News & Events

How to build a sustainable diet

Great article written by Laura Elphick, EIT Food. From building sustainable diets and maximising human health to tips on how to prevent and reduce food waste in your own life.

‘Sustainable diets are important for both the environment and your own health. We have worked with EIT Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, to put together a guide on how to build your own sustainable diet.

Sustainable diets are a growing topic of interest among many of us. With eye-opening statistics related to the impact of food production and consumption on our health and the planet, it’s hard not to pause and reflect on our own dietary habits.

But what exactly is a sustainable diet? And, how easy is it to achieve? We explore what eating sustainably really means and why it’s important for the health of the planet.

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Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network

We are pleased to announce that the First Funding Call is now OPEN for Pump Priming, BIV and NVF funding. 

The Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network is a new 3-year UKRI-BBSRC funded Network which aims to act as the leading collective voice for the UK horticultural and postharvest community.  The Network will provide funding opportunities to its members including Pump Priming for research feasibility studies, Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) and Networking Visit Funding (NVF).  The aim is to reinvigorate interest and bring together academics and industrialists to develop scientific and technological solutions to tackle food waste and to improve quality in horticultural fruit, vegetable and potato crops.

This work will help to address the BBSRC Strategic Priorities for Agriculture and Food Security and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to reduce food waste and losses by 50% by 2030.

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The fourth agricultural revolution is coming – but who will really benefit

Depending on who you listen to, artificial intelligence may either free us from monotonous labour and unleash huge productivity gains, or create a dystopia of mass unemployment and automated oppression. In the case of farming, some researchers, business people and politicians think the effects of AI and other advanced technologies are so great they are spurring a “fourth agricultural revolution”.

Read the online article by Dr David Rose on The Conversation, which raises interesting questions about this fourth agricultural revolution.

Gut-Brain research boost with new industry partnership

A new partnership between the University of Reading and Dutch company Winclove Probiotics is sponsoring research which will be looking at how probiotics can positively influence cognitive function and mood outcomes in humans. They will assess biological changes, such as neurotransmitters or hormones, which may underpin any observed effects.

The gut-brain axis is right at the frontier of science at the moment with potential to help us understand how we can improve mental health and maximise our cognitive abilities.

PhD student Jess Eastwood has started this three year study under supervision of principal investigators Dr Daniel Lamport and Professor Claire Williams (Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences), and Dr Gemma Walton (Food and Nutritional Sciences) to look at this important area. The results of the study will contribute to the development new probiotic formulations.

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The eNutri app – Using diet quality indices to deliver automated personalised nutrition advice

Personalising nutrition advice using digital technologies, such as web-apps, offers great potential to improve users’ adherence to healthy eating guidelines.

This article outlines the core concepts, content and features of the novel eNutri app, developed by a team of multi-disciplinary researchers across the University of Reading in collaboration with partners. Uniquely, the app identifies and recommends food-based modifications that would be most beneficial for an individual taking into account both their current diet quality and their individual preferences.

Please follow the link for further information.

 

 

BNF Virtual Event: Nutrition and COVID-19

Professor Glenn Gibson, Professor of Food Microbiology and Head of Food Microbial Sciences at the University of Reading, is one of the eminent speakers invited to the BNF Virtual Event on 24 November to talk about the ‘Emerging evidence for the role of the human gut microbiome in Covid-19 infection outcomes’

We are pleased to report that Professor Christine Williams, Academy of Nutrition Sciences and Visiting Professor, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. Christine will speak on ‘The evidence-base underpinning diet-disease relationships – advances and future needs’

This free virtual event will bring together scientists from UK Universities to consider new and emerging understanding of the interactions between Covid-19 and obesity, immune function and the gut microbiome, new information on vitamin D in BAME groups, and a discussion of the strengths, limitations and future requirements of the nutrition science evidence base.

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Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

Why are there conflicting nutrition messages from the media? Why does the ‘advice’ change so rapidly? Which media headlines should we believe? To answer all these questions and more, join a FREE three-week FutureLearn MOOC, starting on 28th September and you will be able to rebuild your trust in nutrition science and look beyond the media headlines.

Dr Jing (Sarah) Guo and Dr Miriam Clegg have been working with CQSD colleagues at Reading, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), and the University of Munich to develop a variety of online learning materials and activities. This course is funded by EIT Food and is designed for anyone who would like to know the truth behind the media headlines and also find out how what we eat affects our health.

Follow this link for further information and to register today: Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

University of Reading voices at Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Conferences

We are delighted to bring to your attention the University of Reading participation at Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Conferences later this month.
Dr David Rose, Elizabeth Creak Associate Professor of Agricultural Innovation and Extension, will talk about ‘The future for agricultural land use – productivity, environmental sustainability, and innovation’ on Thursday 17th September. This conference will examine the next steps for agricultural land use, and the future for agricultural policy and regulation.

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Professor Carol Wagstaff, Head of School for Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy and Co-Director of the BBSRC Horticulture Quality and Food Loss Network will give a presentation on Tuesday 22nd September about ‘Next steps for reducing food waste and plastic packaging – innovation and latest initiatives, responsibility and accountability, and priorities for policy’. This conference will discuss latest thinking and next steps for reducing food packaging and waste – including single use plastic – and strategies for encouraging positive consumer and supply chain behaviour.

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RESEARCH ON ZERO-RESIDUE FRUIT PRODUCTION

Researchers at the University of Reading are working with colleagues in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Spain on the production of zero-residue apples and strawberries.  The produce is aimed at the baby food and specialist juice and flavourings markets.

The research, which is funded by EIT–Food, a body of the European Union, is trialling the use of bio-fungicides, beneficial insects and bio-stimulants from Koppert Biological Systems, in comparison with conventional fruit production.  Growers, working with the researchers and Koppert advisors, are using a holistic approach combining integrated pest management and organic horticulture to prevent and control pests and diseases, whilst resulting in zero residues in the end food products.

Dr. Alice Mauchline, Head of the Reading team, said: ‘’The early results from the strawberry crops were promising, with the bio-control protocols proving to be effective in preventing pests and diseases. We are looking forward to seeing the results from the apple crops and to discussing this holistic approach with growers’’.  The researchers will go on to measure the financial performance of the trial crops against the conventional controls, and post-harvest quality and health of the fruit assessed.  Researchers will also gauge the acceptability and ease of use of the biological protocols by growers and the attitudes of consumers towards zero-residue fruit examined.  In 2021, the project will be broadened to include more in-depth residue analysis and a sensory analysis of the processed fruit products carried out.

Further details about the research project are available here: https://www.eitfood.eu/innovation/projects/cleanfruit

WORLD CONGRESS ON OSTEOPOROSIS, OSTEOARTHRITIS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISEASES

On 20th-22nd August 2020 scientists and healthcare professionals joined the virtual World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases 2020 (http://virtual.wco-iof-esceo.org/). This was a major event for which more than 7500 delegates were registered.

As part of the Congress, a workshop, organised under the auspices of the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO), was held on the ‘Impact of whole dairy matrix on musculoskeletal health and aging’ (https://virtual.wco-iof-esceo.org/sessions_esceo )

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