Mars & Pipa accelerate scientific discovery in food with AI that can predict flavors
28 Apr 2022 --- Mars is planning a multi-year collaboration with Pipa, an artificial intelligence food research company, to bring health advancements to food and accelerate the discovery of novel, plant-based ingredients.
By ‘placing AI at the center of food, nutrition, and health’, the confectionery giant wants to unlock novel, high-quality into future food faster than they currently do.
Pipa’s technologies will also potentially save time and money monetary resources to Mars as its AI technologies permit the prediction of flavors with “virtual sensory panels,” allowing for the creation of sensory profiles without experimentation.
“The next decade will witness a paradigm shift in the way we understand food, its effect on our health and well-being,” says Dr. Ilias Tagkopoulos, founder of Pipa and director of the AI institute of next generation food systems (AIFS) at the University of California.
“The trifecta of mapping the molecular atlas of food, leveraging computational methods that learn from data and nurturing an ecosystem that translates discoveries to practice, creates the perfect storm for an unprecedented disruption and brings us one step closer to the Hippocratic ‘let food be thy medicine’.”
Pipa’s resources are a biomedical database, scientific publications, clinical trials and omics datasets. The latter is used to find associations between molecular and food-related entities with microbes and diseases.
Bringing AI to the table
Mars will be able to access Pipa AI technologies, permitting them to “accelerate the discovery of ingredients compared to the slower traditional ingredient-identification methods of randomized, high-throughput screening,” according to Mars.
“PIPA is an important and valuable research collaborator for Mars. Its science and technology strengths will translate into business impact, opening doors for Mars and the wider food industry,” says Nici Bush, VP of innovation science and technology at Mars.
Opportunities in bioactive development
Pipa AI labs try to identify novel bioactive compounds found in food ingredients that promote health through microbiota or host interactions. The company is looking for bioactive compounds and peptides in the early research stages to decipher action mechanisms for health states and diseases efficiently.
Mars had previously caught the attention of biotech specialist Nuritas, which utilizes AI where active ingredients are concerned. In an interview with NutritionInsight, Dr. Audrey Wall, Nuritas scientific lead, outlined: “peptides have the potential to replace ingredients with common side effects, chemical options, animal-based alternatives.”
By Marc Cervera
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