Did you say multifunctional natural ingredients?

Project entitled:

Development of multidimensional approaches to identify and select multifunctional natural ingredients

Salwa Karboune, Dr Nastaran Khodaei, Dr Asma Mdimagh


  • Although chemical synthesis processes have made it possible to obtain a wide variety of ingredients, the health risks associated with some have caused consumer avoidance. To this end, the food industry is increasingly confronted with consumer demand for “clean label” products, with no additives and artificial preservatives, with labels of ingredients easy to read and recognize while maintaining appropriate storage times and optimal textural and sensory properties.
  • Efforts to develop multidimensional approaches for the identification and selection of multi-functional natural ingredients that are easy to incorporate into a wide range of products are needed to support the development of “clean label” food products.
  • Considering the emerging market for “clean label” products worth billions of dollars, Quebec’s agri-food sector could benefit greatly from the development of a multidimensional platform of multifunctional natural ingredients.
  • A platform-based network integrating all the mappings using artificial intelligence tools with the possibility of identifying the multifunctionalities of ingredients and the optimal conditions will not just increase the efficiency of the application of selected natural ingredients but also the capacity to innovate.


Development of a multi-dimensional platform containing integrated multifunctional maps for multi-sectors as a tool for identifying natural ingredients of interest and their optimal conditions of use whose purpose is to accelerate innovation. The specific objectives include:

  • Design a database of natural food ingredients using diverse sources of information and establish the scientific basis for multifunctionalities of natural ingredients at different stages of maturity.
  • Develop multidimensional mappings of natural ingredients, which link structural and physicochemical properties to techno-functional efficiencies.
  • Develop an active dynamic platform that integrates all mappings as tools for identifying natural ingredients and their optimal application conditions.
  • Assess the possibility of developing predictive In-silico models.

Results and potential benefits

A database of existing or emerging natural multifunctional ingredients of interest to participating industries will be developed. The results will be used to develop a multifunctional and multidimensional approach that will help to understand the synergy between the different techno-functionalities of natural ingredients. The use of multi-dimensional mapping focusing on the multifunctionality of ingredients will help to limit the number of ingredients that are needed to formulate selected “clean Label” food products. The application of artificial intelligence techniques will provide industry partners with a platform (in the form of a network) that links multidimensional mappings as fast tools of formulation engineering that will not only facilitate the identification of ingredients to substitute artificial ingredients, but also the discovery of new multifunctionalities of interest for the agri-food sectors involved.

Innovative aspects

  • An innovative database of existing or emerging natural ingredients that can facilitate the identification and the selection of appropriate ingredients.
  • Identification of multifunctionalities and their implementations as tools of formulation engineering “Genie de Formulation”.
  • Discovery of new applications of existing or new ingredients through the in-silico analyses.

Professionals trained

  • Nandini Kodomagge, MSc non thesis
  • Diksha Rani,MSc non thesis
  • Nitin Arora,MSc non thesis
  • Amalie Younes, BSC Food Science
  • Kevin Misaiphon, BSC Food Science
  • Muriel Yok Kam Wong Min, BSC Food Science

For further information

The successful completion of this project and the training of researchers will provide unique opportunities for the technology transfer. Other mean of transfer includes the periodic scientific meetings and discussion of the results with the various industrial partners of this research activity. Presentation of the results (oral and posters) to all members of the network at the meetings and workshops does also contribute to the transfer. A presentation at the Forum Techno will be planned. The publication of scientific articles and the presentation of the results in scientific meetings will also be other means of transfer.

Financial contributions

RITA Recherche Innovation Transformation Alimentaire: a consortium mandated by MAPAQ at McGill University in collaboration with CTAQ and MEI. Below is the total budget for the 13 activities of the RITA network.


Total budget: $2,765,828