in a new way.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process produces electricity.
“We use that capability and take out the oxygen from a palletized, plastic-wrapped container of fish to less than 200 parts per million. So we basically cause the fish to go dormant and extend their natural shelf life,” explained Mark Barnekow, CEO of California-based Global Fresh Foods. “It all gets done at the processing plant before it even gets loaded on the truck.”
Supreme Biotechnologies, producers of AstaSupreme Astaxanthin, have launched a unique formula which combines Astaxanthin, Curcumin and Omega 3.
Supreme Biotechnologies CEO Tony Dowd says the new product is designed specifically to target inflammation in sore joints and tendons, by combining three ingredients that have been clinically validated as natural anti-inflammatory agents.
“Many people suffering from painful inflamed joints often take Astaxanthin, Curcumin and Omega 3 separately,” Dowd says. “So, we worked with a natural health consultant to combine the right quantities of each of these three ingredients, to create a powerhouse formula for painful joints.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), which has invested more than $100 million to develop algae-derived biofuels, is refocusing its research with Synthetic Genomics Inc. after almost four years of work failed to produce economically viable results.
Primex has introducted a microencapsulated version of its LipoSan Ultra that is designed for weight loss beverages.
The new and unique weight loss ingredient is an innovative development and line extension of Primex’s ordinary weight loss ingredient LipoSan Ultra, a patented product based on ChitoClear chitosan and succinic acid, which has an extraordinary ability to bind to dietary fat so it is not absorbed by the body.
The original product has been used as a food supplement for weight management. LipoSan Ultra chitosan is a dietary fiber and will as such improve the nutritional value of the functional food consumed, the company said.
A joint project between the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and industry partners could result in technology to grow algae to be made into several items, including biodiesel, in the heart of the Canadian petroleum industry: oil sands facilities.
The Algal Carbon Conversion Pilot Project, a partnership among the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) and Pond Biofuels, will result in the construction of a unique, $19 million facility in Alberta.
Chemists have found several compounds that can boost oil production by green microscopic algae, a potential source of biodiesel and other “green” fuels. Microalgae are single-celled organisms that, like green plants, use photosynthesis to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into complex compounds, including oils and lipids. Marine algae species can be raised in saltwater ponds, which means they don’t compete with food crops for land or fresh water.
“They can live in saltwater, they take sunlight and carbon dioxide as a building block, and make these long chains of oil that can be converted to biodiesel,” says Annaliese Franz, assistant professor of chemistry at University of California, Davis, and an author of the paper published in Chemical Biology.
Franz and team screened 83 compounds for their effects on growth and oil production in four strains of microalgae. They identified several that could boost oil production by up to 85 percent, without decreasing growth.
Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Program (MBBR) scientists have been awarded a $345,716 grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify marine natural products for their potential use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
A primary mission for the MBBR is to discover marine natural products that can be used as medicines or as tools to better understand the molecular basis of disease. MBBR has identified over 100 marine natural products with cancer fighting properties.
One current focus is to find potential treatments for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 6 percent, highlighting the need for new treatments.
Principal Investigator Dr. Esther Guzmán and co-investigator Dr. Amy Wright, director of the MBBR, plan to initiate a screening effort to discover inhibitors of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in pancreatic cancer cells using HBOI’s unique library of marine natural products. RAGE has emerged as an important regulator of inflammatory, stress and cell survival pathways, which contribute to the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer.
BioProcess Algae Awarded $6.4 Million U.S. Department of Energy Grant to Develop Advanced Drop-in Biofuels for Military Jets and ShipsPosted On: April 26, 2013
BioProcess Algae LLC has been selected to receive a grant of up to $6.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as part of an innovative pilot-scale biorefinery project related to production of hydrocarbon fuels meeting military specification. The project will use renewable carbon dioxide, lignocellulosic sugars and waste heat through BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester(TM) technology platform, co-located with the Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc., ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa.
Developing a new generation of energy-producing construction components, Grow Energy, of San Diego, California, plans for algae to create clean electricity for residential and commercial structures. Their first system, called Verde, is a technology specifically designed for individual homes. According to the company, Verde employs a clean combustion process to burn algal biomass to create electricity and heat energy, which can significantly offset a property’s utility expenses, if not supplement the entirety of a property’s electricity needs.
The Verde system photobioreactors are algae panels that mount onto a building’s roof or envelope and grow algae by using recycled elements and nutrients in a closed-loop process. Designed to be minimally invasive, the system is compact and meant to be no more intrusive to a home’s aesthetics than solar technology. Grow Energy plans to introduce Verde to the mainstream homeowner market in 2015.