Research area

Our aim is to develop an in-depth mechanistic understanding of complex interactions of food components and we use a hypothetico-deductive approach to guide experimental design and methodology. By obtaining a mechanistic understanding of reaction mechanisms it will be possible to predict, control, and modulate the chemical reactions taking place in food and beverages during production and storage. We have special emphasis on protein modifications induced by Maillard reactions (i.e. protein glycation), oxidation, and reactions with polyphenols, and how these processes affect flavour, protein structure and functionality, nutritional value and health.

Our research goals are achieved by using a multidisciplinary approach based on:

  1. Identification and quantification of reactants, intermediates and products and establishment of reaction kinetics for the determination of major reaction routes and most significant modifications of food components,
  2. Exploitation of the established chemical mechanisms to predict, control and modulate changes in food quality and functionality during production and storage,
  3. Determination of absorption and uptake of the major modifications of food components occurring during production and storage in both cellular systems and animal models
  4. Establishment of immunogenic and inflammatory responses in both cellular systems and animal models based on metabolic degradation of food components.

Scientific impact and outreach

We bridge basic and applied science within food chemistry and seek to ensure societal impact by close collaborations with the Danish food and ingredient industry. Project deliverables within deadlines are important to us, which we achieve by a high focus on project management. The group’s shared affiliation between KU-SCIENCE and KU-SUND secures close interactions with cross-disciplinary expert scientists in the fields of food and biomedical sciences and facilitates activities related to understanding of how food quality impacts general health and disease progression in humans. Prime examples of significant contributions from our group within food functionality and quality includes elucidation of how oxidative protein cross-linking reduce meat tenderness during retail storage and the mechanistic understanding of how protein thiol groups and plant polyphenols, used as antioxidant ingredients, interact in meat products and influence oxidative stability and functionality.