Students from Camborne have been working on a collaborative chemistry project with researchers at the University of Bristol.

The project is funded by a Royal Society Partnership grant and aims to explore the chemistry of some of the most ubiquitous flavour compounds in use in the food industry.

The latest stage of the project saw a team of four CSMS students take samples they had prepared to Bristol for analysis. The students spent the day in the School of Chemistry’s analytical labs, under the supervision of PhD students in the group of Professor Robin Bedford. Students also had a chance to share their work with Professor Bedford and discuss future directions to take the project.

“It’s been fun to meet the students and to see the work they’ve been doing” said Sanita Tailor, a 3rd year PhD student in the Bedford Group. “This is difficult chemistry so it’s nice to be able to help out!”

The students completed analyses using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and infrared (IR) spectrometers as well as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Their targets were vanillin and capsaicin, the compounds responsible for the sweet taste of vanilla and the spiciness of chillies, respectively.

“It has been really inspiring to bring students to a world-class research facility and to show them the kind of instrumentation that is used by professional researchers” said Dr Gower, who has been leading the project. “Our collaboration with the Bedford Group has enabled us to study chemistry at a depth that is not normally available to school students”.

The collaboration will continue to run and will be presented by the students at the Royal Institute in London in July 2020.