A New Brunswick biotech start-up, Chinova Bioworks, is working to keep food fresh using a revolutionary compound made from an ingredient you might find in your fridge: mushrooms.

The Challenge

Finding safe and natural ways to keep food fresher longer, avoiding the artificial ingredients and chemicals found in so many foods, was the goal of Natasha Dhayagude, CEO of Chinova Bioworks. Chinova had already identified a compound that capitalizes on the antimicrobial properties of a mushrooms. The compound, chitosan, is a natural, vegan preservative that consumers and companies can both feel good about.

To help develop the product, Natasha wanted someone to take it to the next level — and she knew that Mitacs was available to help fledgling companies like hers.

The Solution

She found her champion in Tanzina Huq, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Brunswick with a background in food safety and experience with chitosan. Chinova and Tanzina partnered with the University of New Brunswick through a Mitacs internship.

The Impact

Tanzina is developing a highly customizable product, giving Chinova Bioworks a competitive advantage that will help them to expand beyond food into other markets such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

“Working with Tanzina and Mitacs helped us get access to the lab facilities we need to commercialize our product, and the collaboration has been extremely helpful in guiding us through the research process,” says Natasha. “Having a physical product to show to potential buyers makes all the difference when we’re pitching them. Without Mitacs’s support, the company wouldn’t have been able to get off the ground."