Business Irish

Sunday 23 October 2016

Irish ag-tech firm Nuritas investigating revolutionary mood-changing food technology

Published 12/07/2015 | 02:30

Steve Forbes has praised Nuritas
Steve Forbes has praised Nuritas

Dun Laoghaire based ag-tech company Nuritas is "seriously looking" at expanding its research into the areas of mood and cognition after winning the Thrive Accelerator award at Forbes magazine's 'Reinventing America' summit.

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The company, founded by mathematician Dr Nora Khaldi, uses artificial intelligence and "machine learning" to identify new food ingredients with health benefits.

It's currently in the final stages of a "significant and very meaningful" round.

Chief executive Emmet Browne told the Sunday Independent that Nuritas is "now seriously looking at expanding its current four areas of research to include a new fifth area, that of cognition and mood.

"Cognition and mood are massively important issues for global healthcare worldwide and finding an active ingredient naturally occurring in food would play a huge role for humanity. We have high hopes for making a big impact in this area based on our success in discovering new, highly active peptides in our four other areas of focus."

The company's other areas of focus are anti-microbial research, anti-ageing, anti-inflammation, and muscle recovery, stroke and diabetes.

In 12 months, the company Nuritas has discovered 20 peptides with potential health benefits. Of those, two that regulate blood glucose levels have been patented.

Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes said Nuritas won the award "for its use of an innovative and sustainable technology that discovers and unlocks health-benefiting food components for global well-being. We are enthusiastic about this company's technology and excited to watch its progress."

The award was sponsored by John Hartnett's investment firm SVG Partners, and Hartnett told the Sunday Independent that the current growth in the world's population presents major opportunities for Irish food companies.

"Last year, Ireland's food and drink exports totalled almost €10bn according to Bord Bia, who reported an increase of 40pc in export values in just five years.

"The agricultural sector is very strong in Ireland. Ireland has a tradition and has a core strength in the food area... we actually are sitting in a very strong position.

"With Ireland's technology leadership and Ireland becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, I kind of look at that as almost a perfect storm for Ireland where we can really take the lead in a big way in a sector that is known to us," Hartnett said.

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