CuanTec 1st Birthday

Exactly a year ago, we opened CuanTec lab and began our journey from idea to products.

In a year we have gone from an empty lab in MediCity, composed of two rooms with no equipment, and a team of 3 to a fully equipped large lab in BioCity, and an additional lab at the European Marine Sciences Centre at Oban and 7 employees… All the equipment and brain power needed to create our innovations.

What a year it has been!!

First, we created our first chitosan, at small scale chemically from langoustine, in order to have an idea of the yield that is possible and then we then jumped on the biological work, trying several bacteria, several processes to find the perfect fermentation to extract chitin from langoustines.

We welcomed Kasia end of February, our super analytical chemist, which helped us understand how to improve our chitin and chitosan, thanks to her protein analysis, minerals content, understand the characterisation of the chitosan we could obtain. This work makes sure that we know we are removing the allergenic proteins from our products at the earliest stage to the greatest possible levels. (currently less than 5ppm for all proteins)

Simultaneously we began working on our bioplastic formulation.

And people have begun to get to know about what we are doing from radio, newspaper and industry journal articles  

In Spring we found a process that was working enough for us to begin to work on the Chitin to transform it in chitosan sustainably. We did fermentation after fermentation, to improve our working process and build up a stock of material.

In June we were chosen among 240 contestants to win the Scottish Edge (link) HIGGS Category. This has given us £150k to spend on improving our methods, expanding our team and creating our food packaging faster.

In the summer we began to test our plastic formulations on standard industrial equipment, and to learn how the ingredient combinations affect the properties of the bioplastic. We have then been able to develop new formulations to focus on the clarity, flexibility and durability properties we want.  

In October we opened a second lab in Oban, where we welcomed Tracy White our head of microbiology, and we have expanded the BioCity team to include Sarah Connelly who first worked with us on her Master’s thesis.

Now  we are scaling up our fermentation process, to make it industrially efficient. We are improving our plastic formulation to make it industry acceptable. We are testing the antimicrobial activity of both our chitosan and our bioplastic on various food bacteria to assess its efficiency. We are recruiting partners for our consortium to take our process designed for chitin extraction from langoustine and adapt it for other chitin containing substances – crustaceous, fungal and insect.


2017was a great year for CuanTec, lot has happened, and lots have yet to come.