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Assessment and development of the supply chain to deliver rosemary antioxidants to the food and pharmaceutical industries - NF0609

BackgroundThere is consumer and legislative pressure to improve food safety and to replace the use of synthetic antioxidants. The RAPFI (Rosemary antioxidants for the pharmaceutical and food industries) project run under the CIMNFC LINK programme successfully addressed the selection, extraction and environment required to produce rosemary crops for antioxidants. Botanix Ltd is a company combining a range of distinctive capabilities in the handling, processing and marketing of hops and other botanicals with applications in many sectors. The company is at present producing rosemary antioxidants from rosemary sourced from Europe and North Africa but is interested in using UK supplies if these can be provided economically. However to take a project from research to actual production requires highly applied industrial R&D to develop and assess robust supply chains that contain all the elements necessary to deliver industrially viable materials from an agricultural base. ObjectiveThe main objective of this project is to provide convincing evidence that high value specialised antioxidants from rosemary can be produced and extracted economically in the UK overcoming any barriers to market uptake by the Food and Pharmaceutical industries in the UK, Europe and Worldwide. ApproachThe project will address all four of the principal barriers to uptake in order to exploit previous R & D from CIMNFC programme: identifying barriers to market uptake including the legal status in the EU; the feasibility for farmers to grow the crop economically in the UK, an understanding of the best agronomic practices to produce high levels of the required antioxidants, and the commercialisation of the extraction process.Policy RelevanceThis research addresses Defra objectives to develop and assess new alternative crops and their role in providing renewable materials building on previous R&D from the LINK CIMNFC programme.Use of ResultsIdentification of barriers to market uptake including the legal status in EU will initiate robust marketing strategies and identify unique selling points.A full understanding of the cost of production in the UK will enable growers to make the commitment to sustained production of the crop.A series of best agronomic practices by which rosemary antioxidants can be reliably obtained from crops grown in the UK and extracted for a range of antioxidant functions for the food and pharmaceutical industries. These will be disseminated and demonstrated to growers in seminars and workshops.Commercialisation of extraction process to produce specific products with unique antioxidant properties
Objective 1 Improving understanding of markets to better focus research efforts, to foster efficient industry development and to determine barriers to market uptake.1. SWOT analysis and determination of product requirements2. Comparison of the high-antioxidant UK rosemary from the RAPFI project compared to European and N. Africa rosemary in terms of antioxidant potential and cost. 3. Demonstration of lack of flavour4. Comparison of UK products with competitors products in terms of quality and cost Objective 2 To gain a full understanding of the cost of production for UK growers.1. To determine the commercial feasibility for farmers growing the crop in the UK. 2. To put together a cost model based on current agricultural environment using the best information available from field trials. In the first instance, a model will be put together based on growers not needing to make any capital investment in machinery and this will be used as a starting point. 3. To gain an understanding of the costs involved in the drying and logistics of harvest in 2003 in different parts of the country, Norfolk, Oxford and Cornwall, and cost them accordingly.Objective 3 To determine best agronomic practices1. To set-up a stock of propagating material from elite lines.2. To set up a monitoring system which would determine optimum harvesting time with respect to content of candidate antioxidants at three different sites within the UK.3. To investigate potential harvesting equipment with respect to efficiency and crop damage.4. To determine best drying practice a) from laboratory base oven trial to determine optimum drying temperatures, b) evaluating alternative existing (hop, grass, band, bed, bin) driers.5. Communication of best agronomic practice by workshops and demonstration projects.Objective 4 To commercialise the extraction process1. To investigate the extraction of lipophilic antioxidants from rosemary using CO2 extraction.2. To investigate the extraction of polar antioxidants from rosemary using organic solvents and ultrasound technology.3. To use the results from 1. and 2. to develop a commercially viable extraction strategy for rosemary.
Project Documents
• Abstract : NF0609 - Final Report   (42k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 1   (7957k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 2   (73k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2006

Cost: £132,758
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Plymouth, Lighthorne Herbs Ltd, Cole Consultancy, University of Coventry
Arable Farming              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops