Queensland researchers search for ingredients in sugarcane

Queensland University of Technology
Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Queensland researchers search for ingredients in sugarcane

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will be a key partner in the Trailblazer Universities Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) program, which is focused on supporting the growth of new food manufacturing industries.

The University of Queensland-led FaBA program was recently awarded a $50 million grant, spread across four years, to commercialise food and beverage development, with an additional $110 million coming from other partners. A consortium of 18 organisations will be working through FaBA to bring research projects to market.

QUT’s involvement in the program will also see it expand its collaboration with Change Foods, which is part of the FaBA program, to make new food products from the millions of tonnes of residual sugarcane fibre — known as bagasse — left over from the sugarcane harvesting process. It recently received a $1 million Securing Raw Materials Program grant towards a new $5.2 million precision fermentation project.

QUT researchers have been working with Change Food for two years to develop microbial systems that produce ingredients found in dairy products like milk, butter and cheese.

QUT Professor of Microbial Biotechnology Robert Speight said the university’s focus on precision fermentation and biotechnology will help it develop sustainable food products and processes.

“Our QUT Mackay Renewables Biocommodities Pilot Plant in particular is unique in its ability to demonstrate these new technologies at scale, which helps drive commercialisation of these new food technologies,” said Speight.

“The pilot plant will play an important role in providing capabilities and infrastructure for scaling up production of new food ingredients for a global market.

“QUT has the infrastructure and research expertise to support research in this area and advance the growth of precision fermentation companies — and is already working with many of the FaBA consortium partners.”

The research and commercialisation will take place at QUT’s Brisbane campus and the pilot plant at Mackay, and will also use a purpose-build Change Foods research facility.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/paulovilela

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