L-R: John O’Halloran, president, UCC; Shalome Bassett, programme leader, scientific affairs, Fonterra; James Dekker, platform manager, Fonterra; John Cryan, VP research and innovation, UCC; Brendan Curran, general manager, APC; Paul Ross, director, APC
Fonterra has joined forces with APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) to form a new strategic research partnership.
Based in the University College Cork (UCC) and Teagasc Food Research Centre, APC Microbiome Ireland claims to be the largest and oldest microbiome research institute in the world.
In 2020, Kraft Heinz and APC Microbiome Ireland announced a new collaboration aimed at developing new natural cultures for food fermentations. APC has also worked on research projects with more than 30 companies, including DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences in a four-year project aimed at developing solutions to establish a healthy microbiome in infants.
This new partnership with Fonterra will focus on probiotics and human microbiome research, with a primary focus on creating innovative products that promote consumer health and wellness.
Mark Malone, general manager for science and technology at Fonterra, said “This new partnership with APC is a fantastic opportunity for Fonterra to collaborate with world-leading experts in the field of probiotics and microbiome research. This will augment Fonterra’s health and nutrition expertise and accelerate our development of new and differentiated nutritional offerings.”
Paul Ross, director of APC, commented: “This is a significant development for APC and we are thrilled to be working together with Fonterra. This latest collaboration with industry underlines APC’s reputation as a global leader in microbiome research and our expertise in supporting new product development with our Irish and international industry partners.”
John O’Halloran, UCC president, added: “This collaboration reinforces the commitment APC shares with Fonterra to develop new, evidence-based products that support lifelong health. It reflects UCC’s international reputation in science and innovation and is an important milestone in our UCC Futures – food, microbiome and health strategy which aims to provide solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time.”
A rising number of individuals are seeking to incorporate probiotics into their daily diets. This growing awareness presents Fonterra and APC with significant market potential to collaborate on new solutions.
By tapping into the wealth of expertise at APC Microbiome Ireland, Fonterra is poised to expedite the development of novel probiotic strains that can be manufactured and distributed on a global scale.
This partnership marks a crucial step toward meeting the ever-evolving needs of health-conscious consumers worldwide.
A new hub for innovation
Central to the project is the establishment of a new Fonterra microbiome research centre, which will be based at UCC. The purpose of this centre is to maximise the synergy between Fonterra and APC, making it an ideal hub for pioneering research in the field.
The centre will play a pivotal role in identifying and substantiating the health benefits associated with Fonterra’s probiotic offerings. Their shared objective is to introduce a range of novel probiotic strains into the market over the next five to ten years.
By doing so, the partnership aims to provide consumers with a diverse array of probiotic products that cater to a wide spectrum of wellness demands.
Fonterra says it is already “well positioned in this space” as it houses one of the world’s largest dairy culture collections (more than 40,000 strains) and has been developing probiotics for nearly three decades.
Operations are expected to commence before the close of 2023.
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