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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2023-12-31

The aim of the project is to develop an innovative biofilm imitate test system, which will be used to validate and optimize cleaning and decontamination concepts in the industry. The novelty lies in the fact that a microbial-free biofilm imitate is coupled with an innovative test system to ensure a practically oriented cleaning verification. None of the currently available test methods assesses the cleaning efficiency against biofilms, although they are the most common cause of contamination in the food industry. The test system, which is being developed in the course of the biofilm imitate project, is, in comparison, specially designed for the detection of microbial accumulations or biofilms and is therefore practice-oriented and more efficient than traditional test methods. This approach of using engineered microorganism-free biofilms shows multiple advantages that can facilitate the understanding of biofilm behavior. The knowledge gained in the course of the development of the test method is essential for the future hygienic and safe food production. In the project, a native biofilm reference matrix will be developed, and a cleaning test system for the comparison of biofilm reference and biofilm imitate will be established. Subsequently, a formulation including the manufacturing process of a biofilm imitate matrix is developed. Innovative methods from the field of rheology and microscopy will be combined to characterize the biofilm imitate. The next project phase is iterative, where the developed biofilm imitate matrix, compared to its biofilm reference, is subjected to a previously defined cleaning process to check whether the same cleaning-relevant properties could be achieved. Finally, the method is validated in an industrial environment.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2024-12-31

Bifidobacteria play an important role in the eco-physiology of the colonic microbiota. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) are prominent among the functional components of human milk. HMO selectively support the growth and activity of desired bacteria in the infant intestine, thus they have prebiotic or bifidogenic effects since bifidobacteria dominate in the gut of breast-fed infants. Infant-associated Bifidobacterium species are equipped with genetic and enzymatic sets dedicated to the utilization of HMO. It will be interesting and also challenging to exploit transglycosylation activities of the glycoside hydrolases (GHs) from infant gut-associated Bifidobacterium species involved in HMO degradation to synthesize HMO structures. The proposed project aims: (i) to investigate transglycosylation activities and the extent of glycosyl transfer of the selected glycoside hydrolases from an infant gut isolate (ii) to identify the function roles of the key residues in the active sites of these selected glycoside hydrolases; (iii) to synthesize the core, the precursor and the backbone structures of HMO using these glycoside hydrolases. The main innovative aspects are to exploit transglycosylation activities of the glycoside hydrolases from the infant gut isolate for the synthesis of HMO structures in vitro and to provide insights into the catalytic importance of the amino acids involved in transglycosylation in the active sites of these enzymes.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-09-01 - 2022-08-31

The introduction of microalgae into food products is still limited but has a large potential for future developments of sutainable foods. Algae production efficiency but also consumer acceptance need to be increased. With regard to consumer acceptance, the sensory profile of algae and algae based products is still a limiting factor. Currently, mainly drying is applied to stabilize the algae biomass and algae powder is used as the main intermediate product and ingredient. However, alternative processing options may contribute to better sensory characteristics as well as to a larger variation of possible application options. Especially preservation technologies for the stabilization of wet, concentrated algae biomass are required to allow a shelf life extension while maintaining nutritional characteristics and avoiding a negative sensory impact. Processing concepts including non-thermal preservation technologies as well as packaging solutions will be investigated in order to provide optimized algae products to be used as ingredients in different types of food applications.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations