Natural Humectants and Plasticisers for Healthier Confectionery Fillings

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


The overall objective of the project is to identify sustainable plant-based materials that can be used as humectants in food products in order to reduce sugar content and maintain a 'clean label'. In particular we aim to:
1. Understand and characterise the specific functional groups in well-known reference materials (e.g. Salts, Sugars, Polyols) and their effect on viscosity and humectancy in a mixed syrup system.

2. In-silico modelling of the target functional group(s) and predicted physical properties to enable identification of natural plant-based analogues.

3. Identify sustainable plant-based sources, probably based on food waste streams, and a food grade 'green source/pathway' to provide clean label food grade humectant(s).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/P504919/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2020
1792715 Studentship BB/P504919/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2020 Andrew James Maneffa
Description BBSRC Industrial CASE Partnership with Nestle 
Organisation Nestlé (Global)
Department Nestle PTC York
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution - Advanced molecular level understanding of the interactions involved in confectionery-relevant systems (archetypal sugars and water) (resulting in relevant publication) - in-silico approaches which have led to the identification of alternative neoteric humectant/plasticiser species that are potentially derivable from native UK biomass sources via 'clean' methodologies - Advances concerning the chemistry of important natural molecules with potential relevance across various scientific fields and for industrial applications thereof
Collaborator Contribution - Both laboratory and pilot scale facilities (in the form of equipment/technical staff) that have enabled early-stage research and application testing of early-stage research outputs - Knowledge/expertise of the food and in particular, confectionery science sector which has helped to guide in-silico and practical research efforts
Impact - 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.06.046 - Submitted manuscript (on the characterisation of novel Deep Eutectic Solvents) - Draft of a third manuscript outlining the discovery of new forms of an important natural carbohydrate
Start Year 2016