Food and Biomedical Technology Institute



Food and Biomedical Technology Institute

The Food and Biomedical Technology Institute (FBTI) carries out research and development in the areas of Food Technology, Industrial Biotechnology and Applied Chemistry.

  • To develop and reduce to practice technologies and processes that will lead to the setting-up of industries in the food, pharmaceutical and biochemical sectors.
  • To adopt and adapt new technologies in the food, biochemical, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries.
  • To provide technical consultancy and training services to industries in the food, chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
  • To offer research and analytical services to the food, chemical, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

Production of broad spectrum parasiticide avermectins: The project is aimed at
developing and adapting biotechnological processes for the production of avermectin-
based drugs. Phase one of this project is aimed at producing a broad-spectrum
parasiticide for use in the veterinary field.

Hydroponics Fodder System for Poultry: The aim of the project is to develop a
process by which small holder poultry producers can transform readily available grains
and legumes into nutrient dense, cheaper fodder as a substitute for commercial feed.
The overall objective is reduction of the small holder farmer’s cost of feeding the birds to
increase their profit margins.

Development of on-farm, low cost cool storage for horticultural produce: This
project is a response to the high on-farm post-harvest losses being experienced by
small holder horticulture farmers who cannot afford a cold chain for their produce. The
project is developing a low cost zero energy cooling system which smallholder farmers
can construct themselves using locally available materials.

Value addition of indigenous small grains and legumes: The small grains and
legumes project takes underutilized crops and transform them into high value, nutritious
foods through processing and formulations in which the grains and legumes
complement each other. Indigenous fruits are used to add essential micronutrients to
the products.

Functional foods and beverages: The project identifies indigenous sources of
bioactive molecules for which there is scientific evidence for beneficial health effects on
the health of the human organism. These are then utilized to develop functional foods
that deliver physiological properties useful for prevention of chronic diseases. The focus
is on those molecules that have been proven and local traditional food sources that
have not been commercially exploited.

Postharvest processing technology for small grains (sorghum and millets): The
project is aimed at mechanizing post harvesting processing of sorghum and millets. The
thrashing is being mechanized to reduce post-harvest contamination with sand and
stones. In addition the mechanization of thrashing relieves the small grain farmers from
the labor-intensive and time consuming traditional methods that are currently in use.
This, in turn, is expected to encourage farmers in drought prone regions IV and V to
grow the drought tolerant crops.

Analytical Services
The institute has laboratories that provide analytical services to industrial, domestic,
agricultural and public sector establishments. The testing and quality control needs of a
wide range of industrial sectors are met through appropriately targeted analytical

Microbiological tests
We perform microbiological tests on food and environmental samples as well as other
products as required by customers. We offer:

  • Routine microbial tests (Total Viable Counts, Yeasts and Molds, Total Coliforms, Fecal
  • Preservative challenge tests
  • Product shelf life testing
  • Environmental and hand swabs


Soil and water tests

  • Soil tests and fertiliser recommendations
  • Soil texture analysis
  • Analysis of contaminated soils
  • Domestic water ( e.g. tap, borehole, and spring water)
  • Waste water / effluent water analysis
  • Irrigation water analysis and recommendation

Geochemical analysis

  • Gold and other precious metals
  • Base metals
  • Heavy metals
  • Fall out dust analysis (mine environmental monitoring)


Specialized Analytical Services

  • Pesticide analysis
  • Drug/pharmaceuticals analysis
  • Quality control of products and raw materials
  • Nutritional profiling of food and feeds
  • Phytochemical analysis (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Profiling of natural products
    Consultancy Services
  • Soil fertility management
  • Abandoned mine reclamation
  • Contaminated land remediation
  • Food processing and product development
  • Chemical process and product development
  • Research and development projects within our area of expertise
    Food processing
  • Training in processing and value addition of foods
  • New product development
  • Product improvement/line extension

Hygiene surveys

  • Carry out inspections for entire premises e.g. Restaurants, hotels, fast food outlets and
    food processing factories to assess the standards with respect to legislation.
  • Hygiene survey reports list deficiencies with respect to legislation and applicable
    standards observed during visual inspections and provide detailed action plans.
  • Technical assessment ֠microbiological testing of swabs and products sampled during
  • Food sampling and swabbing for analysis.

Training Courses

  • Food safety and hygiene
  • Analytical instruments training (techniques and applications)
  • Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system training
  • Fruit and vegetable drying
  • Post-harvest handling and processing
  • Method development and validation


  • FBTI and BRI have successfully developed and processed foods based on indigenous
    crops (millets, sorghum and leguminous crops). The blends produced have been
    commercialized and are being marketed through the Zimbabwe Technological
    Solutions, a subsidiary of SIRDC.
  • HPLC columns packed at FBTI to service the pharmaceutical and biochemical

New Products developed and process improvements for the SMEs

  • New mahewu product development and process design for a local SME
  • Soya chunks troubleshooting and recommendations for improved quality control
  • Troubleshooting and product improvement for small grains and legumes porridge
  • Gluten-free bread formulation from indigenous small grains for local NGO
  • Development of products and processes based on indigenous fruits for local NGO (marula, tamarind)
  • Development of sesame-based additive-free snack for local NGO
  • Development of a soup powder based on madora (amacimbi) for local NGO
  • Value chain studies: Zimbabwe Agri-business, Food and Beverages for ZEPARU (USAID SERA-funded)
  • Ensuring safe drinking water through provision of water quality testing and monitoring services.


Community development training projects

  • Solar drying of fruits and vegetables in the Gombakomba community (Mutare)
  • Food preservation, fortification and preparation training in the Chiweshe community
    (The Salvation Army/ Howard Mission Hospital)

FBTI seeks partnerships in the following areas:

  • Commercialization of microbial metabolites production. Currently Ivermectin a broad
    spectrum veterinary antibiotic is ready for joint venture commercial partnership.
  • Commercialization of microbial culture production – dairy industry starter cultures and
    industrial waste treatment cultures.
  • Research and commercialization of food products made from indigenous crops.

Collaborative research is desired in the following areas:

  • Food Technology
  • Nutrition
  • Fermentation Technology (Microbial starter culture production for use in the food
    industry and microbial cultures for use in bioremediation and treatment of industrial
  • Biomedical Science and Technology
  • Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Chemical and Process Engineering

For Further Information, Contact: