Inside IFR

13th September 2012

On Saturday 29th September there will be the chance to get Inside IFR at our Open Day, and thanks to Simon Carding you can also see inside an IFR scientist.

Professor Simon Carding preparing to swallow the pillcam. The camera recorded its journey through Simon Carding’s gut, giving a unique view of the way food goes through our bodies. At the IFR Open Day, Simon will talk about this journey, how the gut structures breakdown food and absord it, and the important role played by billions of bacteria within.

Simon, with the help of Dr Crawford Jamieson at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, recently swallowed a miniature camera that recorded the passage food takes as it goes through our bodies. At the Open Day, Simon will discuss the journey through his own gut to bring to life how our bodies interact with the food we eat and the importance of understanding this.

We invited the media to come along and witness the ‘launch’ of the pillcam:
Eastern Daily Press 12/09/12
Eastern Daily Press 13/09/12
ITV Anglia News 13/09/12

There will be a chance to meet the creators of the Beneforté ‘super-broccoli’ and hear about how it was developed, and how IFR is leading research to understand what it is in fruit and vegetables that makes them so healthy.

IFR has an important role in managing the data behind food labels, which is also used by government, the food industry and health practitioners. The scientists behind this will be quizzing you to see if you know what is in your food.

We also need to be sure that what shouldn’t be in their food is kept at bay, and IFR’s microbiologists will be explaining how their research into the bacteria that cause food poisoning is helping to keep our food safe. Find out why bacteria are so hard to remove from surfaces with some gungy activities for kids. Bring along something from your home, and we’ll let you know what bugs are growing on it. You can also find out how effective your handwashing is.

Not all bugs are bad, in fact we need billions of them in our guts to survive. A life size model will bring to life the sights (and smells!) of their roles in health and disease.

With numbers this big, see how we are applying mathematics to understanding food safety and how we are using databases to understand and predict how bacteria grow in foods so we can design safer processes.

The Chilled Food Association will be here to help make sure your fridge at home is at the right temperature. With the IFST you’ll be able to explore your sense of taste.

We’ll be recreating a Lab from the Past, as we look back at 100 years of publicly funded food research. Find out how food preservation techniques developed, reducing wastage and allowed food to travel around the world. See how an understanding of food composition underpinned war rationing. How did food research help the introduction of new products such as prepared salads and chilled ready meals?

Instead of palm readings we’ll be doing thumb readings – see what sort of food you most resemble to an infra-red spectrometer. Find out what flow cytometry is, and how it can tell how clean your fingers are. Have a go at preparing some samples of food for analysis in an NMR machine, and see how this can explain the differences between raw and cooked food.

Come inside our Biorefinery to see how we are turning residual material from food processing into sustainable biofuels. Discover how the National Collection of Yeast Cultures is helping in this as well as yeast’s other roles in food and drink production.

We’re looking at food science on the nanoscale, right through to a giant inflatable colon. Get grooving in our disco with music inspired by food proteins, watch roving science shows or create some food science based art.

As well as all of these activities, there will be a series of talks from our scientists:

  • 10:30 & 13:00 Eating for Life: Designing foods to tackle obesity
  • 11:00 & 13:30 Botulism, Botox and Birds
  • 11:30 & 14:00 Why is eating broccoli good for us?
  • 12:00 & 14:30 The Life and Times of Allergy to Food
  • 12:30 & 15:00 Your Gut Bacteria, Friend or Foe?

There will also be a careers display for anyone interested in working in food science and research.

The IFR Open Day is on Saturday 29th September, 10:00 – 16:00 at the Institute of Food Research on the Norwich Research Park, NR4 7UA

The Open day is part of the Norfolk Food and Drink festival 2012