Government Funded Programmes MBIE

The Riddet Institute leads or contributes to several Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) collaborative research programmes.

Milks Mean More (3M)

This is a five year, $11 million research project, aimed at producing new high value milk products. The research team will seek better mechanistic understanding of the various milks produced in New Zealand including cow, goat, sheep and deer.

A particular aim will be to develop new products for babies, very young children and elderly people in New Zealand and, especially, for export. Other research partners are Massey, Otago and Auckland universities, AgResearch and Plant & Food Research. And it has the backing of Miraka, Fonterra, Synlait, A2 Milk Company, Maui Milk, Spring Sheep Dairy, NIG Nutritionals, Pamu and the Dairy Goat Cooperative.

Project Leader: Professor Warren McNabb

girl feeds sheep and goat

Dairy Products for Smarter Lives

There are some dairy-based ingredients with known effects on gut function, able to improve brain development and performance, in young, adult and ageing humans. The research team are testing these ingredients and their influence on ‘gut-brain axis’ pathways to see if they have an effect – either alone or with probiotics. This new knowledge will be used by the NZ dairy industry to develop new premium NZ dairy products with proven functionality for Asian markets.

Programme leader: Prof Nicole Roy


Self-digesting ruminant milk proteins

This “Smart Idea” is to improve the nutritional quality and immune protective function of commercial infant formula by making a formula closer to mother’s milk in digestibility and function. Proteases (an enzyme that breaks down proteins) naturally present in ruminant milks may enhance protein digestion in infants. The proteases are critical for unlocking latent protective activity in the formulations but need to be protected from processing damage. There is freedom-to-operate on the function of ruminant milk proteases and their application to develop new premium NZ formula for Asian markets.

Programme leader: Prof Nicole Roy

milk proteins

Accelerated evolution: a step-change in food fermentation

Fermentation is an ancient and efficient method of preserving food and producing distinctive flavours and textures, with microorganisms being both the defining feature and the limiting step. Current fermentation technologies do not meet rising consumer demand for natural foods with fewer additives and a wide choice of flavours and textures.

The research team are using the evolution of microbial strains and multi-strain communities, coupled with directed deep phenotyping, to control of the diversity of molecules produced during fermentation, to deliver safe and innovative flavours and textures.

Programme Leader: Dr Li Day (AgResearch)


Milk exosomes to enhance early-life development

This 3 year “Smart Idea” aims to harness the potential of natural milk exosomes leading to a better start to, and quality of life. Every parent wants to provide the best possible nutrition for their children and this nutrition is particularly important in the first 1,000 days of life, when the foundations of a child’s abilities to think, reason, capacity to fight infections, and other aspects of a healthy life are established. Milk is a truly remarkable food that has evolved to meet the nutritional demands of mammals and exosomes are naturally enriched in milk. This project will uncover the key scientific knowledge on how milk exosomes enhance gut and immune cell development. The research team will provide new knowledge and IP for the NZ dairy industry to develop speciality formulations/ingredients, such as a drink for infants, and provide economic benefits from Asian markets. The project is a collaboration between AgResearch, the Riddet Institute and the University of Auckland.

Project Leader: Dr Mark McCann

Mission Led Programmes