Wood hemicelluloses are currently treated as low-value by-products of the pulp and paper industry and remain outside of the biorefinery process. The development of value-added applications of hemicelluloses for producing new advanced products will boost forestry operations, promote economic growth, and secure employment in rural areas. To support this goal, Thao Minh Ho in the FoMSci group received funding for a 3-year AoF postdoc research project to develop an innovative approach to employ wood hemicelluloses as capsule wall materials to formulate new synbiotic powders. The project entitled “SynCap: Design of spray-dried synbiotic microcapsules for healthy, functional, and sustainable powders” aims to establish wood hemicelluloses as superior wall materials in the production of microcapsules of probiotics, and potentially many other bioactive compounds.
This project will bring the interdisciplinary expertise and knowledge in food materials sciences, food chemistry, food digestion and microbiology from different research groups within the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. The project also establishes a new collaboration with the Biomass Science and Technology research group at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).
Every year, the AoF funds high-quality scientific research in various fields with the aim of contributing to the renewal, diversification and internalisation of Finnish research. The SynCap project is one of 32 successful applications (out of 217, 15%) in biosciences, health and the environment research fields granted in 2022.