Food testing lab

The Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Centre is an interdisciplinary technology centre providing world-class solutions for the Medtech and general manufacturing sectors. Based at ATU’s Galway campus, the centre develops novel technologies relevant to both clinical research and Medtech companies operating in the design application phase. By actively engaging with clinical and industry partners, the MET Centre produces both scientific knowledge and technology outputs across a range of streams.

In recent months, MET has extended their technology offering to industry with the addition of medicinal nutrition. Medicinal nutrition at MET is dedicated to advancing the science of nutrition in collaboration with industry and to maximising healthy outcomes in the Irish population.  The concept of medicinal nutrition encompasses functional foods and foods for health. The research team at MET can help the food industry in all aspects of novel food development with particular expertise on testing the effects of food on human health. Additional expertise lies in the development of foods specific to those involved in sport and recreational activity.

MET is a leader in nutritional science for health and wellbeing purposes and its unique skills offer Irish industry the ability to test and modify the impact of foods on physiological and metabolic parameters enabling food companies to develop niche foods that can target particular groups in the population.  Their know-how enables companies to analyse the health effects of existing products and provides a means to develop new products to target specific health goals in individuals.

What is medicinal nutrition?

At its core, medicinal nutrition means:

‘keeping healthy people healthy’

How?

  • by examining/testing the physiological impact of food
  • developing Foods for Health, Foods for Life, Foods for Sport and Wellness

How MET can help your company

MET can assist companies in product design and innovation in areas such as food analysis and testing, human interventional trials and product development and optimisation. Additionally, MET has the capabilities to provide full wellbeing training and solutions in the workplace.

The centre is focused on applied research with translation into industry and practice to encapsulate research, education and training in the areas of:

  • Nutrition
  • Metabolic health & testing
  • Wellbeing
  • Functional food testing/development
  • Sport & exercise science

What facilities are available for Irish Industry?

Met Gateway offers a range of facilities in areas such as:

Food Analysis and Testing

  • Metabolic testing: Metabolic rate analysis (basal metabolic rate) using ECAL technologies – how does a food product affect metabolism, what substrate i.e. fat/glucose are people burning at rest and what foods can affect human metabolic rate, Glycaemic Index (GI): (GI assessment and certification, identification and development of low GI foods) glycaemic response; energy and glucose metabolism – designed to ensure that foods are not giving rise to large increases in blood glucose which is associated with weight gain etc weight loss and body weight regulation; cholesterol and triglyceride measurements.
  • Cognitive testing: effects on mood and cognitive function (eg reaction time, concentration, memory, stress tolerance) – can your food enhance concentration, what foods are most compatible with work, etc.
  • Antioxidant assays: bioaccessibility and bioavailability; antioxidant profiles, stability and antioxidant capacity.
  • Other food assays: quantification and isolation of individual food components; plant-based bioactives (e.g. seaweed extracts, β-glucans and other prebiotics).
  • Food intake studies: effects of food components on food intake, appetite and satiety – how bioactives added to your food can make people feel ‘fuller for longer’ and therefore potential assist with weight loss and weight management.

Human Interventional Trials

  • Strictly controlled experiments on human volunteers for one day to several weeks to longer-term studies, with measures taken either in-house or amongst free-living populations.
  • Randomised controlled trials – bespoke studies designed to fit the needs of the client.

Product development and optimisation

  • Provide leadership to the food industry to encourage innovation and the promotion of health and wealth creation.
  • Consultancy on nutritional labelling, formulation, replacing synthetic additives, shelf life, evaluating functional properties.
  • Compliance assessment with compositional, labelling, packaging and advertising regulations in the EU.

What steps should a company take to start their innovation journey?

Often the first step to take is to implement the Design Thinking process to define the problem your product/service will solve and to determine if there is a market for your product/service, as well as engagement in research to develop and validate your product. Don’t worry if you’re unsure of the process, the team at MET Gateway is available for help and advice from the start. All you need to do is contact them for an initial discussion.

How to get in contact with MET Gateway

If you have an idea for a new product, service or process, or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process, get in touch with the Gateway, follow them on Twitter or check out their website for further information.

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