IP GROUP, the London-listed technology commercialisation firm, has joined forces with the Scottish Investment Bank to pump £750,000 into a Glasgow University spin-out that has created a device for sterilising food.
Anacail, whose name means “preserve, protect or shield” in Gaelic, was launched in 2011 to develop technology invented by Declan Diver and Hugh Potts from the university’s school of physics and astronomy.
The device breaks down some of the oxygen inside food containers to form a substance called “ozone”, which kills germs on the food.
Ozone is best known for forming the layer in the atmosphere that protects life on Earth from harmful rays from the sun.
Ian Muirhead, chief executive at Anacail, said: “Although ozone can be harmful to humans, it has a very limited life span before it returns to oxygen and it doesn’t leave behind any dangerous residues so it’s perfectly safe to use in food decontamination.”
Muirhead hopes the device will help to cut down on the seven million tonnes of food that is thrown away in the UK each year by extending the shelf life of produce.
He added that the company has already tested the device with a number of food producers and that it is now exploring ways to develop the technology to sterilise medical and dental instruments.
IP Group signed a partnership deal with Glasgow University in 2006, and in 2010 raised £600,000 for Mode Diagnostics, which is developing an over-the-counter bowel cancer detector.