Ljubljanske mlekarne - On the trail of natural scavengers of chemical carcinogens

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Monday 28. October, 2013

On the trail of natural scavengers of chemical carcinogens

Slovenian researchers at the National Institute of Chemistry are conducting a highly innovative, technologically demanding and unique research. They are on the trail of natural compounds (the so called scavengers of chemical carcinogens) that could prevent cancer already before the chemical damage to the human genetic material, i.e. before the potential development of cancer. After the successful conclusion of the research, natural scavengers of chemical carcinogens could be used as functional additives in food and thus target virtually all types of cancer. With this intention we conducted a joint developmental project with Ljubljanske mlekarne, which could use scavengers as functional additives in its own dairy products.


»Fruit and fruit extracts contain an abundance of compounds which are potential candidates for preventing cancer. As part of the research we examine raspberries, grapes, turmeric and hop, which are only some of the typical representatives. The goal of our research is to find a good natural scavenger of chemical carcinogens or a natural compound that would function in the human body towards preventing the chemical damage of DNA and thereby potential development of cancer. Our research is conducted with the aid of computer simulations on the largest computer cluster in Slovenia. The research is innovative also in this respect and it differs from traditional scientific investigations. Prof. Arieh Warshel, author of the introduction of computer simulations in the field of chemistry and fellow researcher, was actually awarded with the Nobel Prize a few days ago for this accomplishment,« said  Dr. Urban Bren, head of research at the National Institute of Chemistry. 


Natural scavengers of chemical carcinogens as functional additives 

The successful conclusion of the research project will be followed by experimental studies on the most effective natural scavenger of chemical carcinogens and the process of its optimization into a functional food additive: »The natural compounds that we look for dissolve in water as well as in fat. Consequently, milk and certain dairy products represent an ideal food for the intake of these compounds and for their use in the function of food additives. At Ljubljanske mlekarne we have already extensive experience with products enriched with functional additives, since we have been introducing products with innovative functional additives, such as probiotic cultures, coenzyme Q10, vitamins and minerals, L-carnitine and biotin on the market for quite some time nowmag. Mateja Juvančič, product and technology development manager at  Ljubljanske mlekarne, explained the possibilities of application of scientific findings in practice.


Intertwining science and business

The project, conducted in cooperation between the National Institute of Chemistry and Ljubljanske mlekarne and with the support of the European Union, Regional Development Fund, is interesting also from another point of view. The project closely intertwines science and economy, and as the Director of the National Institute of Chemistry and the Chairman of the Board of Ljubljanske mlekarne have put – this is the right path toward the development of both partners: »The current socio-economic crisis revealed that only companies that manufacture products with a high added value can survive in the long term on the global market. We at Ljubljanske mlekarne are also well aware of this; this is why we are releasing on the market new products with innovative functional additives. Our own development of innovative functional additives represents a long and extremely expensive process, since it requires the establishment of a developmental department with carefully selected highly trained personnel and the necessary state-of-the-art research equipment, which can be provided to us also by Slovenian research institutions.For this reason, the European and Slovenian financial funds obtained by Ljubljanske mlekarne for conducting this research are considered an indispensable aid in our first steps towards the described vision of development,«  explained Cvetana Rijavec, President of the Management Board of Ljubljanske mlekarne, at the round table. The Director of the National Institute of Chemistry, Prof. Dr. Janko Jamnik, added: »The cooperation with the economy is part of our mission. On one hand this cooperation represents a significant source of financing, on the other hand it presents a whole range of challenges and motivations for research work as well. Every researcher who participates in the transfer of knowledge to the economy and aids in resolving pressing problems of modern society considers this a sort of personal success and acknowledgement.«


Contribution to society

A successfully performed research would also contribute greatly to the society. Of the people born in 2010, one in two men and one in three women will expectedly develop cancer by the age of 75.  In recent years, more than 12,000 Slovenians develop cancer each year, a little more men than women, and more than 5,700 of them die each year. Cancer, along with coronary diseases, is claiming the most lives, and its occurrence in the last decades is only increasing.  

Photo: Matej Kolaković


Monday 28. October, 2013

On the trail of natural scavengers of chemical carcinogens

At the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana they are on the trail of natural compounds that could prevent cancer before it develops. In the future we could use scavengers as functional additives in our dairy products.

Tuesday 15. October, 2013

A huge step with a smaller footprint

We have received the EMAS certificate for introducing a comprehensive environmental management system as the first company in the food-processing industry in Slovenia.

Friday 4. October, 2013

Ljubljanske mlekarne at Anuga 2013

We are present at the world's largest and most important food and beverage business platform - Anuga Fair in Cologne.