Our research in the field of novel functional foods focuses on determining the role of specific food components in reducing risk factors for disease, particularly in relation to the prevention of type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.
This encompasses the study of specific phytochemicals such as polyphenols and their physiological roles, notably as mediators of sugars transport, antioxidant, inflammatory response, antibacterial activity. We are also investigating pungent capsaicinoids and their sensory and physiological roles, as well as traditional indigenous foods from different regions of the world containing bioactive compounds and micronutrients.
Food polysaccharides are being studied for their potential bacterial anti-adhesion properties. We are also interested in food polysaccharides with bacterial anti-adhesion properties and ion bioactive peptides.
The demand for protein sources is increasing due to increases in global population and insect sources could offer a sustainable circular bio-economy viable contribution for human consumption and hence participate towards global food security. We research edible insect-derived proteins, lipids and functional biopolymers as alternatives to conventional animal protein sources.
Other areas of study include clarification of the role of dietary fibre from varying sources on the rate of digestion, glycaemic response, satiety and as mediators of cholesterol metabolism.
Research interests include valorisation of vegetable fibres and protein ingredients derived from food waste streams and industrial by products for the design of novel food textures for vegetarian and vegan products.
A special class of functional foods under active development are formulations for older people who are suffering from eating difficulties in which the major focus is on optimizing the oral processing attributes (chewing, lubrication, swallowing) of food products using novel quantitative tools.
We are also interested in glycosylation of food proteins in regulating immune response and tolerance and aim to develop novel strategies to treat food allergy. The better understanding of these phenomena is taken as a blueprint for the rational development of novel, sustainable, healthy and highly palatable foods.
We have opportunities for prospective postgraduate researchers. Find out more.
If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact the Research Theme lead: Professor Brent Murray