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New funding to support high value food exports

New funding to support high value food exports

Auckland, New Zealand. 15 September 2014...Plant & Food Research has received funding for two new projects in the latest government science investment round.

Maintaining the quality of fruits and vegetables during transport is key to growing New Zealand’s horticultural exports, currently worth $3.6 billion. The Remotely Activated Controlled Extended Release (RACER™) Devices project will develop new disposable devices that will enhance the quality of fresh produce for export. The devices, which could be placed inside pallets or other packaging, will dispense natural compounds to control the preservation and ripening of fresh fruits and vegetables, supporting the delivery of high quality produce to overseas markets.

When extracted from fresh produce, many compounds lose some or all of their health-promoting activity. The Cell Foods project will develop new methods to maintain the health attributes of compounds found in fruits and vegetables when extracted for use as ingredients for functional foods or nutraceuticals. The project will investigate new methods of keeping plant cells intact during processing so that the cell wall acts as a natural micro-encapsulation technology, retaining the biological activity of the compounds and offering health benefits closer to those of the whole food.

Scientists from Plant & Food Research will also contribute to other projects that received funding, including the development of a flexible robotic platform for orchard operations and identifying new processing technologies to support the food industry.

Forty-eight projects received a total of $139 million in the latest Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment science investment round.

ENDS

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