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From fat droplets in plant cells to novel foods

Functional nanoparticles - von Dr Birgitta Zielbauer, Prof. Behic Mert, Prof. Thomas Vilgis

Occurring naturally in oilseeds, oleosomes are particles with special properties. Depending on the plant ­variety, their size ranges from microns down into the nanoscale. These particles, with their protein-­functionalized surfaces, are structurally very stable indeed. This makes them ­relevant for fundamental ­research and pharmacology, and also for innovative ­applications in food science.

What can analytics tell us?

Nanoparticles in food - von Dr Philipp Brüning

Over the last few years, legislation specifically governing the handling of nanomaterials (NMs) has been steadily expanded within the EU (Fig. 1). ­One example is the Food Information Regulation, which requires that food ingredients in the form of “engineered nanomaterials” must be clearly indi­cated in the list of ingredients. To produce accurate labelling – and to inspect and assess this labelling – clear definitions are required, alongside...

Food safety as a global challenge

What makes something “authentic”? - von Prof. Dr Markus Fischer

Whether a foodstuff is “authentic” – i.e. whether it is genuine or original – is of considerable importance not only ­for the complex and global procurement chain that drives the food processing/­manufacturing industries but also for consumer safety.

Fractionation of functional peptides with ion-­exchange membrane adsorption chromatography

Separation via binding - von Prof. Dr Ulrich Kulozik, Elena Leeb

By deploying specific proteases for the enzymatic hydro­lysis of proteins, the release of peptides can be controlled. This process ­can be used to produce functional peptides, which may exhibit an ability to reduce blood pressure or have a surface-active function. The deployment of biofunctional peptides in food as an “added value” is only ­possible at sufficiently effective concentrations, ­however. Accordingly, processes are required that...

Isothermal amplification in food analysis – a real alternative to conventional PCR

Trust, but verify - von Dr Kurt Brunner, Celine Zahradnik

Inherited genetic material – deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA for short – is unique to every living thing and can therefore be utilised like a fingerprint for identification purposes. DNA analysis has thus become an indispensable tool within food safety, and in the real-time testing of both raw materials and finished products. The ­established method for confirmation of specified target DNA in a sample is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

MOSH/MOAH food contamination

Focus on mineral oil residues - von Prof. Dr. Reinhard Matissek, Dr. Marion Raters, Anna Dingel, Julia Schnapka

Mineral oils are almost universally present in our environment. Their constituents can infiltrate foods of both plant and animal origin in many different ways. From the perspective of their chemical structure, the main compounds of interest are mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and – to a proportionally lesser extent – mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH).

The utility of the chloroplast genome in verifying food authenticity: a case study looking at Ecuadorian fine/flavour cocoa

Fine flavours - von Luise Herrmann, Prof. Dr Markus Fischer

Chocolate and other cocoa-based products have long been popular foodstuffs, associated as they are with ­pleasure and enjoyment of the finer things in life. If we think for a minute about the product design, the choice ­of packaging – and also the price – of some dark chocolate brands, we can see how these are promoted as premium products, just as is the case for other foods such as wine or coffee. Accordingly, consumers often find that cocoa-based...

Biofortification of vegetables with micronutrients

An extra portion of zinc - von Prof. Dr Stephan Clemens

Powerful forearms, a pipe in the mouth, a sailor's hat: It takes him only seconds to open and empty the can of spinach. He faces his next brawl with superhuman strength. This is how we all know Popeye, the sailor. The secret of his strength is in the high iron content of spinach. This idea got innumerable parents to trying to get their children to “like” the ­rather unpopular vegetable. Unfortunately, some things are quite wrong here: While spinach...

Aptamers as a new alternative to antibodies

Magnetic Attraction - von Dr Kurt Brunner

Within the European Union, measures to safeguard our food are becoming increasingly stringent: any constituents hazardous to health are either prohibited or ­permitted only as a trace. For analytics, ensuring compliance and monitoring for all of the statutory provisions safeguarding our food is a hugely challenging task. While immunotests have now been deployed successfully in rapid testing for the last three decades, aptamers have demonstrated increasing...

Food safety: new approaches to analysis

Sure, it tastes good - von Prof. Dr Dr Alfonso Lampen, Dr Thorsten Buhrke, Hermann Broll

Food safety is a requirement stipulated by Section 14 of EU Basic Regu­lation (EC) No. 178/2004. Food safety monitoring activities conducted by state inspection agencies ensure nationwide compliance with the high levels of food safety in Germany. As well as monitoring microbial loads in foodstuffs, the agencies also focus on a wide range of chemical contaminants, such as dioxins. Whether the foodstuffs have been contaminated with these kinds of potentially...