Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-12-01 - 2026-02-28

s part of a holistic strategy, the potential of climate-smart grain crops - specifically sorghum - is to be identified and subsequently exploited facing the challenge of a sustainable feeding of the growing world population. This is only possible with high-yield and weather-tolerant agricultural raw materials. The focus must be on crops that emit low levels of greenhouse gas while being resilient to heat and drought. Until now, sorghum has not been used as an ingredient in staple foods in Central European countries. However, sorghum shows a high field yield and is drought tolerant. Therefore, bundled research activities and cooperation with corporate partners are needed to establish the use of sorghum as a major ingredient in Western diet and to develop sensory accepted and high nutritional food products. Sorghum is already used as a staple food in African and Indian regions. However, the functionality and sensory attributes of wholegrain sorghum products do not meet the cultural European quality expectations. There is still limited understanding of the functional behaviour of different sorghum milling fractions in bakery and pasta products. It is crucial to investigate the impact of different milling fractions on technological functionality as well as on nutritional and sensory properties. Then we can adapt and control the milling process for producing high quality sorghum fractions. Furthermore, the grain and the milling fractions are functionalized by several approaches such as germination, enzymatic and hydrothermal approaches to optimize and increase the functionality in terms of digestibility and gas holding properties. Thus, sorghum-based gluten-free breads and new 3D printed texturates as well as sorghum-wheat-based breads, fine bakery products and pasta of higher nutritional value and sensory acceptability can be produced from climate-smart grains in Europe. The CLIC consortium consists of experts in the field of food technology, cereal process engineering with many years of expertise in the field of alternative cereal crops, i.e. University of Hohenheim, BOKU and HTLLMT Wels. Due to the similar effects of climate change on cereal cultivation, Germany and Austria are equally in search of solutions. Through a transnational project, the necessary knowledge can be multiplied, and the corresponding work packages are distributed according to the expertise of the research partners. The project will be coordinated by FEI (Germany) and ecoplus (Austria). The user committee consists of branches along the value chain: milling, additive suppliers, consultants, bakery and pasta production and related associations.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-01-01 - 2026-12-31

Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which are the products of transgalactosylation reactions catalyzed by β-galactosidases when using lactose as the substrate, are of special interest to human nutrition because of the presence of structurally related oligosaccharides together with different complex structures in human breast milk. Recently, a number of studies have focused on the use of the genus Lactobacillus for the production and characterisation of β-galactosidases. It is anticipated that GOS produced by these β-galactosidases will have better selectivity for the growth and metabolic activity of this bacterial genus in the gut, and thus will lead to improved prebiotic effects. Despite numerous studies on the gene clusters involved in lactose utilization by these bacteria and their biochemical properties pertaining to their ability to produce GOS in biocatalytic processes, the functional roles of the key residues in the active sites of the β-galactosidases from this important bacterial group have not been studied. This research project aims to identify potential residues involved in transgalactosylation activity of lactobacillal β-galactosidases. Structure-function relationships of lactobacillal β-galactosidases regarding GOS product linkage specificity will allow rational design of mutations of β-galactosidases to produce specific mixtures of GOS structures. Hence, different GOS product specificities and yields are expected.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-10-01 - 2024-07-31

The food value chain is the backbone of society but far from aligned with the Paris climate target or the European Green Deal as about one third of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are emanating from this area. About half of these emissions are due to meat production which appropriates about 80% of agricultural land for feed production, contributing to biodiversity loss and natural habitat destruction. The level of meat intake in Western societies decreases life expectancy and puts a heavy burden on health systems. Based on this assessment, the unsustainable footprint of meat production may be disrupted by policy makers that adapt agricultural and/or climate policies, consumers that shy away from meat products for climate, health or animal wellbeing reasons, new technologies that substitute meat products by offering the same sensual experience at lower cost and superior quality. This project explores the likely disruptive impact of regulators, incumbents, consumers, or startups (RISC) and elaborates diffusion curves for meat alternatives based on in depth analysis of these potential disruptors. The diffusion scenarios are then used to assess the impact of the most likely scenarios of the food value chain in terms of production, value added, employment and GHG emissions.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations