Food & Biomedical Technology Institute (FBTI)

About FBTI

The Food and Biomedical Technology Institute (FBTI) carries out research and development (R & D) in the areas of Food Technology, Industrial Biotechnology and Applied Chemistry.

  • Objectives

    • To develop and reduce to practice technologies and processes that will lead to the setting-up of industries in the food, pharmaceutical and biochemical sectors.
    • To adopt and adapt new technologies in the food, biochemical, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries.
    • To provide technical consultancy and training services to industries in the food, chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
    • To offer research and analytical services to the food, chemical, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.
  • Current Research Projects

    Production of broad spectrum parasiticide avermectins: The project is aimed at developing and adapting biotechnological processes for the production of avermectin-based drugs. Phase one of this project is aimed at producing a broad-spectrum parasiticide for use in the veterinary field.

    Hydroponics Fodder System for Poultry: The aim of the project is to develop a process by which small holder poultry producers can transform readily available grains and legumes into nutrient dense, cheaper fodder as a substitute for commercial feed.

    The overall objective is reduction of the small holder farmer’s cost of feeding the birds to increase their profit margins.

    Development of on-farm, low cost cool storage for horticultural produce: This project is a response to the high on-farm post-harvests losses being experienced by small holder horticulture farmers who cannot afford a cold chain for their produce.

    Therefore the work in the project is directed towards developing a low cost cooling system that does not use electricity and can be constructed on the farm by the farmers themselves for cool storage of produce.

    Value addition of indigenous small grains and legumes:The small grains and legumes project takes underutilised crops and transform them into high value, nutritious foods through processing and formulations in which the grains and legumes complement each other. Indigenous fruits and their products are also used to add essential micronutrients to the products.

    Functional foods and beverages:The project aims to identify indigenous food sources of bioactive molecules for which there is scientific evidence of their beneficial effects on the health of the human organism and apply these to develop functional foods that deliver physiological properties useful for prevention of chronic diseases.

    The focus is on those biomolecules that are already proven and food sources that are traditionally consumed locally but have not been commercially used such as moringa, and baobab fruits.

    Postharvest processing technology for small grains (sorghum and millets): The project is aimed at mechanizing post harvesting of sorghum and millets. The implementation of this project is aimed at reducing post-harvest losses by about 50% or more thus relieving the small grain farmers from the labour intensive and time consuming traditional methods that are currently in use.

    The introduction of small grains post-harvesting equipment will also improve the quality of product which was generally characterized by mixtures of sand, stones and grit. Mechanisation of the harvesting of small grains will also encourage farmers in the drought prone regions IV and V which cover 38% and 27% respectively of Zimbabwe to grow the crops.

  • Analytical Services offered by FBTI:
    The institute has laboratories that provide analytical services for the industrial, domestic, agricultural and public sector establishments. The quality control needs of most industries are readily and adequately met by a way of appropriately targeted analytical services.

    Microbiological tests
    We perform microbiological tests on food and environmental samples as well as other products as required by customers. We offer:

    • Routine microbial analysis (Total Viable Counts, Yeasts and Molds, Total Coliforms, Fecal Coliforms)
    • Preservative challenge tests
    • Product shelf life testing
    • Environmental and hand swabs

    Soil and water tests

    • Soil tests and fertiliser recommendations
    • Soil texture analysis
    • Analysis of contaminated soils
    • Domestic water ( e.g. tap, borehole, and spring water)
    • Waste water / effluent water analysis
    • Irrigation water analysis and recommendations

    Geochemical analysis

    • Gold and other precious metals
    • Base metals
    • Heavy metals
    • Fall out dust analysis (mine environmental monitoring)

    Specialized Analytical Services

    • Pesticide analysis
    • Drug/pharmaceuticals analysis
    • Quality control of products and raw materials
    • Nutritional profiling of food and feeds
    • Phytochemical analysis
    • Profiling of natural products

    Consultancy Services

    • Soil fertility management
    • Abandoned mine reclamation
    • Contaminated land remediation
    • Food processing and product development
    • Chemical process and product development
    • Research and development projects within our area of expertise

    Food processing

    • Training in processing and value addition of food crops
    • New product development

    Hygiene surveys

    • Carry out inspections for entire premises e.g. Restaurants, hotels, fast food outlets and food processing factories to assess the standards with respect to legislation.
    • Hygiene survey reports ֠list deficiencies with respect to legislation and applicable standards observed during visual inspections and provide detailed action plans.
    • Technical assessment ֠microbiological testing of swabs and products sampled during evaluation.
    • Food sampling and swabbing for analysis.

    Training Courses

    • Food safety and hygiene
    • Analytical instruments training (techniques and applications)
    • Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system training
    • Fruit and vegetable drying
    • Post-harvest handling and processing
    • Method development and validation
  • Achievements and Track Record

    • FBTI and BRI have successfully developed and processed foods based on indigenous crops (millets, sorghum and leguminous crops). The blends produced have been commercialized and are being marketed through the Zimbabwe Technological Solutions, a subsidiary of SIRDC.
    • HPLC columns packed at FBTI to service the pharmaceutical and biochemical industries.
    • New product development and process design for mahewu
    • Process improvements for the SMEs:
      o troubleshooting and recommendations for improved quality control program for soya chunks
      o troubleshooting and product improvement for indigenous small grains and legumes porridge
    • Value chain studies: Zimbabwe Agri-business, food and beverages ( ZEPARU/USAID SERA)
    • Ensuring safe drinking water through provision of water quality testing and monitoring services.
    • Community development training projects:
      o solar drying of fruits and vegetables in the Gombakomba community,
      o food preservation, fortification and preparation training in the Chiweshe community (The Salvation Army/ Howard Mission Hospital)

    CLICK HERE to Download our Analytical services brochure

  • Areas of Collaboration or Partnership

    FBTI seeks partnerships in the following areas:

    • Commercialization of microbial metabolites production. Currently Ivermectin a broad spectrum veterinary antibiotic is ready for joint venture commercial partnership.
    • Commercialization of microbial culture production - dairy industry starter cultures and industrial waste treatment cultures.
    • Research and commercialization of food products made from indigenous crops.

    Collaborative research is desired in the following areas:

    • Food Technology
    • Nutrition
    • Fermentation Technology (Microbial starter culture production for use in the food industry and microbial cultures for use in bioremediation and treatment of industrial waste)
    • Biomedical Science and Technology
    • Pharmaceutical Technology
    • Chemical and Process Engineering

For Further Information Contact:
The Director, FBTI
Landline: + 263(242) 860353 (direct line), 860320, 860322
FCT Lines : +263-778860323, 778860324, 778860327
Mobile: +263772402862 (Whatsapp)
Email: fbti@sirdc.ac.zw, kchoto@sirdc.ac.zw