Endo Enterprises Reaseheath College Partnership

The first PhD student to carry out a research project within the recently launched Institute of Sustainability and Food Innovation (IoSFI) has taken up her new role.

Ella Robbins, 23, will be conducting original research on whether treating water with stabilised hydrogen peroxide improves water quality, and whether this then leads to improved crop performance if used for irrigation. This approach is thought to have much potential but its use is limited by a lack of robust data and scientific understanding.

Stabilised hydrogen peroxide is already widely used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria, viruses and mould. It releases only water and oxygen into the environment so it has less negative impact than other common chemicals. It is already used to treat irrigation water in small projects world wide, but forthcoming data is as yet unsubstantiated.

For her research, Ella will first investigate how efficient stabilised hydrogen peroxide is at improving water quality, then look at the impact of the cleaner water on plant growth. Ultimately there are hopes that this will lead to greater and better quality crop yields and less food waste, and that her data will result in a thesis worthy of publication.

IoSFI is an academic collaboration between the University of Chester (UoC) and University Centre Reaseheath (UCR), which offers significant research opportunities for students working towards Master’s and Doctoral degrees in partnership with external industry partners.

Ella’s project is being jointly funded through the University of Chester (UoC)’s Sustainable Futures Studentship Scheme and by Endo Enterprises, and will run until October 2026. UoC is the project lead institution, while UCR is the experimental lead and Endo Enterprises, which manufactures stabilised hydrogen peroxide among other environmentally aware products, is the industrial sponsor.

Ella will carry out most of her practical research at Reaseheath but will be mentored by scientists from both institutions. She graduated from UoC with a BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour followed by an MSc in Marine and Coastal Resource Management, completed last October.

Ella said:

“I’m excited to have been given this opportunity to help push forward the boundaries of sustainable food production and to further knowledge in this very relevant area. Reaseheath has fantastic research facilities, such as its vertical farm and research glasshouses, and I’m looking forward to working alongside and being supported by experienced professionals from both universities.”

Dr Andy Williams, Manager of Research and Development at Endo Enterprises, said:

“Our products and services are aimed at providing leading edge solutions in the fields of water treatment, energy saving and infection control.

“Our next generation products are chlorine free, bio-degradable, non-toxic and environmentally aware. This allows us to be cost effective and sustainable while delivering high levels of anti-microbial control.

“Ella’s project will help us understand our product’s potential to better serve industries such as horticulture, which is dependent on top quality water, and will help inform future product development.

“We believe that investment in research is vital if we are to deliver sustainable practices around the world. Working with University Centre Reaseheath and University of Chester gives us access to outstanding expertise and facilities, enabling us to truly work collaboratively to create the knowledge and skills needed.”

Dr Hamad Siddiqui, Academic Director of the Institute of Sustainability and Food Innovation, who is based at Reaseheath, said:

“At IoSFI we offer unparalleled resources, such as Controlled Environment Agriculture Facilities and a cutting-edge Food Innovation laboratory, fostering research and innovation in sustainable agriculture production.

“The IoSFI team is thrilled to welcome Ella, our new PhD student. The key focus of her research will be on the application of stabilized hydrogen peroxide and its implications for plant growth and development. The insights gained from her research will contribute not only to the academic community but also to the practical advancement of sustainable agriculture and will help shape the future of food production and environmental stewardship.”

Lead Project Supervisor Dr Dan Baldock, who lectures in biology and forensic biology at UoC’s Faculty of Science, Business and Enterprise, commented:

“This project is an excellent collaborative venture, allowing us to share knowledge and resources between the University of Chester, University Centre Reaseheath and Endo Enterprises.

“I am excited to see what our research develops, and I hope it is the start of a long and productive undertaking that leads to developing similar cross-institutional projects in the future.”


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