State-of-the-art food library launched in Western Australia

Dr Ruey Leng Loo in lab coat

New research to develop suite of novel chemical fingerprinting methodologies to help prove the provenance and nutritional credentials of premium WA products.

Scientists at Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC) are embarking on a project with SMEs across Western Australia to create unique chemical fingerprinting methods for Western Australian produce.

The overall aim of this project is to connect nutritional quality and composition with positive healthcare outcomes through nutritional health claims.

The four year, $1.6M project sees the ANPC partner with global scientific equipment manufacturer Bruker Biospin GmbH and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

“We’re going to generate detailed chemical information of food and food products to verify their chemical make-up, nutritional functionality and other key attributes such as authenticity and freshness,” said Dr Ruey Leng Loo, who is leading the project from Murdoch University’s Centre for Computational and Systems Medicine

“Our approach will enable food quality monitoring and allow fingerprint traceability. This will help Australian producers achieve higher prices for their goods in premium markets and boost the country’s reputation as a supplier of some of the best agricultural products to the world.”

In time, the project will also cover nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products.

A number of local providers are partnering in the program to have their produce analysed, including Mt Lindesay.

“We are breeding organic globe artichokes for multiple health benefits at the molecular level,” said Dr Mark McHenry, owner of mixed-farming enterprise Mt Lindesay.


This research collaboration will allow us to determine what healthy molecules are there and what we can enhance naturally.”
Dr Mark McHenry, Owner of Mt Lindesay

The research will take place at the ANPC on Murdoch University’s Perth campus and within the Food Innovation Precinct of the soon-to-be-opened Peel Business Park.

The project is part of the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre, which is delivering a 10-year national research program that uses high-tech solutions to increase the nutritional and commercial values of Australian food products.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Director of the ANPC and Program lead for the CRC project said the research presents significant benefits for both the food industry and healthcare.

“The project uniquely leverages the multilevel analytical firepower of the ANPC to deeply characterise food composition in a way that helps us understand the molecular basis of healthy nutrition and will help enable future preventative medicine strategies at the individual and population level. 


The data will also support food health claims that can add significant value to Australian products.”
Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Director of Australian National Phenome Centre

Dr Iris Mangelschots, President of  Bruker BioSpin’s Applied, Industrial & Clinical division, said the project presented a great scientific partnership. 

“We are honoured to have been selected as a strategic partner in the Future Food System program,” said Dr Mangelschots.

“By linking the detailed chemical fingerprints of premium food products – generated using Bruker’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) FoodScreener™ system – with biofunctionality, this project can develop scientific evidence to support value added health claims for Australian food producers while leveraging quantitative nutritional information to support metabolic healthcare decisions. 

“In addition, these biofunctional health claims will be validated at the ANPC by using Bruker’s IVDr Clinical NMR Research Platform.

“The high-throughput NMR method provides a wealth of information that is both targeted (quantification of defined substances) and non-targeted (identifying deviations from reference spectra in an unbiased multi-omics approach), ranging from the detailed chemical composition of the food to the geographical origin and identification of any form of adulteration.”

DPIRD Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture Director Rohan Prince said the visionary project would provide scientific proof of the quality and attributes of WA produce, helping to forge new market opportunities.


The department will link industry with the facility by identifying priority farming systems and agricultural products for ANPC analysis that have the potential to create a competitive advantage and benefits to WA’s primary industries.
Rohan Prince, DPIRD Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture Director 

“This exciting project is using science to validate WA’s enviable reputation as a reliable supplier of safe, clean, nutritious premium quality products to provide opportunities for product differentiation and value adding and to capture a share of the competitive global food market.”

About the Future Food Systems CRC
The Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is a national initiative funded as part of the Australian Government’s CRC Program and commenced in December 2019.

Its goal is to broker industry-led collaborations between business, researchers and the community that improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australia’s agrifood sector, especially in areas of competitive strength.

CRC industry partners include large and small firms across farming, food manufacturing and technology services that share a vision for increasing Australia’s ability to value-add agrifood production and build scale in growth markets for trusted, healthy food and advanced precision-nutrition goods. 

For more information about the Future Food Systems CRC, its participants and its research, visit the CRC’s website.

This research supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 17.

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Posted on:

1 Oct 2021



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