New research commissioned in Northern Ireland aims to give the Irish dairy industry a competitive edge in global markets and secure Ireland’s place as a global centre of excellence in powdered dairy ingredient research.

Ulster University has been awarded funding of almost €400,000 (£352,000) as part of a larger €2.6 million (£2.3 million) research grant to develop new mixing process technologies for milk powder hydration.

The dairy research project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), and by the Republic of Ireland’s Department for Agriculture, Food and Marine.

Bioimaging dairy research

It will see the production of new forms of powdered milk that can be incorporated into nutritional food and drink products and exported around the world.

Lead researcher Dr. Barry O’Hagan from Ulster University said: “Ulster University’s research will use state-of-the-art microscopes to visualise the rehydration and dispersion properties of milk powder formulations.

This complex process can affect product quality, so our focus will be on using our bioimaging expertise to help the industry maintain a competitive edge through product development and the introduction of enhanced processing techniques.

Prof. Tara Moore, research director for Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, added: “This important research will be conducted at the Coleraine campus at our world-leading bioimaging core facility, which is home to excellent researchers and £4 million (€4.5 million) worth of cutting-edge technologies.

“When combined with innovative techniques employed by our research team, the site offers a bioimaging capability which sets it apart from any other facility on the island of Ireland.”