Wollongong Uni researchers awarded US patent

By Staff Writers
Thursday, 16 September, 2010

Researchers from the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Schools of Chemistry and Health Sciences have been awarded a US patent for their novel method of characterising lipid molecules.

Known as Ozone Induced Dissociation (OzID), the method reveals details of molecular structure which are not discernable via traditional techniques of mass spectrometry.

"OzID first harnesses the power of mass spectrometry to separate one compound out of literally hundreds on the basis of mass, then uses ozone like a pair of molecular scissors to cut the molecule at a particular position, namely a double bond,” explains OzID co-inventor Associate Professor Stephen Blanksby.

“This allows us to unambiguously assign the structure of the compound and importantly differentiate molecules that differ only by the position of their double bonds.”

This style of analysis is particularly useful for analysing lipids where the double bond position, typically labelled as omega 3, omega 6 and so on, can have a dramatic effect on nutritional properties.

Altered lipid metabolism has been associated with a number of serious health conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and numerous forms of cancer. UOW, in partnerships with Canadian biotech services and technology company AB Sciex, has conducted performance trials of OzID, the results of which have been accepted for publication in the Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

The granted US patent (US Patent No. 7,771,943) represents the first of a number of patent rights sought for this invention in major jurisdictions.

Commercialisation of OzID will be undertaken with assistance from UOW’s development partner UniQuest, the business development arm of the University of Sydney.

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