Branston collaboratively wins Scottish Enterprise Award

Posted: 15 February 2013
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Branston and Dundee-based Advanced Pest Solutions (APS), have won a prestigious Scottish Life Science Enterprise Award for their collaborative work in developing a greener alternative to chemicals to tackle rots in pre-packed potatoes.

Branston and APS came out on top in the Commercial Collaboration category at the Scottish Enterprise Life Science Awards. The awards were held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and were attended by over 700 key players in the life sciences community from around the world.

The Scottish Enterprise Life Science Awards recognise success and achievements in Scotland's internationally renowned life science sector. This award gives Branston and APS recognition for their collaboration in the development of a ground-breaking new product called Biolyse®.

Biolyse® uses naturally-occurring bacteriophage to destroy the bacteria that cause rots. Soft rots in fresh potatoes are a major cause of customer complaints and potato packers often utilise a chemical application to reduce the chances of these bacterial rots developing.

With funding assistance from a Scottish Enterprise R&D grant, APS worked with the team at Branston's site near Perth to apply APS' bacteriophage technology to address the potato spoilage issue without the use of chemicals. Bacteriophage are naturally occurring antibacterial viruses which very specifically infect and destroy bacteria. They are totally harmless to anything other than their target bacteria, making them the perfect ‘green' biocontrol agents.

Eric Ritchie, general manager at the Branston site, said: "Branston initiated collaboration with APS in 2010 and we've really benefited from their expertise with this technology. We obtained some great results in the trials and it was through a truly collaborative approach that APS were able to fine-tune the product to match the specific bacteria that needed to be tackled.

"We'd like to thank APS and Scottish Enterprise. We know how well this approach has worked for us, so we're delighted that collaboration between scientific experts and businesses to tackle major industry problems is being recognised and encouraged by this award."

Branston launched Biolyse® at its factory in Scotland in November 2011 and it has since been rolled out at all three Branston sites in Scotland, Lincolnshire and Somerset. Several other commercial packers are now using the technology and it is showing potential to have a valuable impact on the industry, through fewer rejections due to rots and reductions in customer complaints.

Dr Alison Blackwell, CEO of APS, said: "We are very excited to win the Scottish Life Science Award in the Commercial Collaboration Category. We would like to thank Scottish Enterprise for the award and our collaborators, Branston, who have helped make the development and launch of our technology a success."

Photo (L to R): Alex Neil, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alison Blackwell, CEO of APS, Kiran Bandaru, Process Improvement Engineer at Branston, Rhona Allison, Senior Director of Life Sciences, Scottish Enterprise