The facility has been launched in South Australia and is a collaborative project with the University of Adelaide and Agilent Technologies Australia.
Its focus will be on further research into complex carbohydrates and will host research in the field of glycoscience, which is concerned with the study of structure and function of glycans.
International hub for research
The research centre aims to serve as a hub for international collaboration in the field of complex carbohydrates across multiple industries.
Complex carbohydrates are essential in every area of biology and further research into them is likely to result in the production of enhanced functionality for a range of cosmetics, and in particular hair gels.
Carbohydrates are also one of the main types of nutrients for the body, so the research is also likely to focus on enhanced complex carbohydrates to produce food with a higher nutritional value.
Understanding the biological properties
“We want to turn this into the centre of gravity for carbohydrate analysis in the southern hemisphere and we already have a lot of international collaboration from industry to do a lot of applied research with high potential in a whole range of sectors and industries,” said Vincent Bulone, Director of Adelaide Glycomics.
“Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules on earth but almost the most complex and heterogeneous. They are also the least understood.
“Because of this we cannot control very easily the properties of the application products we develop and to do this we need to understand the structure and biological properties – with this facility we will be able to do that.”
Potential benefits of the research
Bulone adds that the research is expected to bring benefits in a number of areas, including using carbohydrates as a metric and modifying them with biomolecules that can be used as sensors.
In this instance, the sensors can couple as a protein for sensing pollutants that bind to protein in polluted water.
Likewise, Bulone says that another aim of the research is to focus on helping the planet shift towards green chemistry, green materials, sustainability and converting waste products.