[MGSA-L] Greek researcher creates new food product
june.samaras at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 13:20:13 PST 2013
Greek researcher creates new food product
By Yiannis Elafros
Success stories from Greek academia are few and far between at the
best of times, and more so in the midst of the crisis, which has taken
a heavy toll on university research and innovation programs.
Dimitris Kouretas, a professor of biochemistry and biotechnology at
the University of Thessaly, is one of these few shining examples and
was among 12 eminent researchers from 10 European Union countries that
presented their findings at an event organized by the European
Commission in Brussels on February 26 on innovation in the field of
medicine and medical technology. The 12 scientists were selected from
a list of 600 who submitted their proposals to the EC program, with
Kouretas being the only representative from the entire southeast of
Europe to be selected.
“It is certainly a great honor and recognition of our work,” Kouretas
told Kathimerini ahead of his trip to Brussels.
Kouretas has worked at the University of Thessaly for the past 18
years, focusing his research more recently on the health benefits of
local products and how these can raise their value and boost regional
“We champion localization rather than globalization,” Kouretas said,
explaining his philosophy for promoting the attributes of local
produce and products.
The biggest breakthrough made by Kouretas and his research team in
this domain has been on processing the by-products of dairy
manufacturing, particularly whey, which until now have mostly ended up
being poured into rivers or streams, polluting the natural environment
and generating a chain of negative effects on public health, crops and
the quality of drinking water. The problem is particularly pronounced
in Thessaly, one of Greece's main cheesemaking regions.
Kouretas and his team spent years studying the makeup of the whey
protein which results as a by-product during cheese production and
using it to make a food with beneficial qualities.
Protected by an international patent, a description of the product and
its multiple beneficial properties has been published by the British
Food and Chemical Toxicology industry journal. The whey protein cake
is currently available in processed form as the Feedback cake, the
Cocoa Protein Cookie and the Feta Bar.
Kouretas sees far-reaching benefits in his team's product, such as
ridding the environment in dairy-producing areas of a dangerous source
of pollution while simultaneously creating a highly nutritious food
product. The scientists also says that the whey protein cakes can also
be used as food aid to countries with high rates of malnutrition.
The work done by Kouretas and his team has not only impressed the
technocrats in Brussels, but also Franco-German television network
Arte, which is currently producing a documentary on the Greek
researcher and his team, “for creating innovative food products that
will bring 10 times more revenues to the Greek institution than he
earns as a salary,” the film's producers note on the benefits of the
research to the University of Thessaly.
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