Dr Harriet Berry has developed an enterprise activity called Natural Compound Solutions over the past year with Professor Paul Fraser in the Department of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Dr Harriet Berry in the glasshouse at Royal Holloway
Dr Berry is one of three UKRI enterprise fellows to be awarded in the UK, through the High Value Biorenewables (HVB) network, a scheme designed to support budding entrepreneurs to take research discoveries and progress them towards commercialisation.
The Royal Holloway enterprise is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, (BBSRC), and utilises horticultural wastes streams to produce valuable pigments. The particular focus has been on brightly coloured carotenoid pigments, which until recently have been produced industrially by chemical synthesis. However, the group at Royal Holloway have developed a process that can generate these compounds from natural sources. The biobased procedures used also improve the sustainability credentials of the processes.
Dr Berry launched Natural Compound Solutions earlier this month at ChemUK Supply Chain Expo (11-12 May) a major UK industry event, and has already received orders and enquires from a diverse range of industries.
Through the enterprise fellowship Dr Berry will continue to establish the commercial activity at Royal Holloway and expand the existing product range with widespread potential applications in the food, feed, cosmetic, health and pharma sectors.
Carotenoids are natural pigments used across multiple industrial sectors and production of these compounds has been the major feature of our research portfolio at Royal Holloway, University of London for over 50 years. Plant based foods rich in health promoting phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, have been linked to reducing certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, and vitamin A deficiency.
This latest enterprise builds on academic expertise at Royal Holloway and has synergies with the College’s sustainability strategy.