It is unquestionable that Biotechnology has a main role in the food sector, from the production of food ingredients (aromas, enzymes, biopolymers, sweeteners) and innovative food products (e.g. microalgae for food and feed) using biotechnological processes, to the development of new heterologous microorganisms to be used in such processes and of improved detection systems (e.g. for the control of foodborne pathogens, mycotoxins). When these activities are already taking place at CEB, complemented with the development and exploitation of novel technologies for food processing, novel bio-based packaging systems and food nanotechnology, there is room for the establishment of a new Thematic Line on Food Bio/Technology.
This new Thematic Line on Food Biotechnology was thus created with the overall objective of conducting high quality research aiming at enhancing the functionality, quality, safety and nutritional value of food, together with the integration of advanced technologies into food production, using a biotechnology-based approach and having in mind the challenges posed by Industry 4.0. This means that the reinforcement of collaboration with both the industrial and academic world internationally will be a priority.
The Line structure is the simplest possible in order to provide a close cooperation between all its members, to promote possible synergies and to define future strategies. The structure includes interdisciplinary thematic subgroups involving the groups AMG, b.Factory, BIOFILM, BIOSYSTEMS, and FUNCARB. Their areas of expertise are notoriously complementary and the synergy between the groups is a great opportunity that ought to be taken.
Research activities within the framework of this new Line will make use of the already well-established competences of the 5 groups and will continue addressing the most relevant scientific and technologic aspects associated with the topics mentioned above, having Food Biotechnology as the integrative streamline.
This Thematic Line is thus aligned with the objectives of EU policies for the development of a Circular Economy by bringing together science, industry and other stakeholders, to exploit new and emerging research opportunities that address social, environmental and economic challenges, as well as the growing demand for safer, healthier, higher quality food and for sustainable use and production of renewable bio-resources. The continued development of knowledge and know-how, the acquisition of intellectual property and finally the creation of new companies or licensing of technologies allow accomplishing these goals and constitute a route for the effective creation of value. The current and foreseen research, with established links with relevant R&D players and major industries (both region- and country-wide), in the relevant areas of intervention will enhance the technological potential created in recent years, namely by establishing the conditions for technological transfer.