Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP)  -  Biology to benefit society

The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) uses cutting edge scientific methods and knowledge to harness the power of nature for the development of new products and processes to address some of the major global challenges of the 21st century. CNAP has been using excellent science to underpin industrial biotechnology for 20 years in projects that encompass plant and microbial sciences for the development of sustainable fuel, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and to enhance food security. CNAP provides a creative and enabling environment to around 80 staff and students, led by five professors:  Ian BancroftNeil Bruce (CNAP Director), Katherine DenbyIan Graham and Simon McQueen-Mason.

artemisia and handBiofuels from marine bugspoppy-100sq

CNAP is committed to using world-leading bioscience to underpin progress towards providing sustainable supplies of food, energy and chemicals. Our work includes improving the quality and productivity of food crops, especially oil and fibre crops, as well as adding value to the non-food components of major crops. In addition to addressing science to underpin the establishment of sustainable biorefinery approaches to provision the supply of fuels and chemicals from plant biomass without compromising food security, our research also encompasses the development of plants for use in environmental decontamination. CNAP carries out research into both mainstream and so-called orphan crops that have been domesticated for centuries, but not yet subjected to intensive modern breeding.

Professor Simon McQueen-Mason, CNAP Director                          ‌‌‌‌‌


Recent news:

  • New breakthrough in battle to clean up land contaminated by munitions

Gene improves removal of TNT from contaminated soil: study just published in New Phytologist.‌‌

  • Plant 'chemical factory' discovery

New research published in PNAS suggests potential for utilisation of natural 'chemical factory' system within plant.


  • Welcoming Denby group

Brief introductions here.

  • Recognition of scientific excellence by EMBO

Ian Graham elected as a 2016 EMBO Member.

Congratulations to Ian on his election to the fellowship of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Congratulations to Ian, who is to receive the Biochemical Society's 2017 Heatley Medal and Prize in recognition of the quality and impact of his research.

  • New research on light-induced stomatal opening 

Discovery of critical process for stomatal opening in light published in Current Biology.

Thumbnail for version as of 21:10, 7 May 2005

  • Research led by CNAP helps in battle against ash dieback disease

Paper on identifying markers using associative transcriptomics published in Scientific Reports.

Video on the project available here.

New crop could have huge implications for the global lubricant market.

Oilseed rape 

Cooperation between East-West Seed and CNAP on supplying Artemisia.


GSK include CNAP research in their response to Government consultation.

Poppies growing in Tasmania. Photo by Carol Walker

Field trials planned for a type of grass that could help solve a growing environmental problem.

Amazing science from everyday plants.

An important step forward to realising potential to use plants to clean land contaminated by explosives taken by CNAP team.

Col7 and mdar6-1 100mgkg TNT

Scientists led by Ian Graham provide new insight into how poppy plants have evolved. Ian Graham is interviewed on BBC Radio 5 live, Science Podcast.



News archive


Latest News

  • CNAP celebrates its 20th anniversary!

Ian Graham interviewed on Radio 5 live and podcast

Secret to making renewable energy from wood? The digestive system of the gribble may hold the key!

Biofuels from marine bugs

2 new Networks in Industrial Biotechnology awarded! Congratulations to Ian Graham and Simon McQueen-Mason, who will each lead a phase II NIBB.

New bioeconomy initiative launch in York BioYork established.

Poppy genome decoded DNA code of the opium poppy genome determined.

Poppy (x70)

Strengthening links with India: 2 major new research projects Funding secured by CNAP PIs.

Oilseed rape


CNAP Director, Professor Neil Bruce

CNAP, Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK