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HortResearch, AgResearch join in food, health sci

HortResearch and AgResearch join forces in food and human health science and technology

17 March, 2008

HortResearch and AgResearch today announced their intention to explore a new level of scientific and technological collaboration in the fields of food, human nutrition and health. The collaboration will have a strong “Farm to Fork” focus, taking in activities from fundamental plant sciences to joint liaison with international supermarket chains.

"Our two Crown Research Institutes have between them an unparalleled concentration of food scientists and technologists and we are connected into the pastoral and horticultural value chains in a way that is unique for research organisations, world-wide,” said Paul McGilvary, Chief Executive of HortResearch.

"These industries provide the bulk of New Zealand's exports and this country stands to gain substantially if it can produce considerably more, high value foods that embody scientifically proven benefits to human nutrition and health. The opportunities are compelling and HortResearch and AgResearch are each well on the way to providing that scientific basis for their respective primary industries. The industries face similar challenges and by working together we can get there faster".

HortResearch and AgResearch are complementary in food science and technology, and each spans the entire value chain from soils and orchards or paddocks to in-store food products.

HortResearch focuses on developing elite proprietary fruit cultivars and plant-derived foods, beverages and ingredients. AgResearch focuses on foods derived from animals, such as meat and milk.

Significantly, much of the underlying science in plant and animal-based foods is common to both endeavours. Plant and animal-based foods are also often combined as ingredients, for example in fruit yogurt.

AgResearch Chief Executive, Dr Andrew West said AgResearch and HortResearch are each working with faculties of Auckland University to access the medical and nutritional sciences that underpin human health.

"Through our new collaboration we hope to expand and better integrate our relationship with medical and nutritional academics at Auckland University. It is this that will allow us to work so much better on the boundary of food and health. In time we would also like to develop a similar relationship in defined fields with the University of Otago".

A new, joint management committee has been formed by the two Crown Research Institutes to progress the new collaboration.

ENDS

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