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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-02-01 - 2023-01-31

Zur Untersuchung der molekularen Grundlagen der Pflanze-Mikroorganismen Interaktion haben sich die so genannten „-OMICS“-Techniken als besonders leistungsfähig herausgestellt. For the investigation of the molecular basis of plant-microbe interactions, the so-called "-OMICS" techniques have proven to be particularly powerful. The primary goal of this project is to expand the existing method portfolio for metabolome analysis of plants, microorganisms and their interactions. In particular, many interesting questions have arisen within the framework of the FWF project SFB FUSARIUM (2009-2019). Two of the open scientific questions related to resistance mechanisms of the host will be investigated by directly applying the new methods to Fusarium-treated wheat samples. The new scientific knowledge gained on Fusarium head blight will serve a better understanding of the metabolism of plants under stress. The project will therefore provide novel insight into plant defence mechanisms and can help in the long term to develop new control strategies and measures for sustainable plant protection. Translated with (free version)
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-02-01 - 2023-12-31

This collaborative research effort continues to investigate mycotoxin occurrences in staple foods (e.g. raw cereals, legumes, nuts and oilseeds) in various regions of Nigeria in an attempt to categorize these foods into low- and high-risk groups based on their susceptibilities to mycotoxins over several years. In addition, factors (e.g. postharvest storage of grains) encouraging increased mycotoxin levels in the foods are also being studied. On another front, we are investigating mycotoxins and bacterial contaminants in ready-to-eat foods vended in rural and sub-urban markets in Nigeria. These studies are necessary to estimate the exposures and risks posed to the Nigerian population due to dietary exposures to the important toxic fungal compounds (e.g. the carcinogenic aflatoxins and fumonisins). Furthermore, the impact of seasonal variations on mycotoxin exposure in households is a pertinent topic under study in the rural northern region of Nigeria, where the malnutrition and stunting rates are quite higher than other parts of Nigeria. In view of the ongoing pandemic, it is of priority interest to examine the mycotoxin issue in sub-Saharan Africa and juxtapose this with the pandemic vis-à-vis issues of food security and safety. It is envisaged to publish our findings, which shall serve as reference points for local food control agencies and regulators to promote safe food and improve public health in Nigeria.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-01-01 - 2024-12-31

PHOTONFOOD’s ultimate aim is to provide a portable solution for flexible farm-to-fork sensing of fungal and mycotoxin contamination. PHOTONFOOD will design, develop and validate a mid-infrared photonic sensing solution based on Light Emitting Diode (LED) light sources and Quantum Cascade Laster (QCL) lasers combined with mid-infrared waveguides for the detection of microbial and chemical contamination in food and commodities at different production levels, i.e. from production to processing and distribution. The platform will be demonstrated for the detection of fungal contamination and mycotoxins in farm-to-fork value chains of peanuts and wheat and for detection of antibiotics in novel aquaponics-based production of fish and vegetables. The platform is based on innovative photonic devices combined with low-cost paper-based microfluidics for sample collection, separation, pretreatment and pre-concentration and a data analysis platform. It is thus highly flexible and readily adaptable for monitoring other types of microbial and chemical contamination. The research will be performed by a multidisciplinary team with globally acknowledged top expertise in the field of infrared spectroscopy, light sources and waveguide development, food spoilage microbiology and data science in collaboration with a leading mycotoxin analysis laboratory, a novel aquaponics farm, a distributor of dry foods and farms with on-site food processing and vending. The team will develop a low-cost portable infrared sensing solution and a high-end infrared device enabling flexible microbial and chemical analysis of food products on farms, in food processing, wholesale and retail.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations