Tag Archives: Dr. Jianmei Yu

N.C. A&T, Xemerge launch spin-off peanut company; 1st hypoallergenic peanuts ready for food industry

Group shot of A&T and Alrgn executives

The team bringing safer peanuts to the world (from left): Wayne Szafranski, A&T director of economic outreach; Barry Burks, vice chancellor for research; Louis Judge, director of technology transfer; Jianmei Yu, research scientist; Johnny Rodrigues, Alrgn Bio founder; and Ann Russell, Alrgn director of U.S. operations.

The world’s first commercially available hypoallergenic peanuts have officially emerged from the laboratory.

Alrgn Bio, exclusive licensee of the hypoallergenic process patented by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has opened an office in the Gateway University Research Park.  Batches of peanuts are available to the food industry for evaluation, Alrgn announced today.

“We have received tremendous interest since we announced in June that the technology is available,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Alrgn founder.

“We will work with food processors and manufacturers to establish this process as the industry standard for peanuts and peanut-derived ingredients. We’ll work together to deliver safer peanut products to consumers as quickly as possible.”

Alrgn made the announcement Thursday at its demonstration facility at the Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. Alrgn is a spin-off of N.C. A&T and Xemerge, the North Carolina- and Toronto-based technology development company that originally licensed the A&T peanut technology.

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Hypoallergenic peanuts developed by N.C. A&T licensed for use in food products, immunotherapy

Hypoallergenic peanuts, peanut butter, and other peanut products are a step closer to grocery stores with the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement for the patented process that reduces allergens in peanuts by 98 percent.

Head shot of Dr. Yu

Dr. Jianmei Yu

N.C. A&T signed the agreement with Xemerge, a Toronto-based firm that commercializes emerging technologies in food, agriculture, and a variety of other fields. Xemerge has opened an office at the Gateway University Research Park south campus in Greensboro.

“This is one of the best technologies in the food and nutrition space we have seen,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Chief Commercialization Officer of Xemerge.

“It checks all the boxes: non-GMO, patented, human clinical data, does not change physical characteristics of the peanut along with maintaining the nutrition and functionality needed, ready for industry integration from processing and manufacturing to consumer products.”

The process was developed by Dr. Jianmei Yu, a food and nutrition researcher in A&T’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and two former A&T faculty members, Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna and Dr. Ipek Goktepe, both of whom are now at Qatar University.

“Treated peanuts can be used as whole peanuts, in pieces or as flour to make foods containing peanuts safer for many people who are allergic,” Dr. Yu said.

“Treated peanuts also can be used in immunotherapy,” she said. “Under a doctor’s supervision, the hypoallergenic peanuts can build up a patient’s resistance to the allergens.”

Research funding was provided by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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