The Institute of Food Research, one of eight British institutes that receive strategic state funding, will formally collaborate with researchers at Jiangnan University after several years of reciprocal visits to exchange knowledge, training and expertise in probiotics.
Led by Arjan Narbad and Chen Wei, the centre benefits from grants from British-based international research incubator the Newton Fund to the tune of £250,000, with equivalent funding by Jiangnan University.
“It will allow us to strengthen ongoing collaboration and advance our interest in both fundamental and applied research focusing on gut bacteria,” said Prof. Narbad.
Prof. Wei added that the centre, which will be based at both the IFR and the planned National Engineering Research Centre for functional foods in Jiangan, will accelerate multidisciplinary efforts on probiotics, and also allow the development of further collaborations in food research.
Researchers at the facility will work together to tackle challenges in probiotics facing both China and Britain, as well as collaborating on research projects with funding from sources in the two countries.
Already, the partnership has published several joint-papers, with the latest appearing in the journal Applied Microbiology and biotechnology, which describes the development of a probiotic to alleviate the symptoms of metal toxicity, specifically aluminium.
Other projects will look at the development of probiotics to help counter antimicrobial resistance, a serious issue in China and the rest of the world.