Department of Bioactive and Functional Food Chemistry

Research topics

How do different factors (e.g., raw materials, industrial processing and microbial fermentation) influence structure, functionality and bioactivity within proteins as well as between proteins and other food components?

  • Monitoring of marker proteins/peptides during food processing to identify optimal processing conditions to enhance food quality in terms of taste, flavor, texture and nutritional properties
  • Elucidating newly formed substances during food processing to understand molecular reaction mechanisms
  • Tracing functional changes back to the molecular level to enable a profound understanding of structure-function relationships so that these can be influenced in a targeted way for improved product quality

 

How do environmental factors influence the protein composition of crops and how can this knowledge be used to improve food security, food quality and food safety?

  • Identifying stress-resistant high-yield crop varieties that are well-suited for food uses based on their expression of good structure-forming and nutritionally valuable proteins
  • Identifying crop varieties with minimal expression of potentially immunoreactive proteins
  • Developing non-destructive, rapid and portable methods to measure certain food quality-related constituents at the earliest possible stage in the food production chain 

 

How do food proteins interact with the human gastrointestinal and immune systems and gut microbiota?

  • Studying digestibility of dietary proteins and subsequent regulation of intestinal permeability and gut microbiota
  • Investigating fundamental mechanisms of immune activation once the peptides have passed through the mucosal epithelium
  • Assessing the importance of protein-protein interactions

 

Why does the prevalence of food hypersensitivities, e.g., celiac disease or allergies, increase within the population?

  • Establishing proteomics workflows to assess the immunoreactive potential of (cereal) proteins in raw materials and food products
  • Finding ways from breeding to processing to reduce the immunoreactive potential of food products for sensitive individuals
  • Developing novel analytical methods for compliance monitoring of gluten-free products