What is FAAB?

FAAB is an Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) for Facilitated Advancement of Australia's Bioactives funded by the Australian Research Council with the aim of positively transforming the rapidly growing bioactive ingredients sector.

Based at Macquarie University, Sydney, FAAB is composed of a multidisciplinary team from the Australian bioactives industry with academic partners from Macquarie University, Deakin University, the University of South Australia, and Western Sydney University, and 13 industrial partner organisations.

FAAB utilises advanced analytical methods for molecular characterisation of bioactive products derived from foods, food-waste, and cell-based biotechnologies.

We determine modes of action for bioactives with potential lifestyle and nutritional benefits allowing for evidence-informed decision-making, and regulatory framework development.

FAAB is building capacity by training PhD graduates and post-doctoral researchers with advanced analytical skills and the ability to innovate in regulated environments.

FAAB graduates will lead and deliver future national self-reliance to the Australian bioactives sector, increasing diversification and international competitiveness and development of regulation in a growing market.

What are Bioactives?

Bioactives are compounds that are naturally present in food and could exert a beneficial or toxic effect when ingested. They are often claimed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammation, or antimicrobial properties or to enhance the growth of beneficial microbes.

Currently, many consumer products containing bioactives (e.g., amino acids, peptides and proteins, structured lipids, phytochemicals, plant extracts, fibres and specialty carbohydrates) make it to market with little scientific understanding of whether or why they work or even what aspects of a product might be relevant for its claimed activity.

Securing consistency of supply chain, ensuring quality control, and fighting product-fraud are industry specific challenges where a deeper analytical approach can ensure market leadership.

FAAB aims to identify the active ingredients in the complex mixtures in which bioactives often occur, establish their mode(s) of action, and understand how to control the molecules to enhance their therapeutic functionality.

To achieve this FAAB is training a future workforce with a multidisciplinary approach involving:

  1. Advanced analytical sciences skills.
  2. Microbiology.
  3. Pharmacokinetics and formulation.
  4. The ability to translate research in regulated environments.

Regulation of Bioactives

Regulation is currently a challenge for the bioactives sector as most products fit into a regulatory overlap between foods and medicines. Yet there are increasing demands that any product making claims of being able to support and enhance consumer lifestyle and wellbeing is regulated. This requires a workforce prepared to work with sophisticated analytical methods on complex products in an environment where reproducibility and regulation are essential. FAAB is achieving precisely this with a carefully designed training programme and research projects where researchers will apply their training to enable higher quality, targeted, quality-controlled products to be available for informed consumer choice.

FAAB Objectives

  1. To create a new type of sophisticated flexible Australian workforce able to take world-leading biotechnology research into knowhow for economic prosperity.
  2. To train all FAAB researchers in the current regulatory landscape for food-derived health products and foods for medical purposes, so that they can apply principles to the regulation of products that are neither therapeutic goods nor foods, working in collaboration with relevant regulatory bodies.
  3. To support Australian Bioechnology industry working under regulatory requirements to keep its whole product cycle from research to sale within Australia and to enhance the complexity, security, and profitability of Australian products thus supporting development of a sustainable and prosperous economy.
  4. To create jobs for highly trained scientists by working to enhance biotechnology industries that value knowhow, expertise, critical thinking, and versatility in its workforce.
  5. To support the development of new or improved products for biotechnology Partner Organisations by developing and applying analytical methods to characterise the molecular identity, structure, and modes of action of bioactive products thereby providing a market advantage.
  6. To increase Australia's performance and reputation in advanced molecular analytical science.
  7. To provide a collaborative forum for cognate industries to collaborate with each other on common problems for industry growth and national benefit.