New centre at Massey University to investigate plant extracts benefits

A new research centre investigating whether novel plant extracts may offer potential health benefits has been officially opened at Massey University.

The Alpha-Massey Natural Nutraceutical Research Centre will be funded by Alpha Group Holdings Limited, a large, multi-national company with a New Zealand base which produces supplements based on traditional Chinese medicine and healthful food products.

The centre’s research will evaluate extracts for biological activity from plants common in New Zealand. This will support Alpha Group’s interests in evaluating new opportunities that may transfer to commercial application, but will be completely separate to their current commercial activities and products.

Alpha Group will leverage off the world-class research capability of the Riddet Institute, one of New Zealand’s 10 elite Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) and its host, Massey University. Alpha Group’s scientific and technical staff will also form part of the team.

The co-director of the Riddet Institute, Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, and the chairman of the Alpha Group, Professor Yi Huai Gao, have been appointed inaugural co-directors of the centre.

Professor Moughan says the Alpha-Massey Research Centre is a great fit with the Riddet Institute, with its long-held interest in the science of biologicals in addition to food.

“The centre will leverage top New Zealand scientific expertise from across our partners to discover healthful attributes of plants common to New Zealand, such as feijoa, tamarillo, cucurbits and certain stone fruit.”

The Riddet Institute has a long-standing relationship with Alpha Group, reflecting their mutual interests in processing, encapsulation and biological activity of foods and extracts.

Professor Yi Huai Gao is an honorary fellow of the Riddet Institute and has collaborated on several research projects, most recently an investigation into the potential effects of a proprietary Shiitake mushroom extract on markers of immune function.



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