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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-10-01 - 2019-09-30

Today the consumers' demand for high quality safe foods requires the development and application of emerging processing technologies for the gentle pasteurization and sterilization of foods, such as high hydrostatic pressure and ohmic heating. There is still a need for research in this field, e.g. considering the impact on food structure, food quality, microorganisms, enzyme activity, and nutrients. The project will help to get a deeper insight into high pressure and high temperatures as a tool for sterilization. The objective is to study the synergy of pressure and temperature on the inactivation of microorganisms and spores. Further, the baroprotective effect of solutes and the possible recovery of microorganisms, spores and the influence on wanted/unwanted compounds in the food will be studied. Another promising technology studied within the project is Ohmic Heating, where an electric field is directly applied to the food at high frequencies. Ohmic heating has the advantage of being a volumetric process, i.e. temperature distribution is significantly more homogeneous. Due to the significant reduction of these inhomogeneities, desired pasteurization and sterilization temperatures can be reached in shorter times. Consequently, valuable food constituents, such as vitamins, proteins or enzymes, are not degraded to such an extent as during traditional thermal processing, resulting in foods with higher nutritional value and lower formation of neoformed contaminants. It is the aim to obtain inactivation kinetics of several microbial species in different matrices, as well as to evaluate the neoformed contaminant formation. Using modern analytical strategies, an evaluation vs conventional technologies will be performed to demonstrate the added value of these processing methods and products. The scientific and multidisciplinary approach will provide a future toolbox for safe and high quality products.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-03-01 - 2022-02-28

The mission of OXIDISE is to resolve authentic enzymatic activities of lignocellulose degrading oxidoreductases when bound onto their polymeric substrates and to elucidate their interaction. To this purpose, high-resolution techniques will be developed in the project. Fungal oxidoreductases involved in lignocellulose processing attracted great attention in the last years - like the discovery of oxidative cellulose degradation by lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase (LPMO). Over 90% of biomass degrading fungal genomes contain oxidoreductases (LPMO, cellobiose dehydrogenase, laccase, lignin peroxidase, aryl alcohol oxidase,…) involved in the oxidative cleavage of the recalcitrant biopolymers cellulose, hemicellulose or lignin. The elucidation of these enzyme mechanisms, interactions and kinetics is the key to understand fungal physiology and optimise biomass saccharification and biorefineries. To circumvent typical problems associated with heterogeneous reactions, assaying techniques should have a high spatial and temporal resolution. OXIDISE will develop and apply techniques based on microelectrodes, scanning electron microscopy (SECM), surface-enhanced raman scattering (SERS) and microscopic fluorescence techniques to pursue five objectives: to 1) develop enzyme-modified electrodes for the detection of lignocellulose oxidising enzymes or their products. 2) miniaturise and assemble microelectrode arrays with a high spatial resolution. 3) transfer microelectrode modifications to SECM for increased spatial resolution (~10 nm) and scanning of areas. 4) investigate the interaction of oxidoreductases on polymeric substrates, e.g. the interaction of CDH/LPMO or more complex enzyme systems. 5) transfer the developed techniques to wood samples and growing fungal hyphae and their secretome. OXIDISE takes a new approach to provide crucial insight into the function of important enzymes, which so far has been somewhat neglected, possibly because of the involved experimental challenges.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2016-02-10 - 2019-02-09

The cooperation project “STOP Waste – SAVE Food” will deal with specific case studies for the reduction of food waste in the value chain processing-packaging-logistics-retail. Together with the project partners denkstatt and OFI, potential improvement scenarios will be analysed for food production, for primary and secondary packaging production as well as for optimized packing and distribution processes. Objective and comprehensive life-cycle assessments (including benefits of prevented food losses), carbon footprint calculations and cost-benefit analyses along the value chain will be carried out. The aim is to derive a guideline with environmentally and economically sensible measures and recommendations for actions. Competitive advantages will result for industry consortium members from objectively verified benefits (case studies) as well as from the opportunities for future collaborations with retailers and other value chain partners.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations