British researchers to unravel molecular potential of berries

Three UK partners are among an international consortium that will study potential medicinal and other uses of molecules derived from berry fruits.

Professor Derek Stewart - image:HW
Professor Derek Stewart - image:HW

The  James Hutton Institute (JHI), The John Innes Centre and Norfolk Plant Sciences will be among 18 partners in 10 countries taking part in three-year, €9.5m (£7.8m) EU-funded BacHBERRY project.

JHI will use state-of-the-art analytical technologies to screen cultivated and wild berries including blackcurrants and raspberries for natural molecule diversity.

These compounds will then be assessed for use against conditions such as Type-2 diabetes, cancer and degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases.

They will also be screened for broad and specific antibacterial activities, as well as for use as antioxidants and as colourants in food and cosmetics.

The genes that code for these compounds will then be identified and copied into bacteria which can be bred on an industrial scale.

Professor Derek Stewart of JHI said: "This combination of scientists and companies represents an exciting opportunity to capture real value from our diverse berry germplasm to address multiple end uses."


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