Senior Fonterra Managers Dr Mark Malone and Dr Shalome Bassett were in Ireland to launch the ‘Fonterra Microbiome Research Centre (Ireland)’, their new collaboration with APC Microbiome Ireland (APC), a world renowned SFI Research Centre based in University College Cork (UCC). This is the first time that the New Zealand-based global dairy producer will have established a team in Ireland. The Centre based on UCC campus will develop novel probiotic strains with targeted health benefits to tackle unmet consumer needs for natural, evidence-based products.
The development of this Centre builds on a successful research collaboration between Fonterra and APC over the previous four years. The Centre will support Fonterra’s aim to introduce a range of novel science-based probiotic strains into the market over the next five to ten years. APC Principal Investigator and UCC Professor Paul O’Toole spent several months on sabbatical at Fonterra’s Research & Development Centre in New Zealand in 2022 which crystallized planning for the new Centre. An expanded research team is currently being recruited and the new Centre is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
Dr Mark Malone, General Manager for Science and Technology, commented:
“APC’s expertise in investigating microbiome-host interaction mechanisms makes it the perfect place to develop an evidence portfolio for new probiotics. Through our partnership with APC, we have been able to leverage their microbiome-based scientific excellence, and now the establishment of this new Fonterra Microbiome Research Centre marks another milestone in our journey. It will serve as a crucial hub for identifying and substantiating the health benefits of our probiotics, accelerating our ability to introduce innovative strains to the market with greater speed and precision and underpinning our commitment to delivering top-quality proprietary probiotic strains with well-documented health advantages.”
Professor Paul Ross, Director APC Microbiome Ireland, said:
“It is crucial for APC to forge partnerships with industry partners to translate our research into products accessible to the general public. We have established a rewarding collaborative relationship with Fonterra and are very excited about the promise of Fonterra’s Microbiome Research Centre in our vicinity. Fonterra’s leadership in product development and commercialisation will significantly advance the development of novel probiotic strains with the potential for health benefits. APC celebrate 20 years of scientific excellence this year and the announcement of this new centre is a testament to this standing.
Professor John O’Halloran, UCC President, said:
“The opening of this research centre reinforces the commitment APC shares with Fonterra to develop new, evidence-based products that support good health and well-being. Bringing together scientists, clinicians and industry, it is another significant step forward in our UCC Futures – Food, Microbiome and Health Strategy which aims to provide solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time.”