Formulation and Nutrition Science Technology Centre 

Since 2008, the Formulation and Nutrition Science Technology Centre (FANSTC) has been working closely with companies from the biomedical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, animal feed, food and flavour industries. Over the years, FANSTC has actively helped many companies to develop formulations and technologies that are easily adoptable and implemented by the industry.

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Our Research Focus 

Pharmaceutical and Functional Food Formulations through Sustainable Processing Technologies

At the joint RP-BASF lab, our researchers work on several pharmaceutical projects involving tableting, granulation, extrusion, spheronisation, spray drying, tablet film coating and characterisation of micro-emulsions. The lab is equipped with a wide range of specialised equipment such as the 8-station tablet press, zetasizer, fluid bed dryer and microfluidics. Our formulation scientists also work closely with the animal health & nutrition industries, developing feed for animals and fishes.  

At the food labs, our staff have been formulating healthier recipes by incorporating novel mix of functional ingredients to achieve high scoring on the health-taste index. Prototypes go through vigorous scientific tests for texture, nutritional analysis, sensory evaluation and shelf life studies.  

A new Food Innovation & Analysis Lab is scheduled to be ready in the second quarter of 2021. The lab will be a great addition to boost capabilities in the formulation and development of future foods such as plant-based and alternative protein products. The lab will be equipped with facilities such as, retort, blast freezer, spray dryer, food extruder and a UHT line complete with clean fill unit. These will further enhance the range of products that can be developed in collaboration with our industry partners.

We are also looking for industrial partners to commercialise the outcome of our food research work such as a nutrient-dense, health-promoting soy cheese formulation and an antioxidant-rich natural pandan leaf extraction technology. 

 

Food and Formulation Science TC

Utilisation of Alternative Proteins for Human & Feed Development

In Aquaria, our aquaculture research lab, we focus on maximising the potential of various raw materials to develop nutritious and economical food and feed.

Feed developed in the formulation lab are experimented on small scale feeding trials to assess its palatability and also study fish growth.

Our research staff have also embarked on projects such as developing food products utilising alternative protein sources (non-meat based) in order to provide potential solutions to global food security and supply issues.

Molecular diagnostics, bioprinting and bioassays

Our laboratories are equipped with advanced infrastructure for growth and maintenance of mammalian cell lines. In these laboratories, our research staff conduct studies with cell-based assays for screening efficacy of bioactive compounds. Studies for cytotoxic, regenerative or proliferative potentials using fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS), bioprinting and differentiation of embryonic stem cells and other assays in vitro are also carried out in these labs.

We are looking for industry partners to commercialise our patented, single step Polymerase chain reaction method for detection of infections such as dengue, chikungunya and the Zika virus.

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Health Technology

The emergence of more home and self-care devices can assist in early intervention and monitor treatment or recovery status. As the healthcare industry moves towards point of care services, we are looking into viable solutions to enhance health care at a lower cost.  One area of interest is the detection of renal diseases using uroflow as well as the study of cognitive performance through electroencephalogram (EEG) technology.  

Combating Diabetes

We have been working closely with food manufacturers, restaurants and hospitals to develop food products that can help keep sugar levels in check. We are currently working on projects to develop recipes for low GI food, making effective use of low calorie sweeteners, and coming up with functional food to prevent metabolic syndrome.

An effective use of compounds that can improve insulin sensitivity is helpful in combating diabetes. Currently, our research team is working on in vitro screening method for compounds that affects the insulin signalling pathway. These compounds can potentially be used as part of a diet or as a form of active pharmaceutical ingredient for developing new drugs in our efforts to combat diabetes.

Our Projects

The FANS Technology centre has completed several innovative projects involving novelty ideas in formulations, processes and overall product development. These have translated into innovative products and solutions, examples include:

Granola bar

Dengue Larvicide Project

RP has developed a novel sunlight activated larvicides, named Ecoshine, from plant based compound that are effective against the Aedes mosquito larvae while remaining relatively non-toxic to other aquatic organisms and environment. Targeting the mosquito larvae instead of adult mosquitos, Ecoshine is a new tool in the fight against mosquito borne diseases like dengue and the Zika virus. A reduction in mosquito population is a benefit to the public at large, especially in tropical countries like Singapore where the incidence of mosquito borne diseases is a cause for concern. The school is currently negotiating for commercialisation of Ecoshine with a local SME.

Photoactive Antimicrobial Agents

Our researchers are developing natural and semi-synthetic photoactive antimicrobial agents and exploring their suitable formulation for different applications such as surface coating. The school is collaborating with a local SME on this project.  

Bioprinting Therapeutic Cells

RP is working on developing a novel and cost-effective method of bioprinting therapeutic cells. A microvalve-based bioprinter (MAB) is used to print uniform numbers of cells into microtiter plates that are useful in testing out potential side effects of chemicals found in cosmetics, nutraceuticals or pharmaceuticals. It can be used effectively to generate 3D human organoids with potentials in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy. Our scientists are working with a local company to develop an in-vitro system that comprises of skin organoid, immune cells and liver organoids which will be used to help identify possible systemic toxic effect of various cosmetics.   

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Left panel – Bioprinted human stem cells, stained with fluorescent tags, Middle panel Setup of the MAB or Microvalve-assisted Bioprinter, Right panel Bioprinted human organoids developed into cardiac cells.

breast cancer markers

Identification of novel breast cancer markers

According to statistics shared in the World Health Organization report, breast cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in women. Current detection methods are invasive and lack sensitivity, leading to delayed detection and poor prognosis. Our research team is currently working on a better prognostic and therapeutic marker that can be assessed using a non-invasive approach.

 

Granola bar

Soy-based Granola with Rice Crispies

This product was developed for Mr Bean outlets and provides consumers with a healthy snack option made from the goodness of oats, soy and nuts. This product was developed with careful selection of ingredients and packaged together in a nutrient-rich snack bar. The use of soy pulp has added extra protein and fibre to the recipe.

 

Blueberry cupcakes

Gluten-free Blueberry Cupcakes

This product makes use of soy pulp generated after the extraction of soymilk. It was incorporated in the cupcake to provide fibre, protein and calcium – contributing to a desirable and wholesome product attribute. The cupcake is beneficial not only to consumers following a gluten-free diet, but also for those seeking snack options with fewer calories, lesser sugar and fat in their diet.

 

Bento Meal Sets for Vending Machines

In collaboration with QQ rice, this project aimed to optimise the process that will allow meal sets to be placed in a vending machine and be ready to be consumed upon dispensing. This technology solution allows the manufacturer to provide healthier food options to their consumers safely and conveniently and at the same time explore new business opportunities.

Polar sugar roll_HR

Herbal Tea in Powered Form

Healthy eating is becoming a part of life for many and there is increasing demand for products with natural ingredients and traditional flavours. Preserving the traditional benefits of herbal teas in a contemporary instant powdered mix is the main idea behind the development of the formulation of this premium herbal drink.

Our industry partner, Polimedical Pte Ltd is currently working with us to explore the possibility of turning six RP-developed formulations into powder form to enhance shelf life.

 

Interested in working with us? 

If you are keen to explore opportunities in product formulation, processing, packaging and enhancement of shelf life with us, please email Mr Samuel Aw