The tea market has an annual global value of £15 billion with a 10% annual growth rate. The ASSET Technology Centre based at Queens University Belfast (and one of the Network's Centres of Expertise) has received funding from Agilent (the Thought leader Award) to use a range of analytical methods to test teas from different geographical origins and produce a 'chemical fingerprinting' map. It is hoped that the map will be able to check the origin of the tea to prevent mislabelling, and also the presence of known bulking agents (such as Prussian Blue, coal tar dye, indigo, soapstone, plumbago and gypsum) will be tested for. Prof Elliott, who heads the project, does not underestimate the challenge tea presents in its complex composition, as well as the complicated nature of tea production.
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