The Mastic Research Center, a pioneering and emblematic project for Chios and island Greece, costing around 3 million euros, was inaugurated last Saturday, opening up new perspectives and marking the future of mastic .
The guided tour of the emblematic Mastic Research Center begins on the ground floor where the changing rooms are located. Then the research staff proceed to the first wash station before ascending to the first floor where, through a negative pressure chamber, they proceed to the second wash station and from there to the production areas.
“All spaces and laboratories are cleanliness class D according to the EOF”, describes Dr. Maria Giannakaki, one of the two researchers at the center, who undertook the tour.
The chemist from Chiotissa, responsible for research, development and legislation, is the first researcher to have set foot in the center, which is why she has returned home. She herself studied in Patras and prepared her doctoral thesis in collaboration with a British university, but she always had her island in her heart and in her head.
“What I feel for the Center is nothing but pride”, he tells me, explaining that at the moment collaborations are “in progress” with universities, the medicinal effect of the mastic is under study, mainly on the gastrointestinal system, and there are pilot productions of products, such as an innovative yogurt powder that is mixed with water and made into regular yogurt.
It is a product that has not yet been put on the market and does not differ in any way from ordinary yogurts. In general, the Centre’s production facilities will be
pharmaceutical pilot products, cosmetics, oral hygiene products, food supplements and parapharmaceutical preparations can be produced.
“Within the Centre, we are given the opportunity to explore many scientific parts of putty that we could not even do in Athens”, intervenes the technical director of the Centre, Mr. Dimitris Konstantinidis, an electrical engineer, who has taken over operation and maintenance. of all infrastructure.
The same Chiotis had also already returned home after his studies at Democritus University, determined to stay and was working as a freelancer.
The Mastic Applications Research Center, where all the possibilities of the world’s most aromatic tears are to be deployed, is housed in spaces with a total area of 1400 m². in Seleperos-Kallimasia, at a distance of about 13 km from the town of Chios and does not look like a “classic” industrial building – factory.
The building extends over three levels, with different uses on each that result in corresponding horizontal areas on its face, and features elements of bioclimatic architecture.
The Mastic Research Center, born out of a conscious need to link the accumulated empirical knowledge of older people with the scientific expertise of younger people, is the only one of its kind (i.e. a center on a Greek island for the scientific research of a local product). And this is really news…
A flagship investment of 3 million euros
The creation of the specific research center was included in the Operational Program of the North Aegean Region 2014-2020, in the actions of the RIS strategy (Regional Innovation Scheme), with a total budget of 2.5 million euros. However, as the Center’s General Manager, Yiannis Mandalas, noted during the opening, the cost
exceeded 3 million euros, while the main construction period lasted 18 months.
The project was financed at 51% of its budget by the North Aegean Region, through NSRF, and for the remaining 49% by the partners of the center. The center is an emblematic project not only for Chios, but also for the whole island of Greece, with a particular symbolism that summarizes the future expectations of Masticha.
It was founded on December 25, 2017 with the following shareholders: ASSOCIATION CHIOS DES PRODUCTEURS DE Masticho (36%), MEDITERRA (36%), IASIS PHARMA (20%), PHARMA Q (4%) and PHARMAGNOSE (4%). It is administered by an 11-member Board of Directors for a period of 5 years, and the paid-up share capital amounts to €1,200,000. An 11-member Scientific Council has been appointed to advise the Board of Directors.
The vision of the founding shareholders is for the Center to be a trusted body that will coordinate academic discussions and scientific research on mastic, systematically record the results of worldwide scientific research, research new applications and develop existing applications, ultimately acting as a bridge of knowledge between academia and
Industrial companies of all branches who invest or want to invest in mastic.
“Thanks to this new investment, mastic and its derivatives will be placed on more favorable terms in the international economic environment, giving greater value, both to mastic and to its producers,” said Constantinos Ganiaris, president of the Mastic Research Center (KEM) during the inauguration, adding that “a brilliant page has just been written and one of the most important in Greek cooperation”.
“With the operation of the Mastic Research Center, EMH is entering a new year of development, a trajectory of greater extroversion, verticalization and scientific documentation,” noted the president of the Union of mastic producers of Chios, Giorgos Toumpos.
On a new development trajectory with extroversion and scientific documentation
The inauguration of the research center was carried out by the native of Chios, Sir Menelaos Pagalos, executive vice-president of AstraZeneca, who compared the center to an “ark” of research and knowledge for this precious local product.
AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Sir Menelaos Pangalos
“I did not expect to see such a research center in Chios. I come here every summer, this is where my mother lives and I am really very excited and very happy,” he told me. confided in a private conversation. During the inauguration, he gave three pieces of advice to those responsible for the centre:
“Recruit smart and skilled researchers, collaborate openly and freely with the best in the academic community, and share knowledge,” adding that he “waits to see what putty secrets will be revealed within this center.”
This is what Chiotissa Dr. Katerina Panagiotaki, second researcher of the Center, responsible for the laboratory of chemistry and microbiology of the Center, graduated from the University of Ioannina and continued her studies of postgraduate, doctoral and post-graduate studies. PhD at the University of Athens and in collaboration with the “DIMOKRITOS” Foundation.
As she tells me, she has always wanted to return home: “It was a gift for us and a great opportunity”, explaining to me that the Laboratory detects pesticides in mastic and quality control of food for the shareholders of the center and for third parties in the future. “We have obtained the certification and now we want to obtain the accreditation for the analysis laboratory.”
The research objectives of the Center include the coordination of academic research related to mastic, the implementation of scientific research and studies related to the properties and actions of this unique product, the cultivation of the tree and the improvement of the agricultural production.
“The power of mastic is the power of the people of Chios and with the new investments new prospects are being created for the island’s diamond,” said GG of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Christiana Kalogirou, who was honored for her decisive contribution to the financing of the project.
The common conviction of the Shareholders and the management of the Mastic Research Center is that this initiative will mark the future of mastic in the years to come by adding to the puzzle of successful initiatives of the Union of Mastic Producers of Chios (ELMA factory, creation of mastihashop, establishment of the Mastic Museum) the applied research piece as an extension of this
of self-funded scientific research initiated by the EMH and its affiliates over the past 20 years.
It should be noted that the Union of Mastic Producers of Chios from 2003 to today has financed, with a minimum total annual budget of €100,000/year, (which is multiplied by subsidized programs) more than 40 research on the action of mastic, among them, research in the medical and pharmaceutical field and clinical and laboratory studies, which are carried out in collaboration with more than 10 Greek academic institutions and Greek research centers, with 12 academic institutions in abroad, as well as with hospitals.
As an indication, over the fifteen years 2004-2019, more than 100 studies have been published in reputable scientific journals.
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