NAFTEC is a newly formed centre aimed at the integration of new scientific developments as a basis for more efficient, safe and sustainable food production in South-east Asia.
NAFTEC is developing expertise to enable science-based policy planning by industry and regulatory agencies, ultimately in support of safer, better food for the consumer.
Food security, food production technology and food safety has implications both for health of individuals and economy of society. At the international level there is an increased realization of the need for change towards more efficient, safe and sustainable food production. This comes at a juncture of developments in food science and technology of significant proportions:
- Next generation DNA sequencing (NGS) presents us with a generic revolution in not only microbiological identification and epidemiology, but also potentially in plant, animal and food characterization.
- New proteomics technology, will impact food technology developments, including the more efficient use of fermentation and side-streams as well as novel foods. Such technologies will enable a significantly improved extraction capacity for both proteins and carbohydrates, which again will improve production efficiency and sustainability of the food production chains.
- The importance to link environmental, food and health data is becoming obvious (often now referred to as ‘One Health’), including the capacity to share and analyze large bodies of data over the internet using algorithms for rapid analysis.
- At the same time new potential for analysis of food matrices through real-time detector technology (‘lab-on-a-chip’) and use of high-throughput mass spectrometry will support breakthroughs in metabolomics with significant potential for food technology and control use.
NAFTEC is the Singapore hub for a major global initiative in the NGS area: the Global Microbial Identifier (www.globalmicrobialidentifier.org) suggesting to create a global system for rapid, accurate and transparent identification of microorganisms through NGS technology
NAFTEC, which is part of the College of Engineering at NTU, is helmed by Director Professor Chan Bee Eng, Mary. The Centre will have more than 20 full-time researchers and scientists from NTU and collaborators within an initial build-up period of one-year.
It will be integrated in research work across NTU’s various schools and centres, and in the process, build up a hub of applied science supporting developments in decision support – the novel use of science-based solutions in food production systems – and build start-up capacity in food science in general at the University.
NAFTEC is already working with the Ministry of Health, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the Agri-Veterinary and Food Authority (AVA) and the National Environment Agency, to name a few. NAFTEC also works together with international Universities, as well as international Organizations (WHO and FAO). NAFTEC is also NTU APEC Centre for Sustainable Development in Agriculture & Fishery Sectors.
Last updated by Kelyn Seow on 22 March 2019