A “Box” of research and knowledge about putty

By | May 1, 2023

The Mastic Research Center, a pioneering and emblematic project for Chios and the island of Greece, with an approximate cost of 3 million euros, was inaugurated last Saturday, opening new perspectives and marking the future of mastic.

The guided tour of the iconic Mastic Research Center starts from the ground floor where the changing rooms are located. Then the research staff goes to the first washing station before going up to the first floor where, through a negative pressure chamber, they go to the second washing station and from there to the production areas.

“All the areas and laboratories are class D cleanliness according to the EOF”, describes Dr. Maria Giannakaki, one of the two researchers from the center who have made the tour.

The Chiotissa chemist, responsible for research, development and legislation, is the first researcher to set foot in the center, which is why she returned to her place. She herself studied in Patras and prepared her doctoral thesis in collaboration with a UK university, but she always had her island in her heart and mind.

“What I feel for the Center is nothing more than pride”, he tells me, explaining that collaborations with universities are currently “underway”, the medicinal effect of mastic is being studied, mainly on the gastrointestinal system, and there are pilot productions . of products, such as an innovative powdered yoghurt that is mixed with water and becomes regular yoghurt.

It is a product that has not yet been released on the market and that does not differ in any way from ordinary yogurts. In general, the production facilities of the Center will be
Pilot pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, oral hygiene products, food supplements and parapharmaceutical preparations can be produced.

“Within the Center we are given the opportunity to explore many scientific parts of the putty that we couldn’t even do in Athens”, intervenes the technical director of the Center, Mr. Dimitris Konstantinidis, an electrical engineer, who has taken over the operation. And maintenance. of the entire infrastructure.

Chiotis himself had also already returned to his place after his studies at Democritus University, decided to stay and was working as a freelancer.

The Mastic Applications Research Center, where all the possibilities of the most aromatic tears in the world will be displayed, is located in spaces with a total area of ​​1400 m2. in Seleperos-Kallimasia, at a distance of about 13 km from the city of Chios and does not look like a “classical” industrial building – factory.

The building is distributed in three levels, with different uses in each one that are translated into their corresponding horizontal zones in its façade, and it has elements of bioclimatic architecture.

The Mastic Research Center which arose from the conscious need to unite the accumulated empirical knowledge of the elders with the scientific expertise of the younger ones 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 news…

An emblematic 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 (Regional Innovation Scheme) strategy, with a total budget of 2.5 million euros. However, as the Center’s managing director, Yiannis Mandalas, pointed out at the opening, the cost
exceeded 3 million euros, while the main construction period lasted 18 months.

The project was financed in 51% of its budget by the North Aegean Region, through NSRF, and in the remaining 49% by the partners of the center. The center is an emblematic project not only for Chios, but also for the entire island of Greece, with a special symbolism that sums up Masticha’s expectations for the future.

It was founded on December 25, 2017 with the following shareholders: ASOCIACIÓN DE PRODUCTORES DE MASTICHO DE CHIOS (36%), MEDITERRA (36%), IASIS PHARMA (20%), PHARMA Q (4%) and PHARMAGNOSE (4%) . It is managed by a Board of Directors of 11 members with a mandate of 5 years, with paid-up share capital of €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 coordinates academic discussion and scientific research on putty, systematically records the findings of global scientific research, seeks new applications and develops existing ones, ultimately acting as a bridge of knowledge between the academic community and
Industrial companies of all branches that invest or want to invest in putty.

“From this new investment, the mastic and its derivatives will be placed in more favorable conditions in the international economic environment, granting greater value, both to the mastic and its producers,” said Constantinos Ganiaris, president of the Research Center of the Putty (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, the EMH enters a new year of development, a trajectory of greater extroversion, greater verticalization and scientific documentation,” said the president of the Chios Mastic Producers Union, Giorgos Toumpos.

On a new trajectory of development with extroversion and scientific documentation

The Research Center was inaugurated by Chios native Sir Menelaos Pagalos, Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca, who likened the center to an “Ark” of research and knowledge of this valuable local product.

AstraZeneca Executive Vice Chairman Sir Menelaos Pangalos

“I never expected 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 in a private conversation. During the inauguration, he gave three pieces of advice to those in charge of the center:

“Recruit smart and capable researchers, collaborate openly and freely with the best of the academic community, and share knowledge,” adding that he “waits to see what secrets of the putty will be revealed within this center.”

This is what Chiotissa Dr. Katerina Panagiotaki, second researcher at the Center, who is in charge of the Center’s Chemistry and Microbiology laboratory, who graduated from the University of Ioannina and continued her graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of Athens and in collaboration with the “DIMOKRITOS” Base.

As he tells me, he has always wanted to return to his site: “It was a gift for us and a great opportunity,” he explains that the Laboratory carries out detection of pesticides in mastic and food quality control for the center’s shareholders and for third parties in the future. “We got certified and now we want to get accreditation for the analytical laboratory.”

The Center’s research objectives include coordinating academic research related to mastic, conducting scientific research and studies related to the properties and actions of this unique product, cultivating the tree, and improving agricultural production.

“The power of mastic is the power of the people of Chios and with the new investment new prospects are 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 shared belief of the Shareholders and the management of the Putty Research Center is that this initiative will mark the future of putty in the coming years by adding to the puzzle of the successful initiatives of the Union of Putty Producers of Chios (ELMA Factory, establishment of mastihashop, establishment of the Mastic Museum) the piece of research applied in the continuation of it
of self-funded scientific research initiated by the EMH and its affiliates in the last 20 years.

It should be noted that the Chios Putty Producers Union, from 2003 to date, has financed, with a total minimum annual budget of €100,000/year (which is multiplied through subsidized programs), more than 40 research projects on the action of mastic, including research in the medical and pharmaceutical field and clinical and laboratory studies, which are carried out in collaboration with more than 10 Greek university institutions and Greek research centers, with 12 universities abroad, as well as with institutions hospitable

Indicatively, in the fifteen years 2004-2019, more than 100 studies were published in accredited scientific journals.

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