Press Releases

International award recognises prebiotic research – University of Reading

Release Date : 11 December 2009

Glenn Gibson

The research and development of scientists at the University of Reading has been recognised at an international awards ceremony this week for their work to improve people's health.

The Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences has spent eight years developing and bringing to market a new prebiotic which promotes gut health and general well-being.

The product won the 2009 European Food and Beverage New Product Innovation Award, on Tuesday, which was presented to Clasado Ltd, the project's commercial arm.

Prebiotics selectively feed the ‘good' bacteria in our guts, strengthening our immune systems and making it difficult for ‘bad' bacteria to grow. The new product, Bimuno, specifically targets the gut's immunity-boosting bifidobacteria and can be added to everyday food and drink in powder form.

Glenn Gibson, Professor of Food Microbial Sciences, said: "This is one of the few examples where our initial concept has gone all the way through to a product sitting on a supermarket shelf.

"Our collaboration with Clasado has been very successful and we are delighted that the product has been so well-received."

Further research on the prebiotic will start in the New Year when high-performance athletes, such as rowers, will take the product to see if it gives them a higher resistance to food poisoning than those who don't.

"For top athletes, being struck down with something like gastroenteritis stops them from training and competing," said Professor Gibson. "Our study is a completely harmless approach to manage problems before they arise."

The award was presented by Frost & Sullivan, a growth partnership company. Its best practice awards recognise outstanding achievement in a number of areas, including technological innovation and strategic product development.


For more information please contact Rona Cheeseman on 0118 378 7388, email

Notes to editor

Professor Glenn Gibson is available for interview. Please contact the press office to arrange.

Food and Nutritional Sciences is the largest University department of its kind in the UK. It is renowned for its excellence in teaching and research. In the last Research Assessment Exercise, in December 2008, 90% of our research output was considered 'internationally recognised'. Teaching Quality Audit's have also given us an 'Excellent' rating for our teaching. The overall aim of the Department is to deliver international levels of research and teaching in the food biosciences using modern advanced technologies and inter-disciplinary expertise.

Clasado manufacturers Bimuno, which was launched as a health food supplement in the UK in March 2007. There is also a prebiotic for animal use (Bi²tos) which is currently under development by Clasado.

University of Reading

The University of Reading is rated as one of the top 200 universities in the world (THE-QS World Rankings 2009).

  • The University of Reading is one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The University is ranked in the top 20 UK higher education institutions in securing research council grants worth nearly £10 million from EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, AHRC and BBSRC. In the RAE 2008, over 87% of the university's research was deemed to be of international standing. Areas of particular research strength recognised include meteorology and climate change, typography and graphic design, archaeology, philosophy, food biosciences, construction management, real estate and planning, as well as law.
  • Standards of teaching are excellent - the University scored highly in the National Student Survey 2009.  87% of Reading students responding to the survey stated they were satisfied with the quality of their course.
  • The University is estimated to contribute £600 million to the local economy annually.
  • University of Reading is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.
  • More information at



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