The University of the West of England (UWE) is involved in a key international partnership that involves eight institutions spanning seven nations in the area of food safety and food quality.
Based in UWE, the multi-disciplinary research team combines the knowledge expertise of the Centre for Research in Analytical, Materials and Sensor Science and the Institute of Bio-sensing Technology, and Centre for Research in Biomedicine.
The EU People Marie Curie Action International Research Staff Exchange Scheme funds the project headed by Olena Doran (IBST/CRIB). Researchers from Belgium’s University of Leuven, Ukraine’s Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Pig Breeding, China’s Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Italy’s University of Bologna, U.S.’ Iowa State University, Spain’s University of Lleida and Institute for Food and Technology Research and U.K.’s University of the West of England will be involved in this project.
Doran opines that the current project is a development of the earlier EU project conducted on food safety and food quality by UWE that involved 20 institutions from 12 nations. Meat quality can be improved by selective breeding of genotypes with required traits, which in turn is linked to the recognition of genes and study of the metabolic pathways that control their traits. The project brings together international researchers for developing new effective approaches and tools for improving food quality.
As pork is a popularly consumed meat in Europe, the project will focus on improving pork meat quality. The cured pork can be used to prepare delicious foods such as chorizo in Spain and Parma ham in Italy.
Doran added that the quality of food products has an impact on the health of humans and therefore it is an essential agenda of funding bodies and international and national policy makers. For instance, the presence of excess fat content and fatty acid composition in foods can lead to coronary heart disease, obesity and cancer among other diseases. It is imperative to roll out newer technologies for effectively and quickly assessing the quality of foods.
Apart from Doran, the UWE team comprises IBST Directors Janice Keily and Richard Luxton; Director of Centre for Research in Biomedicine John Hart and Simon Jackson. In another related project, researchers in Research Centres and IBST at UWE are working on assignments for developing rapid methodologies for fat partitioning detection by using magnetic particles and impedance technology.