Revolutionising food analysis with food omics

Darren Lau demonstrates that knowledge is power, as he reveals the evolving capabilities of mass spectrometry for ever more precise food analysis.

Omics encompasses any field of study in biological sciences that ends with -omics, such as proteomics (proteins), lipidomics (lipids) or metabolomics (metabolites). With a mission to support Australian life science research, Bioplatforms Australia was established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), which aims to increase the accessibility of researchers to omics technology and ultimately translate knowledge into industrial outcomes.

The University of South Australia (UniSA) hosts a Proteomics node of the Bioplatforms Australia network – the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics (MSP) Facility. Being equipped with state-of-the-art expertise and equipment, the MSP Facility has expanded biological mass spectrometry imaging and tissue proteomics analyses into wider omics applications over the years.

As an R&D lab, we don’t just focus on performing routine testings, but also developing new and innovative techniques for industries to perform their analyses on site. We collaborate with various food and beverage industries, which means that we get to work with different kinds of food every day. Apart from testing foods, instrument maintenance accounts for a significant part of our lab work. Troubleshooting technical issues can sometimes be tiresome but being foodies ourselves means we are always hungry…for solutions!