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Cta Man
Life sciences

Celtic Crustacean Collaboration

Celtic Crustacean Collaboration is an internationally collaborative research and development project which aims to develop plastic-free food packaging material from food waste, initially langoustine shells.

Bright red langoustine

Developing a world-first method

The project was awarded R&D grant funding of £268,284 by our Co-Innovate programme and is expected to lead to the creation of up to 13 new jobs in Argyll.

Argyll based firm, CuanTec Limited is leading the project in with the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS). Both are based at the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) near Oban.

They are working in collaboration with Versatile Packaging in the Republic of Ireland and with Northern Ireland firm, Kilkeel Seafoods.

CuanTec has developed a world-first method for biologically extracting a naturally occurring polymer, chitin, from waste langoustine shells and converting this to the base material for plastic-free food packaging.

The company’s process is environmentally sensitive, cost-efficient, requires less energy, and uses 95% fewer chemicals than conventional processes.

The resulting packaging material has natural food preserving properties and will be home compostable. It also has the ability to keep food fresh and potentially extend shelf life.



Gillian Galloway standing in HIE's An Lochran office
It is exciting to see this level of innovation being developed in Argyll and in such a collaborative fashion.
Gillian Galloway, Head of Innovation, HIE

Benefits of the new project

This new project focuses on the commercial viability of the product through developing industrial scale methods of extracting and converting the polymer from the shells and other food waste sources of chitin.

It will further test the product against industry regulatory standards and end-user requirements and investigate other potential sources of the polymer.

Funding has been made possible through our role as a delivery partner in the EU INTERREG VA funded Co-Innovate programme. This €14.7 m programme – including €2.2m from HIE - supports innovation and cross-border R&D projects in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.k

Gillian Galloway head of innovation, said:

“Plastic packaging is recognised as being at the root of a major waste pollution problem, particularly in the sea and around the coast. This highly innovative project has the potential to help address this issue through reducing the use of plastic. It will also help cut carbon emissions from the burning of unrecycled plastic waste. It is exciting to see this level of innovation being developed in Argyll and in such a collaborative fashion.”

Dr Tracy White, head of science at CuanTec, said:

“We’re dedicated to developing solutions to the issue that single-use plastic is creating. I graduated from SAMS and I know, first-hand, the calibre of facilities and resources it offers to bio-tech businesses like ours. We’re confident we’re in the right place to make a significant contribution to this global challenge.”


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