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Bioactives – Analysis and Application

Charlotte Jacobsen discusses the Bioactives – Analysis and Application research group and its aims for sustainable food production

Charlotte Jacobsen is heading the research group for Bioactives – Analysis and Application. The group focuses on two main aspects related to sustainable food production. The first aspect concerns development of strategies to prevent oxidative deterioration of foods. Lipid and protein oxidation leads to undesirable changes in odour, taste and texture. By preventing these reactions it is possible to reduce waste along the food chain. The second aspect concerns development of technologies with can secure utilization of new resources including microalgae and seaweed as well as side-streams from food production for production of new ingredients for food and feed applications. The research particularly addresses foods produced with ingredients from blue biomasses, but ingredients from e.g. potato side-streams are also studied.

The group’s research on prevention of oxidation focuses on understanding the main factors responsible for oxidation in different foods with particular emphasis on foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 oil. This f.ex. Iincludes studies on how pH, emulsifier type, homogenization and storage conditions and the presence of trace metals affect oxidative stability of food emulsions such as mayonnaise.  This knowledge is used to develop suitable protection strategies by optimizing processing conditions, antioxidant addition and encapsulation technologies. The research on utilization of new resources focuses on the use of different extraction technologies such as enzyme assisted extraction, supercritical CO2 extraction and sub-critical water extraction to obtain pigments, polyphenols, proteins and vitamins from blue biomasses. Enzymes are also used to generate peptides with bioactive and functional properties, which are evaluated in different food systems. For example, the group studies the ability of potato, single cell, seaweed and fish peptides to act as emulsifiers or antioxidants in emulsions. Finally, the group studies how microalgae can be manipulated to produce high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and pigments for food applications.