" /> Food and Drink — Edinburgh Innovations

The University of Edinburgh has an outstanding record of novel research through our three Colleges: Science & Engineering; Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences; and Medicine & Veterinary Medicine. We have world-class research capabilities in the field of food and drink, and we work with commercial partners to deliver innovative solutions.

Together we are:

• creating novel technologies for the food and drink sector

• applying these technologies commercially in partnership with industry

• enhancing the growth of existing companies and powering the creation of new spin-outs

For businesses, expertise at Edinburgh can provide manufacturing efficiency, promote waste reduction and discover novel ingredients for new product development.

Key areas of expertise

Staff Bootcamp


  • Processing research, covering fluid and granular mechanics
  • Granular materials and their interaction with production lines
  • Modelling and simulation of manufacturing processes
  • Crystalline material researched at pressures found in grinding
  • Rapid prototyping of devices and packaging


  •  Formulations research including complex fluids such as gels, pastes and emulsions
  • Characterisation of soft matter including rheology and product stability
  • Visualisation of 3D microstructures
  •  Industrial Biotechnology, covering novel bio-based responses to remediation
  • Crop science and disease understanding
  •  Plant development and fruit ripening including regulation of germination and growth

Sensors and analytical science

  • Design and production of integrated sensors using cleanroom facilities
  • Sensors for chemical detection, process management and safety
  • Detection of trace metals and structural characterisation for traceability
  • Analytic detection methods for quality assurance

The consumer

  • Using big data research to understand collected retail information
  • Logistics, routing and understanding the relative merits of local and long-distance sourcing
  • Understanding consumer behaviours with our social science research
Facilities available at the University of Edinburgh for Food and drink

Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF)

  • Production and purification of proteins
  • Biophysical analysis of proteins and ligands
  • Biophysical Characterisation
  • Pre-clinical drug discoveryg.

Centre Optical Instrumentation Laboratory (COIL)

  • Confocal and multiphoton imaging
  • High accuracy motorised stage for multipoint imaging and tile scanning
  • Environmental Chamber ambient to 45°C
  • Perfect focus for long term timelapse
  • Spectrometer detection for all visible wavelengths
  • High sensitivity GaAsp detectors

Computational Modelling & Fermentation

  • Ultrafast chemical physics
  • Quantum-mechanical modelling of materials
  • Quantum-classical modelling of enzyme-catalysed reactions
  • Classical modelling of soft matter computational drug design
  • Creates organisms to spec
  • Produces milligrams and grams of recombinant proteins
  • Produces of recombinant expression constructs for E. coli and Pichia Pastoris
  • Fermentation of these species on a 10-15 litre scale for protein production

Mass Spectrometry and Protein Characterisation (SIRCAMS)

  • MALDI or Liquid Extraction Surface Analysis (LESA)
  • Spatial distribution of endogenous molecules, drugs and metabolites
  • 3D statistical analysis and construction of 3D images
  • Intact mass determination
  • Bottom up and top down proteomics
  • Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange
  • Ion Mobility
  • Non-covalent interactions and native mass spectrometry


  • 400-800MHz NMR spectrometers for high definition and
    accurate results analysis of fast reactions in situ
  • High throughput service from Cryoprobe technology offering
    increase speed and sensitivity
  • Self-service facility access.

Crystallography, Single crystal X-ray diffraction and Powder X-ray Diffraction

  • Detailed study of organic or organometallic complexes
    providing chemical identity, molecular conformation and
    crystal packing analysis.
  • In situ single crystal growth by laser heating

Membrane Technology Facilities

  • Radiotracer facility
  • A controlled environment room for high precision experiments
  • A laboratory water purification system
  • Extensive cross-flow, stirred cell, submerged and electrodialysis membrane filtration systems

Read about our current projects and success stories 

Copper Recovery

Dr Louise Horsfall is collaborating with drinks producer Diageo to use biological techniques to turn environmentally hazardous copper ions in distillery waste into copper nanoparticles that can be recovered and
used in various industrial applications.

Dispersion Physics for Efficient Production

Mars, the confectionary maker, has been working with soft matter researchers from the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, to unravel some of the physics determining the flow properties of chocolate, which will help optimise production.

Natural Products for Healthy Mouths

Dr Dominic Campopiano has been working with chewing gum maker Wm Wrigley Jr Company, researching the impact of enzymes on oral health. They have been analysing the activity of a bacterial enzyme in producing biofilms in the mouth and its interactions with natural compounds. The research has the potential to lead to new flavours and improved oral health

Contact us to find out how we can help

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