From January to March 2014, Johana Brauch, German PhD student of Hohenheim University, performed a short investigation in Ecoflora, a Colombian company and employer of Dr. Sandra Zapata, winner of the Green Talents award in 2011. This visit was facilitated through the mutual agreement that was formed after Sandra`s three-months research stay in Germany in 2012. As an Agro-Industrial Production Engineer, Sandra helps create tangible – and sustainable – economic value out of Colombian biodiversity and to improve lives by harvesting and processing natural products in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Together with her team she has already secured three international patents related to the extraction and processing of natural rainforest products. One of these is for a natural blue colorant derived from a rainforest fruit harvested by local communities. Sandra used her time in Germany to investigate convincing stability tests of this novel blue colorant for different foods and beverages.
Even more so, collaboration topics emerged from her stay at Hohenheim University’s Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Chair Plant Foodstuff Technology led by Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. Reinhold Carle. Joint efforts are now possible in a close future in the field of natural colors and natural colors derived from biodiversity. This is a good way to strengthen knowledge and expertise from both sides of the world in the quest for better and healthier products with a global impact.