Lab Canada

Advanced foods and materials research gets boost

Ottawa, ON November 5, 2003 A new Network of Centres of Excellence – the Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMNet) is being established with funding of $22.2 million from the federal government.

The new centre involves a multi-disciplinary teams with researchers from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and law. It will be carrying out research to better understand the structure and function of biomolecules, to determine how they affect the structure, texture, chemistry, esthetics, nutrition and food safety. The ultimate goal of the network is to develop commercially viable, socially acceptable value-added products.

“The research on functional foods and nutraceuticals will have important social and medical benefits for people around the world. It will help reduce health care costs through the prevention of diet-related diseases, and improve public confidence in the food supply through better regulations and laws,” says Dr Rey Pagtakhan, minister of veterans affairs and secretary of state (science, research and development). “The network’s research will also contribute to food safety in areas such as new and better anti-microbial agents.”

Advanced foods and materials represent a large and growing market. Current world consumption of natural health products, functional foods and nutraceuticals is estimated at $70 billion annually.

The Advanced Foods and Materials Network is headquartered at the University of Guelph under the scientific leadership of Dr Rickey Yada. Dr Yada is a professor in the department of food science at the University of Guelph and a Canada Research Chair in food protein structure.