Barking up the right tree

Barking up the right tree

mannan tree

In light of both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of food security and nutrition is increasingly important. One solution to the import of food into the UK is to move towards a circular economy where waste material is recycled or repurposed to produce goods in a sustainable manner.

For example, gum, a food additive that can help thicken sauces and ice cream, is often imported great distances from India or Pakistan. However, there is a possibility that a similar gum can be obtained from trees such as spruce that grow in the UK. These structurally similar gums may also act as a pre-biotic – allowing bacteria in the large intestine to produce molecules that are beneficial to health. At the Rowett, bacterial strains isolated from the gut, have been tested in vitro for their ability to ferment the gum isolated from UK trees.

This research could offer a potential way to manufacture prebiotics from tree waste. Which suggests our forests may help to ensure food security, aid a circular economy, and nourish our gut bacteria.

Would you like to read more? Our full blog was originally post here

This research was conducted by Dr Sylvia Duncan and Miss Galiana Lo

Research funded by the Scottish Government as part of the Strategic Research Programme and the Wellcome Trust.